Dec 032012

Fog of war
Not terribly informative

“Fog of War” is used in video games to represent unexplored territory. Wouldn’t do to simply launch players into a wilderness with a fully-explored map, often the process of filling out that map is supposed to be part of the fun. Or a good way for the player to track their progress through the wilderness. Or both.

The problem with this approach is that tracking where the “fog of war” remains and where it has been dispelled is storage intensive. Not as bad as a bit map, but close. For single-player games this is not an issue. But for MMO’s, the problem becomes storing every location where a character has ever been, for every mapped area, for every character, forever.

It’s a nightmare. Turbine quickly developed an algorithm where it would limit Fog of War storage to only the last three maps visited for each character. This is not in any way adding to realism or game play, it just is, one of those practicality compromises you have to make to have your game function at all.

And so things went, for years. No matter how much time you’d spend wandering an area, no matter how many slayers or explorer points you’d found, the fog of war would return and you’d be back to a blank, black map.

Annoying. Not fatal, we’d all learn to navigate adventure areas by landmarks. But still, annoying.

Fog of war
But then suddenly, things changed

Then suddenly, one could finish exploring an adventure area map and dispel the fog of war permanently.

It probably wasn’t really “suddenly”, it probably was in release notes and previewed on Lamannia like any other change. I don’t know when, but I am not a big Slayer/Explorer/Rare guy. I looked through a few release notes but did not identify the release where the fog of war was lifted. Maybe it has been this way for awhile, but only recently came to my attention? I am much more aware of adventure areas now, because there are so many adventure areas in the Menace of the Underdark and because my Gamer Girl likes to spend her odd minutes in-game working on slayer counts.

But whenever it happened, I am thankful. The King’s Forest is so huge that it defeats landmark navigation, at least for me. No matter, find all of Elminster’s messages and you can have the full map available, forever.

So nice.

🙂 😀 🙂

What do you think?

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