|Yeah, you can hope that you can pick such a path. Just to illistrate the problem with that hope though, I have been playing EQ2. Yeah, I know, its a graphical system, but there are clear areas and clear checkpoints along the way, like buildings, roads, etc. There is also an "underground" I stumbled across. The unique thing about it being that *every* part of the city of Qeynos is accessible through that underground, just by moving 2-3 rooms. Now, the "room" you want to get to, like the South Qeynos pet shop might be 20 rooms away, but if you are in the Willow Woods, for example, it might be, parsing the distance into text terms, 10 rooms to get to the underground, 3 rooms in there, then 20 to get to the shop, while the "alternate" route, that takes city zones into account, would take 15 to get to the boundary to High Castle View, 15 to get to North Qeynos, 30 to get through there, then another 30 to get to to shop.|
The mapper needs to be smart enough, in other words, if you are going to do it that way, of "knowing" that a short path does exist and that it makes sense to go to the next city zone, instead of the underground, or like in EQ 1, running all the way from Qeynos to Freeport, instead of going the opposite direction to the Plane of Knowledge teleport book, then through there to the POK stone that links out to Freeport. A distance of 3-4 areas, each (again, projecting it into a text world) 30-40 rooms across, vs. going straight from outside the city walls of Qeynos to just outside West Freeport.
Mind you, one option, and one that makes sense imho, is to have something like quickpaths to "named" locations. A player could set specific places, as "always follow this path". That could include known crossroads. That way the "optimal" path know at that point could be stored (and rechecked later at the players option). Then, when you need to look for some place you could optimize things a bit by taking the "known" part of a path, then using its end point as the "start" when looking for a destination. Though, again, that means having some awareness of "Where" that endpoint is. Hmm... I suppose, one things you could do is use a base point, like initial login for most people, and store the data for rooms in a tree of sorts, so that the search can generate a rough estimate of distance from a known point that an end point is, then *guess* if its a good candidate to search off of. It kind of depends on how smart you a) want to make it and b) need to make it to work well.