Quick straw poll

In World of Warcraft and most other major MMORPGs, large cities are much larger than they ought to be, according to the scale of the world.  By this I mean that the inside of Ironforge is substantially larger than it appears from the outside, Stormwind is nearly as big as the whole region it’s ostensibly inside (probably now larger, since Stormwind has been expanded to include a port), etc.

One of the perks you could earn in the 1.1 development branch of MMORPG Tycoon was being able to create “capital cities”.  From a game mechanics point of view, “capital cities”, while very expensive to build, would provide all the services of each of the other building types (taverns, quest-givers, inns, auction houses, etc), and existed within their own server instances, which meant that they didn’t contribute toward the network limitations imposed on the regions they were in.

I’m planning in 2.0 to have similar rules about capital cities, but I’m interested in whether people would like their capital cities to be fully built out to proper MMORPG-style scale, or whether that would just get in the way, and the cities should be built to the same compressed scale as the surrounding world.  In practice, under the “full scale” approach, a capital city would be a type of region;  so instead of marking your region as wilderness that contains monsters of levels 1-5, you’d mark the region as “city”, and it would be filled up with roads and buildings, including the necessary “useful” feature buildings.  Once built, you’d be able to walk around inside the city (though not inside the buildings inside the city).  Under the “compressed scale” approach, the capital city would be a single (large) block of city geometry.  It would be much much smaller in expanse, and you would not be able to enter it or see what was happening inside.  On the other hand, it would take much less time to walk past, and wouldn’t be as expensive to draw, so would be better for people with old graphic cards.

Anybody have thoughts on which way they’d prefer?