Blizzard has gone back on their controversial plan to keep flying out of World of Warcraft’s newest area, Draenor. Kinda.

First, the good news: eventually, you’ll be able to use flying mounts in Draenor. You’ll be able to spread your wings and fly on a dragon or a robot or a different dragon or a different robot. Also, monsters. There’s no exact date, but it’s coming in “the near future.” Originally Blizzard was planning to keep players’ wings clipped permanently, as they felt that flying mounts discouraged people from exploring and enjoying the game’s lovingly crafted war worlds.

Now the news you may or may not love, depending on how you feel about hoofing it across Blizzard’s cartoon fantasyland: you’re gonna have to earn your license to danger zone by exploring on foot. A lot. Blizzard wrote:

“In an upcoming Public Test Realm build, we will be introducing a new meta-achievement called Draenor Pathfinder. You’ll earn this achievement in Patch 6.2 by mastering the outdoor environment of Draenor—exploring Draenor’s zones, collecting 100 treasures in Draenor, completing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements, and raising the three new Tanaan Jungle reputations to Revered. Initially, this achievement will award a rylak mount: the Soaring Skyterror, one of the native beasts that roam Draenor’s skies. Players will remain ground-bound on Draenor until a small follow-up patch (6.2.x), when all players who have earned Draenor Pathfinder on at least one character will unlock the ability to fly in Draenor on all their level 90+ characters.”

“We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring ground-based content lives up to its full potential, while providing players who’ve already fully experienced Draenor’s outdoor world extra freedom to ‘break the rules.’ This also provides a general blueprint going forward for content to come. Players will explore new and undiscovered lands from the ground, and then once they’ve fully mastered those environments—a notion that continues to evolve with each new expansion—they can take to the skies and experience the world from a new vantage point.”


I’m sure there’ll be some pushback, but it’s a pretty excellent compromise between Blizzard’s goals for WoW and what players demanded. It’s pretty much a perfect solution, if you ask me. Maybe you won’t agree, but I like wandering around, seeing the (oftentimes spectacularly imaginative) sights. I’m glad WoW eventually lets me become a gravity-defying demigod, but it’s fun to feel like an ant on the back of a giant for a while too.

What do you think, though? Are you happy that Blizzard’s bringing back flying? Do you think earning it through exploration is a solid solution to the problems flying presents? And lastly, are you at all worried about what’ll happen after everybody’s unlocked the option to fly (decreased world PVP, etc)?

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