Region pathfinding

Fairly new to the game here (good fun!) and started running into some issue with players not making their way to an appropriate level region for them.

Some scenarios that didn’t pan out for me

Backtracking

I had regions ordered like, 1 > 2* > 3 > 4 > 5 > 2* > 6. (2* = the same L2 region)
In other words, once players got to the L5 region and leveled up, they were expected to go back to the L2 area to reach a new L6 one. But they wouldn’t figure this out. I tried adding guards, quests telling them to go there, (1 gold) flight paths with the same indirect route, dragging players that had discovered the new region back to socialize and “spread knowledge” of where to go.

Crossing higher-level regions

I had an idea where players would be forced to pass through a higher level region which they would later come back to to actually clear some content there.

Something like: 5 > 10* > 6 … 9 > 10*.
The (flight-)paths coming from the L5 region would lead them to a completely safe and walled off town. All the baddies would be outside the walls, so players wouldn’t be in any danger passing through here. (Of course I wouldn’t send my players off to certain death! :wink:)

Unlike the backtracking route, this L10 region would be a new region to discover coming from the L5 region. But players seemed to avoid this, even if there’s no alternative to get to the L6 region, again tried quests, guards, flight paths and dragging players that’d seen the new region.

Players confused when changing region levels

After some of these setups didn’t work out, I started reassigning regions and changing up the routes. But that got players that were already in those regions to do all sorts of odd things.

Players that were under-leveled would attempt to do the content in that region and get frustrated with dying. For example a used-to-be L2 region with L2 players, now being L5 content. Some of them manage to level up by doing safer fetch quests, but overall they’re not having a good time. Importantly though, they had an appropriate level region immediately next to the one they’re in.

The reverse situation got worse results. A used-to-be L5 region changed to L2. Players would either decide to grind monsters and complaint it’s too easy. Or they would pick up a quest, and get stuck next to the quest giver in a Thinking state. Again, there was an appropriate level region adjacent to where they are.

Thoughts on solutions

For me, finding out you did things wrong and having to go fix it is part of a tycoon game. So if the best routes are linear ones, I don’t mind that. But I’m missing what solutions I have for the fixing of it. Changing the regions around I have players stuck and confused all over the place.

So I’d love to see players produce thoughts for this.
L2 players attempting L5 content maybe “This region is too hard for my level”.
Players stuck on a Thinking state for more than an hour “I don’t know what to do next”.

As well as region management tools, such as kicking all players (online and logged off at an inn) back to the nearest starting point. So they can make their way to an appropriate region from there.

Of course it’d be fine if this caused all sorts of discontent with the players. Like an “I got kicked back to the beginning!” angry thought, and having to travel long distances through low level content. As long as this eventually lets them get back on track to fix your regions.