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Many of the RPGs that don't show enemies beforehand on screen have a random encounter rule which is activated when the player moves. Since there is a very good chance the player won't be running in circles (unless they do that on purpose) the best way to make sure the player has many fights is to make them walk. A lot.

Some games have huge expanses of land seemingly built for this reason, although the overworld is noticeably shrunken. This essentially pointless space helps make the world realistically big, but seems to coincide with the point where the player sets the character on 'run'. Luckily, the advance of technology has made such trekking prettier, graphically speaking.

Naturally this becomes less of a hassle with the Global Airship. See also Fake Longevity.

The name of this trope comes from a non-Biblical Christian myth about a Jewish cobbler cursed with immortality by Jesus for mocking him on his way to his destiny. He's the wandering Jew. See also, The Flying Dutchman.

Examples of The Wandering You include:

  • Phantasy Star II has sprawling dungeons with no scenery and few rewards, often little more than the Fetch Quest object/person you're there to find. The sprawl generally doesn't even involve branches or side rooms - it's all one crooked line you have to walk through, just fighting as you go. One rapidly gets the impression that the only reason these places are so large is to give the random encounters time to wear down the player.
  • Some of the areas in Final Fantasy I seemed to be placed as far out of the way as possible, just to make travel take as long as possible and give plenty of time for random monsters to do their thing. It wasn't uncommon to arrive at a new area and find that one needed to grind a bit before one would be able to survive the trip to the dungeon of the region, to say nothing of actually making it to the bottom of that dungeon.
  • Most MMORPGs attempt to simulate a wide open world and as such have key locations separated by a whole lot of space- which players usually have to walk through. Even the best mounts or personal transports in games which have them take some time to get anywhere. On the flipside, games which allow players to teleport often functionally split into a bunch of disconnected hubs and locales as players stop walking, leaving the great outdoors to AI controlled mobs and world bosses.
    • Acquiring mounts in World of Warcraft requires the player to reach a specific level, get enough money, do a quest, kill a boss or all of the above. However, requirements have gradually been eased.
    • Eve Online has several thousands of star systems containing similar planets, space stations and asteroid belts. While each ship is equipped with an autopilot, it will do nothing to protect the player from NPC or player pirates.
  • Both Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Quest VIII have enormous expanses of fairly flat world to explore; in fact, one of the complaints against the former is the sheer number of areas that seem rather pointless except to slodge through.
  • Even though they tend to be major critical darlings and fan favorites, the 3D Zelda games are especially guilty of this.
    • Of course, the biggest problems with this are that the overworlds are very sparse and (DS titles excepted) the games lack a World Map, meaning that players end up traversing a totally unpopulated empty plain intermittently fending off monsters that literally rise from the ground within a 30′ radius of Link. The only installment to avert it so far was Majora's Mask, which had its outdoor areas sliced up into densely populated and carefully designed adjacent arenas more reminiscent of the 2D games, the obvious downside to which was a claustrophobic and less majestic feeling game.
  • The Mi'ihen Highroad and the Calm Lands in Final Fantasy X probably fit this trope. Then again, you can also rent chocobos.
  • Breath of Fire 2 has this in general, but the worst case happens when you reach Capitan and save the townspeople there. Ray wants to reward you with a blessing, so you have to go back to the hideout... at the other end of the continent. Once you have the blessing, you have to walk back to Capitan, where Sana the Fire Shaman drags the main character off for some private business involving "uniting". When you've finished setting the house on fire you get back to town and a man says your friends got bored and walked back to the hideout on their own. You're then (thankfully!) warped back home and told to get a carpenter... from Capitan. Once you get there for the third time and hire a carpenter, you're finally allowed to move on with the plot. Fortunately not too long after you'll start to gather transport methods that save a lot of frustration.
  • Key in Survival Horror games, so as to force the player into spending more precious medicine, ammo, and (in some games) time.
  • Pokémon. You're traveling across the entire region, battling all Pokémon and trainers in your path (if you so choose).
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver (and their remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver) you're traveling across not only one entire region, but two. Luckily, you already have all the HMs and over-leveled Pokémon you need, so you don't have to trek all the way across the region after you've explored it once like you do before you get Fly.
  • Diablo 2, very much so. To get anywhere requires very, very long stretches of doing nothing more than walking and chopping your way through hundreds of demons.
  • In the game Journey all you're required to do is walk. And walk. And walk.
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