Grounded In Draenor?

Surfnassus

For the better part of six months, there has been on and off discussion regarding the status of flying in Draenor.  The developers have said from the onset that it won’t exist out of the gate.  No, not in the sense that you had to learn it once you were level capped such as was the case in previous expansions.  We’re talking no flying PERIOD.  Patch 6.1 was the initial consensus as to when your characters could start learning to fly in the past dimension.  A longshot now is the idea we might never be able to fly there…then?….Draenor.

I honestly don’t see Blizzard doing this, even if I want them to.  The developers have several examples where they implement something and the player base cries foul so loud they backtrack.  Making a no-fly expansion would cause a huge uproar, plain and simple.  They can handle having to get to the level cap before they’re rewarded with such a luxury and they’ve been conditioned to receive that ever since the Burning Crusade.  I’m not going to argue the majority on this one, even if I would love to go an expansion without flight.

For quite some time now I have pondered whether World of Warcraft should ever have implemented old world flying.  The harvester in me says it’s a handy feature and going in a straight line to certain destinations is so much easier…but that was also before there were 2.000 flight paths.  Yes, I can certainly admit there are benefits to the feature.  At the same time, though, Azeroth feels so much smaller now.  The ability to fly anywhere and everywhere on your own just downscaled the magnitude of the world.  Even the scope of Pandaria changed dramatically the moment I was able to purchase flying.

Now I know what you’re going to say.  You don’t have to purchase the flying if you don’t want it.  This is quite true and until sitting down to write this post, I hadn’t even considered it.  I have some toons that can’t fly in Northrend because they didn’t spend enough time there, so the grand scale of it should have occurred to me.  So yes, individuals do have that choice and the wish of the few should not outweigh the wish of the many.  But sit with me for a moment and realistically discuss with me the negatives of an expansion without free roaming flight.

  • Takes longer to reach instance entrances. Most of the 90-100 is going to involve LFG dungeoning far more than walking in through the front door.  When it comes to raiding, once two are there the summoning can begin.
  • Takes longer to farm materials.  For certain folks, this will be understandable as rare mats are needed for things such as Alchemy or Blacksmithing.  But other than that, the problem is…?
  • Unseen beauty. A number of people enjoy flying over the zones and just taking in the beauty.  You’ll most definitely lose that scale of beauty, but you’ll still see the artistic efforts that were used to create such a lush land.

Are there really any more than that?  Truthfully?  These were the only three that I could think of and to be fair two of them are only negative because we’re so accustomed to the “now” principal in that we don’t want to wait for anything as a society.  In World of Warcraft it’s even worse because for the most part we don’t have to work hard for very much anymore.  Not at the level of basic necessities needed to play the game.  Raiding, PvP, or personal goals can dramatically change the scope of difficulty but for just playing the basics of the game much is almost handed to you from the moment you step foot in Azeroth.

But I’m strolling off into an unnecessary tangent.  Quite frankly, I will be incredibly surprised if there’s no flying in Draenor, ever.  Even holding off on it for a while is refreshing and yet surprising.  It keeps the scope larger and the fear slightly higher.  There’s not always going to be a safe way in and a safe way out.  I personally like these things.  As I said earlier, I have been contemplating flying in the old world and whether that change was for the better.  While I abuse it as much as the next person for its strengths, I think it was a mistake…even if it didn’t happen until the third expansion.  So if Blizzard wants to wait a patch or two into Warlords before we’re allowed to fly in Draenor, they definitely get a thumbs up from me.

7 thoughts on “Grounded In Draenor?

  1. khizzara March 18, 2014 / 12:52 pm

    Personally, I’m going to be extremely angry if we’re unable to fly next expansion. Since you asked for some negatives, here are a few more:

    Making Grinds Even More Irritating:

    – Archeology: Painful enough when you can fly yourself to the dig sites and carefully land in such a way as to avoid as many mobs as possible. An even bigger time sink/pain in the ass if you have to use flight points and ground mounts.

    – Battle Pets: Similar to archeology. When you are out in the world looking for specific battle pets, you don’t want to have to be fighting off mobs every few seconds.

    Those two go together with herbalism and mining as things that will become hugely less efficient and a lot more irritating without flying. It may not be a big deal to you, or you may think that we should have to work to get everything done, but for myself and for many other people we like to be able to just get shit done. If I want to mindlessly farm for an hour I don’t want to be interrupted constantly and forced to travel slowly. This goes double for people who already have limited playtime.

    Making my life more inconvenient just because Blizzard finds it easier to design for ground mounts doesn’t please me.

    Limiting Exploration:

    People in favor of removing flying always say that doing so will increase the number of people out in the world exploring, but as far as I’m concerned, a lack of flying will discourage my exploration. This is mostly because of the “pain-in-the-ass” factor of running around on ground mounts. I’ve spent far more time this expansion flying around and exploring the mainland of Pandaria than I have exploring the Isle of Thunder/Isle of Giants. (I did spend a fair bit of time on the Timeless Isle, but that was because of farming Shaohao rep.)

    You see, when I’m flying I can focus on the exploration factor. I see something interesting and can go check it out. When I’m confined to a ground mount my view is far more limited, and the areas I want to go look at might be far more frustrating to get to. (“How am I supposed to get up there? Why is this hill too steep to climb, I’ve climbed way steeper hills that this before!) And that’s in addition to fighting off mobs every few seconds. If I see what looks like an interesting building or tree or something in the distance, I’m not sure whether or not it will actually be worth my time to take a look at it. If I have to struggle to get there because there are mobs or difficult terrain in my way, I’m likely to decide that it’s likely not worth the time/effort to check out what’s probably going to be uninteresting/unprofitable anyway.

    Also, when using flight paths there’s no way to jump off the taxi if I see something interesting. Even now, ff my rare spawn alert goes off while I’m on a flight path I might as well not bother going back to check it out once I land, because by the time I get there it will have either wandered off and disappeared or been killed by someone else already. That will be even more true if I have to backtrack on a ground mount.

    This is not to say that I’ve never explored on foot before, because I have. Sometimes I can tell that the area/experience is going to look more epic from the ground, and so I will then CHOOSE to land and experience it from that perspective. I’ve never understood why the anti-flight people don’t just choose not to fly. No one is forcing them to use a flying mount, but they want to force me to walk.

    Breaking Immersion:

    It makes no sense to suddenly be unable to fly. Especially for my main, who is a Druid. Blizzard has tried to come up with feeble lore excuses for it in the past, (Molten Front and the Panda Isles being too turbulent for mounts, Northrend being too cold), but they never make much sense. (In the Molten Front there are Druids who can clearly fly, including the friendly ones who rescue you if you fall, on the Panda Isles the albatrosses can fly no problem, and in Northrend there’s a hella lot of flying creatures.) When I’m suddenly jarred by the realization that something makes no sense, that is immersion breaking.

    And even if you want to argue that traveling by ground makes the world more immersive for you, that surely doesn’t hold true by the time you’re on your 3rd+ alt, as so many of us are.

    Paying the Price for Something We Can’t Use

    What’s really aggravating for me, and probably many other people, is having to work hard for access to something, and then having it taken away, and then being asked to work hard to gain access to it again, only to have it taken away once more. I have spent thousands of gold across all my many, many alts to have flying. I have done the Druid Epic Flight Form questline. And every expansion they take flying away from me and make me jump through hoops to gain access to it again.

    Many of us have spent time grinding out achievements to obtain certain flying mounts. Other people have paid quite a lot of money at the Blizz Store for access to store mounts. The digital deluxe mount for WoD is a flying mount! These items were obtained with the understanding that we would be able to use them to fly in current content. Even though Blizzard is now saying they will convert all mounts to be usable on the ground, many of the larger mounts look ridiculous when grounded. It’s a rather poor bone to throw us.

    Losing My Favorite Thing

    Flying is, quite simply, one of my favorite parts of the game. I love flying. I wish I could fly in real life. When I fly by airplane, I sit plastered to the window watching the world pass by below me. In Azeroth, I get the illusion of being able to soar under my own power. When I’m stressed out, I will often just log onto WoW and fly around, exploring the beautiful digital world and allowing a sense of peace to soothe my soul. Sometimes I’ve used one of my two-person flying mounts to carry a friend around the world, so that we can chat while I share some of my favorite places with them.

    Beyond all other practical reasons, the loss of flying is, for me, the loss of something magical.

    • JD Kenada March 18, 2014 / 1:13 pm

      I expected you to respond, because I do know how much you love the flying aspect of the game and I most certainly appreciate you doing so.

      I can’t really argue much of what you said, which is why I know I’m in the minority in the first place. It’s why I emphasized the fact I really don’t see Blizzard excluding flight from an entire expansion, even if I’m fine with it (or at the very least an entire expansion zone, as it were).

      Still, two arguments you made fall in with convenience. Archaeology (which will forever be a pain in the ass), and Pet Battles are things we choose to do. The same as choosing whether to walk or fly. My point is simply that flying makes that convenience easier, that it isn’t a necessity. Perhaps for some folks convenience IS a necessity (and any of those folk need not think I’m attacking them, just wondering really). I abuse said convenience as much as anyone.

      It isn’t that the world is more immerse without flight, it’s that it feels more expansive in size. That was the point I was trying to make. Using Azeroth as the main example, the moment flight was added to the old world it felt significantly smaller.

      I know how important flight is to the game for probably 75-80% of the players. For me that just isn’t the case. The difference between me and the developers is that I’ll just say that and not try to get all fluffly with excuses.

  2. tomeoftheancient March 18, 2014 / 2:49 pm

    I just don’t see them being able to eliminate flying for the whole expansion whether they want to or not. The uproar and gnashing of teeth over it would be monumental. I can see people being angry over paying real money for flying mounts that now are earthbound, I can … yeah, the list goes on and on.

    I think it’s too late whether it was wrong or right to reverse this one. I’ve decided to not worry about it as I can’t believe they’ll go through with it. I say that with crossed fingers, lol.

    • JD Kenada March 18, 2014 / 4:17 pm

      As I said, I predict it will be stalled at first but will eventually be implemented. For the reasons you and Khizz have stated, but precedent has been set with previous expansions that prevented us from having it at first.

  3. AmerPriest March 18, 2014 / 4:29 pm

    Im just being optimistic here, if we will all be grounded in the next expansion, well damn, why would the hell i have to pay for the expansion (which is damn too late now)… I was actually looking forward to that. Like Ancient was saying im crossing my fingers that hopefully this is not the whole case at all. and that Blizzard will consider this as not the whole area without a flight. I dont know now… >.< well might as well play Hearthstone then! lol that im still trying to get the hearthsteed damn it! lol

    • JD Kenada March 18, 2014 / 7:07 pm

      I think the “not at all” talk is just some people taking the idea to the extreme and I probably should have suggested that belief in the initial post. All signs point to Blizzard never inciting a riot like that. Like I said, I would be fine with it and I happily recognize that I’m in the minority and would never expect others to agree with me in this particular instance.

      • AmerPriest March 18, 2014 / 7:16 pm

        Well thanks for sharing your thoughts on this discussion. I appreciate it’s nice to know not only regular players who noticed it but the community of bloggers as well. It’s a good heads up. But like you said it’s just an on and off discussion. But hopefully like I mentioned to just think positive. And everything should be fine then. 🙂

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