Tobold's Blog
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Flying out of Outland

Mr. Gone is wondering why you can't use flying mounts in the old world. And I must admit it is a bit annoying. Shortly after I dinged 70 and bought my flying mount, I had to head to Karazhan to start the quest chain for the key, and really would have liked to fly there. But, alas, no can do.

Unlike Mr. Gone, I at least know the reason why you can't fly in old Azeroth: The old world consists in many parts of Potemkin villages, hollow facades with nothing behind. If you could fly over them, you'd see half-spires floating in the air, with no towers attached and similar strange sights. If you take the zeppelin to Undercity and watch the spires of Lordaeron very closely while the zeppelin flies through Tirisfal Glades, you can catch a glimpse of some of these floating towers. Old Azeroth also has some empty areas, like the area behind the Greymayne Wall in Silverpine Forest, which are probably meant to be added later, but right now are just a hole in the ground.

How do I know that? Well, I *did* fly over old Azeroth after all. Just not in the game, but using a program called WoWmapview. It doesn't help you to get your character around, but if you want just to take a look at the world from above (unanimated), with this program you can.
In my recent post I conceeded that there are a few areas that could or should be put off limits. However, while this is true, it is also possible thrust certain areas into an 'off limits' category. The concept would be the same as hitting the ceiling in outland, you just can't fly any further. While this isn't 'realistic' per-se it would be effective and explainable through 'mystical' means.
It was said by blizzard on their forms, and no I don't have the was said you can't fly in azeroth because of how it was constructed, or made. They built a movie set, they only added detail, or life to what was ment to be seen. This obviously shows blizzard is grand plan for wow, but rather wow just comes together as it does. I think it would be nice if blizzard went back into azeroth and made it flyable, I'm sure it would be a lot of work, but it wouldn't be too much. I've built maps for half-life2, doom3, etc...etc...those maps are much smaller then wow, but also have much more detail. I'm sure one person could fix azeroth with in a year...unless blizzards design tools are total junk.
Having designed and tweaked levels myself (mainly for older games) I concur, but that is a lot of work to put into the world. Truth be known it is most-likely not a profitable-enough venture for them to explore in to. I have yet to find that post, maybe I am not looking hard enough. If anyone has it I'd like to read it.

My solution of invisible walls would be a bandaid at best so I doubt it would happen but thanks for the insight guys. I guess that makes a bit more sense. I need to start thinking like a programmer again, I've been away too long!
Doesn't the fact that they didn't bother going back and fixing the old world cheapen the overall effect of this great new addition to the game though? Yes, it would have been a lot of work. When you take the time to even bother putting in flying mounts though, shouldn't your first thought be "How can this improve the game we already have" and not "what would be a cool toy you can only use in this one area"?
Here's the Blizzard post on why flying mount is not allowed in Azeroth:

Drysc wrote:

Unfortunately our designers and developers are not a limitless sea of people; there are decisions that have to be made as to where we should appropriately direct the development efforts. It's our feeling that providing new content, new places to explore and progress your character, new races and professions, all equal a very worthwhile expenditure of our resources. We're definitely committed to ensuring parts of the game already developed continue to be refined, but in this case delaying an expansion for a potentially "very long time" just wouldn't make sense, and wouldn't be very fair to our fans and players who would rather keep progressing their character than flying through places they've already been.

Let's say that we did allow flying mounts in Azeroth and chose to redesign it at some point, it would be no small task. We would need to correct all of the terrain outside of the 'walkable' areas, including building out zones that currently don't exist but through lore are known to exist in those areas. We would also have to rework most outdoor areas as content not intended to be bypassed could be, as well as any possible terrain exploitation potential (ie lots of time testing and refining). We would need to think about what happens when the edge of the map is reached. Since Outland is flat, a bounding wall makes sense, but for a planet that starts to break down. Do players zone in to the other continent while flying or do we make it seamless? If it's seamless we have to rebuild our server architecture, not to mention any further technical issues, etc. etc. While summed up in a sentence or two each of these things would require teams of people working together for a long time to pull off well.

It really all comes down to making the game fun to play for everyone, and allocating resources and time to do that as efficiently as possible. Right now spending time reworking Azeroth so that flying mounts can simply exist, for some ease of travel and sight seeing, doesn't seem like an appropriate use of our time or efforts. In the future though, who knows?
beyond the anthills of the dawning of this plague

~Wargik (Ravencrest US)
i've lost my way
I reallt don't mind not being able to fly in old world, but I really dislike not being able to fly in Caverns of Time. That was just silly not to implimet that, since they designed it with flight in mind due to the dragon rides, anyway.
I sort of find it silly to not let us fly in Azeroth. I could care less about all those unfinished areas. I just want to be able to use my 1000 or 5000 gold sink wherever possible. The explorer in me longs for the chance.
You know, someone made a really interesting suggestion.

Suggestion: Allow players to click a flight master to ride their flying mount along the already established flight paths (free of charge), thus adding to the flavor of flying and granting a tangible reward in Azeroth for success in the Outlands.
Thinking large, it seems to me that allowing flight in Azeroth might open a bit too much potential.

It would be positively annoying to try to gather materials if there were 70s flying around from resource point to resource point.
I don't think I'd want to be on a PvP realm with opposing faction 70s flying around.
Not sure what impact flying 70s would have on assaulting opposing faction towns or cities, or grief-camping starting-area quest mobs, especially now that there's no such think as a dishonorable kill.

And if Azeroth is flying-capable, then what about AV?
My guess would be that the only time they'd redo the main Azeroth is if/when they upgrade the core game for higher video quality.

I'm imagining a massive type do-over where, for example, the vines in STV aren't skins, they're 3-D items.

Not sure if a) video quality will keep getting better at the rate it has been or that b) they'll ever redo the old rather than doing a WoW-II.
if you could fly in the old world then access to Nef's ledge would circumnavigate a lot of the unprepaired
I understand why its dificult to make it possible to fly in azeroth, what I don't really understand is why we can't use the flying mount at all.
I say allow the mount to be used, but prevent us to fly.
It would take a long time for them to put flying mounts into Azeroth but that's a thing that should be done. Make areas restricted so enemy factions can't use drop into the middle of a city and such.

To the comment from Blizz about making flights from continent to continent, keep it the same way as it is now, boats and portals. There that problem is solved.

The only thing that drives me nuts is that the base flying mount has a 60% speed. Why not 100% like the epic ground mount? You wouldn't even be flying half as fast as the epic flying ones (280%) so why the 60%?
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