Flying. The bane of Blizzard and the boon of players. The game changer, and in some eyes, game wrecker. Some see it as the best thing ever added to the game, while others think that flying is the death of WoW. The issue of flying is one of many voices, many opinions, and many arguments. And the changes in Warlords have done nothing but stir this stew of discontent.
The plan for Warlords of Draenor is to remove flying from the new content. Not enable it at all. And this change has made a lot of people angry.
Flying was, and still is a Pandora’s Box. As many benefits as it offered, it also had many downsides. And, like the Pandora’s Box, you can’t really get rid of flying without massive complaint. Many people are attached to their flying mounts, and won’t give them up easily. But is flying a horrible thing, or a wonderful thing?
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read dozens of opinions on flying. Some were well constructed arguments while others were angry rants (by the way, if you passive aggressively argue, I’m probably not going to agree with you, whatever side you are on. Please say what you mean outright, don’t dance around it and hint at it). But all voices were passionate. After reading all that I could on the matter, and doing some in game research, I’ve come to my personal decision.
And it’s not the popular one.
I am of the mindset that no flying in WoD would be a good thing. What is to follow is an in-depth analysis of why I chose the side I did. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and I am not at all trying to tell you your side is wrong. I will simply attempt to give you another perspective.
I have been mining on my warrior, who was a measly level 46. This meant that I was running through enemy zones, swimming alongside cliffs, and crossing continents to get where I needed to mine. And I was doing it all on a ground mount. Yes, I will definitely admit, it was slow. It was very slow, and often deadly. But it was a total adventure.
Have you ever swam up the river leading to the Western Plaguelands? Or skirted the coast of Dustwallow Marsh to get to Tanaris? Have you skulked by alliance troops in Loch Modan to get to the Badlands? There is thrill in exploring, in running through the world to get somewhere. There is a sense of excitement from discovering buildings or waterways or NPCs that you have never found before. I learned so much about Azeroth and was able to appreciate all the work that went into it becoming a complete world just by traveling from zone to zone for mining.
And, the world seemed so much larger than it had before. When you travel by foot, instead of soaring over obstacles, you really realize just how huge Azeroth is. I felt like a total noob, and it was the most nostalgic I have ever felt for WoW (trust me, I remember BC and it wasn’t as great as people make it out to be). This is going to sound ridiculous, but I had fun running on foot.
Now, I am absolutely aware that many people won’t feel the same way. By ground? I’d rather wait till 60 and fly! Sure, it’s faster and far more efficient, but which would you rather be? Efficient or exploring? And that is the crux of the matter.
WoW has become so much of an efficiency test. How fast can you get from point A to point B? How fast can you level from 1 to 90? How fast can you gear from questing gear to heroic SoO? I hate to be the old geezer to say this, but slow down and smell the roses! If you tear through everything so fast, how can you be sure you are experiencing everything? How can you know that you haven’t missed something important or interesting?
Players have become more and more obsessed with efficiency. To a point, that is a legitimate desire, but only to a point. At what level do we become too efficient for our own good? I think that flying makes us too efficient for our own good, and specifically flying in current content.
In explanation, this means that I think it is too efficient to have flying in Draenor come WoD, but not Pandaria come WoD. I think flying should only be disabled on the continent that is current. So, Vanilla, BC, Wrath, Cataclysm, and soon to be Pandaria would have flying enabled, but Draenor would not.
Yes, this would make gathering ore and herbs and going from point A to point B slower. But when it is current content, the ability to fly makes us too dang efficient. For example, I can mine about two stacks of Ghost Iron Ore in about ten minutes on my flying mount. Two stacks of Ghost Iron Ore would probably take closer to twenty minutes on my ground mount. Thus, a character leveling in Pandaria has a large disadvantage to a maxed level character when it comes to mining (on top of not being able to one-shot mobs).
But in Warlords, this may not be the case. The farming capabilities between a leveling character and maxed level character would be brought much closer. As an added benefit, zones would look much more alive as max level characters would be on the ground instead of hovering far above. World PvP would thrive again, and people might actually see more of the details in the world.
This has to change
But before flying would be disabled, there is a few things that would need to change. First of all, flight paths would actually have to take you directly to where you want to go, instead of meandering all around. Secondly, all flying mounts would have to be able to be used on the ground (many changed by hovering above the ground), so that all of the dragons and whatnot we have collected could still be used.
Lastly, and most importantly, there will need to be more paths connected zones to zones. More tunnels, bridges, and gates would have to interconnect the zones much better if we are to be forced to go on foot. The mountains separating zones need to have at least two paths through. Pandaria was particularly bad about this, so Draenor would have to be better.
Flying has become such an integral part of the game, that removing it now will be a long and arduous road. Many complaints will be had, and many changes will have to be made, but I truly do believe that an Azeroth without flying would be a better Azeroth.
“YOU” The raid leader cried
“ARE you NOT geared?
Have you no enchants?
YOUR hit is above 20
And your crit below 2
You’ve gotta be the suckiest DPS
I ever knew”