Can Book of Travels give me a road trip experience?

You best believe that in 2020, I am following the development of Book of Travels very closely. It’s not just that I spent a bit on the Kickstarter and hope to get in for the early access launch later this year, but that I am extremely curious to learn more about the shape and form of this “tiny” MMO.

Perhaps what’s of greatest interest to me is if this game can provide, even in part, something that I miss from most modern MMOs — the experience of going on a lengthy quest, both in terms of distance and length. A good road trip, in other words. The modern MMO is all about quest hubs and fulfilling objectives very close to “home” without much in the way of travel, development, and resolution. You’re doing things, a lot of things, but it’s very far removed from the road trips that we see in fantasy movies and in novels — and even in single-player RPGs.

I love going on a road trip, real or virtual, because the sensation of moving, of constantly discovering some new place is heady. That’s what I’m hoping that Book of Travels will provide, because from what I’ve read from the developers, this definitely seems like a game where you’re encouraged just to go out into the world and travel it, bumping into encounters here and there.

Last week the developers revealed the “endeavours” system, which sounds a little bit like public quests in that they’re encountered in the wild (versus a quest hub) and may require multiple people to complete. From the few examples of the four types of endeavors, these are striving to offer roleplay flavor and world interaction beyond mere combat. That seems pretty flexible to me.

In any case, we are definitely a ways out from playing Book of Travels, so I probably shouldn’t be dwelling too much on it right now or else I’ll find myself frustrated by a lack of game to play at the present. But I do hope that there’s a fun road trip waiting for me down the line.

I’m kind of falling in love with Book of Travels

“Serene” “Emotional” “Pastoral” “Roleplay” “Calm”

These aren’t usually keywords that get me really jazzed about a game, but you know what? We have our fill of loud, boisterous, in-your-face titles. Maybe it’s high past time we had a quiet, contemplative, and incredibly immersive experience.

Up until this point of my life, I’ve only Kickstarted two things (Ashes of Creation and Project Gorgon), but now I’ve added a third: Book of Travels. Ever since I originally wrote a news post on this newly announced “tiny MMO,” I’ve become deeply intrigued with this concept. The combination of a hand-painted art style and a slower paced RPG world that’s far more thoughtful than your typical combat-centric game really appeals. I’m so tired of the fact that the term “RPG” has been boiled down to combat, levels, and gear. Those things are fun, but I want more. I want a well-rounded virtual life where all aspects are thought out.

This might be that game. Or something, at least, worth investigating.

Book of Travels definitely is marching down its own path without much concern whether or not it will be a mainstream hit. There are tantalizing hints as to what the game might offer, with references to choosing your own path, a heavy emphasis on exploration, skills that tie in to your character’s personality, and magic systems that are highly unconventional (magic tea, anyone?). Then there’s this:

“Events that are usually trivialized in RPGs are instead made into strong emotional moments. Witnessing a death, for example, will weigh more heavily on your character for each day that passes, but by visiting the deceased’s resting place, your grief will be transformed into a new energy – one that will remove that weight and strengthen you instead.”

Can’t remember the last time an MMO dev sat down and spent time thinking about how your character feels — and then included that as a game system. That shows a team that’s throwing out the overused playbook and is starting from the ground-up (which reminds me a LOT of Project Gorgon’s team and attitude). And I’m really rooting for it.

My 2020 gaming dance card is starting to fill up, but right now Book of Travels is at the top of my must-play list for next year.