Flying in Draenor, it’s the new hot topic, frequent visitor to trade chat, guild chat, and nearly every WoW forum on the interwebs. Any time the shadow of a new patch darkens the sky, the citizens of Azeroth all seem to cry “will the mighty Blizz Devs bless us with the gift of flight?” It seems as though gamers are scouring the forums in hopes of finding a blue post letting us know that flying is coming, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an interview with anyone associated with Blizzard that doesn’t bring up the “F-word”. While it’s not unusual for Blizzard to limit flying in a new expansion, they did it with Wrath of the Lich King, and Mists of Pandaria, they’ve never left players without the hope of being able to fly. Blizzard’s official comments on Draenor flying hit the internet in early December and were as follows: “We’ll have more to announce about our 6.1 patch plans in the very near future, but as the focus of our endgame outdoor content remains in the main Draenor zones, our reasons for disallowing flight in 6.0 continue to apply in 6.1.”
At this announcement the trolls and internet critics came out of the wood work, decrying Blizzard’s decision to keep them from experiencing the “friendly skies” in Draenor. However, being new to the game and having had the ability to both utilize ground mounts, for my initial progression, and then again being forced from the skies in Pandaria, I for one applaud their decision. It’s obvious having gone through the vast majority of Azeroth quite recently, that many parts of the game, and indeed many of the quests in earlier expansions were designed around the ability to fly, and many of the areas were designed with the ability in mind. Blizzard very consciously designed a world in which flying was a reality and the game was shaped both for it and because of it.
While leveling my character through Burning Crusades, Cataclysm, and Wrath the ability to fly made a large impact on my progression. I found myself flying from objective to objective, skipping entire parts of the world and missing out on portions of the WoW world, something that while easing the grind of leveling often time left me feeling a little removed from the story and the world. I was able to skip a large portion of the mobs scattered about Azeroth, and as such missed out on the game that was designed for me to play. Stepping into Draenor however and being forced to use a ground mount, you are forced to explore the world. For the first time since the opening of the game you’re made to experience the world, the sites, the sounds, and the creatures throughout it. Upon first entering Draenor it’s almost as though you’re back in the starting zone when you first created your character. That same sense of excitement, wonder and childlike glee, is once again present. Having to quest through different regions, really explore and experience the different landscapes of Draenor, while it may slow your progression to 100, you’ll find yourself enjoying the sites, taking in the scenery and heaven forbid kill a mob or two along the way!
While Blizzard may have taken away our ability to fly, they definitely didn’t do it without thought, the quests are well thought out, and allow you ample opportunity to explore the world without ever feeling that you’re having to plod across the map for no reason. Draenor has plenty of flight paths that make it more than simple to get around the world, while not impacting your ability to truly see the world. The biggest complaint that some professions are now harder to perform, i.e. mining and archaeology sites are “too hard” to get to without the ability to fly, are simply in my opinion, just complaints of those that don’t like change. While it is true that it’s much harder to walk to the top of a mountain than to fly, I encourage my fellow gamers to embrace it, and enjoy their experience in Draenor. While there doesn’t seem to be a timeline, or any promise of flying, it’s almost unthinkable that Blizzard won’t allow flying in Draenor at some point. I encourage my fellow gamers to be patient, enjoy the experience while it lasts, and trek about Draenor, there’s some amazing things out there to discover! Trust that Blizzard with over 10 years of experience in building the best MMO on the planet, knows what they are doing.