Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Flight Compromise

Blizzard has compromised on flying in Warlords of Draenor. They will tie flight to a meta-achievement for outdoor world content:
You’ll earn this achievement in Patch 6.2 by mastering the outdoor environment of Draenor—exploring Draenor’s zones, collecting 100 treasures in Draenor, completing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements, and raising the three new Tanaan Jungle reputations to Revered.
Basically, do all the outdoor content. The reward is a rylak mount and flying in Draenor for all your characters.

It's a pretty solid compromise. All content is initially experienced as the devs intend, but people will get flight eventually. It's all solo outdoor content, so it fits thematically. It only needs to be done once, so people with lots of alts get a break.

All in all, a pretty good resolution to the issue and a good model going forward.

Leveraging the Protestant Work Ethic or Elitism

One of the most interesting things about this solution is the way it harnesses a basic instinct of many gamers. I'm not sure if there's a specific term for this, but it's somewhere in-between the Protestant work ethic and elitism. Basically, for gamers, there is a link between reward and effort. Rewards should be earned. The greater the reward, the necessary effort to earn that reward must be great as well. There is a synchronicity when effort and reward match up perfectly.

The community has just spent the last few months insisting that flying is such a great reward that it cannot be removed. This creates space for Blizzard to set the bar high to earn that reward. And then the playerbase will defend that bar as correct and right. In fact, you can see a lot of this in comments to this compromise on the various forums. The people who think these requirements are too high are generally getting mocked.

Personally, I think Blizzard has nailed the effort-to-reward match-up with this compromise. It's a fair amount of work, but it's all doable solo, and nothing is too difficult. And the reward is really good. It really is the perfect amount of work for the reward. As such, they have sated that elitism/work ethic instinct of much of the playerbase. They have won themselves a lot more defenders than if the required achievement had been much harder or much easier.


  1. I don't play WoW but that sounds like an awesome compromise in my opinion. :)

  2. Whilst I agree that the level of difficultly of these requirements is commensurate with the reward, what the hell have they to do with being able to fly?

  3. ...But if you finished all the content and not an alt-holic, then what reason is there to fly? You finished everything outside anyway. This just seems like a gimmick to get people to do stuff they don't want to rather than a prize for completing some tasks.

    At the very least, add some areas only accessable by flight or quests or something.

  4. I've asked that same question, the answers I got from folks are:
    * Exploration
    * Relaxation
    * Resource Gathering (Fishing, Mining, Herbalism)
    * Archaeology
    * Getting to your raid zone more easily
    * That feeling of "breaking the rules"
    * Pet Battles

    Many people want flight for the sake of flight. And that's okay. There's not really anything Draenor-specific for flight, due to the expansion being built around not-flying, but there are a number of activities that are made easier or enhanced by the availability of flight.