That time of the year again, where we appreciate flying with the understanding that it’s going away in 2 weeks. For at least a year.
I think there’s no better example of what flying does to WoW than leveling a Druid. The benefits of instant travel, and the fact that you can interact with most world objects while in flight form make it feel like there’s a cheat code active. Druids without flight form feel like molasses.
I’ve leveled my fair share to 110. Usually I get a half dozen to max level by the end of an expansion. Monk, DH, DK, Rogue, Paladin are there now. Figure Druid can catch up pretty quick. Aside from the Monk/DH runs, I’ve used ConsLegion to speed up the process. Basically TomTom + auto-accept quests for super speed.
With the exception of Stormheim and Highmountain, most zones are decent enough on the ground. Stormheim at least has the hookshot… so I’ve always left Highmountain for last. Leveling was usually decent enough. Maybe a level a session or so. Most of the time is spent travelling between NPCs. When I unlocked flying a while back, the DK and Paladin shot through levels – nearly twice the speed of before.
Druid though. That’s another ballgame. I made 3 levels in 2 hours. I cleared most of Valsharah in 30 minutes. An I’m not in bear-mode, AEing everything. This is cat-mode, where it’s stun/bleed/swap, arguably a slower process.
And that my friends, is exactly why Blizzard removes flying on a consistent basis. Flying negates a supremely large amount of content. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the vertical aspects of zones. Zones that are designed thoughtfully. Stormheim is a whole lot of fun to move around (minus the large gorge in the middle). It’s honestly fun to explore the nooks and crannies, and doing it 2 or 3 times isn’t too bad. It’s when you realize that the content is really just padded with travel… and that you’ve already explored it to the end that it’s time to turn off that mode.
There is a good argument against flying when it comes to hunting rares/gathering. It is easy as pie to jump from one target to the next without consequence. Most rares have minimal value for a max level character after a couple weeks. Nodes… that becomes a farmer’s dream and a money making machine. I made a shredder to harvest herbs just for that reason alone. A quick fix for this is to have a counting debuff while flying. After it caps, nodes only appear while walking until it wears off. I’m sure there are better ideas.
So here we are, 2 weeks from BFA and 2 weeks until I say goodbye to the skies. I know it will come back, just not when. I’ll certainly miss it for the first few weeks, then grow accustomed. It’s that 2 month marker where I’ll be itching. So fingers crossed it comes sooner rather than later.
I do forever wonder why they couldn’t/won’t replicate what they did in Outland and Northrend when they designed zones that were intended to be traversed with flying mounts, with points of interest that couldn’t be reached any other way and obstacles like cannons or flying mobs that would keep things interesting even while moving through the air.
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My guess is that they got burned in cataclysm and just threw baby and bathwater together