FROM THE DESK OF THE JARL: An Op-Ed on Teleporters

March 12, 2021, 12:59 pm

I am on AAR strike until the following post is observed and understood by the members of our role-playing outfit on this server.

I love Bethesda Softworks. I love the Fallout series and the Elder Scrolls games; i have thousands of hours in them. But there is one thing I really hate in those games: fast-travel.

Fast travel is lazy, and cheap; it's a way to shrink a large open world into a very small one. The ability to instantly teleport to complete every mission in my log... destroys any realistic sense of travelling a harsh and unforgiving world.

It's also completely fine to use if you're playing by yourself. The herbalists in the Imperial City in TES4: Oblivion don't care if you flood the market with cheap herbs. They follow their fixed routine regardless, and they won't bitch if the supply of their product is so low that the price of their goods is in the gutter.

But real players, real people, have real concerns, patterns, and economic activity. I am here to protect those players from economic harm. That is why this blog entry exists.

I am, principally speaking, completely opposed to the usage of teleporters. In fact, you might consider me an anti-teleporter extremist. Why do I hold this position? It's very simple: immersion. Valheim is a highly immersive third-person experience, and I don't encounter those often. When the dedicated server was opened, I foresaw future conflict over the issue of teleporter construction. I felt there would be some casual players who want to be able to pop in and out of all the important places as fast as they can.

Is there anything principally wrong with this gameplay behavior? No, not on the surface, and as long as you're playing by yourself in a single-player world, occupied only by you. However, in a multiplayer dedicated community server, having a teleporter is not economically feasible and its existence is harmful to the community economy. Resource scarcity and trade is already becoming a concern amongst the community, and a teleporter represents a completely unfair mechanical advantage against those who would refrain from their use.

In a highly immersive, hardcore server setting, all kinds of unusual economic activities can be permitted. Couriers can move high value packages for pay and profit; traders can cart the highways bringing goods from faraway settlements; and merchant sailors have an incentive to know their boat, know the waters, and plan and plot travel routes to and from the dangerous parts of the world.

A teleporter renders all of that INDEPENDENT ECONOMIC ACTIVITY to be effectively worthless. Why would a sailing captain bother learning to sail if he can teleport to his destination in a split second? Why would a courier ever need to know the paths when they can just fast travel to complete the quest? Why would a taxi service need to exist if you have the Futurama Hyperloop? All of this, and more beyond imagining, is rendered pointless with the Skyrim-style usage of the teleporter.

I WANT ODD JOBS ON THIS SERVER. I want all of those things to be real, viable, FUN ways to play this game.

[A Link to content reviewer WorthABuy's Video Addressing Teleporters, Timestamped] (https://youtu.be/SDEy3skHXOM?t=290)

On 3/2/21, the primary players on the Harthheim server declared that the server would be a hybrid-role-playing server. I advocated at that time for a strict and complete ban on teleporter use and construction; others, in the group, were not as iron-clad in this conviction, so a compromise was reached. That compromise reads as follows:

" Resolved AS A SERVER WIDE RULE: A teleporter may be constructed ONLY under the following conditions:

If you build a teleporter without those conditions, it will be destroyed by law of the server ethic and your materials seized as a tax to enrich the clan coffers."

After this rule was made, I was informed that someone built not only one single-player teleporter, but the beginnings of an entire network. No naming-and-shaming here, but that action is unacceptable for the server economy.

I took no retaliatory actions at the time because of a promise I MADE to our server admin that I would refrain from starting unnecessary conflicts that may dredge up old wounds. In trying to keep to that promise, I attempted to end-run the teleporter as a mechanic. That attempt was unsuccessful.

Therefore, I am instituting a CLAN-WIDE RULE in response to people refusing to follow the SERVER-WIDE rule: IF you, as a player on this server, engage in teleporter construction, THEN YOU ARE ECONOMICALLY BLACKLISTED FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE SERVER ECONOMY.

The following declaration is made by myself, Jarl of Clan Harthheim, in response to unviable economic activities on the server:

If you decide not to follow the rules and do whatever you want ON THIS SERVER, YOU SHALL BE EXCLUDED FROM ALL CLAN ACTIVITIES, BAR NONE. You are not permitted to trade with us. You are not permitted to RAID with us. AND if you kill a boss, you are NOT permitted to utilize its powers. You are, essentially, playing a single-player game, and you are not welcome amongst our ranks.

I did not want to take this step, but I can see I have no other option. This declaration protects all future CLAN MEMBERS from economic hardship and guarantees unusual occupations, be they casual or otherwise, have a rewarding and fulfilling place in our world.

I don't presume tell anyone how to play the game on their own terms. But when you play on Harthheim, you are NOT playing on your own terms; you're playing on the SERVER'S terms; the terms of the overall community. If you can't respect the terms, then you don't belong on this server.

Jarl Necksus of Harthheim's Genesis Settlement