Why is Flying like a Start Menu?

So, this thing happened last night…

[blizzardquote author=”Ion Hazzikostas” link=”http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/376418-dev-watercooler-flying-in-draenor/” source=”http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/blog/19800551/dev-watercooler-flying-in-draenor-10-06-2015″]

Dev Watercooler – Flying in Draenor

We appreciate the spirited discussion on the topic of flying. The subject has brought out passionate viewpoints and sparked insightful conversations on our official forums and blogs, on community sites, and in chat channels. Your feedback has been a valuable part of the ongoing conversations within Blizzard as well, and today, we’d like to share some updated plans for how we’ll handle flight going forward.

The Thrill of Discovery

At the heart of the initial plan to restrict flight in Draenor (even after players reach level 100) lies the design goal of providing the best moment-to-moment gameplay possible in the outdoor world. From navigating the lava flows of the Molten Front in Patch 4.2, to breaching the Thunder King’s stronghold in Patch 5.2, to reaching the heights of the Ordon Sanctuary on Timeless Isle in Patch 5.4, to uncovering secrets deep within Gorgrond’s jungles on Draenor, World of Warcraft is full of memorable moments that are only possible when players explore the world by ground. And as we’ve continued to develop content over the years, we’ve focused more and more on providing players with these kinds of experiences.

However, while we firmly believe that keeping your feet on the ground is a key part of discovery in WoW, we also recognize that breaking free from those restrictions can be fun and rewarding as well, especially for those who’ve already fully experienced the game’s world content. With that in mind, we’re planning some changes in the near future that will allow players to enjoy their hard-earned flying mounts in Draenor—in a way that doesn’t compromise the excitement of ground-based exploration.

Mastering the Outdoor World

In an upcoming Public Test Realm build, we will be introducing a new meta-achievement called Draenor Pathfinder. You’ll earn this achievement in Patch 6.2 by mastering the outdoor environment of Draenor—exploring Draenor’s zones, collecting 100 treasures in Draenor, completing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements, and raising the three new Tanaan Jungle reputations to Revered. Initially, this achievement will award a rylak mount: the Soaring Skyterror, one of the native beasts that roam Draenor’s skies. Players will remain ground-bound on Draenor until a small follow-up patch (6.2.x), when all players who have earned Draenor Pathfinder on at least one character will unlock the ability to fly in Draenor on all their level 90+ characters.

We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring ground-based content lives up to its full potential, while providing players who’ve already fully experienced Draenor’s outdoor world extra freedom to “break the rules.” This also provides a general blueprint going forward for content to come. Players will explore new and undiscovered lands from the ground, and then once they’ve fully mastered those environments—a notion that continues to evolve with each new expansion—they can take to the skies and experience the world from a new vantage point.

Thank you for your heartfelt feedback. We’ll see you in (and soon, above) Tanaan Jungle.[/blizzardquote]


So, that’s a win then?

Ok, there’s a bit of work to do before getting it, and it won’t be coming straight away in 6.2, but it’s coming. Finally.

The pre-req’s are mostly able to be fulfilled right now, bar the Tanaan rep grinds. And there’s a free rylak mount for completing the 6.1 parts (although the mount won’t come along until 6.2), PLUS it will very sensibly unlock flying in Draenor for all your level 90+ characters once completed on one character.

To say I’m happy about this right now is an understatement. I honestly expected Blizzard to dig their heels in over this issue, and this is a decent compromise.

One of the reps is a grindfest, but at least it only needs done once. And this is now the model Blizz expects to use going forwards.

Let’s just hope that going forwards doesn’t mean flying won’t be enabled until the last major patch of each expansion and then have to grind out additional newly inserted reps, otherwise that’s going to mean flight only in the last few months of each expansion pack, which would be a bit disingenuous, but we’ll see.

So will this change my plans to quit raiding in WoW, play Wildstar and possibly FFXIV?

Put it this way, I bought the Heavensward expansion the day before yesterday, and I don’t intend to waste my money 🙂

And I’ve also got a Wildstar sub paid for quite a while into the future, and the game is still enormous fun. Unfortunately with a recent assignment for my degree due in I’ve not had much time to play, but that should hopefully change soon 🙂

My WoW sub is still, for the moment, cancelled and has 3-4 months left on it at the moment. Once patch 6.2.x hits we’ll see about re-subbing, or using WoW tokens.

Plus there’s still the very sticky issue surrounding ilevels being unfair towards certain specs & classes in HFC that’s still not resolved.


And as for the title question?

Well sometimes big companies get so drunk off of their own success that they get to thinking that they can predict and then in turn dictate what way their customers should use their products in fundamental ways.

Big mistake.

But at least sometimes, just sometimes, these big companies have the sobriety borne of customer fury to see when they’re wrong, and make a compromise between their vision and what their customers actually want in terms of usability.


I can’t wait for Windows 10! 🙂