Flying in World of Warcraft is back on

flyingI have two strong opinions about World of Warcraft’s flying mounts: It was a mistake to put them in this particular game. But once they were in, it was an even bigger mistake to try to ground them.

It takes an act of incredible player force to change Blizzard’s mind about game direction, I’ve noticed, but it has happened on occasion, including yesterday. After having freaked out the game’s population (which had just shrunk by three million, mind you) by saying that there would be no flying in Draenor and perhaps forever after, Blizzard changed its mind and said that it would allow it after all. After a hideous grind, of course.

I love the reluctant, said-through-gritted-teeth tone of the dev watercooler on this: “We appreciate the spirited discussion on the topic of flying.” Yeah. I bet you appreciated it. I bet you woke up every morning, stared at the piles of angry emails, grumpy reddit threads, negative press, and upset blogs and went, “Boy, I appreciate this!”

No, this is Blizzard reluctantly turning its course — and perhaps finding a compromise between its vision and what the players want and have become used to. Like it or not, Blizzard made its bed with the whole flying thing and it can’t wriggle out of it even if it is — just now, for some reason — realizing that it isn’t always the best thing for the game. Players have become used to it. Players generally like it. And players have even bought the flying mounts that Blizzard has sold for cash on the store. It takes a special kind of chutzpah to sell something for money that you’ll later disable.

Anyway, I’m glad that even a giant MMO studio can still respond — gradually, reluctantly — when its made a mistake and players unite to push back against it. Players shouldn’t bully studios into capitulating, but there should definitely be give-and-take between both sides in the development process.

5 thoughts on “Flying in World of Warcraft is back on

  1. I had a feeling this was going to happen. Blizzard isn’t stupid—if people are as upset as they were about a decision they made, then they’d be foolish not to change their minds.
    I’m one of those who have never had a problem with flying. Flying is actually one of the draws to the game for me. Don’t get me wrong, I know and appreciate all the arguments against it, but for me there’s nothing like the feeling of sailing through the air with the freedom to go anywhere (and not having to worry about running into a mob every 5-10 steps).

  2. I have no problem with being forced to stay on the ground until reaching the level cap of an expansion. I understand they want people to appreciate all the work that has gone into an area rather than just bypassing it. However, once I am at max level I dont want to spend forever getting between the (sometimes very far away) points I need to go back and forth between for my end game activities.

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