Distance and Movement in Roleplay


Short-Distance, let’s go for a walk in the park.

Take a stroll down the road IRL, and you can move a fair distance in less than a minute. For all intents and purposes, life is easier if you work on the theory that walking gives you a realistic idea of how long a distance takes to cover IC. On the small scale, this works pretty well. The only issues in small-scale seem to be when you are interacting with other role-players, in particular if you are at odds with them. Run past a guard and slap him in the back of the head, now try to escape him – a common evasion training method used by the Theatre of Blood back in the day. Why do I mention this? Well, because simply “/e slaps the guard in the back of the head.” And then doing a runner, if that guard is a player, does not work. You need to give people the chance to emote when you are running away from them. Run a little, stop, /whisper them and ask what they want to do. The best way of doing this may well be to /whisper them before the assault, however, you may not always have the chance. I digress to a chase that occurred when my rogue spotted someone he had earlier overheard the description of as wanted by the guards in connection to an attack; I chased him, making clear that I was attempting to capture him, he ran and every now and then stopped to allow me to emote. It worked very well, and I, as the chaser, /whispered him to make sure he was happy to be caught. All was well, he was captured, and my ‘do-gooder’ received a few silvers for his trouble. Just remember to give people the chance to type.

Long-Distance, I’m going to get from Ironforge to Stormwind in two minutes flat – Don’t you dare blink!

This is where the trouble starts to unfold, large-scale movement across a game world which is not as big and expansive as it should be according to the lore. You have to remember that Azeroth and Draenor are both heavily scaled down, it isn’t viable to make them as large in game mechanic as they are in lore – you are talking entire planets here, how many of us can travel from Europe to America in a few minutes?
The books are the best lore source you are going to get for this, I suggest reading them if you want some ideas of distance. Here are a few basics though:

  • Deeprun Tram – Moves between Ironforge and Stormwind in approximately 2 hours.
    Assuming a mean speed of 60 mph, the distance is around 120 miles.
  • Lordaeron to Dalaran Crater takes three days on horseback.
    Assuming a mean speed of 12 mph, with eight hours of rest per day, the distance is around 567 miles (remember, the tram is a straight line whilst this is going around Lordamere Lake).
  • During the Second War, it took the Orcish Horde two months to reach Eversong Woods from Stormwind.
    Assuming an average speed of 10 mph, with five hours of rest per day, the distance is around 11,400 miles.

Obviously, all of the above is rather rough working to say the least. But it gets the point across that the world is much larger than what we see. The easiest way for an RPer to bypass this problem is to either; stick to one general location at a time, use portal magic, or work on the agreed assumption by those involved in the transit that an allotted amount of time has passed (may or may not be viable depending on the people on the other side of the transit).
For the sake of people thinking about flight; an eagle’s (a good basis for Gryphons, I think) average flight speed is 28 mph, and the highest recorded flight speed of any animal is around 242 mph (at this speed, Ironforge to Stormwind would take 30 minutes) – “I flew” is not a valid excuse for miraculous transportation.

Finally, how fast would you need to be going to get from Ironforge to Stormwind in two minutes flat?

3,600 mph (around 4.7 times the speed of sound), that is approximately 1,500 mph faster than the Blackbird; the fastest plane ever made.

Please, won’t somebody please think of the Blackbirds…

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