A couple of things popped up today that has me excited to chat about WoW.
Blizzard has sorta kinda pretty much confirmed that we ain’t gonna be flying in Draenor, and probably not in any future expansions either.
On top of that, Anne Stickney wrote a simply fabulous and eloquent article on her impressions of the story of Warlords of Draenor and our place in it.
I’m on record here from the earliest days of the Blizzcon expansion, crying like Blizzard knocked my ice cream cone to the floor and laughed a harsh, rasping nasal laugh in my face. IN MY FACE.
Cause I love to fly in World of Warcraft.
From the first moment flying in the game was introduced, I have loved the sensation of soaring over the lush, beautiful scenery. It’s been very tactile, very fulfilling to glide and swoop. Druid bird form in particular is marvelous, but all flight in the game has felt emotionally rewarding.
So no flight in WoD? Yep, whined and bitched and pissed and moaned about it.
Do I miss it?
Yes. But not so much that I can’t pop back into the old world and soar when I really want to.
Functionally, I’m fine with no flying in Draenor.
Because there IS still flying in Draenor, damnit. There are plenty of tools that let you fly high in the sky and glide for very long distances. Avianna’s Feather, Goblin Gliders, Gorgrond hovering shredders, Engineering rockets and rocket propelled jet packs and all sorts of stuff.
There are places in many zones where you can get extremely high up and then use a glider to get all over the place.
What you don’t have is flight at will for as long as you want, everywhere, all the time.
You’ve got cooldowns on use. You’ve got charges on some methods. You’ve got limited duration when activated.
You’ve got to choose when and where you want to grab some sky. You’ve got to save it for when it’s important to you, or it won’t be there when you need it.
You’ve got to use judgment. You’ve got to make decisions.
I really like that. It adds a new feeling of depth to the world. There are choices to be made about travel, and if I want to take the mole machine from outside my Garrison walls (obtained from one of the Garrison quests) straight to my outpost in Gorgrond, then seconds later activate Avianna’s Feather, soar into the sky and fly directly to the entrance to Blackrock Foundry, I can. Transit time is measured in seconds from my Garrison to raid entrance.
It’s not exactly slow.
But I can’t just roam overhead in circles, looking for dots on my minimap, swoop in, grab an ore node, and swoop away so fast and so unthinking that I didn’t even notice someone was fighting a mob in front of the node until they /whisper me in deserved outrage.
Is it more inconvenient that I can’t fly? Does it make former simple chores in other expansions like farming crafting mats, visiting a circuit of pet battle trainers, or hunting pets and rare mobs more difficult and time consuming?
Absolutely. And I’m okay with that. It’s a trade off. It’s more of a pain in the ass to do those things, but at the same time, if I really want to do them, ain’t nothing stopping me. It just takes more effort on my part. More commitment.
If I don’t care enough to make the effort, I guess there are better things I could be doing with my time.
It does encourage me to isolate more in my Garrison. I don’t spend as much time in the world as I used to in other expansions, because except for special goals most of my daily wants can be met at home. But that’s another issue.
So AS LONG AS Blizzard continues to allow different options for fast travel, gives us many choices for flight so flight does still exist in some form but feels special when we use it, I’m fine with it going forward.
The brilliance of Anne Stickney. This needs to be addressed.
She made many points about how the game this expansion feels to her.
I honestly agree with everything she said, except I play with the sound off so if there is brilliant voice acting in the leveling quests, whoops, missed it. I’ll turn it on for the Horde Hunter I just started in WoD.
I can narrow down how this expansion feels to me pretty quick.
This is the regroup expansion.
I’m utterly uninterested in doing anything in the Warlords of Draenor story world.
This expansion, for me, has nothing outside of the Garrison or the raids to interest me in going and looking.
I explored stuff, poked around, and then went home.
The one thing, the ONLY thing that kept me eager and excited and feeling an energetic and valued part of the story were the weekly Garrison Storyline Quests.
I’m not saying the quests were cohesive or even good. What they were, were NEW. Every week I could look forward to something NEW.
In retrospect looking back on them once I did them, am I doing them on ANY other alt of mine? Nope. One or two were good, but nothing there I need to revisit.
Much like the Legendary questline. Garona as a Legendary Follower is so meh that I couldn’t give a shit less if I had her in the first place. Especially when I think back to how excited, how thrilled I was to see the culmination of those quests end up in that insanely difficult (for me) stealth kiting sneaking mission to earn her place in my group.
When Blizzard decided that giving her a third ability was, apparently, too overpowered and took it away, well… okay. So, nothing special to see here, move along.
Now, Harrison Jones, OMG is that man a badass. Treasure Hunter is so sexy, but then he’s a mentor as well! Pair any newb Follower on a mission with him, and that newb gets experience AS THOUGH HE”S MAX LEVEL!
Talk about super powered and legendary, taking a level 90 Follower and getting them the full 8k or 10k or 18k experience from a max level mission? Shit dog, that Mentor stuff be real.
Harrison Ford shows why I think Garona as a Legendary Follower is a massive letdown. Coulda been a contender, shoulda been something special, taken down before a title bout.
As long as there were new Garrison quest missions every week, I was excited to see what would happen next. Even if they were trivial little bullshit quest chains, IT WAS NEW. IT WAS FRESH. That was the whole point, I didn’t know what was going to happen next and neither did anyone else as long as you stayed current.
I can’t stress that enough, how important, how FUN it was to play content that every self important twit on the internet hadn’t trumpeted from every corner at the top of their lungs in a desperate need to feel special and be the source of spoiler news and get attention.
I’d like to see it for myself, thanks. Don’t really give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut what you or anyone else thought of it. I’m playing to see it for myself, and the Garrison quests gave me that. Oh so wonderful.
Then they stopped.
Stopped dead in the dirt.
And oh boy, when asked why, well they didn’t want to make it too hard for lots and lots and lots o people to catch up! So 6.1 won’t have any at all. Maybe in 6.2.
Yeah, well, fuck you too. I’ll be sitting here in my Garrison.
So when I think about this expansion, that’s what I see. Me, in my Garrison, on multiple alts, sending other people on exciting missions, and taking the rewards for myself.
Rewards I’m using to buy the pets and mounts I never picked up along the way.
This is the expansion where I chain-run old raids to fill out those transmog sets I always wanted.
This is the expansion where I finish up old legendary quests, and go for some rare drops, and generally top of the tank so that when the NEXT expansion comes, I’ll be all set and ready to go to give it my full and compete attention.
One teensy little problem with that.
What if the next expansion is just like this one? What if, once again, we reach the point early on where there just isn’t anything to look forward to and not very many places to do it in?
Well… I guess I can start chain-soloing Mists of Pandaria raids and filling out those rare drops, right? After all, Jerry the Snail ain’t gonna catch himself for me.
I have to say, it’s been very nice of Blizzard to give me all this time to level and complete pet collections and seek out rare mounts without feeling guilty that there was something exciting in game I could have been doing instead. It’s charmingly considerate of them.