I was scanning the forums, looking for info on the recently-announced Warlords of Dreanor expansion and I came across this post:
The second thing is we really like when flying feels like a reward and something you’ve earned for each new expansion or area. It’s such a powerful ability and we look back at BC (at least for epic riding) or Wrath and those were really big keystone achievements for us as players (mainly because they had some pretty huge gold costs on them…). Regardless of the unlock method though it was one of the bigger moments when you unlocked flying, took to the skies, and were able to see the world from an entirely different vantage because for most of us it wasn’t easily attainable. Our plan has been to recapture some of that but make it a bit cooler, and while we don’t have specifics just yet, it’ll be something more involved than just paying gold; something that further emphasizes how powerful flight is. Unlocking it won’t just be level 100 on the day 6.1 comes out with some gold, but something you’ll be working toward over the course of the initial expansion release, and 6.1 will introduce the final steps to complete it. It’s such a enormous power to be able to fly we really want it to be more of a key moment when you unlock it, and something that feels like an accomplishment more than just shelling out some gold like we’ve had in the past.
He originally compared the quest chain to a “mini” version of the Legendary chain/grind that we experienced with Wrathion during MoP, but then got all pissed off and edited it back out after people pointed out what a colossally stupid idea that was. I have to say, I was over the moon about all of the UI/Quest Interface/Inventory changes. I was pretty excited about the Garrison feature. I could live with yet another expansion that focuses on Orcs to the exclusion of pretty much everyone and everything else. I could even stomach another patch or two focused on Garrosh as the bad guy until the mysterious villain who is truly controlling things is unmasked later (I’ll even pretend to be surprised when it’s the same old Burning Legion rehash). But no flying until 6.1? Moreover, no flying until I’ve completed a muli-patch “epic” grind? Possibly on every single character? Screw that noise. That’s a deal-breaker. If they don’t change their mind on this nonsense I’m not wasting my money.
The single most frustrating aspect of the game for me has always been the inability to travel. One of the very few aspects of alts that I don’t enjoy is coping with the constant and repeated loss of my mobility. It sucks when I have no mount at all until level 20. It sucks when I have a slow-ass ground mount until level 40. It sucks when I can’t fly until level 60. It sucks when I can’t fly fast until level 70. It sucks all over again as I lose the ability to fly with each expansion over and over again until I’ve earned (and paid for) the exact same thing 5 times over and I can finally use it freely again at max level. At that point, I live with it. I hate it, and it’s stupid that I have to re-earn (and re-purchase) flight at each new level cap, but I can live with it. If that was the deal in the new expansion, I could do so again. But this? This is just asinine.
The “fun new content” that everyone keeps holding up as an example of why no flying is so awesome is the Timeless Isle. If that’s the design goal for the new expansion, then count me out now. I’m not a terribly large fan of the Timeless Isle. Trying to travel on the island ranges somewhere between annoying and painful. It’s difficult to get where you want to go, let alone doing it quickly, because you are in constant danger of being dazed/stunned and dismounted, at which point you have have to spend 1-5 minutes on combat (depending on how many and which enemies jumped you), at which point, your whole purpose for traveling (such as fighting a rare or elite) has probably passed you by anyway, meaning that the whole thing was for naught. And no, it’s not a matter of being in danger of death. Even though most enemies on the Isle hit like a truck, their attacks are so easy to avoid that they pose little actual danger. They are merely a nuisance: a transparent and un-fun waste of time.
Now, I know what Blizzard is trying to do. They look at the dismounting and forced combat both as content itself and also as a way to extend other content (located behind the obstacle). The thing is, that method sucks. They’ve learned the wrong lesson out of the isle. There is content people want to do (rares/elites/bosses) and content people do not want to do (ghosts, and frogs, and tigers, oh my!). I’d much rather they increased the HP of the rares by 10X or more and got rid of most of the trash, at least to the point that you could actually navigate the island without agroing mobs if you’re careful. Being dismounted and swarmed by mobs is annoying regardless of how tough or trivial they happen to be, doubly so when the distraction is sufficient for you to miss the content you were after to start with. It’s not about hard versus easy, it’s about fun versus annoying; rewarding versus frustrating.
They should have treated the Timeless Isle more like a dungeon; strike a balance between the content you have to do and the content you want to do. As it stands, even with the Timeless Isle being some of the most rewarding content there is (treasure chests and loot drops galore), it is some of my least favorite content. It’s endlessly frustrating being unable to go twenty feet without being dismounted and getting sucked into combat with half-a-dozen mobs that may or may not have any hope of killing me. If Bofo happens to be up, I want to fight Bofo. I do not want to fight a group of 4-8 tigers between here and Bofo. If fighting tigers was sufficiently fun and rewarding content, you wouldn’t need to force me to do it, I’d seek them out and hack them to furry little bits of blood and gore because I would want to.