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Posts with tag flying-mounts

Breakfast Topic: Revisiting the question of flight

The developers' decision to remove flight from Warlords of Draenor zones was controversial to say the least -- some were fans of the decision and others were decidedly not. We've been without it for awhile now. After having experienced Draenor without it, how do you feel?

Personally, I was a fan of removing flight. Getting my first flying mount back in Burning Crusade was a magical moment, I'll admit. Over time, though, I felt its inclusion detracted from World of Warcraft have a cohesive, meaningful world. It's often said that if you don't like flight, you don't have to use it. While that's true, players are going to use all of the tools available in a video game, myself included. I didn't like flight, but the game had flight, so I wasn't going to intentionally make my experience more difficult than that of everyone else. I stand by that. In general, I'm a fan of a no-flying Warlords of Draenor and continue to be.

There is one exception: Nagrand. Treasure hunting in Nagrand proved frustrating. Those treasures felt like the developers created a zone intended for flying mounts prior to removing them. Trying to use the Steamwheedle gliders only infuriated me more -- I couldn't even see half of the treasures in the game world to know where to aim even though they were on my map. The glider moved too fast for me to look around and spot it. It's entirely possible (and likely) that I am just bad at navigation with those things, but I gave up on getting those treasures and most of them still lay unclaimed. Trying to get them made me rage more than a little, and for the first time, I wished flight was still a thing. I'm also perplexed why they added an item such as Aviana's Feather in the expansion in which they took a stand against flight. With its relatively short 10 minute cooldown, I can use it to get wherever I want to go without partaking in the actual world whatsoever, much like a flying mount. A glider-on-demand is apparently okay, but flying mounts are not. Bizarre, I think.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Archivist: Flight

Sparkle Pony
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Flying is second nature to WoW players. We've been doing it for almost eight years now. Sure, we've adventured in a few flightless places, like the Isle of Thunder, the Isle of Giants, and the Timeless Isle. Even The Burning Crusade, where flying originated, had a no-fly zone on the Isle of Quel'Danas. (What is it with these isles anyway?) But almost always, since 2006, we've flown. And we always expected to, for the vast majority of our in-game time.

Now, because of Blizzard's impassioned arguments against flight on Draenor, flying is suddenly controversial. If you look back, you can see why: flying has changed the game like no other feature before or since. Let's start where it all began, however, with classic WoW's humble flight paths.

They used to be cool

I'm about to express something that you may not believe. Once upon a time, flight paths were cool. Yep, I said it. Before flying mounts, when you couldn't even get a ground mount until level 40 and epic ground mounts were just a dream for most due to the steep cost, in that early version of the game where you spent most of your travel time walking or riding at the pace of a Throne of Thunder gastropod, flight paths were cool.

Not only did they get you around the continent at the fastest possible speed, they gave you a cinematic view of Azeroth from the skies. It was the only time you could get that view from above. The first time most classic WoW players rode a gryphon or wyvern from A to B, we loved it.

No other MMO at the time had anything like it. We felt like masters of the world -- at least, when we could afford to take the trip. Most players were broke in the early days, and using flight paths too liberally often meant forgoing buying a new skill when you leveled. Taking a flight path was an indulgence, a treat, instead of the annoying hassle we see them as today.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Flying in Draenor must be destroyed

Recently, Alex Afrasiabi did an interview wherein he talked about the status of flight on Draenor when Warlords of Draenor launches. Specifically, that the idea of the players not being able to fly even at max level when the expansion comes out is a test of how players react to a flightless expansion, and if it seems successful, it's possible they may not introduce it at all. That from the moment we arrive on Draenor at level 90 to the time we finally leave it to take our adventures elsewhere, we will not fly anywhere on the new continent.

I think this is a marvelous idea.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Why can't we fly?

If you're the right level -- and have the appropriate riding training -- you can fly in most parts of World of Warcraft. For those who are accustomed to flying, venturing into one of the areas you can't fly feels a lot like having weights attached to your feet, as even the grandest flying mount will can't quite manage to get airbound. And, really, it's an embarrassment when, believing you can fly, you leap off a ledge to find you can't. It's even more embarrassing when you die of fall damage because of it.

The places you can't fly are few and far between -- at this point the only no-fly zones are mostly forgotten bits and pieces of Burning Crusade content, like The Exodar, Silvermoon City, and the daily hub Isle of Quel'Danas. These aren't exactly well-traversed areas -- probably one reason they haven't been updated -- but traveling through them they stand out like sore thumbs from the rest of the game world and you've got to wonder why they haven't been.

So for today's discussion topic, readers, tell us: do you think we should be able to fly throughout the game? Or do you like these hidden, ground-based areas?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Archivist: The quest for swift flight

Swift Flight Form
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

With all the controversy over flying in Draenor (and lack of it until patch 6.1), flight is a major topic in the WoW community these days. Veteran players remember a time when taking to the skies was merely a dream -- one that The Burning Crusade made real, at least in Outland. Along with flying mounts, Blizzard decided that druids should receive new shapeshifting forms that allowed flight.

The forms came in two speeds: the base Flight Form and the Swift Flight Form. Rather than making the latter a trainable skill, Blizzard instead provided druids with one of the longest and most epic class-specific quest lines of all time: the Swift Flight Form chain. Seventeen quests long, the chain made a versatile shapeshifter out of you whether you wanted to be or not.

Like many others, the SFF chain became a casualty of the Shattering and can no longer be completed. It is well worth revisiting, however, so let's let fly!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Bashiok on flying mount delay in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

Flying mount
There's already been a flurry of opinions expressed on the reveal that Blizzard does not plan to allow flying in Draenor until patch 6.1 -- a bit of a departure from previous expansions, where flying was allowed at max level (except for Cataclysm). Several threads in the WoW forums have already thoroughly explored player feelings on the topic, and Bashiok took it upon himself to jump into one to give a more detailed insight into Blizzard's logic in making this decisions.

Specifically, this issue is one of control; the players' versus the game designers'. Bashiok points out that once a player can fly, they control every aspect of how they engage with the ground, which is where the majority of content, and in particular, combat, is located. While it's natural for players to want that kind of engagement to be done on their agency, Blizzard's designers also work hard to present content in a certain way, and once a player can fly, all their design and presentation becomes meaningless. It's not an easy balance to strike, and Blizzard is always weighing the different design choices against each other.

The post is an interesting look into the thought processes that go into these kinds of decisions, and you can read it in full after the break.

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Filed under: News items

Flying mounts may not be allowed in Draenor until patch 6.1

Netherdrake mount
In episode 347 of The Instance podcast, which was recorded at BlizzCon in front of a big crowd, Ghostcrawler was kind enough to answer some fan questions live on the podcast. The topic of transportation in Draenor came up and he revealed that Blizzard wants to delay flying as much as possible, and has even considered delaying it until patch 6.1.

Their goal is to have Draenor feel like a very dangerous place. The comparison Ghostcrawler used was Fel Reavers in Outland, only instead of Fel Reavers there will be giant Gronn like the ones seen in the Warlords of Draenor trailer. Situations like that are much less dangerous when you can just hop on your drake and fly away.

The topic comes up at 58:30 in the podcast for those interested, but the entire episode is worth a listen.

Filed under: BlizzCon

Breakfast Topic: Today, the Sky Golems invade Azeroth

Sky Golem Mount
I did it! I managed to complete my engineering cooldown every single day since patch 5.4 was launched. My dedication has paid off and I'll finally be able to fly around in my shiny new Sky Golem mount. If you're not an engineer, you should start seeing Sky Golems flooding the market today (tomorrow for EU). I haven't looked forward to a new mount this much since the Flying Machine mounts were introduced in Burning Crusade.

If you're an engineer, will you be keeping your first Sky Golem for yourself or selling it? Non-engineers, will you be spending the gold to get your hands on one? With it costing 30 days of profession cooldowns and 30 Living Steel to craft, I wouldn't expect the first batch of these to be very cheap. If you haven't seen this mount in action yet, be sure to check it out in all of its glory in MMO Champion's video.
Will you be getting a Sky Golem?
The Sky Golem shall be mine!2041 (54.9%)
I'm making one and selling it.649 (17.5%)
Nope.1029 (27.7%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Breeze below my flight appendages

This weekend, a reader helped me with a very silly technical problem. In appreciation, I told him that he's my hero.

Then he made a terrible, terrible mistake.

Mortman asked:

Question about the WoW books... Are those authors hired by Blizzard to write the books? Or do they just write them and submit them to Blizzard? Or are they more like fanfiction?

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Filed under: The Queue

Is it time to kill flying mounts?

Is it time to kill flying mounts
My first true WoW leveling experience was in Burning Crusade. I remember skulking through the zones on my night elf druid, riding my nightsaber from one quest hub to the next. I remember thanking Cenarius that druids could stealth, an ability that helped me avoid Horde players. Even with this gift, though, I would still get caught up in PvP every once in a while. It didn't help that during those tense moments I froze up and panicked simultaneously, randomly flailing about while the other player steadily ended my life.

Eventually I heard about flying mounts, and that once you hit level 70 and paid 5,000 gold you could grace the skies with your presence. Of course, if you're still leveling and nowhere near the requisite amount of gold, you become less concerned with getting your own mount than defending yourself against enemies that may appear out of thin air.

After a while, I was able to hit 70 and somehow managed to scrounge up the coin for my flight training. I suddenly felt safe; I could quest, I could explore without having to look over my shoulder, and if anyone tried to attack me I could just pop into bird form and put all of my weight onto my space bar. I felt a greater sense of control, one that I actually got so accustomed to having that when the Isle of Quel'Danas opened up, an area that only allowed ground-based travel, I felt refreshed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Carrot on a Stick: It's time to bring back the riding crop

Yes, we're going fast these days. My flying mount in Pandaria clocks in a 451% of normal. I'm zipping around like no one's business. But I want more.

There was a time when everyone had a Carrot on a Stick or a Riding Crop. These were simple items that increased your mounted speed by 3% or 10%, respectively. They were trinkets, and every time you flipped on your mount you'd put your riding crop on and be all that much faster flying around the Outlands.

Then, with patch 3.0.2, launched on October 14, 2008, the riding speed enhancements became useless for any character over 70. Gone were the days of just that little extra boost to set you apart, and gone were the days of riding outfits and other such fun.

But you know what, Azeroth? It's time to bring the fun back. It's time for the riding crop to make its return. It's time for the stick to get an even bigger carrot.

There's a two good reason that's make now the perfect time for these toys reintroduction.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Patch 5.2: No flying mounts in the new zone

The ability to use (and not use) flying mounts in the leveling experience in Mists has been a ... topic of some debate amongst people. Some feel it's added the overall experience, while others are upset they don't have the ability to dive out of the sky anymore and quest super quickly.

Blizzard was pretty adamant that this design decision was necessary, and Bashiok indicates in his post that's how they still feel.

More importantly, however, is that Bashiok notes there will be no flying in the new zone coming in patch 5.2. It'll be very Isle of Quel'Danas-like, for those of you who've played there during The Burning Crusade.

Bashiok's full statement is as follows (bold added for emphasis):

We pretty firmly believe the questing experience is just wholly better when you can't lift off and set down wherever you like, frog leaping from quest objective to quest objective. Certainly we've supported that with no flying for the leveling content of Wrath and Mists, and only after you hit level cap can you obtain the ability to fly. The new zone coming in 5.2 is not unlike the Isle of Quel'Danas in a few ways, and one of them is that there's no flying. That helps us achieve that desire for progressive questing, it's good for supporting world PvP, as well as lets us make really difficult outdoor encounters, like Oondasta - who is OG Kazzak in difficulty - that you can't just drop on top of from the sky.

I can't imagine flying mounts ever going away, they're a big part of the game at this point, but certainly they can take a break when it makes sense and we can present content in a more intimate way from time to time.

Filed under: News items

The OverAchiever: How to find the new cloud serpent mounts in Mists of Pandaria

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. Today, we experience the horrors of exploration.

One of the joys of getting into a new expansion is seeing a huge, lovely, empty map in front of you, containing a wealth of new experiences and items. One of the annoyances of getting into a new expansion is seeing a huge, horrible, empty map in front of you, containing a wealth of new experiences and items that you have absolutely no idea how to find. If you're me, you will eventually find yourself on a ledge somewhere in the Jade Forest, looking in silence over a cliff with a 2,000-foot drop with the knowledge that you can't fly off of it and that your hearthstone is down. This is bad.

I put this article together for that reason, because when I got into the Mists of Pandaria beta, I was desperate to find the new cloud serpent mounts but didn't actually know how to find them. (I did, however, "find" the bottom of the cliff. Good for me.) Hopefully, this will help you speed up the process a bit on your end, although we're still not 100% sure where all of these mounts will eventually be found.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Did flying mounts ruin Azeroth?

The question of whether flying mounts may have ruined Azeroth is a hard question for me to even posit, because I love flying mounts. I love being able to fly right over things that annoy me, drop right in on quest objectives and soar right out again. I loved that we could finally fly in Azeroth when Cataclysm shipped, and I was absolutely in favor of being able to use my flying mount to skip over stuff I disliked when questing and leveling up.

But it's worth considering: Did that convenience that I so love come at too high a cost? Did being able to fly over obstacles keep me from appreciating how much detail went into the zones? Did it ruin world exploration, something that a lot of players got a lot of enjoyment out of for a great deal of vanilla WoW's run? Did incorporating flying mounts into Azeroth, in addition to forcing a complete redesign of the world, also end up stripping out interesting and cool places you had to really work at to find and visit? Let's discuss the pros and cons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Has flight ruined the adventure?

I have very strong opinions about video games. Even when I love a game with all of my heart (like WoW), I still enjoy discussing the little things I think could have been handled differently and arguing them with absolute brutality. Matthew Rossi and I spend hours debating game design every day. Every single day.

My latest pet topic is flying mounts in World of Warcraft. Personally, I think flying mounts removed most of the feeling of adventure, danger, and discovery in WoW. Once you're able to jump on your first flying mount, the dangers of the world are no longer an issue. You no don't have to stop for a moment to figure out how to scale rough terrain. The world doesn't hold secrets from you anymore, unless they're hidden indoors or underground -- you can merely mount up and fly to anything in the world. If you wanted to, you could fly from one end of Twilight Highlands to the other and see everything the landscape has to offer with no effort whatsoever.

It doesn't matter how intimidating and oppressive Blizzard's artists and designers make the terrain of a zone. It's a distant, fleeting threat. You can essentially remove yourself from the world with the click of a button. Fly high enough into the sky, and you can close yourself off from all of Azeroth. I don't hate flying mounts; I actually quite enjoy riding a bone dragon. I just think that there was a lot lost in the process of integrating flight.

I would like to take this topic to you, dear readers. Do you think flying mounts have taken the adventure and discovery out of Warcraft? If so, how do you think it could be fixed? Do you like things just as they are?
Has flight ruined the adventure?
Yes3287 (16.2%)
No9975 (49.2%)
It hasn't ruined it, but it could be handled better7001 (34.6%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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