Fly Me To the Moon

Flying and Seeing the World! Well, I AM seeing something.

Flying and Seeing the World!
Well, I AM seeing something.

So I read “World of Warcraft Flying Mounts and Warlords of Draenor,” and it got me thinking about why I LOVE FLYING.  This post contains the reasons why I would get kinda cranky with another 100% flightless island!

1. Death Prevention
For a variety of reasons, I am not always able to attend to the game while logged on, and must occasionally AFK here and there.  In old content that my character vastly outlevels, this is usually not an issue.  In current content that my character must actually expend effort to survive in, stepping away from the computer for a couple minutes means that while I might save what’s in the oven, I run a very good chance of coming back to a corpse.

In most zones, safe places to stop for a breather are either far from your current questing location, or separated from you by a large number of mobs that you do not have time to fight through.  Going AFK where you stand on the ground is probably a bad idea, even if you are in a corner or hiding in some bushes – mobs don’t give a crap about that, and any pat that gets within range will come smack you down before you get back.  Flying offers a quick solution to this dilemma by enabling you to ascend to the skies (that is, if there aren’t MORE mobs up there, like at Lion’s Landing) while you attend to matters in the physical realm.

Although Blizzard (supposedly) plans on doing away with repair costs in Warlords of Draenor, that time has not yet come.  So by preventing one’s death, one also saves gold!  You also save time, since you don’t have to run back to your body from wherever the closest graveyard is (which may not be all that close or convenient).

Finally, if you are someone like me, you have both Alliance and Horde alts and sometimes find yourself going to the wrong Shrine or the wrong outpost in some zone.  Being on a flying mount is your only chance of getting the hell out of Dodge before ninety million NPCs and possibly players squish you into itty bitty pieces for your mistake.

2. Freaking Mountains
They’re everywhere, and a non-fatal route from one zone into another through them is not always immediately apparent.  I’ve tried running on foot from Stormwind to Hillsbrad before, since I wanted to tame a pet in that zone.  Alas!  I couldn’t use a flight path, since the alt in question had not been anywhere near that zone before.  Though many of my other characters have, Blizzard does not allow the flight path “knowledge” to go from one to the other these days.  The Cataclysm made passing between some zones impossible (hello giant abyss of doom), and going around is not an option thanks to More Freaking Mountains.  To get from Loch Modan to the Wetlands, I literally wound up jumping to my death down the busted up dam/dried up waterfall.

My Other Options Were Limited Severely so, actually.

My Other Options Were Limited
Severely so, actually.

I was determined to do it, and not particularly pissed off one way or the other about the whole thing – but this is not what I would call an enjoyable travel experience, nor one I’d want to repeat regularly because flying mounts were prohibited.

3. Flight Path Inefficiency
Do you ever feel like flight paths are inspired by airlines, or some sort of connect-the-dot game drawn by a madman?

WTB Direct Flight Flight paths, the airlines of Azeroth.

WTB Direct Flight
Flight paths, the airlines of Azeroth.

Seriously, even with the guild buff, I don’t have time for that crap.

4. Annoyance Prevention
People on ground mounts in flightless zones annoy me.  In their desire to turn in this quest or that one, or get to a place where they won’t be killed by a mob that just happens to spawn while they are AFK, they train a kajillion things behind them.  In the past, it seemed like mobs would always reset, ignoring people who circumstance placed nearby.  Unfortunately, in recent locations like the Isle of Thunder … well, they don’t reset so much as they pick another convenient target who just happened to be there, and it freaking sucks to be that target.

I like people more when they don’t have to do that in order to get from Point A to Point B.

I also like it more when I don’t have to do that in order to turn in.  I may have fought my way to the completion of the quest, yes, but I have almost no intention of fighting all the way back out to the quest giver again.  It takes too much time.

I would accept no flight if and only if we had something like that awesome saurok getup, which made the mobs friendly to you and which JUMPED LIKE MAGIC.

5. Annoyance is NOT a Sufficient Motivator for Many, and “Exploration” Doesn’t Mean You’ll Find What You Need
I don’t know about you, but if the cost of something is more than I perceive its worth to be, I am quite likely to just not do it.  If it’s too annoying to get to somewhere, I’m not going to begrudgingly go there and then decide I like it – I’m just going to not go there in the first place.

When it comes to exploration not helping you find what you need, take my shaman as an example.  She is not the first or even one of the first of my nine alts who have leveled through Pandaria.  She’s a jewelcrafter, but I didn’t even know the fancy jewelcrafting trainer in Jade Forest existed, much less that I needed to visit her in order to learn special recipes.  How did I find out?  It certainly wasn’t exploration or questing!  (Note: I do have Loremaster of Pandaria under my belt, so it’s not like I totally skipped the zone.)  No, Mr. Robot told me I needed to make specific type of gem for my gear, but I didn’t know how to cut it.  I queried my guildmates, who told me I could learn it at a trainer.  I went to the trainer I had always visited (in Orgrimmar), and discovered no such recipe there.  I then proceeded to Google the cut in question, at which point I finally learned there was a panda out in the middle of relative nowhere in the Jade Forest who had it.

Guess what?  I flew there.

6. Flying is a Reward I’ve Earned by Leveling and Paid For With Precious, Precious Gold
So stop taking it away from me, dammit.

For me, fast flying is a necessity.  I derp around the world for a variety of reasons, sometimes mining to pass the time while I am in a queue, and sometimes to procure mats for an alt’s low profession.  Quite often I’m flying to an old school dungeon or raid run for transmog purposes.  While I very rarely have the gold available to train the higher levels of flying at the moment an alt is first able to learn them, I will hoard my gold until I can finally get one level of flying, with maybe 100g left over for repairs.

I don’t always do dailies, and sometimes I go for days without doing quests on the same character, content leveling some other alt.  I don’t play the Auction House at all, and I usually save the mats I acquire for my own use instead of selling them.  While I can’t avoid repairs, I will stop buying what I consider “vanity” items, like minor glyphs or green quality armor I think would look good on an alt.  Sometimes I have stopped buying health/mana potions altogether, instead only using what I can make.  Generally, it will take about two weeks (sometimes a little more, rarely a little less these days) before I can afford one of the 4k flying skills.

Ignoring the the time and effort required to level any alt, let’s take a look at the costs involved in learning how to fly as fast as possible anywhere you possibly can.  Once I have finally maxed out flying on a character, I have spent (assuming I have the reputation discount) the following:

Basic Flying: 200g
(Level 60, enables you to fly in the first place, but is 100% useless without the Flight Master’s License)

Flight Master’s License: 250g
(Requires Level 60, allows you to fly in most zones, meaning it’s pretty much required)

Cold Weather Flying: 400g
(Allows you to fly in Northrend only)

Artisan Riding: 4,000g
(Requires Level 70, which makes you slightly less slow)

Fancypants Superfast Master Flying: 4,000g
(Requires Level 80, and currently the fastest flying speed)

Wisdom of the Four Winds: 2,000g
(Requires Level 90, allows flight in Pandaria)

That’s a sum of 10,850g!

Considering that:

  1. None of my characters qualifies as “rich,”
  2. I have 9 level 90s, a mix of Horde and Alliance
  3. I have, over time, paid for max flying on all nine,
  4. I already have the Explorer achievement,
  5. I am about 100 quests shy of “the Seeker” achievement,
  6. I already travel to multiple continents/worlds/expacs in search of transmog, and thus could be said to be exploring the world regularly,

… anybody telling me I should mother trucking ride a ground mount to see the world can, quite frankly, go chew on toothpicks.  FLYING MOUNTS FOREVER!!

What Happens When It Rots? Then again, that's probably how they get it down from there.

What Happens When It Rots?
Then again, that’s probably how they get it down from there.

41 thoughts on “Fly Me To the Moon

  1. kamaliaetalia

    Word, Prinnie, W-O-R-D.

    Even though you can go to Outland at level 58, I don’t usually go there until I’ve gotten to level 60 and have flying. Hellfire Peninsula is SO much easier– and more fun! — when you can just fly over all the annoying stuff!

        1. Leit

          Going through that portal is almost always a deathtrap anyway. Easier to skive a ‘port to Shattrath and use the automatic flight paths you get to Hellfire Bootcamp.

        2. kamaliaetalia

          No kidding! Getting my characters off the PvP server I initially rolled on (because that was where BTH’s friends were when I began playing) was the best server transfer money I have ever spent. I still have one character left on that server, but she will be moving sometime soon, as the people I left her there to talk to aren’t playing anymore.

    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      Whether I go to Outland or not before getting flying seems to depend on whether or not the LFD queue is taking forever to pop. If I get into Hellfire Ramparts, the EXP from the mobs there feels faster than questing (even if I can’t get the dungeon quest). But if I can’t, well, I’ll go – but you’d darn well better believe that I WILL stop whatever I am doing to turn around and train flying.

  2. PlaidElf

    One of my favorite things about flying is finally being able to get up to and look at all the interesting stuff I couldn’t get to while running around on a ground mount. So I’d argue that rather than keeping me from exploring the world flying makes me do more of it. I can live without it until level cap if I must, but at that point I’d really like my wings back, thanks.
    So I’m with you and really hoping that it’s just talk and we’ll get our flying at cap. How sad is Seish going to be if he can’t ride all of his dragons? Very sad.

  3. Talarian

    That Azeroth Airlines flightpath screenshot slayed me. Hilarious, but not necessarily in a good way.

    However, that being said, I don’t really feel terrible about not being able to fly. I mean, Timeless Isle would be trivialized by Flying mounts, and there’s something about the buzzing of the crowds taking off, diving, taking off again, over and over that just annoys me. I mean, can you imagine what the Timeless Isle would look like if we could fly on it? Swarms of protodrakes with players astride at low altitude, dive-bombing and swarming rares.

    Flying has trivialized gameplay significantly, so I can understand why the developers would take away flying while we level. As long as I can get it back at the end of the leveling experience, I’m pretty well okay with them taking it away from me for a period of time, or in small areas like Isle of Thunder and Timeless Isle.

    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      As I’m also reading the blue post at, your comment stands out, as you say essentially the same thing:

      “Flying trivializes combat. […] Flying allows you to escape or enter combat at-will. There’s a reason why flying isn’t allowed in dungeons and raids, or battlegrounds and arenas, and that’s because it would trivialize the core mechanic of the game in those areas – combat. For much the same reason it trivializes how content is approached in the outdoor world based on the simple fact that you can lift off and set down wherever you like.”

      I always assumed that flying wasn’t allowed in dungeons and raids because they’re usually indoors or in a cave somewhere and so flying wasn’t “logical.” /coff

      Absolutely, being able to fly makes combat almost 100% optional – and that’s exactly why I love it. By the time I’ve hit max level, I assume that I’ve “paid my dues,” so to speak, by slowly bludgeoning my way to my quest objective and back again, over and over. (I also include those moments where you fail to run to safety because you got knocked off your mount … the last time, I think I was being chased by seven or so of those evil gulp frogs. Got knocked down, got stunned, got daeeed fast.) I feel like the ability to choose combat – in essence, to interact with the game as I choose, when I choose – is the reward for the time spent leveling/saving money up to that point.

      I also find that, depending on the location and gear/skill of the alt in question, being able to choose combat is UTTERLY NECESSARY because I simply don’t do enough damage to freaking live in the first place. My incompetent death knight or my derpy monk are excellent examples of classes that I like playing, but am not that great at nor do I have them well geared. I like putzing around the Timeless Isle and helping kill rares well enough, but Gawd help me if even a single elite mob looks at me, because I AM GOING TO DIE. That Pi’jiu place or whatever, with all the dead pandaren monks? DO NOT GO NEAR. NO. BAD. (This whole can’t-do-enough-DPS-to-live thing would be why I was attempting to run from the gulp frogs – when I first entered the area, thinking about the ship with the satchel on the mast-thing that you gotta jump to, they were all dead. Unfortunately, they respawned while I was still pondering if I would be able to handle the pirates on the boat.) I generally don’t enjoy constant deathfests.

      To be honest, I’m fine with the whole system where you have to level on the ground before you get flying. But to be honest again, that song and dance routine gets kinda old by the 9th alt. I’m just sayin’.

      “Swarms of protodrakes with players astride at low altitude, dive-bombing and swarming rares.”

      Maybe it’s just a server thing, but that’s actually kinda what it feels like now – they’re just diving for the rares from ground level.

      I’m actually happier with Timeless Isle’s non-flight status than I am with Isle of Thunder. Isle of Thunder was, for me, too large and too packed with mobs for me to navigate efficiently while it was current content. Now that my shaman is in a mix of SoO LFR/Flex/Normal gear, I don’t care as much as I used to, because it doesn’t take her for-freaking-ever to kill the things she inevitably runs into. But for my derpy melee (or characters that I only use for healing), SCREW that place, man. Every freaking fight is difficult and having to do it over and over again from point A to point B is like a nightmare.

      (The other thing being, WoW is totally a game, and thus is ultimately trivial itself, if considered in the long-term bigger scheme of life kinda things. If I want to trivialize the trivial, what’s the issue?)

  4. Leit

    Would you like some tangents? It feels like you would like some tangents. 😛

    There’s a sweet spot at Lion’s Landing. If you’re above the ground by more than a character model’s height then the ground mobs ignore you, and if you’re a bit lower than the keep walls then the annoying bastard gryphon riders leave you alone. Just watch out for the gun-guards… they’re psycho.

    The official way to get from Modan to Wetlands on foot is via a tunnel just north of the dam. It’s not a big noticeable entrance, but it does have the benefit of the only damn road in the zone leading straight there. Might be infested with orcs though, used to be a quest pre-cata to fight through. Not sure if it still is.

    Stupid flight paths get really ridiculous sometimes. There’s one in particular that goes from Klaxxi’vess to the Shado-pan’s little base in Townlong that loops all the goddamn way back to some point at the edge of Eternal Blossoms before carrying on, when the next flight point in line *should* be a couple of hundred meters away. It’s faster to hop off, fly across the chasm and then hop back on. And this is with every flight point in Pandaria discovered, so it isn’t just one of those equally awful “oh, you don’t have this one flight point? let me reroute you through the *entire continent*” moments.

    (other least favourite flight point: Kargath, Badlands. As Horde, if you don’t have that point you can’t get from anywhere to anywhere in Eastern Kingdoms. the whole network seems to route through a single point of failure. this is POOR PRACTISE goddammit!)

    Finally: that stupid, boneheaded JC trainer. *What were they thinking?* This is not an NPC who interacts with the player at all. That little area is optional, obscured by like three or four heavy-duty questlines before you even get sent there, and it’s perfectly possible to completely miss it. And yet they decide that’s the place to put the one and only NPC who can teach the player to use their FUCKING PROFESSION PERK? Are you fucking kidding me? There’s nothing in-game that points you toward her! Zip, zilch, nada! No quests, no hints on the NPCs in the shrine, bupkis! If you don’t a) know that you’re supposed to have a profession bonus in the first place and b) use resources outside of the game, you’re losing out on something that’s meant to be a given, to the point where the armoury – also outside the game – bitches if you haven’t got your prof gems socketed!


    Yeah, stupid “noob trap” shit like this gets my hackles up. They should fucking know better by now.

    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      I like tangents.

      I’m aware of that sweet spot, but my problem seems to be in hitting and maintaining it while in range of the gryphon riders. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten dismounted in front of a party member (who then proceeded to laugh his flying ass off) because I accidentally flew a hair too high. SIGH.

      WELP, I missed that tunnel. I don’t think I was on the road. I navigate by the “is this the straightest looking direction that doesn’t have a freaking mountain or other obstruction obviously in my way if I look at the map?” technique.

      I really don’t understand why flight paths are as derpy as they are. There’s got to be a reason, I just know it!

      1. Leit

        I’ve worked with route optimisations and nav trees for vehicle tracking. Depending on the variables you weight, it can give some really weird results. That said, the worst issues seem to be around switch-points between factions. Suspect they’re trying to be smart and achieving the opposite results.

      2. Leit

        Double-post because I forgot my original comment: line of sight works great in the Horde levelling zones, which tend to be empty deserts, mountains and creepy forests with few paths anyway. Also at higher levels, because the zones are “dangerous” and there’s no guarantee the path’s going anywhere useful and/or won’t be infested with deathwang murderbats.

        Alliance levelling zones, on the other hand, tend to be far more safe and structured. The roads are pretty well laid out, and will generally take you where you’re trying to go.

  5. Helistar

    Well, for me flying is important simply because I like flying. When Cataclysm was released I just flew back and forth over the revised continents just to look at them. Flying up Hyjal or up Nordrassil are things I do even if I can more or less teleport there. In Northrend my druid main had herbalism, and I would go around picking up herbs, even if I hate farming, just because of the pleasure to fly over the snowy mountains. The same way, at times I drop out of fly and just go on foot over small roads that I have spotted from above, because I like the small winding roads going up and down mountains (the one mentioned near the dam is one I like, the climb to the high peak in the northern part of the Fjords is another).
    If they introduced flight in LotRO I would relog there in an instant just to go around and fly over the terrain I already covered multiple times on foot, just to see it from above (not to mention flying the Moria caves would be 100% wonderful).

    1. Leit

      The moment I first thought “wow, I could love this game” was the first time I took a flight path. Since then flying’s been pretty much up there on the list of the things that are *right* about wow.

  6. tomeoftheancient

    Of the thirteen deaths the Panda I’m leveling has, about 10 are what I call phone deaths because I had to leave her unattended and yeah, dead on return. I’ve been annoyed at myself because I don’t want to get to 90 quickly so why am I doing it? I finally realized it’s not to get to 90 it’s to be able to fly.

    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      If I’m leveling an alt that I’m not so hot at (or primarily heal with), they have a much better chance of survival once they learn how to fly – mostly because I am not feeling annoyed all the freaking time.

  7. Beetle

    Funny, if there ever was a poll asking for flight removal, I’d vote ‘Yes please’.

    Flying over the world, dropping in at a quest NPC and taking off again is not my idea of an immersive experience. Sure it is convenient when you have to travel to another zone and can just skip the mountains.

    So I’ll just go over your points, mainly because my lunchbreak is still 10 m.

    1. Death prevention.
    Okay, kinda silly point tbh. Safe areas are quest hubs, towns etc. Anywhere else should be considered spooky scary land. Yay.

    2. Mountains.
    They make the world look big. Without them the world zould be flat, no one likes flat.

    3. FPI
    Agree to some extent.

    4. Annoyance
    I like how you wrote “… get to a place where they won’t be killed by a mob that just happens to spawn while they are AFK”

    5. NOT a motivator …
    You’re mixing things up. The jewelcrafting example is more of a bad design / NPC placement issue than something with the no flying annoyance. Also, if one has to look up an NPC on Google or mrrobot in order to find something, it is BAD DESIGN FLOW. Nothing absolutely nothing to do with flying.

    6. They said they want to make it more epic, instead of just forking over 1000g to a NPC. And that is a freakin’ good thing. The ability to mount a goddamn dragon should be a huge deal. I mean you are going to mount a dragon ffs.

    Unfortunately, knowing Blizzard, they will probably ruin the whole thing, and instead of creating an epic LOTR-style adventure where you actually have to do fun effort for, they will gate it through a series of quests (READ: DAILIES but you can’t call it dailies anymore because Blizzard knows MOP made people hate dailies with vengeance).

    So in short, you are funked because you won’t have your flying from a NPC, and the other people are funked to because it’s going to be boring ass gated daili… erhm … I mean story progressed quests involved.

    1. kamaliaetalia

      The greater immersion of being ground-bound is fantastic when I’m playing through content with my first, or even second or third, character. By the time I’m playing through that same content with my seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth character, I want to be able to pick-and-choose content with a little more freedom. I want to be able to skip all that annoying trash if I want to. Flying allows that, and that’s why I like to be able to fly before I go to Outland, and why I like being able to fly in Northrend as soon as I get there.

      I haven’t played LOTRO (though I have been quite intrigued by it at times), so would you care to elaborate on the difference between “an epic LOTR-style adventure where you actually have to do fun effort for” and “a series of quests”? Wouldn’t that “epic LOTR-style adventure” BE, at its most bare bones description, some kind of “series of quests”?

      1. kamaliaetalia

        And really, it might be more fun to do some kind of “epic adventure” to earn the right to ride dragons on my first character… but after that, I’d rather just fork over the gold for my other characters to be able to fly.

      2. Beetle

        Apologies for the poorly explained LOTR reference. I didn’t mean the game, I meant the movies, as in an epic adventure to get to a certain goal.

        It should be a glorious epic thing, not just handing over gold coins to a NPC that hands you a licence plate to stick on your mounts rear-end.

        But I get your point, with a lot of alts, convenience become the bigger priority fast.

              1. Beetle


                Just read the Wikipedia article myself. Yes, I guess if you never heard of Ferengi before and you read that article you kinda go ‘Say what??’

                I could have said you are a true Goblin, but that would have been so obvious …

    2. Prinnie Powah Post author

      “1. Death prevention.
      Okay, kinda silly point tbh. Safe areas are quest hubs, towns etc. Anywhere else should be considered spooky scary land. Yay.”

      Pfffffft. I’m not talking about having like, some sort of enormous safe area where there aren’t any mobs running around at all – I’m talking more of some sort of gimmick or spot where it’s safe to leave your character alone for a minute while you do something, like a bio break or whatever. Let me climb a tree. Let me hide behind a rock or something. Just let me have a way to NOT DIE simply because something in the real world demanded my attention for a second.

      “2. Mountains.
      They make the world look big. Without them the world zould be flat, no one likes flat.”

      And here I assumed that they were put in place so that I couldn’t run willy nilly all over the earth. I do beg to differ – flat is better if you are a wimpy bicycle rider like me!

      “4. Annoyance
      I like how you wrote ‘… get to a place where they won’t be killed by a mob that just happens to spawn while they are AFK'”

      Anything I can do to entertain! 😀

      “5. NOT a motivator …
      You’re mixing things up. The jewelcrafting example is more of a bad design / NPC placement issue than something with the no flying annoyance.”

      The point was, at the time I was in the Jade Forest, I couldn’t fly period and was thus immersed in the world as desired (more than once), yet despite my extensive exploration and on-foot questing on multiple characters, the jewelcrafting trainer’s existence never registered. “Immersion” is relative, and does not equal knowledge of the game world. (Bad design flow, sure – but if I couldn’t fly, I’d have to use the derpy flight paths to get there!)

      “6. They said they want to make it more epic, instead of just forking over 1000g to a NPC. And that is a freakin’ good thing. The ability to mount a goddamn dragon should be a huge deal. I mean you are going to mount a dragon ffs.”

      For me, the process of getting flying itself has never and shouldn’t really be epic. It’s another skill that you’ve worked to earn. (I’d like it if you learned how to fly automatically, like the rest of one’s skills these days.) When you’re first able to ride a mount period at level 20, the “LERN HOW 2 RIED” quest you now get automatically is dumb as hell, to the point where, on my ninety billionth level 20 alt, I will simply delete it. Yes, let me go find the riding trainer and talk to them and fork over some cash. Whatever, I KNOW I can ride long before that. You see people on mounts EVERYWHERE. You can look in the spellbook and see that this riding skill is available at level whatever! ARGH!

      Anyhoo, what HAS been epic is getting the flying mounts themselves – Obsidian Sanctum runs, the obsession with collecting mounts to get the dragonhawk, etc. Even the fact that I totally rolled on and FAILED to acquire the Fiery Warhorse’s Reins and Mimiron’s Head was epic. Depressing. But epic.

      I’ve done the Order of the Cloud Serpent stuff, but as Kamalia says below, it does get tedious on more than one alt. In fact, despite having completed it my main at the time, I only *just* started that rep grind on a second character. (Cloud Serpents are not that cool to me, I guess?)

        1. Prinnie Powah Post author

          Yesssss, but I like shaman, and my shaman is more useful to the guild because of her ability to switch between DPS and healing. :<

          Also I can't rogue.

          So I'm kinda stuck.

      1. Beetle

        Well we agree on the epic part somehow I guess lol … Hopefuly Blizzard gets it right and makes learning an epic flight skill account bound. No more doing it over and over on a gazillion alts.

  8. Pingback: WoD is TRYING To Piss Me Off | That Was an Accident!

  9. Pingback: Have Some More Opinion You Didn’t Need! | That Was an Accident!

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