Monday, August 16, 2010

Flying in the Cities

Mer can do this because she is just That Good.

Flying has come to Azeroth. Long live the flying mount! Presently, there is nowhere that you cannot fly in Azeroth. You can fly over your cities. You can fly over the Horde cities. You can fly into the Auction House or the bank... or any other building there is.

Above, you can see Merinna in the Undercity where she flew down the back entrance completely unopposed. (she got out with no difficulty either). This raises issues:

  1. Mounts Coming Inside - The first time that somebody parks his dragon inside the AH is the first time my head will explode from disgust. There was a reason all these years that you automatically dismounted when you ran indoors, I don't see why it should change now.
  2. Flying Over Enemy Cities - on Nagrand server, the bored Horde will be assassinating our auctioneers almost regularly if it stays like this. It's one thing to raid a city, but it's another to fly unopposed over the city so you can surgically strike at something. In some regards, I wouldn't be opposed, personally, to having everybody dismounted when they enter city limits, like we do in Dalaran right now. The reason Dalaran is a no-fly zone is because the developers thought that Shattrath lacked any sense of being a city. There was no congregation in Shattrath, whereas, you walk around Dalaran and cool things abound from other players who can't just fly away whenever they want.
But that said, some of the cities would benefit strongly from flying mounts. Orgrimmar in particular has become much more vertical and I think wyverns cruising the skies there will be pretty cool. Alliance Cities are not included in that however.

But I think that the opposite factions flying over opposing cities will be a bad bad thing. Some of the suggestions I have heard to remedy this:
  • Everybody is dismounted in the city. I sorta like this option but I don't think this would be very popular.
  • The opposite faction is dismounted in the city. This one suits me well. I would enjoy shooting arcane missiles into some fool orc falling to ground on a parachute. Also, I get tired of the Horde game of climbing up to some high spot where they can harry us but not be engaged. Ooh, look! Mullokad has climbed up onto the buildings in IF again! So, we just fly up there and bring him down.
  • They put anti-aircraft turrets in the cities so that players can blast players out of the sky. This seems like it would be fun. But I think the logistics are bad. Imagine you are walking through SW and hear the "Stormwind is under attack!" warning. Is it time to go charging off to an AA gun? You don't know where the attack is. And by the time you get to the AA gun, there's nothing really to suggest the Horde is still in the air.
  • They put battle mages in the cities, not unlike what there were in Outland. I like this idea a lot. If you try flying into a city, then you're going to get shot down and killed. End of story. I think that will take care of the invasion problem fairly thoroughly.
Anybody can still raid into a city. They just shouldn't be able to fly past the defenders. A large group of griffins diving into Orgrimmar will look cool. Or the flock of Wyverns diving on Stormwind. But it will be cool exactly once. And then the 10th time it happens, you'll be wishing that these flying mounts had never been invented. One year into the expansion and nobody will be going to Stormwind or Ironforge anymore because you can't get anything done. Exodar will finally have its moment as the Alliance gathering town of choice just because the Horde won't be bothered to trek all the way up there.

But, the thing is that, with these new flight dynamics, no one is sure right now if this is a work in progress, if Blizzard is done with the issue, or if there's not just a bug enabling some of this stuff. I don't think any developer has really said.

If you cruise the Beta forums, just about every comment suggests that the current situation is no good, so I hope that this is changed somehow or another before Cataclysm goes live.

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