Tuesday, May 26, 2015

World of Warcraft: No Flying Allowed ("Rant")

There's been a lot of outrage recently over an interview in which Watcher stated that there's no plans to allow flight in Draenor. Furthermore, a lot of statements were made against the future of flying at all and that it's possible there wouldn't be any flight in future expansions either. While I can understand the stance, I disagree with the opinion and more importantly, the reasoning behind his argument. In the following video and transcript, I discuss this issue, debunking the reasoning and eventually presenting a compromise that some others apparently have also proposed, since there is validity in disallowing flight to some degree.

  • What flight represents to me:
    • Mobility (and by extension, freedom and potential for exploration).
    • A possible engine for content.
    • With that said...
  • There are valid reasons for having both flyable and unflyable zones. I personally prefer a half-measure approach to this concept where there are both flyable and unflyable zones, like in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria (which really embraced this concept).
    • On a side note, I feel Blizzard thinks Mists of Pandaria was less successful than it actually was due to negative feedback initially, but frankly the expansion was pretty successful despite a few issues (daily spam, over a year of Siege of Orgrimmar).
  • In terms of flyable zones, there were previously areas with hazards that can shoot you down if you fly too close. This, along with indoors areas/other specifically unmountable subzones, allow for seamless flyable and unflyable content.
    • In addition, the hazards can be used as a form of content, much like Ogri'la dailies, etc.
    • Racing is another way to use flight as content.
    • There's other possibilities as well.
    • In short, flying is convenient, but also has been and can continue to be used as a form of content.
  • Flying as content is also important to keep around for the following reasons:
    • The training, while not as "expensive" as previously thanks to how much gold is generated through activities in Warlords, is still a gold sink that effectively would have next to no purpose if there's no future for flying mounts in Warlords and beyond. It can be used for some older content, but I would go as far as to say one could skip flight training if they really wanted to.
    • Flying mounts can be ridden on the ground, but some have animations worth looking at from the air (Sky Golem, etc).
    • Advertising store mounts that fly doesn't exactly help matters either.
  • The aforementioned does not mean there should not be unflyable content at all. For instance, flightless zones have been a thing for a while and can continue to be added. 
    • Also, as I've mentioned above, places can be exclusively made unflyable within a zone even if flight were to be eventually introduced to a zone.
  • Let's talk about Draenor.
    • Draenor when leveling up was probably a better experience overall without flying all over the place as well.
    • It is also clearly designed around being able to have some amount of flight. This is because there are a number of limited flight objects such as Aviana's Feather. This means any additional work that would be needed to make Draenor flyable has already been done. Furthermore, the only zones that were really made flyable were old Azeroth, which definitely needed a lot of work since those zones were made very early on, when flight was probably an idea at best.
    • Speaking of limited flight, they are more valuable and provide limited additional convenience, but can also be perceived as a slap in the face since persistent flight is effectively a step away from the limited forms of flying.
  • In conclusion...
    • As mentioned above, a compromise between flyable areas and unflyable ones in Warlords and beyond is probably more sensible.
    • I feel there aren't a lot of strengths to removing flight completely. It erases a potential engine for content and cuts out a convenience that could be quite useful, especially once content that is intended for ground-based play is obsoleted.
    • I would probably agree that at some point Draenor should be made flyable, whether it's in 6.2 (with Tanaan made unflyable) or when the next expansion is about to come out.
    • Ultimately, I really wonder this: Why force people to not be able to fly in upcoming content (at all)? There are people out there who clearly like flying (I know someone personally who does, but that's beside the point) so why unnecessarily cause an upset through such an absolute statement when a compromise that accomplishes similar is readily available and has been used?
  • I would like to once again state that the type of feedback is key. Saying to fire Watcher or just saying the decision is wrong isn't productive, but saying why the decision is wrong in detail is fine.

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