Saturday, 15 March 2014

Why No Flying in WOD Will Damage Exploration

   It is true that you've not been allowed to fly right away in expansions except from in Cataclysm; flying, otherwise, has always been allowed in the end. Sometimes it's a reward like with Burning Crusade and Mists of Pandaria when you hit max level, and other times it's a requirement at a certain point like in Wrath of the Lich King around level 77. And that was cool.
   The expansions that rewarded you with flying at the end were designed primarily for ground mounts, and while levelling (particularly in MoP, despite having been so used to flying everywhere in the previous expansion) I never saw the ground-mount-only condition to hinder game play. Because the expansions were designed around it. Warlords of Draenor will be much the same.

   However: while exploration was a huge part of MoP, and MoP was the first expansion in a while to completely limit flying to max level, when you could fly there was still so much to discover. There's all these hidden gems like Grohl Grohl around the outside of Kun-Lai Summit, the skeletons in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms surrounded by roses and so on. I can't help thinking, by 'playing it by ear' as they've put it, implies that a lot of the real exploration - the areas of the map you were never led to and were way off the beaten track - isn't going to be there anymore because, being the game developers themselves, they've probably already kind of decided that flying either definitely will or definitely won't be implimented.
   Some people complain that flying mounts take away from this that and the other - if it bothers these people, why do they use flying mounts? In Pandaria, because flying was end-game content, it's basically totally optional - you can get around everywhere without flying mounts, except where factions like the Order of the Cloud Serpents are concerned, because, surprise, that faction is based around flying. You can't fly at all in the Timeless Isle or the Isle of Thunder.

   At the end of the day, it's totally their decision since they know where they want to take this game, but to say that it removes from the exploration is quite simply incorrect. People who aren't going to explore aren't going to do it, and people who are going to explore are going to do so whether flying mounts are implemented or not. Personally, as someone who loves to explore, I find not being able to fly a hinderance because I feel I can't go anywhere and explore without being knocked off of my mount by mobs, and that kinds of makes me not want to bother. And as I said before, if flying isn't implemented, then a lot of hidden stuff that a lot of players love, like myself and most bloggers I follow, isn't going to be there.
   Not flying won't hinder actual game play, unless you want to farm for herbs or ore, because the zones will have been designed around the quests and vice versa. We won't even notice that we're unable to fly - until we hit max level.

   Keeping flying away until the first patch is fine because at least we'll be getting it, even if it is after 5 months. But 'playing it by ear' and suggesting it may not be implemented at all is ridiculous. Flying may not be necessary to level or for some patches, but it's quite a basic thing that they've foolishly gotten us all too used to, and trying to take that away from us is like trying to take TV away from everyone - it isn't necessary, but just about all of us use one.
   They've said recently that we'll be able to use all mounts as ground mounts - so we're going to glide across the floor on a cloud serpent? Dragons and drakes with huge and powerful wings simply won't use them? It doesn't make sense. Not only that, but they've given us a flying mount with the collector's edition and digital duluxe edition again, a flying mount modelled off of an already existing ground mount. Either they're lost the plot, or flying will be implemented eventually.

   Sometimes it seems to me that developers, because they are forced to look at the game from a different view to us just-players (I am of course aware that most of the devs do also play the game as well as build it), are unable to see the game for its more basic level of simply playing because they know more about the building blocks of the game than we do, but sometimes that can only hinder them because they're looking at theories and almost forgetting about the practical side of it. They saying that flying takes away from exploration because they seem to think we all just fly over the tree tops until we hit the highlighted map area. In truth we do fly over tree tops to get to the highlighted area, but often take a detour to follow a "what's that?" or simply go off and explore the areas harder to reach than what you already came across while levelling. Exploration is great, but it seems like they want us to discover the same things with every character, but the exploration and the excitement is felt by us, the players, and it just isn't as exciting the second time around because we already know it's there.

   I realise I'm blathering; I've got a lot of opinions I'm struggling to get out. I'm writing it mostly for the benefit of the devs who aren't going to read it anyway, so at this point I'm wondering why I've bothered.
   Having to wait for it, in my opinion, isn't really a problem because at least it's coming, but the idea of not having it at all while they claim they want us to explore more is a bit stupid. How do you feel about the prospect of no flying at all? Or having to wait?

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