I may be one of the only ones who feel like this but I think this game could be amazing with eventual long branching paths and side quests and a huge explorable world. I think a good way to help encourage this would be to remove the names of nodes you have not been to yet as well as only show the connections of previous places you have been (and names) and all immediate connections to the node you are currently in.
That being said I know not everyone likes to meander and take in the world. There are arena junkies and I will accept them happily like all the rest. This game is amazing. I know they would probably prefer a system like the current one so you can fly through the required quests and land in the arena as quickly as possible.
I am curious as to where you guys plan on taking it or where you hope it goes?
(yes I know anything could change)