Travel in SoD takes quite a while, if you’re not turbocharged by a bard, sniffing wolf juice or wearing some nice travelling gear. EverQuest had the same problem, and last I hear, they solved it by giving players some clickable travel items?
Anyhow. Shards of Dalaya has a different approach. A scary approach. Can be deadly.
The Mansion of Portals in SoD is something like a central storage point for portals to and from all major cities. The portals themselves are scary already, large whirlwinds that spew lightning and strange blue chunks of matter. Once you enter, you better make sure you find your portal and zoom out of there the fastest way possible. You can’t cast any spells while there, and speed buffs like Spirit of Wolf get dispelled on the way in.
The mansion is a grumpy old place and it may cast spells on you whenever it chooses. Sometimes you are slowed down by chains, sometimes a chunk of your HP is torn right off, but sometimes you get portal disease. A very slow DoT that will kill you eventually, unless cured at a healer.
I think this is quite well balanced. It allows you to get from city to city without begging for a port for six hours, but you pay for this convenience by giving up some of your safety. It’s not like a portable item that says “click here to be in Oggok”, risk-free and available all the time. Those items exist at well, but they are hard to get, and rightly so. Instead, it’s a method of transport you can use from level 1, if you’re aware of the risks. Well done!
Also, running from portal to portal is much more exciting than watching the Badlands scroll by. You never know what contagious disease you might end up with on the other side of the mansion.