Fine, You Can Fly in Draenor, But Only AFTER You Hit an Arbitrary Content Threshold!

I nearly did a spit-take when I saw this announcement.

Blizzard has responded… or changed its mind… or caved in to the mob… or stuck to its principles… or screwed over one group for another… or completely failed to understand the issue at hand… pick whichever option fits your personal narrative… and announced that players will be allowed to fly in Draenor after all.

This all started a couple weeks back when Blizzard announced that they were not going to enable flying in Draenor.  The top level reasoning was:

Having looked at how flying has played out in the old world in the last couple of expansions, we realized that while we were doing it out of this ingrained habit after we introduced flying in The Burning Crusade, it actually detracted from gameplay in a whole lot of ways

Basically, flying meant that people ended up not playing the game the way Blizzard wanted.

Flying lets you bypass all our hard work! How can you not see that?

Flying lets you bypass all our hard work! How can you not see that? Look at this terrain!

You can put whatever other spin you want on it, but that really seems to me to be the essential point.  They designed all this content assuming you’d be on the ground, but when you can fly, you can bypass it all.

I love when I can fly by the form hasn't drawn yet...

Sometimes I bypass having a flying mount or flight form altogether and just fly!

For me, the great unanswered question in all of this remains how much control over their game should a developer be allowed, whether or not the dev’s view of how their game should be played should trump the player’s view, whether MMO studios be dictating a “right way” to play and should players accept that or not?  Maybe that should be a question for Blaugust, when we’re all struggling to post for 31 days straight.

Anyway, that aside, Blizzard has come up with what feels to me very much like a “have your cake and eat it” solution to the rage about flying.  Or maybe it is a good compromise.  It is hard for me to tell at this point.  However yeah, you’ll be able to fly in Draenor, but first these things you must achieve, ‘ere the freedom of the sky ye see!

When you have achieved…

…and collected 100 treasures in Draenor, AND raised three Tanaan Jungle (a new area coming with the 6.2 update) reputations to Revered (I bet it was exalted in the first pass), then and only then will you be granted the Draenor Pathfinder meta achievement which will reward the Soaring Skyterror mount and unlock flying in Draenor on your account for all your characters at or above level 90… once they patch that in.

The money quote for this:

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.

And I can guess the results of this now.  A large group will be quietly happy and we’ll never hear from them again.  But they were probably quiet this whole time anyway.

Meanwhile, those who very much oppose flying will feel betrayed because content bypassing and dropping in on mobs from above and all the other complaints will be enabled on alts the moment they hit Draenor.  At least back in Pandaria every character had to hit level cap before getting to fly.

And those who have been demanding the ability to fly… well, it would be hard not get the sense that they want to fly so they can do all the things now required to get flying by… well… just flying.  If you’ve already done all that, flying doesn’t help you out as much.  I cannot imagine that unbridled happiness will ensue as this group expected the Pandaria deal, just get to level cap and part with some gold and let me fly dammit!

But somehow the world will keep spinning and the sun will still come up tomorrow.

At least that is how I see it… and I don’t even have any of those achievements.  That would require me to leave my garrison… or log in, which has been getting harder of late.

But others are talking about the great flying compromise of 2015 as well.

23 thoughts on “Fine, You Can Fly in Draenor, But Only AFTER You Hit an Arbitrary Content Threshold!

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    As a side note, I am overly pleased that Twitter chose to put that Merkel/Obama picture in as part of the automated Tweet of the post, as it works pretty well with the title of this post.


  2. lordtridus

    The rep grind is by far the goofiest part of this. What does a rep grind have to do with flying? It makes no sense whatsoever, and almost seems to have been put there out of spite. “How dare you people quit because you don’t like our grand vision! Fine, you can have flying back, but we’re going to make it really tedious!”

    Then your alts all get it too, which actually seems to make the original problem they wanted to fix even worse. In the past, alts had to do the content on the ground before they could fly too. Now? Once you get flying once, that’s it. Your alt can level with all the flying advantages already in place, exacerbating what Blizzard claimed was the problem they wanted to fix.

    Some people are calling this some good compromise or a great strategy by Blizzard. I view it more as a sudden retreat in the face of corporate asking questions like “why are you doing things that are tanking our numbers even more?” That would explain why the approach they took doesn’t seem overly well thought out.

    (As for attunements… as a raid leader in those days, good riddence. That stuff was the bane of my existence.)


  3. Silverangel

    Has that Obama picture become a big internet thing? They were having a contest on CNBC re: what they are talking about (i.e. something adult in nature). Too funny. I know Dancing Hare canceled some accounts while citing no ability to fly. Maybe they got pressured by too much attrition.


  4. Jenks

    Anti flying guy checking in. This seems like a good compromise. I liked the idea of making current expansions no fly, and enabling it as soon as a newer expansion released. I think this will do, I’m happy with it.

    I also think the recent quote from whatever that shithead’s name is (not a fan) where he said there would never be flying in Draenor was calculated. The pro flying crowd would be much angrier right now with all the requirements to unlock it. Instead, they’re lucky that Blizzard reversed its position (wink). Smart folks over there.


  5. bhagpuss

    I don’t actually buy the underlying premise that flying in MMOs allows you to bypass content. If you have to kill ten woozles you still have to kill ten woozles. If you have to speak to Exposition Jim you still have to speak to Exposition Jim. That’s content and it remains unchanged.

    If devs believe that the ten minutes you spend traveling on foot from Questgiver to Quest Target is “content” then they are delusional. Ditto if they believe the 20 non-quest mobs you have to kill to clear a path to the 10 mobs you have to kill for the quest are “content”. The word they are looking for is “filler”.

    As for flying reducing player’s ability to appreciate the work of the artists and world designers I can only say that, as an Explorer Archetype Prime, flying increases my exploration options exponentially. Only achievers would imagine otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dachengsgravatar

    I am amazed how few people object to this on the grounds that it makes absolutely no in-world sense! What has Tanaan jungle rep got to do with my flying skill (that I mastered at level 60). But then, flying has always been a problem for Blizzard.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. tsuhelm

    I quite like the idea of taking newly elected politicians to the top of a mountain to see if they can fly…a kinda sink or swim test without any splashing…

    As Douglas Adams said: ‘The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss’

    But surely if all new WOW content was actually designed to incorporate the flying ability of players then the debate should just fly away!


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  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – That just leads me back to what I see is the fundamental question of who gets to say how the content should be experienced. You say the devs are delusional, but they designed the whole thing, should they have no say whatsoever in how it should be played?

    @dachengsgravatar – You’re already linked in the main post, don’t add another link in the comments. As for the logic, we haven’t seen the story line yet, have we? Makes about as much sense as anything in a video game to me.

    @tsuhelm – The problem is that WoW, as a game, is pretty much designed with two dimensional play as the rule. The assumption in everything almost always involves having both feet on the ground. That remains to this very day. Flying is just quick travel. You have to get off the flying mount to actually complete the content. To make flying actually PART of the game and not just a travel and occasional mini-game aspect of WoW would require a pretty large change to how the game works. I would suggest that, to do it right, it would require a complete redesign of the game including combat, skills, characters, quests, and everything in between. And would the end result still be the same game? Would this be a wonderfully popular change or an NGE-like disaster?


  10. kiantremayne

    I’m just gobsmacked by the attitude of the Blizzard devs. It’s like them launching an expansion where ranged DPS doesn’t work in the new zones because the devs decided that lets people bypass the experience of getting cleaved. Seriously, flying travel was one of the starting conditions when they sat down to design Draenor. It’s like saying “oops, we forgot all about paladins when designing our dungeons”. If al of this is too hard for their design team, I would be delighted to come in and do their job for them in return for a measly 0.1% of the net profit…

    I’m not saying they have to add flying-centric content, because yup that would involve a fair mount of creative work and new mechanics. But not being able to cope with the same flapping around that players can do in the existing zones?


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  12. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Except, of course, in this case the “artist” has come out and said, “No, I meant this” and you’re saying, “Oh no you didn’t” then?

    And that still begs the question with regards to flying. If they opt to not add flying, who is somebody to then exclaim that such an interpretation of the game is wrong? I mean, by bringing that up you are, by analogy, almost claiming domain to edit somebody else’s work.


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  14. Anonymous

    fly no fly… I can’t even get it done.. Securing Draenor achievement is bugged and won’t let me anyway!


  15. Storm

    It’s not a “have your cake and eat it solution”.

    It’s a slap in the face and an insult to those players who have put in massive amounts of grind already just to get to Draenor. It’s also demonstrates a serious lack of care factor, imagination and creativity that Blizz is now implementing increasing amounts of grind fests rather than ‘fun’, which is, after all, the definition of a game….fun and entertainment. Remember those words?

    ‘Fun’ was a normal part of WoW right up until Activision nosed their way in, took over as publisher and released Cata.

    The pathfinder achieve is not a ‘balanced’ solution; it’s just more of the same crap.

    For those players who joined the game long after the fun went out of it (post-Cata), I don’t expect you to know any better, so your comments will usually be supportive of this asinine decision.


  16. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Storm – Been playing since Vanilla, a fact literally documented here on this blog. While you’re entitled to your opinion, that doesn’t make you less of an ass… what happens when you make “ass”umptions.

    Oddly, I cannot tell if you are for or against flying in Draenor from your statement.

    But I also cannot tell if you know what the phrase “have your cake and eat it” means either. Here it means trying to have it boths way by making people do more stuff on the ground before they are allowed to fly rather than, say, just letting them buy the flying skill as in past expansions, something likely to make nobody happy. Just like you’re not happy. Really, the post title should have been a clue here. “Arbitrary” isn’t generally viewed as a good thing, right? It is almost a text book example of a “have your cake and eat it” scenario.

    Anyway, if you don’t find the game fun, perhaps you should stop playing. I did.

    Or read this comment about the whole flying unlock.


  17. Storm

    Hey Blizz, what’s wrong with players wanting to by-pass some of your horrendous content to just get on with things?

    Who are you to tell us how we should play when we’re the ones paying for game time?

    We should be allowed to play it any damn way we choose, depending on each individual’s time constraints (or lack thereof). There are those who love to gobble up all the crap you throw their way, and others who don’t.

    Now you’re telling us we have to play the game YOU way if we want to fly? Screw that.



  18. JRC

    It amazes me how often I’m able to use Machiavelli quotes in todays world. Machiavelli wrote in The Prince that “Generosity leads to hatred”. He explained that when a Prince gives too much to his subjects there may come a day when the land falls on hard times and the Prince is forced to “take back” some of what he’s given. Once given the subjects believe that these gifts belong to them and become extremely indignant when they are taken back.

    The point I’m making here with this example is that Blizzard opened Pandora’s Box when they introduced flying into the game. They’ve now come to realize that flying allows people to speed through and skip content. Unfortunately they can’t put the Genie back in the bottle. So, people are rightly pissed, including me. I started this game in vanilla and busted my A$$ to get flying when you had to bust your A$$ to get it. It makes absolutely no sense when Bliz decides they don’t want you to fly somewhere so they introduce “cold weather flying” requirements or some other nonsense like this. What’s next, are we going to need to get an instrument rating to fly in Legion??


  19. Shelton Matthews

    I wouldn’t call it a compromise seeing as how one of the achievements doesn’t work :/

    not to mention the fact that frostridge and tanaan were barely part of the draenor story and they both have to be included in the achievement

    getting rep is hard, and its absurd we have to get rep with THREE different factions


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