No-Fly Zone

[Update: No flying ever, apparently. Remember when WoW had sane lead designers?]

Has the lack of flying in Warlords made the world feel larger?

Like a surprising number of people, I occasionally forget that there isn’t flying in Draenor. I have only really noticed the lack here recently due to two factors: leveling my druid (now level 89) and trying to do Archaeology on my main. And it was really the latter situation that reminded me of why I always say that to make a world feel larger, you simply put more things in it. This is opposed to the current design, where you simply make everyone move slower.

Does anyone actually feel like Draenor is bigger than, say, Pandaria? Or Northrend? I only recently activated my second WoW Token for this expansion, but I have long since ran out of reasons to care about the world. Questing is still in tightly-packed hubs, so the ground-mount limitation only means the time between quest pick-up and quest turn-in is longer, not any of my actual gameplay. Hitting up resource nodes is a massive pain, but Garrisons really cover that anyway. If for some reason I feel compelled to do the Apexis daily, they might as well have teleported me there, because I immediately Alt-Tab out of the game while on Flight Paths.

If anything, I would argue that the lack of flying has actually resulted in less gameplay, not more. As I mentioned before, I was trying to do some Archaeology on my main the other day and barely managed to get through two digsites before logging out in disgust. Archaeology is already a time-sink of incredible magnitude, but I’m not about to waste even more time traversing asinine landscapes specifically designed to thwart shortcuts/exploration. I can attack 30-foot tall Old Gods, but that intentionally annoying 5-foot slope is impassible.

Don’t even get me started on how being limited to ground mounts has driven me to exclusively use the Water Strider mount. When all other mounts are functionally identical except for two which allow you to bypass all water hazards, it becomes dumb to use anything else. I spent five years farming the Raven Lord mount, actually acquired it two weeks ago, and only ever use it inside my Garrison.

I can empathize with Blizzard’s desires here. They want a guided experience, and to know that a player will experience this particular vista at this time at this place. But it’s bullshit. You still get that by limiting flying to the level cap. If you want us with boots on the ground, how about giving us a reason to have boots on the ground? Like, I dunno, daily quests?

I feel like this entire expansion has been a long string of comical blunders achieving the exact opposite of stated goals. Remove flying to make the world feel bigger? The world isn’t bigger, there’s just more empty space inbetween points of interest. Nevermind how Blizzard “made the world bigger” but somehow ended up putting fewer things to do in it.

As I mentioned before, I just turned in my second WoW Token. Unless I really get sucked into PvP though, I can’t imagine myself turning in a third one. My prior plan was to stick around into 6.2 long enough to cash in on the whole Felblight deal and set myself up nicely gold-wise for the next expansion. Given how rapidly I am depleting my WoW Bucket List however, I’m not sure I’m going to make it.

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Posted on May 22, 2015, in WoW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I hate flying, so I am biased against it. I do believe it makes the world larger to not include it and I prefer not being able to bypass content so easily, but I cannot disagree with you here. In the time I did play WoD, it was pretty obvious that they hadn’t thought their change through all the way. Like you, I too felt a real lack of content or reason to return to these zones, let alone return via a land mount.

    I feel the time to get rid of flying mounts ended when they rebuilt the old world for them. They could’ve added a more complicated process of getting your flying access back if they wanted to for WoD, but it seems silly to try and rewrite the game’s history by leaving it out entirely now. Not to mention, I hate the design inconsistency of it all.

    I’d just go back to the TBC model of high level areas in every zone only accessible by flight, with flight limited to max level in whatever place they send their players next.

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    • For as annoying as those Skettis birds were in TBC, or the Fel Cannons, I’m also fine with them bringing back anti-flying measures too, if that’s what it takes. Or having the endgame zones stay as no-fly areas.

      As it stands though, it seems pretty clear Draenor was built/designed for flying mounts that were simply never re-introduced to the game. Too large maps with too little to do in them.

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  2. I’m a totally pro-flight player. To the point of wondering if I can rip the 3D world description of LotRO and Ryzom just to be able to fly over the landscape there (Ryzom being open-source, it’s probably not too hard and a good summer project :)).

    I still don’t understand what the removal of flight has ADDED to the game. I (like almost everyone) sit in the garrison then take a gryphon to wherever I need to be. Even worse: when I was farming savage bloods I had set my hearthstone in the area and just blinked back and forth by double-hearthstone-combo. It definitely does not take me longer to get anywhere compared to the previous expansions.

    Maybe it was only done to allow those lame Mario Bros like jumping puzzles, which I absolutely loathe since the terrain interaction is a complete joke (as you say, fence can be an impassable obstacle if it’s 1 pixel higher than the height you can jump).

    In any case, right now there’s really no reason for any other mount than the water strider (which I thank having farmed at the time). They could have at least fixed flying mounts not to sink like bricks over water…. they can fly over land but not over water….. go figure.

    As I already posted, since I decided to stopped raiding I also more or less completely stopped WoW: when it comes to world exploration and interaction I’m getting my fix from Archeage, which is shit on many fronts, but NOT on flight/travel/exploration. And Cryengine has much better lighting effects than WoW.

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    • WoW trying to emulate jumping puzzles is especially bad because we’ve all been trained over the years to not trust any solid-looking objects, as it’s 100% arbitrary which are physical and which you’ll fall straight through. There is pretty much zero consistency.

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  3. I’d say no flight has made little difference. The only real impact is possibly making quests more annoying to do, but the apexis daily is the only one and it’s pretty nonspecific on mobs. Flight paths are everywhere and fairly streamlined these days. But it hasn’t made the world feel any larger either, nor more dangerous. More annoying maybe, since the asinine daze mechanic still exists, but not more dangerous.

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  4. Not a huge flying fan at times (Cata 80-85 zones are terrible for a variety of reasons, but in large part to keep flying in check they are horribly linear questing experiences, and I wasn’t a big fan of putting the TK 5-mans behind the flying wall), but I can see introducing it now in all but Tanaan simply because the world should shrink as the gear from those zones is also obviated through the gear reset/upgrade they are now doing with 6.2. There’s nothing “current” in those zones any longer except apexis daily zones (AA cannons like you said if they are that concerned) and defunct factions. I really can’t see a good reason not to open them up to flying, let alone anything game-breaking.

    The best part though is this current community relations bit:

    “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” or similar is often attributed to Henry Ford.
    And the point of that statement is that there are often solutions to a problem that are not always a direct continuation of what you expect,

    Can we get someone with some semblance of understanding when it comes to analogies? That was perhaps the most boneheaded analogy to pick and certainly not a good example as they haven’t revolutionized anything at all with this expansion let alone by removing flying.

    I almost regret voicing support for removing flying if this is indicative of their thought processes in game design.

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