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About Flying....

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 11:22 pm
by Avelmi
Well, the plan is no more flying from this point forward. So...I guess the question has finally been answered. ... c-blizzard

4. There's still no flying in Tanaan Jungle ... and there probably won't be in any new zones or expansions

When Warlords of Draenor first hit, some fans were surprised to discover that even upon reaching the new level cap of 100, they couldn't fly with their air-based mounts in the new zones. Initially Blizzard expected to patch in flying at some point, but now it has changed its mind.

"Having looked at how flying has played out in the old world in the last couple of expansions, we realized that while we were doing it out of this ingrained habit after we introduced flying in The Burning Crusade, it actually detracted from gameplay in a whole lot of ways," Hazzikostas explains. "While there was certainly convenience in being able to completely explore the world in three dimensions, that also came at the expense of gameplay like targeted exploration, like trying to figure out what's in that cave on top of a hill and how do I get up there."

""It made the world feel in many ways much smaller""

Hazzikostas gives an example: Before flying was introduced to World of Warcraft, if you got a quest to rescue a prisoner from an enemy encampment, it would play out a certain way. Players would need to fight their way through the camp. After flying, players could just fly into the center of camp, land on top of the hut where the prisoner is, free him and fly out.

"It made the world feel in many ways much smaller," he says.

Originally, Blizzard took out flying in Warlords of Draenor as an experiment, and Hazzikostas says he would have bet "slightly better than even money at the time" that they were going to bring it back eventually. But as they played the expansion and watched others play it, they discovered that they liked the game better without flying.

"The world feels larger, feels more dangerous," he says. "There's more room for exploration, for secrets, for discovery and overall immersion in the world. At this point, we feel that outdoor gameplay in World of Warcraft is ultimately better without flying. We're not going to be reintroducing the ability to fly in Draenor, and that's kind of where we're at going forward."

Hazziokostas confirms that this direction includes future expansions, though he doesn't discount the possibility of adding flight options in to specific expansion ideas or zones that would benefit from it. In general, though, he believes that exploration in Blizzard's massive world "works better and feels better in our view when you're doing it from the ground."

He also promises that Blizzard will continue working to improve its network of taxi flight paths in the game to prevent any major frustration from this change: "The goal is to maximize convenience in getting from point a to point but retaining as much of the gameplay and depth as possible once you do get to that point."

Re: About Flying....

Posted: Thu May 28, 2015 11:15 am
by Maltz
I understand with, and in part, even agree with the basic philosophy - the world *is* smaller when you can fly, BUT... The way they're implementing this is the worst of both worlds.

The terrain in WoD is beautiful and complex... and often VERY difficult to navigate from the ground. In early expansions, there were terrain texture cues that showed you what you could climb and what you couldn't. Subtle differences in the color of the grass or slightly-worn trails hinted at the right way to go when it wasn't otherwise obvious. They kind of moved away from that in later expansions because advances in graphics gave them the ability to make more complex terrain, and since you could fly, such things were less important anyway. So in WoD, there is very little of that, but without flying, finding your way up hills is an exercise in frustration.

Also, if making the world larger is the goal, then putting 7 flight points in a zone works against that purpose. The world still seems small, because you can fly *almost* anywhere, but it's also frustrating because you can't fly to exactly where you want. Not to mention how you never have to search for quest objectives - where to go is highlighted on your map with a big blue area, or even a specific yellow dot. All of that seems to work against their stated exploration goals.

Mind you, I don't want to return to the ways of vanilla (well, completely lol) but it seems like they're kind of floundering in this area, without a clear direction.

I still think, in many aspects of the game, BC was the sweet spot. :)

Re: About Flying....

Posted: Thu May 28, 2015 1:20 pm
by Avelmi
I'm not sure how I feel about it, to be honest.

Draenor definitely has some massively frustrating areas to traverse. On my characters, when I go after rares or treasures on the map, I sometimes spent 10 to 15 minutes trying to find a way up, or in, or down, or whatever. That's a lot of time spent aggro'ing mobs and falling to my (near) death.

But, I do kinda like not having to buy a flight license again. I'm really tired of the whole "oh, your flying mounts lost their brains -- throw some money at this random NPC to "fix" it." I mean, I know they do it partly as a gold sink, but I kinda don't like sinking gold into this thing.

The problem is that, if they do add flying, something about the expansion will require it. TBC required it for Netherstorm (which was obviously built on the expectation you'd be flying) and the Ogrila dailies. Wrath required it for Storm Peaks and Icecrown (same problem as Netherstorm) and for the Icecrown dailies to access the airship. Cata required it because getting around in the world was a miserable experience without it, and Deepholm seemed to required it in general and for the airship. MoP neeeded it for the Halfhill dailies with the charging rams of doom (thankyouverymuch for the falling death, uh huh uh huh).

It's pretty obvious that they can't make the work meaningful on the ground when flight is an option. Or, maybe, they just don't know how. I'm not sure.

But, I'm on the fence. If they add it, I'll begrudgingly pay the fee to fly at 310% rather than ride at 100%.

One thing I would like -- faster ground mounts. :) I bet they can't really do that either. Rift has 165% ground mounts (no flying there) and they had so many geography problems they actually took out falling damage. You could literally DIE on flat ground because your ground mount would hit a pebble, fly through the air, and then you'd die. :P

Re: About Flying....

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 11:40 am
by Maltz
Avelmi wrote:Rift has 165% ground mounts (no flying there) and they had so many geography problems they actually took out falling damage. You could literally DIE on flat ground because your ground mount would hit a pebble, fly through the air, and then you'd die. :P

LOL! Seems like the right fix there would be to patch the physics, not remove the fall damage. So are you saying that now, your ground mount can still hit a pebble and fly through the air, but you just won't die from it? Now I'm regretting not playing Rift... lol

Re: About Flying....

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 5:27 pm
by Avelmi
Yes, the mounts in Rift are really strange. When I run to the porticulum and hit the platform, I can sail way past the porticulum master, like I have a rocket taped to my mount's behind. :P Funny stuff.