I've always wondered this and its one of the things that really irks me about 'PVE'. Run here, run there, do this, do that, come back when done, then go again. Blah, blah, blah. Its boring. I commute to The Tanning Pit every day in real life. Back and forth, to and fro. Go shopping, get this, buy that, blah, blah, blah. Do I really, at the end of a long day, covered in dog-poo and smelling like urine, want to log into my fantasy world and want to do the same? No, I do not. Get, as they say, bent.
Normally I wouldn't bother to complain (this statement will become funny the more you get to know me) because in almost every game I have ever played there is a travel component. I get it. We need something to do. Time Sinks and all that. Unfortunately my eyes have been opened to the possibility of a world without endless, pointless, monotonous travel. A world where the travel isn't mundane and you travel neither to, nor fro, unless it is necessary (or you damn well feel like it). I have had a gaming epiphany and things may never be the same.
What the hell am I talking about? What foolish ramblings are these? I have just started beta testing for a soon-to-be-released MMO (which I will post on later this week after some more exhausting research, or as some may call it, 'playing') with a fun solution to this problem. Upon completion of your quest/mission in this particular game you are able to open your log and select 'complete'. That's it. Done. Experience and items awarded instantly and any follow up quests assigned as well. Gained a level? No worries, just select your new skills now! How brilliant is that? Now I can carry on with other things (like beating the crap out of enemies real and imagined) rather than running all the way back to a quest-giving stationary pixel collection just to be awarded the second portion of the quest which will invariably take me back to said area again. Or, Tzeentch forbid, I have gained a level and now have to zone into (and then out of) the capital cities (and run to the Career Master in said city) before I am allowed to continue playing.
I guess I've always felt that my play time was better spent playing rather that walking or riding. Others must surely feel this way. The immense popularity of Empire T1 is in no small part due to its compact, close quarters offerings. There is free renown to be had in Dwarf and Elf but they remain deserted.
I remember playing an RPG a very long time ago where you actually had to buy new shoes after a certain amount of miles travelled or you'd start to take damage (more micromanagement than your local tax agency there). Maybe this idea of travel is interwoven into RPG games. I have always disliked it but have rarely questioned it. I know that a degree of travel is of course necessary and the world is there to explore and all that but it does get rather tedious, doesn't it? Maybe its just me but a beautiful, compact game world with fluid, continuous play soothes my jangled gaming-soul more thoroughly than commuting to and from quests. This isn't real-life after all, it's supposed to be interesting :)