Hopefully the personal story acts as a guide through the zones because that will be necessary. Players need more purpose than pure exploration… — Ravious
He is probably right, but I wonder.
The first generation of graphic MUDs had far less guidance. I started with Asheron’s Call, which had almost none. There was no quest book. Some NPCs would trade for something in a dungeon or from a monster, and that was how most quests were structured. Some locations had stories that you could follow. For the most part, though: here, have a world, go nuts. (I could not tell you the current state of Dereth.)
We moved away from that pretty immediately. Asheron’s Call 2 was organized by vaults the way The Lord of the Rings Online™ has its epic story, although it was a ways from the now-familiar on-rails quest hub structure. A Tale in the Desert added levels and EVE added certificates to help guide people. Can I hope that Darkfall is a last sandbox without a trail of breadcrumbs?
I understand the desire for guidance. I know the feeling of “so now what?” But I also liked the Asheron’s Call feeling of deciding what I want to do tonight. It was more of scattered attractions than theme park rides. And that left us wondering what else me might find if we ran fifteen minutes in a random direction.