Ugh, I'm so glad world map battles aren't a thing in CT. The only thing world map battles do for me is make me not want to explore the world map.
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First, most of the worlds in CT aren't that dangerous outside of some of the deeper caves and the organized armies of conflicting nations. I think you're supposed to get the idea that the areas without battles have been mostly tamed and are under the control of the civilizations you're visiting. This doesn't apply much to the lower area of the Dark Ages or most of the future, but then I think much of that land is supposed to be generally barren of life anyway.
Second, the maps are meant to be traversed rapidly, with your characters changing location often to complete side quests/find information. I think CT wants you to see the maps as a playground you can run around on as you please, rather than as a hostile obstacle to your progression like in many other games. CT is more focused on contained scenarios than it is about exploring a huge world, so that decision makes a lot of sense to me.
It's not like, say, Dragon Quest III where the walk from Aliahan to the next town is supposed to symbolize a week long journey. Remember, Crono's best friend's house is a pretty big distance across the map; it's halfway to Porre. I don't think the game is trying to communicate the same kind of ordeal with you walking that distance as DQIII was.
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