Flying Comes to Draenor

The day has finally arrived.  Among the items the World of Warcraft patch 6.2.2 delivers today is the ability to fly in Draenor.

Soon this could be you

Soon this could be you

It was just a little over three months ago, at the end of May, when Ion Hazzikostas got the community worked up by saying that flying would not be coming to Draenor, with the money quote probably being this:

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…

That, of course, set a lot of people off, and responses were all over the map.  Some people were supportive of the “no flying” idea wanting to keep the feel of the world.  Others were enraged that they were to be denied flying.  Many arguments full of venom and denial and spurious logic and just plain old inability to concede any point that did not support ones own view on the topic raged across forums and comments threads and blog posts and where ever.

I took something of a middle path myself, conceding that I got the points Hazzikostas was making while still feeling that, in the right measure, flying was pretty awesome.  In my usual way I also linked out to others who posted on the topic, both for and against.

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

I do love flight in about any form

But on the internet the path of reasonableness rarely wins.  Or maybe it does.  Who is to say which side is reasonable in a largely emotional issue?

Anyway, there was that outrage plus the fact that, through cancellations and bans, WoW’s subscriber base had shed 3 million players since the end of 2014, dropping from above 10 million at the Warlords of Draenor peak to 7 million.

So through some combination of reasons Blizzard felt the need to bring flying back, announcing that it we would be able to fly in Draenor just a little over two weeks after they said we wouldn’t be able to fly in Draenor.

Of course, there were some hoops to jump through in order to be able to fly.  Some achievements to earn, some faction to work on, some treasures to collect.  Again, that made various people happy or unhappy.

Much of the support work for the flying unlock went in with the 6.2 patch back in June, which oddly enough is the exact point in which garrison fatigue hit me and I pretty much stopped playing WoW.

According to Blizzard, the 6.2 patch… and presumably the announcement that flying would come to Draenor eventually… held the line on defections from the game so that subscriptions were “only” down to 5.6 million at the end of June 2015.

Of course, since then most of the talk has about about WoW Legion, which is starting to feel like it might be the Deathly Hallows Part 2 to Warlords of Draenor.  I mean, we’re going to get to the real bad guy from The Burning Crusade finally.

I haven’t logged more than 20 minutes of WoW time since the 6.2 patch, so I wouldn’t be able to fly today even if I did log in.  But I am sure lots of people will.  The skies will be filled with people happy to be able to move to and fro in Draenor without the restrictions of flight points or the need to engage with any of that ground clutter content.

Is it too soon to ask if we’ll get to fly in the Broken Isles?  I mean, once we get there.

12 thoughts on “Flying Comes to Draenor

  1. Jenks

    “Of course, since then most of the talk has about about WoW Legion, which is starting to feel like it might be the Deathly Hallows Part 2 to Warlords of Draenor. ”

    I don’t understand the reference, all I know is that it’s a Harry Potter thing. Good or bad?


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jenks – Dividing the last book from Harry Potter into two movies ended up with a longish, not very interesting first movie that consisted mostly of the heroes hanging out in a tent in the forest and then a second movie where they actually confronted the main bad guy and exciting things happened.

    Warlords of Draenor, as I view it now after the passage of time, ended up being mostly about hanging out in a garrison in Shadowmoon Valley, while WoW Legion promises to get us to the main boss from The Burning Crusade. Maybe it will be the exciting bit.


  3. Jenks

    Ah very nice comparison, thanks for explaining.

    On a mechanical level I personally think WoD has been the best era of WoW since vanilla, but the story isn’t doing it for me. As a horde lifer I could not be more tired of killing orcs. They pissed all over Doomhammer and it went downhill from there.

    I’m not totally up to speed on Legion, but Illidan isn’t actually in it right? I thought he is only in a ‘flashback’ zone for demon hunters to level up in that tells their origin story, like how Arthas is in Ebon Hold for DK’s?


  4. tweell

    I managed to finish the Draenor Pathfinder achievement so will be able to fly this evening – if I have the time to log in, that is. It took quite a bit of work.

    It all came down to money – Blizzard didn’t want to do the extra programming, but didn’t want to lose the subscriptions either. If it weren’t for my daughter wanting to play WoW again, I would have quit over this.


  5. Balthazar

    It wasn’t that bad. Tanaan Jungle was actually pretty fun and getting to Revered with those factions instead of Exalted made it much more tolerable even when I got a little bored with it. I found the Loremaster achievement was the next length endeavor, but I already had completed about half of it just by leveling to 100. The exploration bit was easy too as there were only a few zones that I had not almost completed explored already without even consciously going for that achievement. The treasure hunter part was kinda fun at first as well, but quickly got old. However, I am guessing it took me only about 2 hours to complete, maybe 40 minutes over 3 different nights. So, all in all, I’d say it was a lot more fun than grinding gold in BC.


  6. Helistar

    Well, for someone who had played the expansion, Pathfinder boiled up to raising the reputations to revered. One of them was pure bashing, with the inter-server group finder it was fast. The others were “standard” dailies, i.e. annoying as hell, but the revered milestone made it bearable.
    What is idiotic is to bring back flight on the last patch, i.e. when it’s useless…..

    Ah and I’m still waiting to read some good argument about why no-fly is good for the game :)


  7. Chris

    My lil bro and I have a running joke about the demonhunter class – logging into the game as a DH will turn off your monitors.


  8. Helistar

    I already dismantled piece by piece what was said on no-fly more than once, showing that the points which were raised do not derive from the presence or lack of flight….

    BTW Spires of Arak as seen from the sky is probably the best WoW sight ever.


  9. MMOGamer

    Yeah, flying is here, but did you see the absurd amount of hoops we have to jump to gain access to? Why is Blizzard pulling this “oh but you have to earn it” BS on users after not doing it for previous expansions?


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