“World of Warcraft is not a flight sim”: Why Blizzard banned flying for Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor will be a drake-free zone.

Keep those pegs on the turf, mister. Flying, winged or otherwise, is strictly forbidden on the long-gone planet of Draenor – which is exactly where we’re headed for the next World of Warcraft expansion.

“I hope everyone can agree, regardless of personal opinion toward flight vs. non-flight, that flying fundamentally alters how content is approached in a world where the gameplay exists wholly on the ground,” began WoW community manager Bashiok.

Bashiok reassured riled players that Blizzard’s intention is not to make travel “time consuming or painful” – set flight paths in Draenor will be efficient as you like, not “loop-de-loop sightseeing tours”.

Instead, the dev team want to ensure that their quest design isn’t compromised by players swooping straight into the climax of an encounter to off the mob with a highlighted name.

“Being efficient is great, being clever is great, and using your cleverness to be efficient is great, but how many of us have done the Tillers dailies up on the cliffside where the Hozen are, and waited for packs to pass by before setting down right where you’re supposed to, use whatever thingamabob you’re supposed to, and then lift off ASAP hoping-hoping-hoping nothing aggros?,” pointed out Bashiok.

“How many of us have become furious when we actually have to fight something!? Is that clever gameplay? Is that being good at playing the game, or is it using a mechanic to avoid having to play it? Is that what the game should be, and what our expectations should be as gamers playing it?”

Blizzard want to open up all of their environments for max-level questing – rather than expect players to suddenly switch to raiding or arenas simple because they’re hit level 100. That means more variation than mountain top dailies can offer, or magical islands where flight works differently “because reasons”.

Flying messes with that new ethos – because the game experience is “fundamentally altered when you can lift off and set down wherever you want”.

“We don’t think having all of that content inside buildings, or constantly challenged by sky cannons, or with magical no-flying smoke, or within some kind of dismount bubble is the most straightforward or best solution to the ultimate issue in that World of Warcraft is not a flight sim, and that’s just not what the content of the game is about,” concluded Bashiok.

There’s a lot of inarguable sense here – but top-level players must have their privileges. Have you become used to floating far above the riffraff in WoW?