Sunday, April 10, 2011

Flying Mounts

Sometimes I wonder if flying mounts were a good idea.

The thing about flying mounts is that flying mounts basically obsoleted geography. You fly up, then fly directly to your destination in the air. There's just air around you, a blank emptiness.

Whereas for ground mounts, where you are matters. Sometimes you cut across country, sometimes you follow the road. You're "in" the scenery.

Not to mention that when you see people on the roads, they're much closer to you. They're sharing the road. When flying, it's basically seeing someone pass you at a great distance. Another airplane, or ship on the horizon.

Flying mounts are cool, no doubt. But I think in a lot of ways, they started the trend of separating players from the game world. I wonder if the novelty of those mounts was really worth it.

22 comments:

Joscelin said...

Part of why I'm enjoying Rift is definitely the switch from flying everywhere to ground mounts only. Throw in artifact hunting and it makes exploring really enjoyable. If they had flying mounts, it just wouldn't be the same.

I love my flying mounts, but not being down in the terrain really does take something away from the world.

Azuriel said...

Well, there really isn't a good solution. At some point, the world becomes too large for ground mounts, with the alternative of "being in the geography" turns into "spend 20 minutes just getting to your dailies." The solution to that ends up being portals, which probably reduces the "world" more than flying mounts.

Plus, let's not forget that having to go everywhere on the ground limits the geography design itself. You cannot have things like the Icecrown "crater" area (which makes sense) without being able to fly around.

Gevlon said...

Remember that there were always flying mounts, called flight masters. People went to the nearest town, talked to flight master, and went AFK.

Helistar said...

Do yourself a favor, go to LotRO and navigate Moria. Then you'll see what flying mounts add to a game....

Shintar said...

I've had similar thoughts in the past. That said, it hasn't been as bad in Cataclysm as I expected, because archaeology has me looking at a lot of zones up close repeatedly, even if I usually fly over them.

Redbeard said...

I'm with Gevlon on this. There always were flying mounts, but we thought of them more as a bus service (or a subway, take your pick). The proliferation of flight points only underscores the importance of flying mounts in game, allowing a player under L60 to have that access.

The nicest thing about flying mounts? If I get called away by family while playing, I can zip upward, park myself, and go attend to whatever. That is absolutely vital in a PvP world; otherwise you'd find yourself ganked by the time you returned.

Mike said...

I love the convenience of flying, but i often think it was a mistake to add it. I think they should have just made more permanent portals to major locations like the main cities and Theramore, etc. and had more flight paths. There is so much beatiful stuff to see from the ground and you miss most of it from the air going 310. Maybe flying would work better if it was slower, like 200, and made each zone have a really low flight ceiling, below the tops of trees.

Anonymous said...

In the Cataclysm new zones, I believe everything is mostly accessible via ground mounts. I must admit that I wish we could not fly until 85, a little bit like they did in Wrath.

Bold - Runetotem said...

I think that the real problem is not the flying mounts by themselves, the problem is that game world is NOT designed for flying mounts: almost nothing happens in the air.

I guess that WoW could be a really, really better game would be there things like:
- zones where you take damage if you stay (smoke, icy wind or so)
- bandits who ambush travellers on flying mounts, like there are lots of bandits grounded;
- flying beasts and monsters, the most dangerous one having some ability to stun you (stun = dismount = harsh meeting with the ground + corpserun) like there are lots of beasts and monsters grounded;
- guards that mount themselves and hunt you, instead of suddenly losing all interest if you just fly 15 yards high or so.

Then you could fly, but not brainlessly do it.

Just my two cents, of course...

Guinadrodd said...

I don't think it was a mistake originally in BC. You didn't get it until end-game, and you went a slower actual speed unless you spent a large sum of gold.

Even at the start of WotLK it wasn't terrible with the additional attunement and limiting it to 77+ (for use in Storm Peaks, for example, which was designed for flying mounts)

However in Cata (with the new zones), I noticed myself flying over the world more so than experiencing the world. And I was flying fast, which made the questing feel fast, and made the content seem short.

I don't think it was an improvement.

Klepsacovic said...

Flying mounts killed rogues. :(

Aracos said...

Bold-Runetotem hit the nail right on the head. Flying mounts are not the "problem." The issue is adding them to a game not originally designed to accommodate them. Nothing happens "in the air" in WoW. It essentially allows you to bypass content and offers no "replacement" content in return. If you are going to incorporate flight in your game, you need to actually make it a part of the GAME. As it stands, flight in WoW is just a faster way to get from Point A to Point B... useful to be sure, but it doesn't add much in a gameplay sense.

Martin said...

The other problem with the mounts is how they clog up everything in the cities. It's a real pain trying to fight through SW to fumble in a dragon gut for the mailbox icon.

Bika said...

One of the more awesome sights I can remember from Cataclysm was flying over Stromgarde for the first time. That said, WoW pretty much ended for me this expansion. Still, it was neat. I saw a lot of things in Azeroth I never would have without a flying mount.

Sarvas said...

It's ironic that I've been reading this blog for weeks and just now realized you're in AI. Assuming it's the AI I'm thinking of, all my mains came from the same quiet little server you were all once on. [Judging by the website, it appears to have changed].

Well done is all I can say, I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. I'm glad to see that you guys are still kicking it, too, btw.

As for flying mounts? I love them. There's a uniqueness about them that I've always loved, and the fact that all the really cool ones are irritating to get your hands on makes it a little more fun collecting them.

They are purely convenience though and completely take away from the majority of the submersion that WoW used to offer when you had to walk/slowly trudge along on a weak ground mount until you hit the cap and got your 100% rider. Which even in itself seems completely pointless now that you can get upwards to 310% [and if you're a Pally or DK with talents/CA, far more than 310%].

I do miss being forced to used ground mounts though. Even in BC, it took me forever to get my basic flyer, and I HATED it. Then again that was when it was the slowest, most ridiculous way of transporting yourself at the time until you got your hands on your 280% flyer.

Flying mounts made me lazy. Recognize.

Natalie said...

I ride my Talbuk in SW just to be different. BOO YA.

Natalie said...

But yes, I too miss ground-only riding. It made you feel like you *had* to interact with other people...pvp encounters included.

Anonymous said...

i agree, the flying mounts are just cool because you can reach point b quicly, but havent the old feling of being part of the world

Anonymous said...

About flying monsters dismounting you: ever been in Ogri'la at level 70 doing your dailies? The four black dragons made sure you remembered them.

Goins2754 said...

I made a similar comment on the main forums and was mocked for it. Though, I agree 100% with your assessment.

Flying mounts trivialize content.

As you level in Outland, do you still fear the Reaver? Nope. You fly everywhere. He can't even get to you! All those mobs protecting the quest mob? Who cares? I'm going up and over. It's annoying how trivial the content is.

If I ever level again, I probably won't buy flying until I'm max level.

Sieghardt said...

I agree with the comments that flying mounts are a good thing, but would be better if there was more stuff going on up in the wild blue yonder, and more "easter egg" type stuff to find by flying around that you can't reach on the ground.

Also, I've thought since vanilla that you should be able to fight on mounts. Makes you wonder why the Paladin gets a "warhorse" that can't be used to fight. I mean, what's all that barding for, if not for fighting?

They sort of addressed this with WolTK's Argent Tournament, but it's really quite limited. I'd love to see combat mechanics incorporated into regular AND flying mounts. After all, the strength of knights in medieval times was their ability to fight on horseback.

Winterpine said...

Three points:

1. I agree with Bold - Runetotem that designing the world for flying mounts would go a long way to solving our dissatisfaction with flying. I like others' ideas about making flying more interactive with the environment. I also think the world should be built vertically as well as horizontally. There are islands floating above Nagrand, instances far above Uldum and Twilight Highlands. Why not make entire cities that climb up into the sky - or burrow down into the ground, for that matter?

Vash'jir is the zone that has taken the most advantage of three dimensional movement. Combined the utterly beautiful artwork, it is one of my favorite zones (why people rag on it so much, I don't understand).

2, I also think that more flight points would have sufficed. Getting most of the way there is all I really need. I enjoyed the sense of adventure that a long trek evoked.

3. Part of the fun of the game is having to make choices in the face of limited time, money, resources. Dual-spec instead of triple-spec. Two crafting professions instead of all of them. Trekking to one zone for questing or another. As appealing as convenience is, don't people seem less fulfilled when the need for cost/benefit analysis is diminished?