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Regional FlagBashiok's response to flying in WoD launch. (Show MVP Posts)Source
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#1 - 2013/11/14 04:35:00 AM
Bashiok posted this at http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/10571977123#6

There's a lot of discussion about flying/not-flying and I'd like to try to sum things up and maybe realign the discussion a bit. Some of the other threads are near-cap, some have really gone down tangents, so I'm just picking this one to throw a reply into. Apologies to the other threads.

We intend to disallow flying while leveling from 90 to 100, and have flying become available again in the first major patch for Warlords of Draenor. No flying while leveling has been the case during Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Mists of Pandaria. We allowed flying during Cataclysm because as those zones were mixed-in with the 1-60 world it just would have been really jarring to dismount you as you fly into Hyjal, etc. but we would have disallowed it for Catalcysm zones as well if there was a reasonable solution there.

Flying trivializes combat. A lot of people like to say we're trying to force world PvP, or that we just really want people to look at the pretty trees we made, but those really aren't the reasons that drive this same decision we've made every expansion. Flying allows you to escape or enter combat at-will. There's a reason why flying isn't allowed in dungeons and raids, or battlegrounds and arenas, and that's because it would trivialize the core mechanic of the game in those areas - combat. For much the same reason it trivializes how content is approached in the outdoor world based on the simple fact that you can lift off and set down wherever you like.

So that's the main reason. But sure there are a lot of other problems it can cause for content design such as zones having to get a lot bigger because flying mounts can travel so quickly (and thus making ground travel in them take much longer), it reduces the impact of elevation within zones, it completely removes the ability for us to pace or present content in any structured way, and in general removes our ability to determine how and when players approach a situation, see a vista or location, or charge into/out-of a combat situation. It just greatly reduces any gameplay we want to create by allowing infinite choice in how content is approached to best suit a player's intention to (usually) avoid that content.

I totally sympathize with people's desire to do that, they want to be efficient and have it be their choice, but we have to balance our intent to create a game against creating a sandbox where anything goes. There's a happy medium there somewhere, but flying mounts in most cases just do too much to undermine too many of our core intentions with the game world, the basis of the game: combat, or guiding players through a game experience, and for those reasons we have continually chosen (when we could) to disallow flying mounts in the 'current' outdoor content. In the past that's meant only while leveling, but in our experiences with the Isle of Thunder and Timeless Isle we feel like we can extend that for a bit longer in the new content, and have it be kind of a big deal again once you're able to earn flying in the first big content patch, and in the meantime putting focus on flight paths as well as having some more interesting travel options for players to use.

Now this line got me.
but in our experiences with the Isle of Thunder and Timeless Isle we feel like we can extend that for a bit longer in the new content.

Now I must say I respectfully disagree. Is it really fair to use those zones as reasons to justify not having flying upon reaching level 100 though? You have to take into consideration that they had gated content, especially the isle of thunder where it required a faction/server effort to unlock each stage of progress that allowed you to continue on the legendary cloak quest chain. Having flying there would have been pretty meaningless since even if you flew over the walls you most likely wouldn't be able to do anything. Timeless isle had Ordos sanctum that requires the legendary cloak though having flying would have allowed people to reach rares faster to get pets and such before they were nuked into oblivion.

Now compare it to a leveling zone with resources scattered about or people wanting to get to their flex raid portal in a timely and efficient manner. Also, it is my belief that if people cared so much about world pvp they would create it. Blizzard did many experiments in the past such as Halaa and such to encourage world pvp but if players don't want to do it, they won't do it. I mean sure at first when they were released people participated but interest dropped from my experience. Now you're considering, pardon the word I'm going to use, crippling people to try and get them to fight either mobs or other players. Oh and I don't know about you guys but being a level 90 it's annoying getting dazed and dismounted by a lower level mob.

In the end Blizzard has the final decision but I am voicing my perspective on the topic and would like to state that I believe the next level of flying should be accessible from a trainer for gold upon reaching level 100. I believe, though I might be wrong, it would be an inconvenience to the majority of the playerbase but at the same time people like myself would just tolerate it because we're addicted to the game. We may not like it but we'll tolerate it like an abusive relationship because we have nowhere else to go.

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#106 - 2013/11/14 08:05:00 AM
So a couple things I wanted to bring up in addition to what I posted earlier. The first was that we're of course refining our questing experience, you may have heard a bit about it from BlizzCon, and that expands to max level content as well. In Mists of Pandaria there was quite a bit of outdoor content at max level, but it was almost entirely in the form of dailies. From BlizzCon we shared we're looking to provide something quite a bit more story driven like the 5.1 Operation Shieldwall/Dominance Offensive with some of the exploration lessons we learned from the Timeless Isle, and that extends to the max level experience as well. We want the transition at max level not to be questing and story to a harsh "now you do dailies", but something that's more natural and feels a lot like the leveling experience just at max level for better reward. And so that goes back to all of the reasons I gave before about how flight interrupts some of the core mechanics we think present the best leveling and questing experience, and I thought it'd be good to point out that it'll also play a big role at max level due to our questing refinements.

The second thing is we really like when flying feels like a reward and something you've earned for each new expansion or area. It's such a powerful ability and we look back at BC (at least for epic riding) or Wrath and those were really big keystone achievements for us as players (mainly because they had some pretty huge gold costs on them...). Regardless of the unlock method though it was one of the bigger moments when you unlocked flying, took to the skies, and were able to see the world from an entirely different vantage because for most of us it wasn't easily attainable. Our plan has been to recapture some of that but make it a bit cooler, and while we don't have specifics just yet, it'll be something more involved than just paying gold; something that further emphasizes how powerful flight is. Unlocking it won't just be level 100 on the day 6.1 comes out with some gold, but something you'll be working toward over the course of the initial expansion release, and 6.1 will introduce the final steps to complete it. Think of something like a mini Legendary cloak quest. It's such a enormous power to be able to fly we really want it to be more of a key moment when you unlock it, and something that feels like an accomplishment more than just shelling out some gold like we've had in the past.

Anyway, I felt like those two things were worth spelling out.

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#174 - 2013/11/14 08:40:00 AM
11/14/2013 12:25 AMPosted by Xath
Its not cool its just tedious and annoying to have to relearn to fly every gd expac. You know the expac I had the most fun leveling in Bash? It was cata because I could fly I could skip the camping skum i could nuke my quests; and then when I got to 85 I could put on a tabard and just grind my rep, it wasn't daily gated so I got it all done in about a day and a half it was wonderful.

We know there is some portion of players that raid, or have some specific end-game goal, and that leveling and questing and mobs and the story and the actual rest of the game in general just gets in the way of that. But ultimately "racing to end-game so you can put on a tabard and grind out rep" isn't the name of the game we're making. We're not going to be able to force you to care about the music, or setting, or experience, but you gotta understand that the rest of the game is for everyone else that does care about those things, and at least consider the logical reasons we present that makes that content better for them, even if it means it could maybe slightly disrupt your ability to chain-queue for Heroics.

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#204 - 2013/11/14 08:49:00 AM
11/14/2013 12:44 AMPosted by Cladriah
Why not make the air more dangerous instead of taking away flying.

We've tried that quite a few times, it's really just a symptom of how the game mechanics function that most of our forays into dangerous flight just feel really bad. On one hand they feel unnecessarily harsh because there's only a few things you can really do to someone while they're flying and they generally deal with stuns/slows/dismounts, and on the other hand there's just no fun gameplay that can really be had there. The best gameplay is at ground level because that's the basis for the design of our game's combat systems. We'd toyed with mounted/flying combat in the past but that could almost be a totally separate game on its own, and probably gets us too far away from what WoW is.

Community Manager
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#256 - 2013/11/14 09:10:00 AM
11/14/2013 01:02 AMPosted by Talishi
How would this questing to unlock flying be the same? Its essentially dailies with the new name of Epic questing chain. You would most likely have to repeatly do things everyday or every week until you earn a certain gated number.

Do I need to go edit that part out, or is everyone going to be able to refrain from deciding exactly what it is (and being angry about it) before we've even designed it?

Nah, never mind, editing it out. Everyone is just going to focus on that and make assumptions about what that means.