A Hunter ain’t a beastmaster unless you can tame yourself a big ol’ dino!
Just look at the size of him. Look at that nose, the snout, she’s a real goer, you can tell.
Thanks to my habit of Warbringer farming, I MIGHT have a matching mount. Riding around on the ground for an expansion holds no fears for me, because I’ll be looking good, baby.
Looking good, Billy Ray? Feeling good, Lewis!
Feeling good, indeed.
Let’s talk about being locked to the land for an expansion.
Flying, not flying, no flying at start, maybe later? maybe never? Everyone has an opinion, of that one thing you can be sure.
Flying is a lot of fun. It causes problems for developers when it comes to controlling players and the rate or ease with which they devour/and/or avoid content, sure, but bottom line it.
You can’t take the sky from me.
I love to fly. I love to fly as a Druid in flight form especially, but no matter what the method, I love to fly in the game. The controls are smooth and responsive, and the graphics slide by with ease. A sense of soaring through the wind is attained.
For me, cloudbusting is one of the key things I love in the game.
Oh hell, why not. I love this song, and I love Kate Bush. Enjoy this brief interlude.
Damn, I love that song and video. Almost thirty years old, and you still feel the power of Terry Gilliam, Kate Bush and Donald Sutherland sticking the landing.
That first line of the song, “I still dream of Algernon, I wake up crying.” That makes me want to cry as well. I also remember Algernon, and I always will.
Let’s put aside all the cynical reasons why a developer would want to keep you bound to the earth for an expansion. Let’s look at the game as a game.
There was a time not so very long ago where there was no free flight in the game. If you went somewhere, you went on foot or took a flight from a dedicated flight master. And before you could fly to the flight master, you had to go out and discover him for yourself. For the fifteenth alt, a pain in the ass, but that first time?
Ah, that first time. Everyone remembers their first time.
Sometimes, flight masters were killed and you’d land only to be stranded until they reappeared.
Sometimes you went walkabout, trying to find the edges of the world. Jumping and climbing, working your way up slopes to the boundaries to see what lay beyond.
I made it once, you know. Dun Morogh, up near Mo’grosh Stronghold, out east where the Night Elves have their hunting lodge. I went climbing with a few random people I met killing ogres one day, and we fell off the world into an empty, grey void.
I saw the other side, and only I am returned to tell thee.
The world was a place of mystery, where the far corners might not have been mapped yet, where you didn’t really know what was on the other side or near the top.
A place where dwarves operated airstrips in the mountains that you couldn’t quite reach, but legend spoke of those who did, and were banished by Blizzard to silence the tales they might tell.
I love my flying, and I do not wish to lose it. I have the game open even now as I write, with my hunter hovering over Golden Terrace, and even now the sound of the wind soars through my speakers, mixed with a sweeping refrain of violins.
Bring in the horn section. Ah, there we are.
There was an undeniable thrill to seeing the world at sea level, to pushing through vines and fronds of leaves, of hacking my way through deepest jungle and breaking trail over high peaks. Yes, and of knowing that if you got in deep shit, you were way out in the woods and far from home, and my what big eyes you have granny.
I still remember the death run I made from Stormwind to Booty Bay, to visit every flight master along the way, at the ripe old level of 25 or 35 or whatever the heck it was. Low enough level to be a bite sized aggro magnet morsel. Every step, would I aggro some unseen panther from the other side of that hill? Would I be able to run? Would I make it, and if not, how much further would I get next time?
As large as the world truly is, being able to fly makes everything that much smaller.
The challenges, like the people, seem so small when viewed from above.
You can’t take the sky from me.
But you can borrow it for a little while.
There are other games, and I can tell you now that there will be times that I will play those other games when I would normally be playing World of Warcraft, just so I can feel the thrill of speed, faster and faster until the rush of the stoop outweighs the fear of death.
Is it a good design decision if it sends players to a different game? Short term yes as long as it isn’t long term permanent, I think.
For the short term, I think I will enjoy the expansion more knowing that wherever I go, I will have to contest my right to go where I will with those that think themselves the lands masters.
I will contest with them, and they will make way, or their bones will litter the ground behind me. It’s all the same to me.
I will not slink like a coward through the Dark Portal to stab the minions of the warlords in their sleep.
Nay, I will ride through the Dark Portal with my massive dinosaur Bloodtusk like the conquering champion that I am, fearing nothing.
Why should I fear? I have trod the wings of dragons beneath my mailed feet. I have taken the crown from the head of the prince of death, and anointed a successor by my will.
I have killed death itself and sent the elder gods fleeing in panic, seeking to escape my wrath in vain.
I, fear the Warlords of Draenor?
Right. Pull the other one, it’s got mail on, it tinkles like a bell.
Go ahead, give it a few really good tugs. Don’t be shy.
I will not fear, but it will be good to feel once more the sensations of wonder, curiosity, the rousing spirit of adventuring through unknown lands eager to see what lies over the next rise. And yes, the thrill of wondering if it will be big enough to eat me like a Fel Reaver eatng noobs on the first day of the Burning Crusade launch.
Once I’ve traveled the length and breadth of New Draenor and mastered all it has for me, well, at that point there had best be some soaring symphony is all I’m saying.
For a while though, a very little while, all will be well. And all will be well. And all manner of things will be well.
I live for the unchained melody of the wind playing beneath my wings.