To fly or not to fly

The new World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, is creating controversy before its even in beta. Having announced that flying might not be available in Draenor until patch 6.1 (likely a couple of months into the expansion) Blizzard are facing cheers of joy and howls of rage in equal measure. The question, therefore, is to fly or not to fly?

Flying mounts were the feature of a generation of MMOs. World of Warcraft, EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies, all of which released in 2003-2004, ended up with flying mounts at one point or another. The recent generation, however, has not just excluded them, but has deliberately eschewed them. Guild Wars 2 has no mounts at all. Rift and SWTOR have not added them since release. On the horizon, TESO has said no and Wildstar is not sure, having planned for them only to be concerned about their impact on the game as it developed.

SWTOR is a good point for discussion here. Flying mounts were in Star Wars Galaxies. Given the science fiction nature of the game, they might make sense. After all, you can fly though space. Additionally, most of the taxis do fly through their respective zones. However, the introduction of flying mounts would have a major impact on this game:

  • Holocrons that are currently difficult to access would become easy to get.
  • The sense of a planet like Tatooine being epic in scale would be harmed.
  • Given that SWTOR has a very large number of outdoor dungeons and raid instances, these would feel far more disjointed in comparison to the rest of the world if flying were disallowed (which it would have to be).

The question people are asking themselves, including the developers of Warlords of Draenor, are what might be the impact of limiting flying in World of Warcraft?

The great flying debate

Let the Enchanted Fey Dragon and the Imperial Throne lead you through the discussion of flying versus ground mounts.

Ground is good

Flying mounts bypass the landscape, so you miss the awesomeness that developers have created.

In bypassing the landscape, you lose some of the sense of scale and the world feels smaller.

Flying from place to place reduces the opportunities for world PvP.

Flying from place to place reduces the opportunities to engage with the world.

Flying from place to place makes some content trivial.

Flying makes the world feel empty.

Wings for the win

Flying mounts let you get places directly by bypassing the landscape.

Flying is faster.

Flying from place to place reduces the chances of getting ganked.

Rare farming and exploring are engaging. And have you done land based dailies recently?

Some people like to be able to exchange ground based challenges for air based ones.

Flying makes the skies feel full. Of dragons.