Thoughts on the No-Flying Announcement

I was originally asked about my thoughts on ask.fm, and my reply was so long that part of it got cut off. The core of this post came from a reply I made to the Wowhead newspost as well as some Twitter discussions over the weekend.

The devs have a vision they want to implement and I respect that. Communication surrounding the decision could be smoothed out though and that’s not the fault of the devs–PR/community could also be involved. Since it’s a bold choice, blogs on the official site would be good that explain the decision and also help players see that even though the devs may disagree with feedback, they’re engaging with it.

If they want people to explore more, they need to get people out of the Garrison. Right now the Garrison provides a lazy way for me to get gear, gold, and profession materials. I could get more if I went out into the world, but…effort. I’d rather just log onto alts with Garrisons if I need ore, vs take a miner out into the world. You can gear up with Garrison Mission rewards vs treasures in outdoor zones or even heroic dungeons. This caused a problem for me at launch, I fell into a routine where I just checked my Garrison for gear upgrades and didn’t push myself to socialize by doing things like heroic dungeons.

And since I spend so much time in my Garrison, I get complacent and think less about cool stuff I want to collect to show off to others–mounts, pets, toys, transmog. When I go to Stormshield, which is rarely, I’m reminded that I should farm mounts more, or that I should put a cool title on to show off. But inside my Garrison with just followers for company, I’m not reminded to socialize or go out in the world.

There’s also the issue where max-level content could encourage exploration/travel more vs the leveling treasures. I did grind out some WoD reputations, but all I had to do was travel to one area, use group finder, and grind mobs in exactly the same place for a few hours–flying wouldn’t have enhanced that. An exception is Steamwheedle–this felt the most memorable because it emphasized some travel and exploration with the rares and treasures scattered about.

I do think that flying could be added to zones when they’re no longer current (I thought most of Draenor would have flying in 6.2 tbh), but I also need that motivation to want to leave my Garrison in the first place. I can’t really think of a place I’d want to go to, but decided against it because it couldn’t fly. I just think about mainly staying in my Garrison and clicking on the latest Work Order/Mission that’s done. Maybe it would be neat if you could get flying after opening X amount of treasures, or doing Loremaster–demonstrating that you’ve participated in the actual content.

Cool Shop Mounts and reward mounts should be geared more towards ground areas–don’t have the fancy details shine in flying-only areas if we’ll be mostly showing them off in current no-flying zones. I liked the Runesaber’s wings, but you could really appreciate them only in flying zones. The new Apexis Crystal mount has awesome wings, but it’s a bit bulky on the ground as well. In contrast, the Infernal Direwolf is a ground mount from Hellfire Citadel with lots of awesome fel effects–that’s an example of a ground mount done well. In addition, many of my old mounts I’m proud of are flying mounts, and they just don’t translate well in Draenor, like a waddling Mimiron’s Head.

I’ve seen some criticism that recent interviews have been done on general gaming sites vs fansites. It’s good to have a mix and Blizzard can reach new audiences via general sites. It can also help them get new feedback–a Polygon audience may latch onto something unexpected in an interview, and that’s useful for Blizzard to see. However, the recent interview trend on top of the dev Twitter consolidation/Warcraft Devs transition does leave players hungry for more detail-focused conversations. It would be good if could move towards the 2014 twitter setup where that section of the playerbase felt like they had questions answered more. For example, a long-time player may ask specific follow-up questions about flying, such as what the devs thought were successful areas that worked without flying in WoD, the Garrison’s thorny content role in WoD, or potential no-flying improvements to make the travel experience smoother.

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on the No-Flying Announcement

  1. Flying would fundamentally break the current treasure design and quest design of draenor more or less. But I think if they added more glider/aviana’s feather like items as well as a faster ground mount speed people might be more willing to explore. I personally view clearing garrisons as somewhat of a chore at this point, I felt awarding heirlooms for random heroics was a good move I queue’d for one everyday until I finished. Even the extremely uncreative fishing achievement has gotten me and many people I know outside the garrison. But what I find ironic is the content most of my guildies and friends choose to do if they aren’t a pvper is just to farm old raids. It’s almost as if that’s replace the grind of dailies and stuff since some of the harder instances still require u to to atleast be aware of the mechanics.

  2. I always thought the problem behind flying was that it has no mechanics. If mounts were different from aiming them, then pressing auto-walk, I don’t think they would be such a problem now. Imagine travel methods like Arkham City’s Glider or the Just Cause 2 hook+parachute. I always imagined some of the rocket mounts would have worked by aiming them, like a mortar, then shooting yourself there and having to re-aim from wherever you (with random variation) land.

    Of course this is basically a thing that can never be fixed. The system works as it does now, the engine wouldn’t support most of my ideas and adding 3+ new methods of how mounts behave would be insane effort. But a hypothetical system in a game where you actually had to flap your wings, avoid the landscape, start and land somewhere with a “runway” or even drag yourself along with the surroundings would probably not cause the same trouble WoW’s flying has.

  3. Hey Perculia!

    Interesting post. One thing i always seem amazed by is that people always say they are sitting in the Garrison and doing nothing. But come on Garrison missions and workorders and mine/herb takes like 15 mins. Sure i imagine many just login do those “chores” and logout in wait for the next batch to be done.
    Another thing i thought about from your post is that many people say they want stuff to do and places to get gear from other then raids, and in the same breath they say “Garriosons are so boring and easy” you just sit there and wait for Epics to land in your backpack. Honestly if you dont raid other then Raidfinder for instance the highest gear you will ever get from Garrison is the “normal gear” (ilvl 670) from the BRF missions. And even if you do raid Heroics and you get the Mythic box comeon you are not gonna be “maxgeared” by a longshot in a year since not even every piece can drop in the boxes. I think they are a great way to help people get a few nice pieces over time. I dont disagree that Blizzard could have done better with the open world content at Maxlvl to “lure” people out into the world. I dont think for myself that i would spend MUCH more time out in the world then i do now even then unless it was something for the Legendary or something that we really needed to have to progress.
    Anyways i ramble on like there is no tomorrow.

    Thanks again Perculia for a interesting read.

    /Verity

  4. Good article,

    Here are my two cents worth. If you are a leatherworker or tailor you do have to get out the garrison. And although flying isn’t nescesarry with the taxies (flight points) you don’t get close to the best grounds. But explore and travel wise those proffesions get you out there. So i might feel a bit left behind since an blacksmith and a jewelcrafter and herbalist/alchemist don’t have that need.

    if i’m right and that’s also one of the things you reverd to with the digital download or another package you got the Grinning reaver nice mount as ground mount but it can also fly so indeed why selling fly mounts for an expansion you don’t need them.

    And another point the Druid’s i geuss the Flight From can be deleted since you just hover above ground so what’s the use in that.

    greats,
    one last thing i really mis Olivia on the wowhead weekly.

  5. I very much agree, Perc. That’s pretty much where I (and many friends) are at: there’s plenty of fun things we could do, but meh, effort. Ironically, I disliked Mists (the continent, the content too) but what I enjoyed about Mists was flying everywhere – to scope Warbringers, to find battlepets, to idly do arch digs while waiting for the raid to gather, to kill rares or world bosses. It was fun. I rarely sat in the Shrine, because I could fly out easily to whatever objective I had in mind. Besides that, flying isn’t just convenient, it’s pleasurable. There’s a reason we’re addicted to our flying mounts.

    As you say, I can resolve pretty much every bit of my raiding prep by staying in the garrison, and I can listen to trade there, too, but to get anywhere in WoD takes too much time. Not so fun. So I don’t. And since they’re not putting flying in, I guess I just won’t. Shrug.

  6. My first thought on “nope, nobody gets to fly” was “archaeology is all done – I’m not about to spend enough time to traipse out to Light knows where on foot”. Seriously, some of the digsites seem designed to rub your nose in the fact that you can’t fly. I’ve done two. Both really sucks with regard to travel within the digsite… let alone to the digsite.

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