Husaco wrote: ↑
02 Apr 2019, 07:06
I've never understood this complaint. Yes, Daggerfall is colossal on paper—twice the area of Great Britain or whatever—but the overworld is so sparse and utterly barren that for all intents and purposes it may as well not really exist (as was the case in Arena). It's neat that you could theoretically hold down the w key for 6 hours and end up at your destination, but it would be utterly miserable to play the game that way. In practice, travelling in Daggerfall consists of bringing up a crudely drawn map and clicking on a random pixel overlaid on it and watching a counter tick down the fictional days.
For me, it's about creating the perception of a large world. Unlike later games where people don't seem to recognize things that happen 5 feet outside of town (or worse, when two warring "cities" are a few minutes' walk down the main road), in Daggerfall places feel appropriately separated. It also helps with the representation of time; Daggerfall's able to have a more realistic day/night cycle where inns and such matter because you can't just stand around for a couple minutes to pass through an entire night (cities would also close at night, making you either camp out or break in by climbing over the walls).
Diseases can have more progressive effects that start negligible and get worse over time, whereas trying to do that in later games would require making them super-viruses or something since you're never more than a couple minutes away from some place with healing. Daggerfall's fast travel was also unique in that it required deciding whether you wanted to go recklessly, getting to some place a few days earlier but without healing and possibly at night (when the shops, if not the whole city, are closed), or cautiously but get there more rested and during the day (when places are open). Plus it would cost money, since you'd be staying at inns along the way. Timed quests are also a thing, giving the sense that the world doesn't revolve around you (if you don't do it, they'll assume you died or gave up, and write it off as a loss or send someone else), you can't dawdle since it takes you time to get places. You can fail almost any quest this way, which plays into the regional and faction reputation system, creating more dynamic interactions between you and the NPCs.
There's also the fatigue system, where instead of measuring how winded you are like the newer games (and where everybody seems to be out of shape), in Daggerfall the time scale allowed it to represent how tired you are throughout the day (and without giving you narcolepsy like mods for the later games do). More strenuous activities, like running and fighting, wear you out and make you a bit more tired the normal. If you run out of stamina, you pass out, and if you pass out in an enemy-filled dungeon, you die.
In constrast, Morrowind is utterly miniscule by real world standards, but the experience of following a winding path with distractions and detours every step of the way conveys a tangible sense of scale much grander than the reality of it actually only being the distance from your house to the shops.
I feel the opposite. When I walk from one place to another in Morrowind (or Oblivion or Skryim), it shows how much of a theme park it's designed as. I don't get a sense of scale or the same sense of adventure when it takes a minute or less to walk to my destination.
In contrast, I get a sense of a more personalized adventure when I get to decide where I go and what quests to take on, because there's literally hundreds of towns and hamlets, and a few dozen cities, in several regions, and each place having a bunch of potential quest givers (excluding guilds). Or even when there's a fixed quest (i.e. the main quest), several stages can have the target location be randomized, still giving it a personal touch. Skyrim plainly shows how that kind of personalized randomization doesn't work with a smaller game world, as you're often sent to a place you've already been (discouraging exploration).
Daggerfall's biggest drawback was the available technology. The low resolution and view distance made trekking across the wilderness all but impossible, but those things have long been overcome in game engines. While increasing the view distance in a game like Morrowind can show you just how small and fake the world actually is, in Daggerfall it can instead let you see its grandeur. Better terrain generation algorithms can also create prettier scenery and vistas, encouraging exploration even if you don't run into a dungeon or something.