Tag Archives: Flying Mounts

Flying in Battle for Azeroth

I haven’t stopped playing WoW Classic as my main MMO, but I have been taking a little bit of a break over the last week or so.  My alts are sitting in that late 30s to mid 40s zone that can be tiring to cross.

The game that supplanted it for a while has been World of Warcraft and the Battle for Azeroth expansion.  I logged in to do the Darkmoon Faire trade skill quests with my main and noticed that there was a 50% boost to reputation earned from doing world quests in the expansion.  As it stood, I only needed to attain revered faction status with the Rustbolt Resistance and the Waveblade Ankoan in order to finish Part Two of the Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder achievement.  I was already honored with both factions, but needed about 10K more for each to get to revered.

The Rustbolt Resistance was pretty easy.  There is a daily world quest for the Mechagon zone where they live that rewards a good chunk of faction.  With the 50% boost on top of the usual human boost to rep gains, I was able to knock that out in just a few days.  Also it is a zone that is pretty fun for somebody with the engineering profession.  It is an engineering focused zone, so I piled on a little bit extra every day there.

The Waveblade Ankoan on the other hand, they were more of a chore.  Nazjatar is not my favorite zone, even though you get a helper when you’re there.

Farseer Ori and Fish Head Vikund

Nazjatar is also on the same world quest rotation as other major zones, which means it gets an emissary quest every few days.  That is where you get the big faction boost.  On off days though, world quests are kind of chintzy, handing out around 80 faction.

I lucked out a bit though.  The day I logged in to do Darkmoon Faire the Nazjatar emissary quest was on its last day, so I was able to do it knowing it would be back fairly soon in  the rotation.  I logged in to do a couple of world quests every day, just to move things forward ever so slowly, hoping that the next emissary quest would push me over the edge.  Instead, it showed up after the bonus time ended.  It got me close, but not quite there.

So close with the Waveblade Ankoan

There are also only so many world quests running at any given time, and of those only a few I wanted to run out and do.  So that 605 point gap took a couple of days to close.  I ended up getting it on a pet battle world quest, one I had not done before.  The first time you win one of those you get a bonus quest to turn in that gives you a bit more faction.  Back at the main camp I turned that in and hit the mark.

The Pathfinder Achievement and a new mount

My goal for Battle for Azeroth had been reached.  I immediately mounted up and flew around the zone to scout it from the air.

Nazjatar is pretty from the air

Things look much nicer when you’re not down on the ground.  That let me start a flying tour of the expansion to see all that ground I trekked over.

Heading out from Boralus

I have said before that Battle for Azeroth is a pretty expansion on the ground.  It is also such from the air.

So I have accomplished that baseline goal that comes with every expansion, to unlock flying, which always makes me consider the dichotomy of the whole thing.  I get why Blizz makes you earn it every expansion.  Once you get it you can bypass everything on the ground, swoop down to your destination, and generally avoid what one might describe as the game.  I definitely feel more of a sense of accomplishment when I have to walk or ride down in the mud.

On the other hand, once I have flying I never walk anywhere ever again if I don’t have to.  And with the pathfinder achievements done there will be no walking for any of my characters.

The achievements done

I don’t know what else I ought to do in Battle for Azeroth at this point.  I have, in the end, not done that much.  I haven’t touched an instance or done any of the other new items they added with the expansion.  But I don’t feel a need to go do anything else either.

The Rise of Azshara Update brings Flying to Battle for Azeroth

The long discussed 8.2 update for World of Warcraft, the Rise of Azshara, goes live today in Azeroth.  The servers might even be up by the time this goes live.  There was an extra long downtime scheduled. (Also, too much stuff happened today, so now I have my fourth post of the day here.)

The 8.2 update splash screen

This is a pretty major content drop for Blizzard.  There is a lot of stuff coming, practically enough to qualify as a full on expansion for some other MMORPGs.  The update notes go into things in detail, but we were given a brief summary a while back.

Rise of Azshara Features

That ought to be enough to keep people busy over the summer as we wait for WoW Classic to show up.

Of course, new zones and new raids aside, the big item for me is the second part of the pathfinder achievement which, when unlocked, will grant you the ability to fly on your flying mounts in the Battle for Azeroth expansion.

Flying is Coming

You even get a flying mount for unlocking the ability to fly in BFA… and the bar doesn’t seem so high.  At least not for me.  They tweeted a little video about what you had to do to unlock flying.

Since I have done all of the part one pathfinder tasks, it looks like I just need to get two factions in the new areas to revered standing and I will be there.

In the process there are two new zones to explore and a raft of quests to complete.  Blizz even has a survival guide video for the new content.

 

It is time to set aside my alts, with whom I have been tinkering for the last month, and get back to focusing on my main.  My summer goal for Azeroth is set.

A Bit More Bag Space with WoW Patch 7.3.5

I do not write about World of Warcraft patch updates the way I do the ones that come for EVE Online.  Maybe the changes, or the game itself, doesn’t mean as much to me, or maybe the changes in New Eden have more impact.

But this patch is different.  This one has a few items in which I am interested.  And, at the top of the list is something they mentioned in passing back at BlizzCon, that people who have an authentication scheme hooked up to their accounts will get a boost in the size of their default bag.

This grain of sand has been an irritant to many, that one bag slot has been eternally locked in at 16 slots.  It was a fine situation as recently as 2007, but certainly since Wrath of the Lich King and the advent of 20 slot player crafted bags, being stuck with that one sixteen slot bag has felt like a bit of a cruel joke.  I’m busy filling up the bank storage on alts with 30 slot bags, but I still have that 16 slot bag mocking me in slot number one.

So now Blizzard could turn that grain of sand into a pearl, to complete the metaphor I started a paragraph back.  Now they could make us all rejoice rather than grouse and glare at that archaic sixteen slot.

So imagine my reaction to this line in the patch notes:

Accounts protected by an Authenticator and Blizzard SMS Protect gain four extra backpack slots.

Four slots?  That’s it?  We now get a 20 slot bag instead of a 16 slot bag?  Did I mention how many 30 slot bags I have on hand already?

Plenty of 30 slot bags on hand since Draenor

Color me a bit disappointed at the paucity of this size increase.  If Blizzard wants to play the nostalgia card, 2009 bag sizes is not the way to go about it.  Or 2007 bag sizes if you want to count the Harris Pilton Gigantique bag from Burning Crusade.  The game is littered with larger bags, none of which you can put in that first bag slot.  Ugh!

I won’t grouse too much.  My main is literally hauling around so much stuff of late that four slots actually matters.  But don’t expect me to be too thankful given my overflowing supply of 30 slot bags.  I should have known Blizzard was off the mark when it came to bag size when they threw away the name “portable hole” on a 24 slot bag.

Anyway, enough of that.

Also part of the patch is something else I have had my eye on, which is the expanded zone level scaling.  Zones throughout World of Warcraft will now scale, withing set parameters, so you need not worry about out-leveling a zone you want to finish… at least not as quickly as before.

The basic story, which I am stealing from the Icy Veins post, is:

  • All starting zones scale up to level 10.
  • World of Warcraft Vanilla (Eastern Kingdoms & Kalimdor) scales up to level 60.
  • At level 58, players can choose between Outland or Northrend (capped at level 80).
  • At level 80, players can choose between Cataclysm or Pandaria (capped at level 90).
  • Zones still have a minimum level requirement.
  • Dungeons also scale
  • Quest rewards scale up to your level.

Further details, like the zone listing and minimum level requirements for specific zones are part of that post (or this one at Blizzard Watch which also has the dungeon levels) .

Why am I interested in that?  Well, on my long Azeroth “to do” list there are entries about running through some expansions on the Horde side of the world.  I’ve already done post-Cataclysm 1-60 and most of The Burning Crusade as Horde, but would like to run through Wrath of the Lich King and Mists of Pandaria on that side of the divide as well.  Being able to go straight to Northrend at 58 will be a big help, as will being able to spend 22 levels there.  I have a level 57 orc hunter ready to go on that front.

On the other hand, I am not sure how this will play out for anybody coming to the game for the first time.  There are still people who do that.  My daughter is trying to recruit a dungeon group from some of her friends, most of whom have never played WoW or any other MMORPG. (Still a niche market.)

This does change the nature of the leveling experience yet again and I am not sure if the freedom of action as to which zones you can play through will have enough structure to it to keep people on track.  But then the old “if you are level n to n+5 you must be in zone x!” system wasn’t always that great either, and Blizz has gotten better at telling you where you ought to go and all that.  We’ll see.  The only thing I know for sure is that somebody will hate the change because somebody always hates every change.

In addition to zone and dungeon scaling, all dungeons now use the “personal loot” option, where you no longer roll for loot… or have a master looter… instead the game picks people from the group at random and gives them a loot drop appropriate to their class and spec.  Again, I am sure somebody will hate this.

And with dungeon scaling all holiday dungeon events will now be available for anybody level 20 and up.  I will have even more shots at the headless horseman’s mount this year.

I was interested to see that, as part of this, Blizz also decided to simplify the whole “I have to buy yet another flying skill” issue by rolling all the simple, level gated flying options into the Expert Flying skill.  With that you’re good to go, no more Cold Weather Flying and what not.  You still need achievements for Draenor and the Broken Isles, but that unlock is account wide, so if you main has it you’re good with any alts.

With all of that there is also now Ulduar Timewalking and some achievement changes related to that, some class tweaks, a new battleground, updates to the S.E.L.F.I.E. toy (while some other toys have had their ability to cause other players to take actions restricted), and a new WoW Legion quest line that will take you to Silithus.

So that is another WoW update.  You can peruse the patch notes yourself and find analysis on all the sites that cover WoW.

I am still waiting for them to fix the spiral ramp up to the flight master in Thunder Bluff to stop it from dismounting you, the way they fixed that stretch in Stormwind that used to do the same when you were riding to the flight master, but I suspect my waiting for that will be in vain.

This being a WoW patch with some significant changes, other people in the neighborhood are also discussing it and what it portends.

Addendum: Bag space upgrade confirmed.

Four more slots

I want more, but I’ll take four.

Flying Unlocked in Legion

That actually went more smoothly/quickly than I thought it would.

When I came back to WoW in late October I was wandering around in search of a goal to get me back into the game and, naturally enough, flying was my choice.  I still had to unlock world quests, do the Suramar quest chains, and get myself revered with a series of factions.  But that seems like a decent mid-to-longer term goal.

A side goal in the whole thing was not to burn myself out on the game in trying to unlock flying as soon as possible.  I could have gone after world quests in a big way, running them down constantly, and have gotten tired of the whole affair pretty quickly.

Instead I mostly just rolled with the emissary quests, the daily set of world quests for a specified faction.  You do four of them and you get a nice bonus boost of faction.  I would do those, then move on to something else, like pet battles or working on an alt.

Soon enough I had a few factions at revered, and most of the rest close.  The exception was The Wardens, which seemed to be lagging behind.  They were only just honored when I had another faction already at revered.  So I made a point of hitting a world quest or two for them every day as well.

I also used the anniversary event to boost my faction yield.  Likewise, with Darkmoon Faire up this past week I made sure to ride the merry-go-round for the one hour faction/exp gain boost before I went off to do my quests.

Riding for a faction boost!

By Friday I had the Legionfall Commander achievement wrapped up, having done enough on the Broken Shore for that and the exploration achievement.

That meant the Broken Isles Pathfinder Part Two achievement was set, save for the fact that you need Part One as well.

It was then just The Wardens left, about 2,000 faction points shy of revered.  So I decided to binge a bit, sprint to the finish, using the last day of Darkmoon Faire to boost me a bit.  That got me close, a couple hundred shy of my goal. I would have kept going, but world quests for The Wardens dried up for me.

This morning however, there were two waiting for me.  I flew off and did one that left me just 45 points shy.  The second one was in an awkward corner of Suramar, and as I was planning how to best ride out there I realized that I had my daily Vanguard of the Silver Hand token to pick up.

Get One World Quest Free!

That lets you send out an NPC squad to run one non-elite world quest every 18 hours, which is effectively daily.  I headed back to the Paladin order hall, picked that up, stood over in a likely spot for a screen shot, and sent them on their way to pick up that final run for The Wardens.

The moment

It was actually a bit too dark where I stood.  My shoulders do stand out though!  That gave me a short cascade of achievements.

The Achievements of the Day

Now I wondered if I had to do anything else.  So I went back out into Dalaran to see if I could simply fly at that point.  Sure enough, off I went into the skies of the Broken Isles.

First Flight in Legion

And of course, that also means that flying is unlocked in WoW Legion for all of my characters.  I have been working my hunter up to 110 as one of my side tasks.  Now he will be able to fly to his quests as well.

Tistann over the Broken Shore zone

Now I have to figure out what to do next.  I will carry on with pet battles and alts.  I have Argus still to finish up. (And no flying there!)  And then I have to see if it is worth getting exalted with any of these factions.  At revered they all seem to have a battle pet for sale, and I like that, but I haven’t explored what exalted might get me.  Mounts?  Are there mounts?

Anyway, I’ve walked my last mandated mile in the main part of the expansion.  Now to fly free where I can, collect those remaining hidden treasures, and probably haul my daughter around to help her get flying unlocked as well.

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.

Fear of Flying

In one of those “note the date, something big was said” moments, Blizzard has announced… through a proxy at least, if not via an official press release… that they likely won’t allow flying mounts in Draenor… or maybe in any future expansion.  You can read about it over at Polygon, where the fateful words came as part of an interview.  I think this sums up the justification.

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

There is a bit of irony in that, seeing that Outland, an alternate timeline Draenor, was the first place to feature flying mounts, but Draenor will be denied them.  Flying mounts have been a thing in WoW since 2007.  But the interview goes into all the thing people tend to bring up as the downside of flying mounts.

Certainly, flying has been a contentious thing in WoW.  And Blizzard has no doubt been aware of the trade off that flying brings with it since The Burning Crusade.

Back then you only got to spend what seemed like a ton of gold on a skill and a flying mount… back when buying the mount was the expensive bit… when you hit the level cap.  At that point you got to fly and there was some content that required flying to access.

Then came Wrath of the Lich King, and there was much moaning because flying went away the moment you hit Northrend, at least until you got to level… 77? 78? not quite the level cap… at which point you could train Cold Weather Flying and move into some of the content that required a flying mount.  That was a hint at the problems to come, as once somebody has something, it is a hard task to take it away.

Cataclysm gave us flying from the first moment and pretty much proved to me that flying had its problems.  Aside from Vashj’ir, which was under water (though you could make the case that your under water mount was effectively a flying mount), you had access to your flying mounts in all of the new zones, which took much of the effort out of them.  There were a few points where you needed flying, but for the most part flying felt like a pass to flit past any opposition to get to a quest objective.  It basically sped up leveling, something I am not sure WoW really needed.

Blizzard pulled back from that with Mists of Pandaria, going back to the model of allowing flying mounts only at level cap.  There was even a bit of content that required a flying mount, though nothing like the level of content in Outland or Northrend.  But that led us back to the cycle of losing flying with the next expansion again, and Blizzard hemmed and hawed about flying in Warlords of Draenor.  There was a promise to look into flying, an assumption that we would get flying, but no concrete statement that it would be so.

And now we have the word… or perhaps it is just a trial balloon that Blizzard can deny was the official line if the rage grows too strong.

Personally, I get what is being said when it comes flying.  It does make the world feel smaller.  It does trivialize travel.  It does let players bypass all that annoying “content” to go straight their objective.  It does make an already too fast and too convenient game feel even faster and more convenient.  Exploration ceases to be a thing… there being little or no effort in exploring on a flying mount… and some types of adventures just don’t happen when you can fly.

It is just a shame that flying is so much damn fun.  Here is what I wrote back when I got my first flying mount in WoW.

Flying… it is good enough that it feels like cheating.

Yeah it does.  And I never get tired of it, especially when it comes to druid flight form.  I could easily spend an idle hour amusing myself with my druid just jumping off of tall buildings and then going into flight form as I fell.

Patience got me Flight

Druid just floating above the world…

Once you have a druid with flight form, even flying mounts feel a bit awkward.

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

I love when I can fly and the flight form hasn’t drawn yet…

And, like any really good, empowering cheat, it is very tough to let go once you have used it once.  I never think, “Oh, I should just ride or walk, flying is too easy.”  I just fly.  It would take a serious effort of will to walk or ride when flying was available.

So I can see why people are upset at the even the suggestion that we might not get to swan about on flying mounts everywhere in Azeroth.  We’ve all had that bit of heroin in our veins by now, and it is a tough habit to break.

But I also can’t help but see something of a parallel between how a few people are responding to this and how some botters responded to their bans recently; petulance and declarations and speaking for the community as a whole along with threats to never give Blizzards another nickel.  The usual stuff.

I just can’t get all that worked up about it myself.  If I could press a button and turn on flying in Draenor, I probably would.  But I also have a bit of a fatalistic outlook when it comes to video games.  I try to look at things like this as obstacles to conquer as opposed to things that I should spend much time pouting/raging about.

And, coming of age with video games when I did, I also seem to give developers a lot of leeway in shaping their game to be played the way they want it to be played, as opposed to the way the players think it should be played.  That is one of the great philosophical questions of our age, the relative importance of developer vision versus player desire, and one that gets deftly avoided time and again when people, including myself, write about games.

That doesn’t mean I don’t bitch and moan about some decisions, or count the cost of a particular change… that’s great fun at times… or occasionally think I am smarter than the devs on a given issue, but you’ll note that I mostly focus on the games I keep playing anyway.  It is more a matter of my wanting to talk about games than any desire to impose my will.  Just last week I took the time to note that the harsh death penalty of TorilMUD was being relaxed.  I had suffered from that harsh penalty more than a few times in the past, but always considered it to be part of the game and altered my play style to accommodate it.  Now that has changed, and likely the game itself will change because of it… though given the low population of TorilMUD these days the range of the impact likely won’t be great.

Anyway, there is a mob howling about flying.  I won’t be upset if Blizzard holds to their current vision for flying mounts.  I think Blizzard has some legitimate points, ones that have been brought up time and again.  But if the heat is too much for Blizzard and they decide that putting the toothpaste back in the tube is beyond their means, I’ll be riding around in the air on my flying mount like everybody else.

Other bloggers looking at the whole flying mount thing:

 

EverQuest II Gives You Wings…

Or how I got my marketing plan off the back of a can of Red Bull.

The latest flying mount to be introduced to EverQuest II consists of a pair of wings on your back.

Flying Iksar… and Ratonga… enough to give you nightmares.  And if what I saw was right, Fae and Arasai lose their regular wings when they put these wings on?  Odd.

Here Raph Koster just posted about the free to play business model and we now have a perfect example of more whale food.

Some people will just have to have a pair of wings today, while others groan in despair.

Remember, those who buy the wings are helping fund the game!

Best response so far:

What about you?  Would you like a pair of wings with your free to play?

Massively even has an amusing question about the EQII wing thing.

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.

Getting Flight Checked for Cataclysm

One of the great promises of Cataclysm, the next World of Warcraft expansion, is the ability to fly around Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, or as one wag put it, “Old Weather Flying.”  Blizzard is even now teasing us with the skill in game.


See your trainer indeed… in about a month.

That looks like it will be an affordable skill, 250 gold at level 60 and probably less with faction discounts.

There are more changes though, and with Hallow’s End I finally got out of my slump are started looking at what patch 4.0.1 had to offer, including on the flying front.

First, of course, there was the high speed flying.  It used to be, back in the day, that you had to get a special mount to be able to fly at 310%.  All you could buy your way into was the 280% epic flying mount.

But they have switch that around and now your skill dictates how fast a mount flies. (Running seems to be unchanged.)  So now there is a master flying skill that gives you the 310% speed boost.  Master riding, and you can learn that one today.


It runs 5,000 gold, to siphon a bit of cash out the economy no doubt, but can be had for as little as 4,000 gold if you are exalted with the right faction.  Fortunately, Vikund had the cash on hand so I was able to grab it for him.

If you happened to have earned one of the 310% mounts already though, you got the skill for free.

Blizz also moved Cold Weather Flying, the Northrend flying skill, to level 68 and halved the price, making it 500 gold.  No longer will you feel the frustration of getting to 70, getting your epic flying skill, only to head to Northrend to find yourself grounded for another seven levels.  Now my level 70 druid can fly in Northrend.

Patience got me Flight

This change mirrors what Blizz did with flying in Outland after Wrath of the Lich King came out and we had the great big riding reset.  They’re just getting the change in a bit earlier this time around.  No word on whether they will also cut the exp table in Northrend.  I think they might leave that for a while.  Wrath content has more replay value in it than Burning Crusade does, in my opinion.

Rides have changed a lot since the old days, when you could buy your first mount at 40 and maybe that epic mount at 60 if you played the auction house or bought gold.