|Obligatory mount moon shot|
Today was the day of the ever highly anticipated flying patch. I was both bummed and excited in a way only i could be. Now, i’m sure other people feel the same way as i do, but perhaps in a different way. You see, i love flying but wish it was never implemented in the first place. It’s such a convenience that i feel spoils players and creates this weird dislike for any sort of travel other than itself. It makes adventuring and exploration dull in the sense that all danger is removed. At least that’s what it should do and used to do. Now? Not so much.
All that so called open world danger was removed a long time when soloing became mandatory to keep any sort of large playerbase going. Exploration and grouping was replaced by what i like to call lobby based afk’ing in cities. In this expansion the cities were substituted for the groundbreaking garrison experiment. Elite areas and public dungeons were also removed for the sake of convenience and to curb player griefing. I’m of course speaking about MMO’s in general here and not just WoW. Story and quest chains won out in the end, which is a shame in my opinion. Our imaginations took a hit here.
I’m fine with having flying in a game like WoW because it is what it is. I’ve always said implementing something as game changing as flight and then taking it away was a huge mistake and we saw exactly that with this expansion. Players have a certain expectation and comfort zone with flight and removing it does more harm that good in the end. Sure it was great having to climb hills and interesting location for some platforming related tasks, but all that could have been accomplished by making flight only available after zone completion. Pretty much like how it was handled in previous expansions.
I do give Blizzard credit for realizing how detrimental having flying is to a game world. At the same time, they built their game and playerbase around the mechanic. It was too late in the evolution of the game to make such a drastic change. I saw it first hand as players i know refused to go explore and constantly complained that they had to figure out ways up mountains and find hidden caves where previously they could just fly directly to. It was disheartening to hear as someone who enjoys that stuff, but i understood. I didn’t have expectations and they did. In the end, i think the right choice was made for this particular game.