WoW: It’s Not About Flying

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the official forum for World of Warcraft, expressing my displeasure with things like the decision to prevent the use of flying mounts for the first several months of the next expansion.

Concept art of Shadowmoon Valley for World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorBecause I’m a masochist, I decided to start my own thread to talk not just about that issue, but also how I feel it’s representative of a pattern of regressive behaviour on Blizzard’s part that is the crux of many of my current complaints about the game.

I put enough thought into my rant that I thought it might be worth sharing here.


As you may have noticed, there’s been a lot of talk lately about Blizzard delaying flying in WoD until the first major patch. And a lot of people have responded to complaints about this by saying that people are overreacting, that flying isn’t that big of a deal. In a vacuum, they’d be right.

But here’s the thing: It’s not really about flying.

What has me, and a lot of others, so frustrated is that these new restrictions on flying are just the latest in a series of regressive decisions made by Blizzard.

My warlock looking out over Icecrown from Orgrim's HammerI joined in Wrath. I enjoyed the game a lot back then, but it also had a lot of problems. Over the years, many of those problems have been resolved. The game has improved immeasurable since Wrath, and I would never go back.

But it’s not any more fun now than it was then. Why? Because it’s also gotten worse in just as many ways. For every step forward, there’s also been a step back.

Look at valor and justice. They’ve been nerfed, and nerfed, and nerfed again. First, you could buy a full tier set with them, then only a partial set, then only off-set pieces. Then the rate at which you earned them got massively cut down, and the rewards for them were locked behind a massive rep grind of epic proportions. Now they’re only good for out-dated gear and upgrades.

Justice was so useless for much of MoP that people mainly just used it to buy PvP epics as starter gear in PvE.

The fact that the primary PvE currency was only used to buy PvP gear to use in PvE really should have been a red flag to someone.

My rogue on the streets of Stormwind at sunsetThere was the removal of Have Group, Will Travel. We’re back to enjoying the “epic” experience of going AFK on a flightpath for five minutes while hoping the Horde doesn’t tag the world boss first, or else pestering the raid to get organized about summoning people, because clicking a portal is hard apparently.

The Quick and the Dead was nerfed to the ground, to the point where it doesn’t make any significant difference at all anymore. Instead of getting right back into the action, we’re slowly jogging through the spirit world, increasing the chances of mobs respawning or someone else tapping that rare you spent weeks looking for. Simply failing in your task isn’t enough, apparently; you need to be more thoroughly punished for your love of adventure and risk-taking.

And you better hope you don’t die in a hard to reach place, because spectral gryphons are a thing of the past.

Rep tabards got removed. I actually do agree that becoming exalted with a faction by putting on a piece of cloth for a week was a bit silly, but taking that away at the same time as reputation was made far more important than it had ever been, and quests were made to award far less reputation, and certain reputations were locked behind other reputations… That just crossed into the realm of the absurd.

And then there’s the excessive way they’ve been gating LFR. A week or two, sure, but setting things back more than a month is just too much. It forces you to either cut yourself off from the WoW community entirely for weeks, or have everything spoiled for you long before you get to see it.

My Pandaren hunter running through the Ruins of Gilneas in World of WarcraftAnd then there are the restrictions on flying. Now, I am absolutely, 100% in favour of not letting people fly on the first character they take to level cap in a new expansion. It heightens the sense of discovery.

But once you’ve gone through the content once, that sense of discovery is gone. After that, not being able to fly is just a pointless time sink. MoP should have included a tome of flying I could send to my alts.

And now WoD is taking it to a new level of silliness with its “no flying for the first couple months because hey look a dog *running footsteps*.”

On its own, I could live with not being able to fly. I’d be annoyed, but I’d live.

But I am so, so sick of Blizzard taking the game backwards instead of forwards. Isn’t the whole reason they won’t do classic servers because they say they want to keep going forward? That philosophy’s a bit contradictory with their actions, isn’t it?

It’s at the point now where I’m not so much looking forward to what fun new things will be added in future as I am worried about what fun old things will be removed.

My warlock showing off her legendary cloak in World of WarcraftAll of the removed or mangled features I’ve talked about were optional, too. Anyone who didn’t like them could simply choose to ignore them. There aren’t any players who are benefiting from these changes. Only players suffering because of them.

I remember StarCraft II originally planned to remove a bunch of the less popular units in Heart of the Swarm. But there was a massive fan backlash, and they ended up dropping the idea. After all, an expansion is supposed to expand the game, not shrink it, right?

The WoW team should take a lesson from that.

You can’t put a genie back in its bottle, Blizzard. The more try, the harder it is for me to enjoy the things you still do well — and there are a lot of those.


If you’d like to share your thoughts and/or flame me back to the stone age, you can find the original post here.

You’re Doing It Wrong:

On a largely unrelated note, I recently beat the silver tanking challenge in Proving Grounds, earning the achievement, “You’re Doing It Wrong.” I had to redo all my talents and glyphs for maximum survivability, but once I did that, it was relatively easy. Only took me three tries.

My warlock earns the achievement for completing the silver tanking challenge in Proving GroundsYay me.

6 thoughts on “WoW: It’s Not About Flying

  1. I only just read that thread on the WOW forums, and my first thought was ‘Oh boy this dude is going to be shred to pieces …’

    You bring well put arguments forward, but unfortunately they are all very personal aren’t they? You feel some design decisions have made the game worse. Some one else might feel different. And in the end, it’s just to soon to make a statement. WoD is far off, lots of unknown facts for us players, lots of things can change etc …

    I played most of my WOW in vanilla WOW. My life back then was pretty much focussed on WOW and WOW alone (no wife, no kids etc). Back then there were no flying mounts, and everyone managed just fine.

    So if they do go through with the no flying till patch 6.x, I’d have no problem with it. Sure it would be weird a bit, but I’d welcome it, if only to see the effect on the world and players.

    If they can bring some of the Timeless Isle mentality over to WoD, I would be very happy. And if the no flying can help in fostering a more engaging, open, coorporative community, then hey, it’s worth it.

    Again, this is my very personal opinion, and you are welcome to disagree :-).

    • My main rebuttal to that would be to say that all of the things I miss were entirely optional. If anyone didn’t like them, they didn’t have to participate. So all their removal has done is taken choice away from the players. There’s no benefit to decisions like that. It punishes those who did like those features and gives no benefit to anyone else.

  2. Pingback: If you want to change the world … | Rose-colored casual

  3. I agree with you 100% on this one. All the yapping about the “good things” without flying sounds well…yes, I’ll say it – naive.
    After all, if you want the old “vanilla” feeling then simply get off your mount and walk…duh. It doesn’t have to be taken away from *everyone.* See my comparison to outhouses and yes, that’s how stupid the no-flying arguments sound.
    There is absolutely no reason not to allow it once you reach level cap except for gating.
    How much do you want to bet that we will be able to get a Tome of Flying…from the in-game Blizzard store for Real Money?
    People who think it’s about “slowing down and smelling the daisies” should wake up and get their heads out of Vanilla – that game died a long time ago.

    • Heh, you’re really getting out the tinfoil over that Blizzard store, aren’t you?

      Then again, given they’re planning to charge us for recustomizations after the new models come out, I’m not sure I blame you.

  4. Pingback: Grounded | WoW Misadventures

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.