Can We Recreate the Magic?

This post is just a little bit of musing about then and now.

Tuesday will see the dawn of a new era in WoW.

Or will it?

The Cataclysm will come to the world of Azeroth, surprising our characters, but not us.

That’s not what I’ve been thinking of.

Maybe it’s Tesh’s fault, but I do spend quite some time trying to analyze the intentions of the Blizzard developers NOT from anything they say, but rather from what they actually DO.

You’re not what you say you are, no matter how loudly you proclaim it. You are what you do.

Tomorrow, for the first time since the release of the Burning Crusade expansion, the portal hubs will go dark.

For the very first time since the end of the Vanilla WoW era, there will not be a single place you can set your Hearth that gives you ready access to… anywhere you want to go.

There is much in the patch and the expansion that will move the game forward.

Is the removal of the portal hubs a move forward… or a move back?

In my opinion, trying to get into the heads of the developers to figure out how they hope this will work out, it’s an interesting move.

People bitch about ‘slippery slopes’ a lot, but one thing is usually true; once you’ve removed an action that used to cause long periods of  grinding, grunt work or downtime, if you put it back in, people resent it. 

One of the things that was true in Vanilla WoW was that moving from place to place took a lot of time. Time waiting for boats, time waiting for zeppelins, time on flights across the continents, time running across deadly zones to get flight points hoping you wouldn’t get eaten, but having to do it because there WERE no boat or zeppelin routes that would give you a convenient short cut around them.

‘Fed Ex’ style quests took no skill at playing your character to complete… but they compensated for that by taking up a lot of time in transit.

There was good cause for rejoicing when Burning Crusade brought us Shattrath; a city with Innkeepers to set your Hearth, and filled with magical portals that could transport you in the blink of an eye to any of the major cities on another world.

Suddenly, just by finding a friendly Mage or Warlock of the right level to help you get there, maybe a 10 gold tip, your character could easily pop in and out wherever they might need to go.

The consequence of this convenience was that one of the most powerful benefits of being a Mage or Warlock, or having one for a friend, was marginalized.

Even the Shaman’s ability to reduce the cooldown of the Hearth was slightly reduced in equivalent power.

The LFD tool brought even more convenience to the party, didn’t it? Instant ports, and all that sort of thing.

No question that having portal hubs saves a lot of time… time that once was spent traveling from place to place could now be spent getting it stuck into the fight faster.

The developers chose to include those portal hub cities. First with one in the heart of Outlands… then again in the heart of Northrend.

The developers have chosen to remove all of those portal hubs.

What can we glean from this decision?

I think, despite some of the conspiracy theories I’ve seen in Trade chat the last few weeks, that this is not an attempt to make us waste more time so the content lasts longer before we get bored.

I’ve seen some comments that it is being done, in part, to cut down the ‘Laglaran’ effect of having 80% of a server’s population in the same zone or city. That sounds like a very plausible reason.

I know that it’s been said by developers that a key point is to force players to be out and about running around the world, so it seems populated and full of life.

Well, if I wanted to be a picturesque local to add color for the enjoyment of the new tourists, I’d prefer to be issued a grass-roofed hut, banana leaves and a spear to shake. And a table to sell my hand crafted goods at ridiculous prices. And a bottle of rum. And some bacon.

I’m not here for the tourists. Screw the tourists! I’m here for my own paid playtime. This particular argument you make for why I should now have to spend tons of my own personal time traveling around not having fun when I used to be able to ‘blip’ effortlessly about is not compelling. Stop making it.

It costs a set amount of money to play per month. Time = money. Your change is costing me playtime I used to spend having fun, and that means you’re costing me money.

Or, as Henry Rollins once put it, you’re killing me… you’re stealing my life. Just a teeny, tiny bit at a time.

So, no, that rationale doesn’t quite float my boat, honey.

But there is another good reason they could be trying it. I say trying, because they can always change their mind back later. It’s not like they’re bulldozing, and can’t afford the zoning permits to rebuild.

By reverting us once again to the days of Vanilla WoW… we are returning to a time when having a Mage, a Warlock, or a friend who is a Mage or a Warlock was a damn good thing.

The abilities those classes learn, and  especially those Portal spells the Mages work so hard to acquire over the levels, suddenly go from being  handy once in a while to being freaking awesome.

Which is how they were before the Burning Crusade.

We’ll still have LFD. We’ll still have the new, vastly improved summoning stones as well. Well, maybe. We will even have new perks from Guild Leveling letting us summon guildies directly to the raid (unless they changed that when I wsn’t looking). And of course, the boats and zeppelins.

We’re not turning back the clock all the way back to Vanilla.

But we won’t have Dalaran or Shattrath to set our hearth to be able to pop wherever we want.

I find thinking of it as a planned change to bring Mages and Warlocks more love for their class skills far more satisfying than thinking of it as a way for Blizzard to feel that they’re running a populated world.

Unless we ever see player or guild housing, set up in seperate communities where we have a reason for hanging out there, housing that other people can peer into to see us hanging out but they can’t enter because they don’t have the friend or guild key… any attempt to make us populate world areas is purely superficial.

Oh, and Blizzard… I know you don’t read my blog, it’s cool, I’m an idiot. But seriously, from me to you. I love you, and what you do is awesome, but could you please consider player or guild housing? Think about it. If you seriously set aside areas where a guild could buy, say, a small townhouse with outdoor area in a city park, and only guild members were allowed in the area… but people could walk by and see what was going on in the outside area of the ‘lawn’?

You would likely have a real, living breathing community on your hands in that neighborhood. Instead of doing laps while chatting, people would lounge on an easy chair in the sun catching a few rays, or stand around the BBQ drinking beer while they chatted.

Oh yes we would.

Back to the point, in my opinion changes attempted to bring a classes’ unique abilities back into prominance is a good thing. Unless the class ability was poorly thought out in the first place or no longer fits the intent, and needs a revamp.

It will be interesting to see how people adjust to the changes. Will there be tons of QQ? Will people be so thrilled by all the rest of the changes they don’t even notice?

Will the number of Mages and Warlocks rolled suddenly increase?

I can’t wait to find out.

54 thoughts on “Can We Recreate the Magic?

  1. I think this being an issue will fade from people minds very quickly once cataclysm actually hits and people can fly in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.

    The portals in Shatt and Dalaran were convenient but nearly all the content for the last 2 expansions has been entirely in Outland and Northrend respectively. My character would sit in the capital city and fly to instances when needed. so for myself and I am guessing a number of other players when not leveling an alt the portals were really just used to access the auction house then hearth back rather then logging in an auction toon.


  2. hi,

    Such a nice to see your point of view, since im Vanilla wow player till today, my opinion goes in same direction and a little bit further.

    How i miss the old days when you knew everyone in your realm or way the people played jut for fun not for the so called “epix fever”, meanwhile i wonder if the world pvp could return to old glory days of Tarren Mills.

    my 1c.


  3. Portals are being removed in Dalaran.

    Portals are being removed in Shat.

    Portals are eventually being removed from Mages, as well.

    However, when December 7th hits, portals will be available to each new area for easy back and forth transit through all the new content, as well as capital cities. And we’ll be able to fly 310% around Azeroth (which is smaller than you remember when you can fly at will). You won’t even notice then. It’s just these two weeks without our spoiled convenience. But then, after all this time, what did you really plan on doing anyway? ICC for the 110th time?

    It’ll be okay. Promise. ♥


  4. Ok, at first I was quite annoyed when I heard about the Dalaran portals being removed. However, especially since I played a little last night after the servers came back up, I’ve calmed down significantly. Why? Because I think that Dalaran, after all, will be just as dead as Shattrath was during Wrath!

    If you level a toon through the revamped zones, there are flightpaths everywhere! I came across so many new paths – about 4 per zone – that I’m starting to think that perhaps “Old Weather Flying” won’t even be all that necessary. Tanaris has FPs right next to Uldum, as well as one that’s pretty darned close to the Caverns of Time – and Dalaran still has the portal to CoT! What were the portals in Shatt/Dal actually useful for? Quick access to the major cities – which is fine if you need access to the AH and yes, it’s a time saver for holiday quests.

    Now, here’s the thing: In BC, Shattrath was your location for whatever you needed to do (except Kara and Mt. Hyjal) – except AH and class trainers.
    In Wrath, Dalaran was/is *the* location for everything – Naxx, Ulduar, TOC, ICC – except AH and class trainers.
    In Cata, Org is *the* location for everything – including AH, class trainers, and portals to all the new points of interest. And the Zeppelin isn’t even outside of Org anymore.

    Except for holiday events, why would you need to portal between TB, UC, Org, and SMC?

    Dalaran and Shattrath have trainers and an AH for those who quest through Northrend and Outlands. Dungeons are an insta-port. Supposedly there’ll be a “port lazy slacking raidmembers to where they should’ve been 15 minutes ago”

    So, there are a TON of flightpaths all over the place, you’ll be able to fly in 2 weeks, there will be portals in Org to where you want to go, and the last place where you’d want to be is Dalaran. Now, why should there be portals in Shatt/Dalaran again?

    Don’t get me wrong, I liked those portals during holiday events and for Auction house access. But we’ll have at least one AH everywhere, which only leaves the holiday events where the longest delay is to walk up from the bowels of UC into the neighboring county where the Zep is.

    It’ll be fine. We’ll be fine 🙂


    • Minor correction – max level characters will be able to fly all over the place.

      Funny how so many folks only look at things based on how they affect a max level character.

      Not a dig, just an observation. I know I’m personally not champing at the bit to play anything but a lower level character in the lower level zones, so that’s the perspective I’m looking at them with.

      It’s weird, but it seems like people keep telling me to calm down.

      Did what I write actually seem ranty? Boy, that wasn’t my intent. I was and am happy… getting less so as I learn from you that portals are actually just coming in for Org and SW. I liked the change. I miss the excitement and thrills that a good low level Wetlands run to snag flight points early can bring.

      In fact, one of my fondest Vanilla WoW memories on my main comes from when I decided I wanted to get every flight point I could, no matter how remote, and I did the run from Stormwind through Redridge, south and over to Stranglethorn Vale, and all the way down to Booty Bay, getting eaten as I went. I was a level 12 Night Elf Druid. 🙂

      Cassie would come over and look over my shoulder as I tried to sneak my way, run my butt off, and in general persevere to be totally trained in flight points way earlier than you’d expect.

      That was tense… and fun.


      • Oh, only max level can “old weather” fly? I swear I do read patchnotes – I guess I either don’t retain them, or I need better glasses, or both – “both” probably being the correct answer!

        I don’t think you were ranty, or anything – I apologize! I think I mentally switched from replying to your post to replying to others’ comments, the flood that is “Trade” and “General”, and all that. Which include using “you” not directed at you, but all the other “yous” that think the world came to an end without the portals. And I told them: “See, all those mages selling portals? THIS time around, the Dalaran Maintenance Crew did NOT replace them. Out of stock! The mages sold them, they’re gone, that’s it!”

        And since I did try to grab as many FPs on my “main” together with my wife (until we were beyond tired), I saw quite a bunch of the revamped zones. I “can’t wait” to go through some of them on a new and fresh Troll Priestess together with my wife’s new Tauren Paladin. However, getting all the paths sooner than expected is going to be veeeeeerrrrryyyyy tricky, but at least I’m now on a PvE server!

        In short, I agree with you, it’ll be fun, and I apologize! Plus, I prefer to take a taxi to flying myself. Break time, and I don’t have to worry about getting back in time before falling off the side of the earth.


      • Unless they changed it when I wasn’t looking, you only need to be level 60 to be able to fly in the old world. In other words, anyone who is capable of flying can buy the Flight Master’s License to fly in the old world.

        The new portals in Orgrimmar and Stormwind will only teleport you to the new 80-85 zones, which are basically the only zones a level 80 would be interested in during Cataclysm. I hear they need to be unlocked first, which would be among the first questlines you do in the zone.


      • yeah, 60, 80, it’s not at 1 or 20 or 40. So, while you’re right that it’s not technically MAX level, my point, which was what I was trying to convey, is still 100% accurate… it ain’t at 1 or 20 or 40


  5. For me, the portals were always a blow against verisimilitude. Don’t get me wrong — I used them all the time, they were just so darned convenient! However, the combination of portals and the random dungeon-finder teleport often left me feeling like the game had gone a little too far in the “push button, receive pellet” direction. On balance, I think therefore that it’s a good change.

    I’m not saying the game should go back to the way things were in vanilla WoW, with normal mounts at 40, epic mounts at 60, and no flying! (“You know, back in the day, we would have dreamed of even having auto-run! We had to RP-walk naked across Eastern Plaguelands and we LIKED IT!”) As Nimizar pointed out, though, there will be lots of new flight points, and high-level characters will be able to zip around in the Old (or is it now New?) World on 310% flying mounts; so this isn’t really a return to the way things were.

    On the other hand, people like the one in our raid group who used to insist on being summoned into Icecrown Citadel because he didn’t want to bother having to fly all the way over there from Dalaran? Folks like that will probably still complain anyway. 🙂


  6. Adanos wrote:
    “Another note, if the idea is to avoid having the “80% of the server in the same place” then they have failed miserably… cause EVERYONE is going to be on Orgrimmar / Stormwind, they havent done anything to get people to go to either Ironforge/Exodar/Darnassus”

    Don’t forget however, that at least the 2 factions will be split. So then it’s a more like a 40% in the main hubs in stead of 80%, which should improve things a bit for Blizz I guess 🙂


  7. I personally don’t see the big deal with slowing down players. Yes, waiting around gets boring, but guess what? Most of us will be flying around on our own 310% mounts inside of a couple of weeks anyway.

    Players are very much pampered in modern WoW, and it’s high time Blizzard did something about it. If a raid lasts for more than 45min at a time, its too big. If an instance requires actual tactics instead of mindlessly mowing everything down, it’s too hard and too slow. If a reputation takes more than a week to grind, it’s not fast enough…

    Bah, go play Warhammer Online for a few weeks, then come back here and we’ll see how you feel about WoWs pace.

    Blizzard have gotten increasingly skilled at shaping the zones over the years, so I’m not really worried about long transport times. Having said that, I am very much an old-school player so I’m not expecting much from cataclysm all in all. Too much focus on making the game easy and not enough on creating challenging and interesting gameplay, both from the developers and the players.

    But maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy before my time…


  8. “I think, despite some of the conspiracy theories I’ve seen in Trade chat the last few weeks, that this is not an attempt to make us waste more time so the content lasts longer before we get bored.”

    Sadly I disagree with the above. SO very much of Cata is aimed at slowing down the long term players. My time IS important … I have less game time than ever. Having to now waste it point to pointing means I won’t bother logging in as often. When I know I have just enough time to go from A to B … I just won’t bother, where as before I would have been able to knock out a daily, do a pass for rares, etc. It’s a poor choice. Another poor choice.

    I also lament not being able to MD the Dal city guards onto the mage hawking portals for 10G a pop. I’d love to waste their time the way BLiz is wasting mine … and lining their pockets. First GLyphs … now portals. Hope they have a cash cow prepped for every trade/class.


  9. One thing they could do is just assign a fee to portal use. Have a “guardian of the portal” whom you speak with who opens a map, like with the flight points, and charges you 5g per port. Boom.

    I’m not too bent out of shape about this. Before, the portals existed to the capitals from those hub cities because the hub cities were in the heart of the expansion continents. Blizzard knew that people would need to get to the old world from time to time, but that it would be incredibly inconvenient to go all the way to BT/HF to take a zepp or ship back every time. The expansion this time is the old world, though, and for the most part, you can get to any capital city relatively easily (though the Alli are kinda screwed when it comes to Kalimdor). Flight will make an enormous difference too.

    Probably it would make more sense to place a portal in the capital cities now that goes to Shatt and Dal, limited for use by characters at appropriate levels.

    This all said, my level 73 fire mage on Boulderfist will be happy to port anyone anywhere for an appropriate fee. 😛

    Not that this will matter – I’ll be spending my time pre-Dec. 7 shepherding new baby toons through the reworked zones, starting with a troll druid, and probably going gnome from there.


  10. I have a mage and a warlock on my list.

    After my…

    Worgen warrior
    Worgen priest
    Forsaken hunter
    Troll druid
    Belf warrior

    I think the Lock shall be Worgen.


  11. removing the portals was one of the reasons I stopped playing. Main point: I love to help people – but now this will come at a greatly increased cost in time. Given it’s not a a big issue, but an issue nonetheless.

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT


  12. My main is a mage, and I love her. I love being able to teleport myself and my friends wherever we want to go. But I’m very sad to see the portal hubs go because I don’t love being a taxi service. Sure, if I’m hanging out in town I’m happy to offer my services, say when I see someone in Trade looking for transportation. But I always hated getting interrupted by whispers from total strangers on the other side of the zone when I was in the middle of something.


  13. Instead of always open portals I think they’re moving towards items that port you with a cooldown. Being part of a guild will shortly get you a cape that ports to Stormwind (whether your’re a levelling, pvp, or crafting guild, they all get capes), and there are rings to Dalaran, the tabard to Argent Tournament for icecrown, and a tabard to Tol Barad for dailies there. If you do the quest chains, you can get a necklace to port to Black Temple. So you can hearthstone where you’re adventuring, and if you need to get back to a city, cape then hs both. With guild ranks your hs is up every 15 minutes anyway, so really, even without class/profession specific teleports getting around won’t be bad.


  14. Once Cata ships in Org you will have access to 5 portals. One for each of the new zones. They become active as soon as you reach one of the new zones. In addition all of the captital cities are accessable by Zeplin and FP for less then 2 minutes work. Not much is going to have changed, you just don’t have to stare at silly alliance all day anymore.


  15. Im with you BBB in really not knowing what they did it for, but ……

    For PvP as steevee said, its not….. since you can fly whenever you want wherever you want from lvl50 onwards (or 60, I think I’ve heard that you can fly at lvl50 in Cata) PvP will be difficult either way, kinda hard to gank someone in a 280% flying mount.

    Forcing people to SW/Orgrimmar? if thats the reason then they are (blizz) a bunch of morons, its as easy as giving SW/Orgrimmar a portal hub and presto! noone would want to be in Dalaran since SW has an AH also.

    Giving mages & warlocks more love? Not really sure, again…. you can fly, with a really decent speed and you make the paths, I really dont think I’ll ever need a port, and tbh I think thats the reason, port hubs are not really necessary cause with a good fast mount you can go from SW to wherever you want pretty quickly, plus now Stormwind has boats to: Northrend, Darkshore and Dustwallow.

    Yes, waiting for a boat / zepellin can be annoying as hell …. but thats it, its not the end of the world either, sure…. it would be nice to have all the capital cities with portals and be done with it, but apparently they dont want that.

    On the Guild House thingie… that would be just AWESOME, you can give the “Guild House” a bigger Guild Vault, and some buyable perks like a forge, maybe a few vendors/trainers/auctioneer/whatever and those things would be made available on a guild achievement basis.


    • Another note, if the idea is to avoid having the “80% of the server in the same place” then they have failed miserably… cause EVERYONE is going to be on Orgrimmar / Stormwind, they havent done anything to get people to go to either Ironforge/Exodar/Darnassus


  16. I buy the “not wanting 80% of the server in one place” argument. However, I have to wonder if PvP servers don’t have just a little to do with the change as well? For two expansions we have had portals in a major hub and the ability to fly. I recall MUCH QQ from the PvP folks when these changes were made. It drastically reduced the number of opportunities to gank someone just wandering around in a zone.

    I don’t know if removing the portals will bring back a significant % of toons that will be wandering around (increased traffic) presenting an increased ganking opportunity, we can still fly after all, but It makes me wondder… Did Blizz give PvP’ers an early Christmas gift this year? Just a guess…


  17. I’m with Nimi on this – the only thing I will miss about Shat and Dal is that it makes holiday events harder to do where you have to throw petals etc on various race/class combos.

    I have my bank alt sitting by the SW AH, the only times my main have been back to the Old World since TBC is to complete achievements for world events or old world instances / reps. Convenience wise I don’t see much of a difference for a top level character. If I need the AH or a trainer, it doesn’t matter which city I go to – so I’ll go to whichever has my HS. Why (apart from achieves) would I want to hop between capital cities?

    For my levelling characters I have always put my HS in the area I am currently questing anyway rather than in portal cities. Admittedly I am a bit obsessive about making sure any character is ready to go before I log it off (so all crap sold, valuable items posted to bank alt, repaired, in an inn in my current quest zone) so I can just head out and do stuff as soon as I log into it next time.


  18. I won’t miss the portals. I rarely used them anyway (we all have a banker alt right?). But what I will miss is the ability to fly, in straight line, from Point A to Point B anywhere in the new world. Now that we are back in the 2 (maybe 3 if you count that new isle) continent world, that will no longer be possible. I assume we will be forced to use some form of taxi to get from one side of the world to another. That’s what I will dislike.


  19. Something to ponder is what the portal hubs were convenient for.

    While levelling, they aren’t all that great – if you hearth, you usually have a long trip to get back to wherever you were questing. A local hearth with bank alt still has a lot to recommend it during that phase. Being an engineer with both MOLL-E and Jeeves is going to be hard to top for levelling purposes, though (*ahem*).

    For world events, they helped somewhat with zipping around to other capitals and as part of the travel plans for the events that involved hitting multiple zones. But Cata is going to multiple flight points in each zone, with flying in Azeroth for sufficiently high level toons, Orgrimmar already has direct Zeppelins to both Thunder Bluff and Undercity (with a port to Silvermoon from the latter), while SW has the Deeprun Tram to IF and (post-Shattering) a direct boat to Darnassus (and hence to Exodar – no portal, though). If a new Caverns of Time instance is added, I wouldn’t be surprised to see SW and Org acquire CoT teleports or portals as a result.

    For a level cap raider, they helped with staying in Outland/Northrend for access to your raids and daily quests, while heading back to Azeroth for auction house access (unless you were an engineer in the latter part of the expansion). Now, all of that action is going to be focused around SW/Org anyway, so the first thing people would have been doing 90% of the time when leaving Dalaran/Shattrath is head to their appropriate faction hub.

    Tol Barad access will be in SW/Org, so PvP is covered as well.

    I’ll personally be surprised if we actually miss them all that much. I do feel a little sorry for the folks that will no longer have a handy popular Sanctuary city to pick up the cross-faction world event achievements though.


  20. Something else to consider: there are way, way more flight paths in the new patch than before. As I leveled a bunch of new toons in the beta, I felt a constant state of relief finding that little winged boot icon in the most surprising places. You mean I can fly from Senjin Village to Razor Hill! Thank you! From Goldshire to Eastvale Logging Camp? Whew! So, a definite time-in-game nerf for the 80, but a big time buff to the up-and-comer.


  21. You started me thinking about how often I used the portals anyway … I have a banker in Darnassus and a guild officer in Stormwind … they mail out items and gold to where ever else my main and alts are. I don’t remember the last time I used the portals in Dalaran to actually go anywhere. Even with the portals my mage got offered up to 10g a port … a big difference from the 2g she use to be offered back when she first picked up the ability to port.


  22. It is funny you mention this. I was having this talk the other day also. I figured one of the developers had a Mage and couldn’t get anyone to pay for his portals that is why the change happened. I have spent the past few days jumping around the game world finishing the thanksgiving quest. The first day I did it with out using Dal’s portals. It took me ALL day to finish. The next day I used the portals to jump back and forth. I finished in around 2 hours. BIG difference. We will see what happens.

    My idea would be portals in every major city…Then every city could be full of life. 🙂


  23. What Blizzard has learnt (hopefully) with WotLK is that fun is not an inherent property of an isolated activity.
    ( )

    If you take out all that stuff that annoys people you don’t have anything left in the end. ‘Fun’ lies not in an activity itself. I ran around Molten Core for almost a year spamming nothing but frostbolts!!
    You tell me how that particular activity could have been fun. Because it was! It was made fun by the circumstances.

    Fun activities are embedded in an environment that is more important than the activity itself.


  24. I love this change.
    As I said year ago..
    there is less and less world in World of Warcraft.
    You log in, LFD *bang* instant teleport to other part of continent, you kill last boss *bang* few seconds later you are in the same place as before the dungeon. Fly to dalaran, teleport to OG to sell items on AH. *bang* HS back to Dalaran.. damn.. you forgot to.. well poke Thrall, teleport to OG, /poke Warchief, /use Argent Tabard *bang* you are on different continent again.

    I still remember the day when me and my friend decided to leave mulgore and see Orcish capital.. running there, and killing (or being killed by) all wild animals took HOURS!

    Of course now I’m 28 and sometimes after extremely hard day at work I log in for LFD only.
    Then I like idea of LFG.. but still too many teleports kills WoW..


    • Thing is, the *world* is still out there if you want to go find it. I usually do; I wander all over the place. When I want to get somewhere, though, and the only way is the long way, it’s not fun, and it’s a waste of my time.

      Y’see, if you have the option of fast travel, you can still take it slow. If you only have the slow way, there’s no way to make it faster.


  25. I’m really curious to see how this will work out. I can imagine they don’t want both factions in 1 place 100% of the time, nobody likes loading Dalaran I reckon. However, old travelling times were not really fun either…
    On the other hand, we do get flying now, so travelling to regions that are a bit off the track, may not require the intense usage of major cities for flight points as they do now? Gryphon flying from SW to IF is peanuts imo, which makes the Easterns Kingdoms a fairly manageable place to travel for Alliance I think.
    I’m not sure about Kalimdor though… Flying from Darnassus to Gadgetzan takes a loooong time and getting to Darnassus or Ratchet can be pain. So I do hope that they will make travelling to Kalimdor a bit easier for Alliance. I can imagine that vice versa, for the Horde travelling in Eastern Kingdoms may need some loving?

    Maybe we should get portals to Darnassus from SW and to Undercity from Orgrimmar? I have a feeling, the rest will be fine, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see 🙂


    • You don’t actually need portals from Darnassus to Stormwind and especially not to Undercity from Orgrimmar. As I recall, there is a boat in Stormwind Harbor that should take you directly to Rut’theran Village, and there’s a zeppelin that goes directly from Orgrimmar to the Undercity.

      As I understand it, getting to Ratchet from Stormwind shouldn’t be too bad (you need to go to Booty Bay and then take the boat), but it is definitely a bit out of the way. Keep in mind, though, that the only reason Dalaran was more convenient, the portal to the Caverns of Time, should still be there, so if you can find a way back to Dalaran you can just take that.

      For Kalimdor, I think the Horde is in good shape but I’m not sure if Theramore, Ratchet and Darnassus are enough to make traveling convenient enough for the Alliance and I don’t know what else they could do. For the Eastern Kingdoms, the portion that the Horde has trouble accessing is the Badlands, the Searing Gorge and the Burning Steppes, while the Alliance has no convenient way to get to Arathi Highlands, the Hinterlands and the Plaguelands. I could see the Alliance getting some form of transportation between Ironforge and Aerie Peak (and in fact I suggested as much on the Beta forums), but I don’t see how to make getting to the Badlands that much easier for the Horde, even considering the woman who is a boat at the end of the Eastern Plaguelands.


  26. I’ll go out on a limb here and say, I really don’t care about the portals going away. So we’re gonna have to actually travel to most of our cities. Big frickin deal? And the portals are not completely going away. I swear I read/heard that Blizz is putting a portal in Stormwind for Exodar, at least, and maybe Darnassus too. It’s possible all the major cities will have portals to other major cities, so the only real traveling most people will have to do will be between cities and questing zones, which everyone has to do now anyways. I actually like flight paths, since it gives me time to grab a drink/grab a snack/bio/read some of my current book/write/draw/browse blogs/etc. while I’m flying. Not trying to judge or be mean or anything, but it seems like the biggest complaint people have about this change comes from laziness and/or impatience.

    And I’m sorry if this seems snarky or angry, but it’s about 3:30 a.m. here, and I had a very long day at work today. No offense meant, I swear.


    • It didn’t come across as snarky at all, Kelesaria! Unless you thought I was complaining. 🙂 I’m not, I just think it’s going to be interesting, and I’ve seen lots of bitching out there about it.


    • If you have to have something else to do while playing a game, you’re doing it wrong. If I’m playing WoW, I want to play WoW. Yeah, it gives you time to do other things… but I’d rather be using that time to play. If I wanted to do something else, I’d be doing something else. Is it laziness to want to use the thing you pay for for the reason you pay for it? I’m not asking to be teleported to each quest thing I have to kill, but don’t make me wait on a five minute flight to Borean Tundra, then wait three or four minutes for the blimp, then wait while the blimp flies out, then wait through the loading screen, then wait while the blimp flies into Org, then have to wait on another 5 minute flight to get to wherever it was I actually wanted to be. 15 minutes of doing nothing at all in an action game is ridiculous. Would Mass Effect have been as popular if you had to wait in real time for every flight between star systems? Would Half Life 2 have been as much fun if the train ride at the beginning led to another train ride that was even longer? At least THAT one had a purpose, explaining why you were there…


  27. *chuckle*

    I’m torn between being grateful I’m having an effect and being apologetic I’m having an effect. 😉

    Not having puttered around Dalaran, I’m not sure how much of a time sink removing convenience will be, but I do find many of Blizzard’s actions curiously self-conflicting. The expansion for newbies requires you buy all four boxes. That’s not an insignificant initial investment for a game you can only play for 30 days without ponying up more money. They don’t like cookie cutter specs, so they revamp the talent tree… and make it more constrained than before and more prone to cookie cutter builds. They like classes to have uniqueness, but won’t make more class quests and kill existing ones. They want a community, but they won’t install housing, preferring instead to have players be itinerant quest workers, and they won’t let you be friends across servers unless you play the RealID game. They want healing to be more challenging because they think it’s more fun, but they are concerned with a healer shortage. They change the Tree of Life form at least partially to let Druids see their gear but won’t bother with an appearance tab, as if appearances are only important to show off the latest tier of raiding gear. It’s all a little scattershot and inconsistent at times.

    Live games, constantly under development, have a tendency to accumulate this sort of cruft over the years, especially when dev teams churn personnel, but still… I’ll naturally resist any move that results in me wasting a lot of time traveling. I’m a hardcore Explorer, and will readily wander off the beaten track just because I like to poke around… but I want to do it on my own time, not because the devs think I should smell the roses. Strong-arming me into doing something only makes me resent it. I think a lot of humans are wired that way, at differing levels of consciousness.

    …but I’m not bitter about talent tree locks and subscriptions that punish experimentation and exploration. Nope, not consciously. After all, Guild Wars still exists to let me experiment at my leisure and doesn’t make me spend more money. And I can have a zoo. Imagine a WoW Hunter having a place to show off his collection in a zoo format. Talk about scratching the Pokemon Collection itch. Forget Achievements, I want a house with a zoo and a trophy room. It would even make me more social, as I’d share my experiences in game, rather than just go raiding and hit up the loot lottery again so I can look like everyone else.

    …to answer the question, though, yes, I think we can recreate some of the magic, but sometimes, you can’t stuff a genie back into his bottle. You can learn new tricks that complement the old ones, but trying to remake a golden era is usually a fool’s errand. You need new golden eras. That’s part of why I do think that the Cataclysm is a Good Idea… I’m just a bit befuddled by some of the implementation. I don’t know what Blizzard is thinking on some of these decisions, and what scares me is that I suspect that they might not quite know either.


    • Actually, the revamp for levels 1-60 is free. We will all likely be getting it tomorrow, and a newbie trying out the initial free trial can experience the new 1-20 content that doesn’t include the TBC races or the Cata races. Anyone purchasing Vanilla WoW tomorrow will get the new Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.

      I personally am not convinced that housing is at all a way to build community, primarily due to reciprocity; I find myself utterly uninterested in the prospect of seeing other people’s houses, so why would I think they would be interested in mine? It seems to me that player or guild housing is strongly motivated by a desire to show off, just like those people who get on their new mount and pose in Dalaran, and I find it especially pitiful, since, unlike say Minecraft, where you can build things worth showing off, I doubt most people have any collection I would be interested in seeing.

      Of course, this was talking about uninstanced housing, as instanced housing would be as far away from “populating the world” as possible.


    • I’d note that for Black Friday, it seems that the WoW Battle Chest has had an across-the-board price cut to $9.99, with the original base game being just $4.99.

      And never let it be said that I don’t source my claims:

      Navy Exchange:

      Scuttlebutt says that Best Buy is doing the same, but I’m unable to substantiate via ad scan.

      I personally like what FFXI (pardon, I just vomited in my mouth a little) does whenever they release a new expansion. They take all the previous bit of game, bundle it up into a single DVD, and sell it for $15-$20. It lowers the barrier to entry significantly.

      That being said, if any of you have been looking to suck your friends into playing WoW, GO FORTH, AND INDOCTRINATE. =P


  28. Well, I was GOING to be dropping Mining in favor of Engineering after the initial rush of people trying to get their professions done subsides. Their greed is my gain, basically. But it just reinforces my decision to do so. Possibly even makes me want to bump the timetable up a wee.


  29. As Ming said, Dalaran is too good. 4 Capital cities+tanaris+Shatt, if you have been playing for long enough you can also probably port to brd,black temple and the Argent tourney and may have a ring to Port to Dalaran, Sure they next two weeks will be a bit of a pain but then we will have flying again. I am the king of afk flying 117g repairs for a GY res afer flying off the edge of outlands last week proves that:)

    More warlocks because of this, Gah I still have the memories, can you help me summon my friend, We are only 1/2 a zone away, Do you have a 3rd person to help summon? A minute later. No. Then I would be asked Can you find someone or even better I will give you (pittance) if you find someone.. 5 minutes to get to them, 5 minutes waiting for a 3rd person all to summon somoene who could have got their in 15 minutes at most.


  30. You need to consider that there will be portals—just not to major cities. Once you complete an introductory set of quests for the new zones, a portal in Stormwind or Orgimmar is opened up for easy access to said zone. It isn’t Dalaran, but it will still save a lot of time (for instance, getting quickly from Stormwind to Uldum or Orgimmar to the Twilight Highlands). Beginning each new zone also provides a way of transporting you from SW/Org to said quest hub. So, it isn’t all bad. Hearthstones, once your guild achieves a certain level, will also have a 15 minute cooldown.

    Flying also speeds up travel in the old world considerably.

    The thing that irks me is that they’ve thought to axe the portals without introducing any of these features (or guild summoning via the perks system) so that we’re stuck in Vanilla for two weeks.


  31. I think it is plainly obvious they just don’t want us hanging around in Dalaran for yet another expansion.

    Think about it. Orgrimmar and Stormwind are where they’ve deliberately put all the new stuff we need for the new Expansion Capital. But because of the Dalaran portal, setting your hearth to Dalaran gives all the advantages of setting your hearth to one of those two cities and more, and about the only disadvantage is an extra loading screen. So you’d have to be an idiot to switch your hearth back to Orgrimmar or Stormwind from Dalaran in that case.

    But Cataclysm is thematically about the world changing drastically, and part of that includes the increased enmity between the Horde and the Alliance. So Blizzard wants our factional capital cities to be the center of action, but obviously we won’t go as long as Dalaran has portals to each of the capital cities.

    So there’s only one way to really kick us out of Dalaran (and Shattrath) and that’s by removing the portals.


  32. I love the idea of each city having portals to all the other cities of that faction, but when I think about it, I don’t see Blizzard ever doing that. They don’t want low-level toons to be able to portal wherever they want to go without having to hump it all over the world first. Preferably, several times over.

    Yes, yes, they could undoubtedly restrict access through a variety of limitations. But I still don’t see them ever doing it.


    • Why not? It just saves time. You can get from any capital city to another without ever having to cross more than 50yards of a starter zone.

      Instant ports would be much better.

      I hate waiting for zeps, and that one from TB to ORG take ages. Its almost quicker to walk it, oh wait a sec, you cant, there’s a big sodding gate in the way now.


  33. I have a feeling that sometime in the next couple of months I will “accidentally” open a portal to Dalaran after a dungeon run… or step through such a portal…


    • Don’t portal people to Dalaran. There *should* still be a portal from Dalaran to Caverns of Time, and therefore an easily accessible flight path.

      Port them to Shattrath instead! I know that the chick in the Tavern ports you to CoT as well, but you need to have the required rep, which a lot of toons don’t have.

      Yes, I’m evil. What was the question?


  34. Since they implemented the change in the beta, I”ve often reflected that they’ll actually become one of the few current MMOs I’ve recently played without form of immediate transportation to the major cities. Aion, FFXIV, a certain game with superheroes, all have instant or easy transport to the major zones. I can’t help but think this is a bad idea…

    Even FFXIV with it’s all it’s faults figured out that people hate transport wasting their time and at least make it so that you will automatically board boats and disembark at your destination, which at least means use that time to go pee. I made the suggestion in beta to make boats and zeppelins to be more like flight paths so that you didn’t need to wait around, but apparently it didn’t fly with the tourism board who insisted that if I didn’t have 8 minutes to spend just waiting around (I timed it) I shouldn’t be playing an mmorpg which is all about time sinks. I only wish I was being sarcastic.

    Yes, I will be rolling a mage, but only because it’s one of the few roles I haven’t grokked yet. Maybe the changes will make it easier for me this time…


  35. I will only port my alts an guildies and maybe a few others. Now that I have to waste so much time “traveling” on other characters I have no interest in helping fill a convenience the devs were stupid to remove.

    One of my largest complaints in EVE Online is the amount of time you have to waste to get from point A to B. They justify it because you should never be “safe” which is again annoying. One of the things I like in LotRO is that I can level with out traveling once I hit lvl 20 through the skirmish system. It rocks. It is a game that respects limited play time and lets you get in and do what you are attempting to do.

    I hope by 4.1 they have portals back. They should have all 6 cities linked with bi-direction hubs. I don’t need immersion to get to the raid or quest or whatever. Standing around for a boat/blimp is not fun it is just a time sink for no good reason.


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