Fearing the Worst about Flying Mounts

I was thrilled when I got my first flying mount back in World of Warcraft.

And then, later, that was topped when my druid got the ability to fly.

I enjoy few things in the game as much as having flight form on my druid.

Unfortunately, I have begun to suspect that the reason I enjoy it more than most things in the game is that it kind of takes the challenge out of a lot of the rest of the game.  In one of those zero sum things, more fun flying meant less fun elsewhere.

While I cannot say that I miss all the running around in Northrend that I had to do when Lich King launched, flight form does make a lot of things easier than they should be and takes some of the adventure out of the game.  Great moments in the history of the instance group include more than a few cross-continent runs.

Our first run across Northrend

On a flying mount, such a ride is trivial.

But, no worries.  We’re giving WoW a rest for now.  We are headed to Norrath… the second Norrath… to give EverQuest II a try.

Only flying mounts seem to be headed towards Norrath as well.

We timed our arrival in EverQuest II Extended with this item in the Station Cash Store.

Fly Free... For Free... For Now...

A flying mount.

A sample flying mount, available at no charge, single use (but you could go back and get another), given out as a free sample in the same vein as the tale about the old dope peddler.

SOE wants to get you hooked on the rush of flying right now.

While this expired from the store yesterday, I was able to log in and fly around a bit to try it out over the course of the offer.

Flying over New Halas

It was, of course, fun and exhilarating to be able to fly free in Norrath, so see things from a new perspective, and to roam where ever I wished without fear any fear of those mobs with the pulsing blood red names over their head down below.

Back from strafing noobs

Once the initial joy wore off however, I began to worry that I was facing another game shrinking, if not game breaking, feature.  This was druid flight form all over.  Fun and unbroken by activities like harvesting.  SOE seems to have figured out that they shouldn’t let you flee combat in flight, so the flying effects, like all other mount travel effects, goes away when an encounter starts.

But I fear where this will go.

I have no idea what SOE’s plans are for flying mounts in EQII, and the EQII site has been down for more than a day now, so I haven’t been able to read up on the whole thing.

I do hope there are some restrictions on obtaining such a mount.

I know that, if flying mounts turn into an “any level” Station Cash item, I can simply decline to purchase one.

But other people will buy them, and they will be in the world with me.  It will be worse than the damn flying carpets.

I have already had high level players dropping out of the sky to harvest a sparklie or a harvest node I was running towards.

I hope SOE has a plan.  I hope they know what they are doing.

9 thoughts on “Fearing the Worst about Flying Mounts

  1. stargrace

    You must be level 85(86?) crafter or adventurer to quest for the “real” flying mounts. The temporary ones are an exception to this rule. Even if you buy one from the market I believe those are just skins, and you still need to actually do the quests first.


  2. Troy

    Flight is an interesting extension of a 3-D world, but I would rather have them spend more time on turning the present world into something truly dimensional.

    For example, when will my character be able to climb a tree, lay down in a bed, pick up a plate and move it to a table? When will it stop raining inside, as well as outside? Why doesn’t the sun gleam through the windows of a house I enter — or even better, why can I not enter 99% of the structures of the world.

    Give me this rather than a truncated, simplified, and soon to be nerfed flight system that is tacked on not to expand the world but to simply provide additional revenue through micro transactions.


  3. Bhagpuss

    While Stargrace is quite right about mounts currently being for very high levels only, some recent hints on the forums seem to suggest this could change fairly soon.

    One thing that I doubt will change, however, is the requirement to buy the recent Destiny of Velious expansion before you get a permanent flying mount. On that basis, your group should be saved form itself, at the expense of having to watch everyone else flitting about above you.

    I’m still so wrapped up in Rift I haven’t even popped in to Norrath to try out the free flying mount. I must try and do that this weekend.


  4. kaozz

    I love flying mounts. I think I love them on alts (in WoW) the most because sometimes I can skip past things I’ve done over and over.

    However in EQ2 there is a level requirement on them so it is a lot different. I don’t see them changing that anytime soon. At the level you gain them I think you’ve paid your dues and it is fine to be able to fly over stuff because you’ve already drudged through it all once before.

    The freeblood ‘swarm of bats’ is an illusion that gives you a speed (and flying later on) ability. The flying part requires a quest, just like the mounts do, at the same level. So you can’t bypass the level requirement.


  5. p0tsh0t

    I had a much longer response/post going when I realized it all came down to the conclusion that flight (as implemented in most games) represents the ultimate conspiracy of developers and players to optimize the fun out of a game.

    While instant travel has the potential to compress a gameworld to the extent that it collapses in on itself like a blackhole, flight tends to leave that world in tact, but lay many of its aspects to waste.

    There is no danger to travel, resource gathering and tradeskill leveling becomes an even more asymmetrical competitive PvE activity (with related market distorting effects), etc.

    The question I ask is “what problem are they trying to solve?” followed closely by “does the solution do more harm than good?”

    I love the freedom that flight provides, but hate how it tends to take the world away from the player.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    That and it is a genie that is tough to put back in the bottle. Once you introduce flight, you cannot easily take it back.

    Playing through Burning Crusade, you finally got flight at level 70. The Lich King came along and you lost it again until level 77. Wasn’t that a pisser?

    Blizz relented and now you can have more flight. And while I do not mind it too much in the Burning Crusade content (so much of which was classic cross-zone kill 10 rats, run back, only to be sent across zone to kill 10 slightly different rats), In Lich King it really feels like it short circuits the story.

    But they also knew with Cataclysm they couldn’t take flight away again. They try and work around that, but playing through Hyjal for example felt really abbreviated because I just zipped around on my flying mount.

    So one of my tangential worries is that, with flight in EQ2 now, there will be a strong urge, and a strong call from some players, to make it available earlier and easier.

    [Or maybe we’ll all be able to just start at level 90 if we really want a flying mount.]


  7. TheRemedy

    I think this all just boils down to mmos are incredibly tough to design. You have this leveling system that makes your players feel more and more powerful, but that also makes the vast majority of your content irrelevant as your player base progresses. And generally speaking, for the higher levels the content that matters gets further and further away from the centralized hubs which makes the travel time increase as you play. Which then leads to players asking for quicker forms of travel as everything between the hubs and the level appropriate content no longer matters to them. It can’t be easy designing a cohesive world that constantly needs more and more mass added to fit content that rewards your players.


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @TheRemedy – Oh, no doubt whatsoever that it is a delicate balancing act. And what you say about higher level content being further away from population centers is generally true.

    However, EQ2 has a long tradition of teleportation to zones as well as in-zone transportation (griffon towers, riding stations, and those little cloud things in KoS), so for me it goes back to Potshot’s question; what problem are they trying to solve?

    I hope it isn’t “WoW has flying mounts, we’d better have them too!”


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