I've always been a supporter of flying. I think it is a great convenience, it breaths life into the game, it gives people a reason to go out, it actually makes people more willing to go places, and it can be used as a way to add content to the game so it is with great sadness I say that after trying out the beta I do not see flying ever being added to Draenor. But it might not be as bad as we think, even if I still think it is a huge error on blizzards part to remove a convenience we have had for 8 years.
How did I manage to come about this conclusion that we might never see flying? It is simple. Draenor is small. Very small. While it has been said that some people have measured it and Draenor is larger than Pandaria it sure does not feel like it at all and in the end it is how it feels that lead my to my belief. Blizzard seems to have made a massive effort into making Draenor feel small so the lack of flying would be opposed less.
Draenor was designed for us to be using ground mount throughout the entire expansion. While there are still a great many of those annoying mountains in the way of things that force you to run around them or lead you to think you can climb up the side but you can't so you end up wasting your time trying, in the end getting from point A to point B on a ground mount is fast.
It is so fast that the zones feel extremely small. Overly small. You can run from one end of the zone to the other in minutes, or less depending on the zone. Some zones are really small width wise so going from east to west can take less than one minute, no kidding. This is absolutely by design. Blizzard made the zones like this so it would not make people feel as if they were missing flying, because getting from one place to another was more so a direct route.
Even if those people that said they measured it and it is bigger than Pandaria are right the bottom line is that not having flying is not a major hindrance to travel and that is the number one reason why I believe they do not intend to ever add flying.
They would have never made the world so fast and easy to transverse if they had intended to add flying. For one example I can mention I had a daily fishing quest to fish up something in frostfire ridge which happens to be on the west side of the map as opposed to me as alliance on the east side of the map. I took a quick flight path and took to the ground and ran to frostfire ridge in a matter of minutes. From the east most zone to the west most zone that quickly.
Something like that means they thought this one out a little. They knew if this were to be a daily and it was a long travel between the alliance zone to the horde zone that many people might complain so it is not a long trip. Quite honestly it was amazingly fast, much more so than I was expecting. When I got to a place where I could fish in forstfire I had to think, am I really here already?
Add to the fact that as an alliance walking into a horde territory you would expect I need to walk a horde city or at least a horde quest hub. This is one of the best reasons for flying in my opinion. Avoiding unless confrontations. But forget about that, they actually thought about that this time. While I do need to run directly through a horde quest hub to enter frostfire ridge as an alliance player they made sure the PvP flagged mobs were slightly further back so that they would not aggro on you as you ran past into the zone. Check on reason off the list for why people would want flying to make something annoying a little less so. Unless you are not paying attention and walk straight into them instead of turning right with the road, you will never get attacked and flagged by them.
Can you see what I mean with that one example alone how it seems that blizzard has made a huge effort to keep us on the ground and make it not be such a big deal? They actively want us to not miss flying and are making some effort to ease the pain of our loss.
Mists was designed well also but not well for ground travel, it was designed for flying. This allowed them to add more winding paths where it took longer to travel by ground mount. It made Pandaria seem larger than it really was because you needed to run around a lot of things and that made it feel much larger. Pandaria did not feel small on foot, that feeling did not come until you were flying.
It was designed to be harder on ground mounts for two reasons. One was to give the leveling some depth, make it feel fuller and larger than it was and two is because they knew they would be adding flying. So it was no big deal to make the feel on the ground be longer and more time consuming because the only time you would ever experience it was while leveling. They new that once people could fly they would forget the long winding paths and the annoyance of being on foot.
Adding flying at max level in mists also allowed them some ability to add higher level questing zones in the lower level areas. Which is one of the beauties of flying, it does smooth things out some but that is not to say there are not zones like that on Draenor. There are level 100 questing areas in every zone and you could just as easily walk into them as a fresh level 90 where that did not happen in mists because they just put those max level zones in areas that required flying.
I must say that I am a pretty big fan of the fact that my starting zone also has a level 94 quest hub and level 100 quests. I liked the fact that I could accidentally stumble across some level 100 red elite mobs while exploring on a level 90. It reminded me of the good old days like when you would walk out of forest song as a level 20 something and there would be these ?? elite dragonkin that would smell you from what seemed like half a zone away. Adding some danger to the zone. I so miss those zones and while a level 100 to a level 90 is not the same as a level 60 was to a level 20 it does bring back that "run run run" feeling when you first see a pack of three of them walking right at you while you are exploring. I'll leave out the fact that I am a hunter as I engaged them anyway, but that is besides the point.
With Draenor it is designed to not have flying so all the road paths are direct. No need to make it extend like they did in mists. If they did that people would rage that it takes forever to get anywhere. It is true, and it would be reasonable for people to complain about it. Draenor feels so small because it is so small and because all the travel is direct, not winding, like in Pandaria.
It seems as if blizzard has made every effort possible to make you forget you do not have flying. From a questing standpoint and maybe even a daily standpoint, they have won me over, slightly. I guess I can deal with no flying... for a little bit.
What flying will be missed for however still greatly out weighs the efforts blizzard has made to ease the pain of life without wings. Gathering will still be annoying without flying, but I guess we have garrisons to help with that some. Pet battles and catching wild pets will suck having to run from pet to pet too.
Archeology I have not tried it yet, but I could not even imagine the nightmare it would be without flying and quite honestly I do not think I will even consider touching it until they add flying, if they do, which I don't think they will, which basically makes archeology a completely useless profession now that it is not even worth thinking about, and this is coming from someone with the seeker of knowledge title. If you know what was required to get that, you understand I am not just anti archeology. Just anti archeology without flying.
Getting to friends that call for help without flying will be an annoyance, but not as bad being the world is so insanely small, but nothing can compare to mounting up and going. Not even quick roads or faster more direct flight paths.
Rare killing will seriously take a hit, exploring will take a hit, anything that needs you to get to areas that were hard to get to or far apart will be nothing but generally annoying now without flying. In a way, that is another reason we will not be getting flying. Not to be annoying, but to keep us on the ground because there are some things that are designed for us to do from ground level. Blizzard has made many efforts to add things that need you to do some jumping, or thinking or both.
Things like the one rare I needed to do some interesting jumping that did not look like I could jump to and some rope climbing, just to get to a rare. With this design, I do not see them wanting to add flying because it defeats the purpose they designed these for when you can just land on the rare. They went through the same efforts to design something with hard jumps, jumps you might not notice, ropes, and the such, just as much effort as they went through to make the world feel small. All efforts to make us stay on the ground.
If blizzard gets their way I do not expect we will ever see flying this expansion, not even in a later patch, maybe even never, not even when we are in the next expansion. And that will lead them to actually removing flight completely from the game in any future content and expansion releases.
It is not because "they did not design everything" or any other conspiracy theory you might hear, but we will all believe our own things. Like I believe it is because the designers feel they can get more creative with us on the ground and they are trying to give that a go.
So if you really do want flying back, do not give up. Do not fall into the lull that I already have where I can deal with it because I can still get from point A to point B fast. Faster than I ever have in any expansion because the world is so small. When the expansion comes out keep posting, keep making threads, keep being civil about it, let blizzard know that they should never remove a convenience we have had for 8 years because they want to try some new things. Let blizzard know we like those new things in small places with no flying like the timeless island and the isle of thunder but let them know we want out flying back in the main world.
Blizzard has done a fantastic job of making our stay on the ground less frustrating. I'll give credit where credit is due and they deserve it. Fast road trips makes for a less frustrating ground trek but it does not change the fact I would rather fly. I just won't count on it because after seeing beta and how well it was designed to keep us on the ground I am 100% certain they have no intention of adding flying in. Only you can change their mind.
Now on a slightly related note I want to end this post with a question.
Why is everyone running around on flying mounts? Those huge things are just annoying and blizzard should remove the ability for them to walk on land. Why are people using them and not taking advantage of the chance to use the many great ground mounts in the game like I am?