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Flight in Draenor: Blizzard adds achievement to fly in future patch

Blizzard relents; flying to be allowed in future Warlords patch.

In an abrupt turnaround from their previous stance, Blizzard announced today that they would be allowing flying in the Warlords of Draenor expansion area in a future patch, after the completion of several achievements in-game. This is a departure from the strict ‘no flying going forward’ statement made during an interview with Polygon by developer Ion Hazzikostas, who also broke the news that flying would be making a comeback in World of Warcraft.

The path to flying in Warlords of Draenor is not easy - it requires the completion of nine achievements, the discovery of 100 treasures, and the time-consuming grind of raising three separate factions to revered. Completion of this meta-achievement is not for the faint of heart, and the final reward will not be available in the upcoming patch 6.2, but rather in a future patch.

Here is a checklist of needed achievements and accomplishments:

  • Complete the Explore Draenor Meta-achievement

    • Explore Frostfire Ridge

    • Explore Gorgrond

    • Explore Nagrand

    • Explore Shadowmoon Valley

    • Explore Spires of Arak

    • Explore Talador

  • Collect 100 Treasures

  • Complete the Loremaster of Draenor Meta-achievement

    • As I Walk Through The Valley of the Shadow of Moon (Alliance) or You’ll Get Caught Up in the… Frostfire! (Horde)

    • Don’t Let the Tala-door Hit You on the Way Out

    • Nagrandeur

    • Putting the Gore in Goregrond

    • Between Arak and a Hard Place

  • Complete the Securing Draenor Achievement

  • Reach Revered status with three Tanaan Jungle Reputations

    • Saberstalkers

    • Order of the Awakened

    • Hand of the Prophet/Vol’jin’s Headhunters

Upon completion of the meta-achievement Draenor Pathfinder, the player will receive the Soaring Skyterror, a flight-capable mount. In a future patch, all players who have earned the Draenor Pathfinder meta will unlock Draenor flying for all level 90+ characters on the account on which the achievement was earned.

Turnaround is Fair Play

However, while we firmly believe that keeping your feet on the ground is a key part of discovery in WoW, we also recognize that breaking free from those restrictions can be fun and rewarding as well, especially for those who’ve already fully experienced the game’s world content.

- Ion Hazzikostas, Blizzard Entertainment

The path to flight in Draenor is not intended to be easy. Blizzard strives to strike a balance between exploration and quality of life. The introduction of flying into Draenor is intended to reward those players who have already fully explored the game world and most of the ground-based challenges added in the expansion by encouraging the completion of many of the exploration-related content before taking to the skies.

For players looking to get a head start on the Draenor Pathfinder meta-achievement, Wowhead has a large number of guides to help players achieve these goals, including guides for completing the required achievements, tips on how and where to collect the needed treasures, and quest and mob lists to help gain reputation with the listed factions. Many of their more comprehensive guides have been linked together in one article, and more are sure to come as 6.2 grows closer.

Is the Controversy Over?

As GameSkinny correspondant Kristian Wilson has previously stated, not all players were displeased by the lack of flying in Draenor. Many players felt that removing flying was a step towards a return to the base game, where players were forced to interact with the world and each other and couldn't simply skip content just by mounting up and flying way. Some players even feel that flying has negatively impacted the world by removing the threat of world PvP or the chance that lower-leveled characters who get into trouble will find higher-level characters willing to ride to their aid.

However, for every argument against flying, the other side was able to make arguments for. Many pro-flight proponents contend that the lack of flying in Draenor has limited, rather than expanded, their ability to enjoy the content. A common complaint is that without the ability to fly, activities such as archaeology, material farming, or rare hunting become a tedious grind and constant backtrack through already-experienced content. They feel the argument that Blizzard 'wanted the content to be experienced' wears thin once the content has, indeed, been experienced and all that is left is repetition and grind.

From this current response to the controversy, it seems that Blizzard agrees with the pro-flyers, at least on that latter point. While the road to flying will be bumpy and long, and filled with much tedium in terms of the reputation grinds ahead, the meta-achievement and its eventual reward is certain to bring new life to those players whose interest in the game has waned in between content releases. 

Do you feel that Blizzard is right to release flying in Draenor? Will the meta-achievement and its reward help breathe life into the game? Or do you feel that in this case, Blizzard has caved to undue pressure and that their turn-around is one more example of Blizzard's slide from greatness? Comment below!

Published Jun. 11th 2015
  • tiranex
    I personally feel that the "ground game " is highly over rated and a waste of time. Let us play the game we want and you play the game you want. I don't feel like I should have to run around in circles just to satisfy the village idiot who came up with no flying. Release flight and let us have what we want.
  • Durinn McFurren
    Contributor
    Personally I liked how they did it in MoP starting with the Isle of Thunder. Max level players could fly most places, but you had to be on the ground while leveling and in daily zones. Even in Krasarang's daily zones there were two places where flight was limited (one place for each faction, where griffens or anti-air guns would quickly knock you off your mount or kill you if you went airborne). I don't know why they wouldn't go back to that kind of system.

    I mean, I am strongly pro-flight for max level players. For me, it greatly encouraged doing things throughout the world. Even things like helping lower level players (or helping other players at all), which the articles mentions flying preventing - for me it had an opposite effect. If I can fly out quickly to help them, then sure, I will do it. But in Draenor forget it. I'm not wasting my time getting to a lowbie zone to help anyone if I have to take a flight path, sit around waiting for it to end, then plod along on a ground mount to get to them.

    Nor do I think the lack of flight encourages world pvp - except in areas which were already flight-free back in MoP. I mean max level players aren't suddenly wandering the world on the ground. World pvp is most likely to happen in places where people have to go for daily quests, and back in MoP, those daily zones already were flight free. So I very much doubt that world pvp actually got much of a boost due to the lack of flight. Not to mention that many players are on pve servers where world pvp never happens.

    Putting flight behind such tedious grinds is, in my opinion, a mistake for a few reasons. 1. It's tedious to have to do all this grinding for weeks and weeks just to be able to get a max level character fly in low level areas. 2. More importantly, once people can fly in the daily zones at max level, suddenly the objection that flight decreases world pvp _makes sense_. Because flight WILL decrease world pvp if you can fly in the daily zones where people congregate.

    So, by putting flight behind such a wall of achievements, Blizzard is making a compromise that nobody will be happy with. Pro-flight people will be annoyed by the tedious grind, and anti-flight people will have a valid point about world pvp once a large percentage of the community has gained flight.

    MoP had the perfect compromise, one which encouraged world pvp in the daily zones and yet didn't make things unduly tedious.

    Although I no longer play WoW for a variety of reasons, so the whole thing doesn't directly affect me...

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