One of the big differences between modern games and their earlier counterparts, is the inclusion of a "radar minimap". In Everquest 1, there was no such map. There were painted maps available, but you were expected to learn your way around the game world by exploring. Many of us kept hand-drawn maps to note the locations of encounters/dungeons/resources on, because they spawned in static locations, but what you quickly learned was that after a few days or weeks, you stopped looking a them because you remembered where things were.
Newer games, OTOH, were designed from the start to always have a little map in the corner of the screen, which not only showed you the surrounding terrain, but also put nice glowing dots to show you where you were, and often to show you where those encounters/dungeons/resources were as well.
This isn't just a convenience. It isn't just a UI choice that makes the game more "fun" vs. more "realistic".
This is something I've seen lacking in MUDs. I'm curious as to why more places do not implement some basic features on a minimap, such as waypointing? A few years back I did a rather quiet reboot of an OLD ROM mud I used to play called ADP. I did it, not because I wanted to run the next greatest mud, but to test out a new feature (and soak in nostalgia while doin it!) on a minimap that allowed for waypointing. The catch rate for solo players was insane. Virtually everyone who got into it stayed till atleast 50 (after that, you almost have to have a group to get to 100). I've posted this before, but totheshop.png
These are from the eyes of a dev, so it isn't the prettiest ;). I assure you, its a little cleaner live ;). Shadowstorm has a working version of this code if you want to check it out. It, along with the exploration code can plug into any ROM mud pretty easily. I'm not sure how much I took out of ADP, but immortals could set the waypoint via 'set' and a prog could set it as well.
The biggest reason I've heard for people not wanting to do this, is people wont read room descriptions. If your MUD has boring, repeating room descriptions people wont read them. The map has nothing to do with it. Lets take EoTMUD for example. With a descent ascii map, I can be somewhat familiar with the game however, if I do not read the room descriptions, talk to mobs, and pay attention to my surroundings, I'll basically get no where.
Feeling lost is a bad feeling. No map, nothing but a newbie pack and thrown into the middle of a world you know nothing about is daunting to say the least. This is not a feeling you want a game to be causing.
I usually do not want to read description more than once as well. I do when I explore an area, but I have a good enough memory for not caring afterwards.
So I coded them. They are also very easy to code provided you have an alias/track/map system. You can also check the snippet update to the mapmaker code I did. Once you have maps, alias and track, having waypoint is as easy as filling the queue list with directions you get by tracking the room. (and waypoint command just does an alias that is basically a run room xxx; I even have an automatic waypoint to the entrance of an area (provided you explored all the room from it, as it won't work if you get bamfed into an unknown area)
The neat thing about waypoint systems is that they really don't require the player have access to a visual map at all. Once you visit somewhere the game considers a landmark, you can easily navigate to it again, assuming you're not lost.
To kind of tack into my other rant, I would expect to be able to get to any known landmark from any OTHER known landmark, unless some other in-game condition interfered (snowstorm, confusion from illness/spells, etc). I'd expect to get to a known landmark from anywhere I could get LOS on that landmark (so typically, in the same zone, or within a distance based on terrain).
What that means for the player, is that once they discover a landmark, they should only get lost in that zone when they're in an unusual situation, or if it's a very large zone and they wander to the other side of it. They should be able to travel anywhere via the landmark network, again unless there are unusual circumstances (snowstorm in the mountains between two landmarks).
Another thing I like about waypoints, especially when NOT paired with a minimap, is that it replaces the need to write stuff on a notepad next to the computer. That helps the human player, without breaking immersion. Back in the old days, we used to do that with tinyfugue macros, so maybe /eli2kobols was "sssswwwssssswwwssssseessseeeeneeenees". Having a landmark which lets the server navigate you to that point does the same thing, but lets everyone use it, and you don't have to be at a fixed starting point. :)
One more note. Many graphical MMO's have things like this, however they take it another step and turn them into flight paths. In World of Warcraft, you can't magically say "go to Ironforge", but you can use the in-game map to walk to the nearest flight point and then fly (for a small fee) from there to any other connected flight point. You could easily make it teleport you instead (same effect in a MUD, but without the time sink).
To kind of tack into my other rant, I would expect to be able to get to any known landmark from any OTHER known landmark,
Well that is the basis of waypoint imho. (I personally allow it) Makes no sense to not allow it, that would mean that your world is not 'seamless' I also allow builder to make some rooms not mappable (so you cannot put any waypoint in them, nor calculate a path through them). And I would not accept any builder to flag a room like this without a very good reason. (and no being a high level area is not a good reason)