Ayba and Oric recently went on a world-wide history lesson quest. Very rewarding, and that’s all I’ll say about it 😉
What wasn’t so great was that toward the end of the quest, we got stuck in Goblinskull Mountains and Freeport for over an hour. We weren’t sure which ships travel where, and when. One ferried us to Goblinskull Mountains, where we waited for a ship to Erudin/Storm Sea that never arrives. This ship doesn’t exist, you have to go to Freeport first and take a ship towards Newport instead. Then from Newport to Erudin so that you end up in the Storm Sea. All in all it was about an hour just sitting around plus about an hour actually travelling. The entire (big) quest itself took less time than that!
Being stuck alternately in Goblinskull and Freeport isn’t really fun. Freeport is a much too dangerous place for the little halflings, so there is nothing to do except for fishing while you wait. Goblinskull isn’t much better, the things around the port are rather high level and not easy to reach from the port.
All things considered, it would have been faster just running from Goblinskull to Athica and risking the Mansion of Portals, then taking the boat from Newport to Erudin.
But I don’t want to only complain, so here’s a suggestion: Couldn’t there be a port authority NPC you can hail that gives you a status on the boats? Which ones travel where, and how long it takes until either arrives? I think the boats are nearly useless as a form of travel except for getting to one of the seas in the early levels. I see that the boats are a necessary design element because they are the safe way of travel that complements the unsafe Mansion of Portals (more about that in a later posting), but the way they are implemented now, they are just as annoying as in EverQuest.
Maybe this is something you grow out of once you have made a few midlevel druid and wizard friends, but I’ll take this as an opportunity to vent a little about how the boats, ten years later, are still a pain in the halfling butt.
Update: Ikaa comments that there is already an NPC like that in place, seems I was just too stupid to find them. All is well, all is well!