We Need To Talk About Fast Travel In ‘Dragon’s Dogma 2’

At this point I cannot hold my tongue about my least favorite part in a game I am otherwise really enjoying. That would be fast travel in Dragon’s Dogma 2, or often, the lack thereof.

Before launch, Dragon’s Dogma 2 director Hideaki Itsuno went out of his way to talk about the game’s lack of easy fast-travel, or even mechanics like horseback mounts to speed up journeys:

“It’s only an issue because your game is boring. All you have to do is make travel fun. That’s why you place things in the right location for players to discover, or come up with enemy appearance methods that create different experiences each time, or force players into blind situations where they don’t know whether it’s safe or not then meters in front of them.”

While I understand what he’s talking about in theory, in practice, the system that’s meant to set up more dynamic encounters and encourage exploration often does the exact opposite, and closing in on 20 hours with the game, I’m not finding it any better, nor do I sign on to the logic being used here.

The game does have fast travel just…in extremely limited, convoluted ways. You can oxcart travel between major cities once you’ve discovered them, but they are few and far between and while cheap, often do not help much depending on your objective, nor do anything when you’re out in the wild.

Then, the idea is a currency system that allows you to spend a somewhat rare Ferrystone stone to fast-travel between beacons on the map, making you cautious about when you’re desperate enough to use it. As the game unfolds, you will be able to set up your own beacons around the map, but again, 15+ hours in here, I have only gotten one of those, and as I’m still exploring the map, I don’t even know where to put it. All of this serves to build something resembling a fast travel system, but one you either rarely use or costs an annoying currency to use, and I think this whole system does the opposite of what it says it’s designed to do.

This idea that you are encouraging exploration with this system is nonsense. Name any other big game in this genre, Elden Ring, Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, whatever, and you will find games that have readily available fast travel while obviously encouraging lots of exploration. Just because you can freely travel around the map once you find existing locations, that does not discourage you from exploring dark corners or new places on the map.

But I constantly find myself being discouraged in Dragon’s Dogma. I trekked all the way to a new city and was given a quest to find a missing boy endangered by some wolves. The POI for that was about a ten minute walk back exactly where I had just come from. Rather than struggle through a hundred rounds of draining stamina and recharging it and walking past chests I’d already opened, I left that kid to the wolves. This idea that “dynamic” things can happen when walking instead of fast traveling may technically be true, but the vast majority of the time it’s just fighting the same trash mobs you’ve already fought on that same path 3-4 times.

I absolutely think that Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a great map to explore, but this idea of not having normal fast travel, yet setting up a much more exhausting, annoying version of the system instead, is a huge turn-off. Not enough to get me to put down the game, but I find myself investing in a lot fewer quests and returning to fewer areas to explore given travel time or cost alone. Oxcarts only get you so far and Ferrystones remind me of the awful Fallout 76 mechanic which charged you money to fast travel on the map. This is all annoying for its own sake, and actively discourages exploration rather than encouraging it. No, this is not a “microtransaction ploy” as the game (stupidly) sells just a single fast travel point, which is nothing, but it’s one of those “well this is the way it’s always been” things that does not work when under a microscope. I can’t get on board, and I don’t seen that changing in another 20, 40, 60 hours, half of those being spent recharging my stamina meter,

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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