Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Merinna on her first Griffon
Last week, WoW lead designer Ion Hazzikostas gave an interview in which he noted that there would be no flying in Patch 6.2, in fact, he didn't think there would be any flying in Draenor at all.  And you know what? He suspected they may never allow flying again in any future expansion pack either because the developers liked that idea so much.

The reasons stated are that "flying makes the world feel smaller and less dangerous." Which, truth be told, is entirely an accurate statement. The developers have chafed at a character's ability to simply jump on a flying mount, go kill something that needs killing, and jump on that flying mount to escape the multitudinous ground forces that might get in your way. I presume flying above it all is a way to avoid PvP entanglements on an open PvP server.

So, with those caveats in the previous paragraph clearly written out and agreed to by me, let me state unequivocally that to remove flying as an ongoing feature in the World of Warcraft would be a disgraceful, terrible idea. Removing flying from the game gives way to lazy design by the developers and is disrespectful to the players who have spent years building characters around the flight ability.

Lazy Design

Hazzikostas says that it is difficult to design around the convenience of flying. He completely ignores how successfully Blizzard has done this in the past.

Wrath of the Lich King was brilliantly designed for the use of aerial transportation. Many of the zones of that expansion had an impressive verticality that took the ability to fly as a key feature of its exploration. Do you remember the first time you flew into the Storm Peaks, all full of straight inclines and monumentally-sized Titan features? How about Icecrown Citadel, where the ground was so full of enemy Scourge that you had to fly above it to get where you needed to be?  How about the Howling Fjord, which, although a starting-level zone for Lich King, gained so much more beauty when you reached max level and could sail through the air jetties of the deep chasms and foothills.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Spring Malaise

Well, I honestly didn't want it to go this way, but 6.1 has been a bust for much of anything interesting.

I don't know what else my expectations were. A few posts ago I wrote explicitly of how disappointing patch 6.1 looked coming up on the horizon. And it turned out to be pretty well everything I wrote about then: fixes to systems from 6.0, stretching content in the garrison, minor fixes to problems in the garrison without any ambitious overhauls. No new areas of content whatsoever.

I've finished the legendary questline, involving that ring and Garona Halforcen. Or... I've finished as far as that story goes for now. 

Spoiler Time (skip this part if you get nitsy about the legendary questline) 

Having Garona as a "legendary follower" is nice enough, except that on a storyline basis, I just don't trust her. Garona, in our original timeline flipped allegiances and even after her "brainwashing" by Gul'dan was defeated, still managed to slip off to assassinate King Llane of Stormwind at the warlock's behest. Khadgar should presumably know better this time around, but I don't see him doing anything different from what was done before.