Flying mounts were one of the big features of Burning Crusade back in the day. There have been plenty of arguments since it was introduced as to whether or not it was a good idea or not, and Blizzard has spent a lot of time since trying to figure out how to put that genie back in the bottle. But it has been part of the game since early 2007, so naturally I splurged the day it became available.
I will stipulate that flying changes the game… changes it dramatically. Flying straight to your destination, bypassing anything in your way, that is a very different scenario after 67 levels of being stuck to the ground for all travels outside of what a flight path or a portal can offer.
I know it changes the game, but I also won’t eschew it and walk when I can fly. I refer you to one of my favorite quotes:
Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.
Anyway, the rational economic calculator part of my brain was somewhat surprised at the price of flying. Granted that our group gave most of Burning Crusade Classic a miss, it being everything I remembered and didn’t really enjoy back in the day, so we never got to the point of being able to buy flying mounts or the related skills this time around.
But with the Wrath Classic pre-patch hitting last week, suddenly flying was open to levels 60 and up. Your level 60+ characters get a note inviting them to head over to Honor Hold where they can purchase the flying skill and mounts. I was worried we might be priced out of flying. But I forgot how much of a discount on these things came in with WotLK.
So, to start with, there is the fast riding skill. Some of us were in a rush to get that and purchased that on alts before the patch. Not I, however, and the price was suddenly pretty easy to bear.
45 gold. That isn’t very much at all.
And then there was Expert Riding, which is they flying skill.
I am going to have to dig out the post from back in 2008 when our group back then finally hit level 70 and saved up to get our flying mounts in Outland. I don’t remember how much it was, but I suspect it was more than 225 gold. Granted, that number is based on your reputation, but still, it is a pretty reasonable ask.
And the mounts themselves… also not all the pricey.
Of course, it wasn’t all cake and ice cream. Artisan Riding… fast flying mount speeds… that remained pretty spendy.
4,500 gold is more than I have all combined so far since the launch of WoW Classic. I was happy to have the gold to buy into the quests to get my paladin’s charger, and that was slightly cheaper than just an epic mount and the skill.
Fortunately, I don’t really need to worry about Artisan Riding. To start with, I do not yet have any characters at level 70, so I couldn’t buy it even if I could afford it.
Second, the moment we step into Northrend we’ll be back to ground mounts again anyway. Better to save up for Cold Weather Flying at the back end of WotLK than to blow a bunch of gold now.
Then again, I could make that argument about flying in general. Why bother if we’re just going to be back on the ground by the end of the month?
Well, being able to fly up and suck up elemental motes with my engineering mote-vac is useful and earns me a bit of gold at the auction house.
And it does help me get around and bypass mobs and other content that gets in the way of where I want to go and what I want to do… which includes mining nodes.
It is certainly easier to be an exploration completionist when you can fly. But that brings us to achievements, which also came in with the patch. I might have some words on those as well.
But for now my main and my primary alts can fly around Outland. That might even be more useful starting today, as the zombie plague event kicks off. I recall being up in the air and away from the zombie crowds being a blessing.