Why timegate Pathfinder?

General Discussion
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Because Blizzard doesn't want you flying at launch. They've said that over and over, every expansion.

Flying has proven to be one of the worst things added to the game, simply because people complain about it every expansion.
I don't believe that pathfinder is present within the game because they're attempting to keep people subbed. I think that would be counter productive considering people are refusing to buy BFA (Or saying it anyways.) until they can obtain flying. I always found that odd because I feel like flying makes the world so boring to me.

I can't imagine all the cool things and places or items I would have missed if we just had flying inherently at the start of every expansion. It makes the world feel a lot less alive as well, people fly up 800 feet in the sky to divebomb exactly what they need and fly off.

I used to play this game on the computer called Jedi Knight Dark Forces 2, and it was hard because I was like, 7 or 8 at the time. I remember that I had the flight code in the game, which make it so I could fly, ableit awkwardly and skip around to wherever I wanted to go. And it was fun for a while, but it never felt like a satisfying game that way, with the ability to circumvent all combat except exactly what I needed it cheapened the game and made it feel incomplete and weird.

I see flying mostly the same way, especially in the start of an expansion, where everyone is supposed to be exploring this new land, trying to help the local people and see what kind of power we can acquire, it feels out of place and really game breaking to just be able to fly at 310% movement speed and zip around. And for pvp, flying has always made it very binary and unengaging. Someone gets the drop on you and then attempts to gank you again from their flying mount, you manage to get mounted and you both fly 800 feet into the air where they /emote at you multiple times or maybe get courageous enough to try and whittle you down in the air really quickly. For an expansion where it's supposed to highlight the tensions between horde and alliance, I'm really glad for a time where people can't just fly away as a solution. I kind of hope they find a way to limit flying for warmode anyways as people will benefit from the 15% gains with flying and basically just circumvent most adversity with flying.

Even for PVE flying is annoying with people, you manage to kite or solo elites in the world for a quest or topple a rare spawn and some dude just falls out of the sky sneezes on it, reaps the benefit of you killing it and flies off to scavenge again lol. And lets be real for a second, when people say they engage with the world when they have flying, that's like saying you enjoy the scenery in a plane the same way a road trip would provide it. Flying is a cool feature, and it's useful for travel and has awesome mounts. But lets face it, the reason people want it instantly is so they can speed up leveling, avoid conflict and find the fastest possible way to do things. If I was a game designer, I wouldn't want every quest, world hazard and all those assets skipped over and never used. It's why in D&D in a lot of their official league games, they don't allow flying races into the game from the start because it makes the balance of the game out of whack and vastly reduces any kind of challenge in the world itself.

Anyways, just my opinion is all, I don't like to play games on easy when I can avoid it and I can say that honestly, the reason that most games who have a continued story start you from zero a majority of the time is the same reason we don't have flying from the start. Samus did sure have a lot of powers by the end of metroid but it wouldn't give the next game any chance to ramp or present a challenge at all if you had everything to start with. I'm good with flying taking it's time to show up, and I hope that warmode has a way to deal with it so it's not boring. I'd be all in favor of flight being disabled while you have warmode on personally. I think it'd be much more entertaining for longer that way.
06/19/2018 11:51 AMPosted by Nyzer
06/19/2018 11:47 AMPosted by Sweetpeaz
...

Just as Cataclysm was viewed at the time as a bad expansion because it followed WotLK, Legion is being viewed as good because it followed WoD.


Cataclysm was objectively bad in major ways, too. The difficulty of the endgame shot up hard, far beyond what most players were prepared for (and anyone who'd noticed the issue of groups struggling on HoR would have realized that immediately, so there was no real excuse for screwing it up that badly), the writing for the main story was some of the worst we've ever seen, and a lot of content was cut due to the work put in to redesign the entire overworld (which itself was a divisive move, due to a lot of classic content being replaced).

Honestly you're right, but the dungeons in WOLTK were such facerolls, even Heroic. Cata was an effort to return to the old days of having to use cc and careful pulls in dungeons, rather than just steamrolling them.

The raids were challenging, made easier for some by the availability of a 30% damage buff (optional).

Cata did crank it up to a new level that was well appreciated by some, hated by some (though Cata was hated by many for different reasons). Cata dungeons, however were beautiful and interesting and some of the fight mechanics were imaginative. The raids imho were among the most challenging I've seen, especially the Deathwing fight.

As far as the story is concerned, progress peaked with WOLTK. After that socko story, immersive and engaging as it was, I was completely meh about Deathwing. I mean, who cared? After that incredible Wrathgate, seeing Arthas' destruction and influence everywhere, getting finally to kill him in ICC. . . now that was storytelling.

It was a hard act to follow and the Cata tale of a super P.O.'d dragon just didn't quite make the grade. But imho no story since has either.

Although I hated to see the old world wrecked, it was done to make Azeroth flight ready. Perhaps this could have been accomplished without the destruction, but then, what would Cata's story have been? The good part was it gave the quest devs a chance to reorganize without rewriting, many formerly inconveniently located quest hubs (Darkshore, I'm looking at YOU) and to add new quests to the mix. Overall I liked these changes, but found many of the terrain changes sad.

I loved most of the new Cata zones and had a blast in most of 'em just knocking around, questing and dungeoning with friends.
06/19/2018 12:01 PMPosted by Meritha
06/19/2018 11:36 AMPosted by Elorael
But here's my response to the original question:

Space and player density.


That was a very good explanation.


I prefer:

Pixies and moonbeams.

It makes just as much sense, and it's also good because it's a fantasy role playing game!
06/18/2018 10:14 AMPosted by Velara
It is unlikely that Blizzard is unaware of player frustration and anger over this issue; the fact that there have been no responsive changes to this pattern speaks volumes.
And sooner or later, it's gonna bit them where the sun doesn't shine. XD
06/19/2018 11:36 AMPosted by Elorael
Space and player density.

Blizzard Devs have addressed this repeatedly for every expansion. Flying creates far more space that players exist in. Being ground-bound means that you have only one altitude to play on, and therefore more players are visible in the world, because you pass them, they're near you playing, you see them riding along the road while you quest.

Blizzard wants the world to feel vibrant and populated. On the ground, you see people traversing the roads. You see the (specifically selected) flight paths zooming just overhead of significant questing areas. You see people riding out of the gates of the major city or quest hub, and carving their way up the steps of an environment filled with enemies.

Adding flying makes it a far more surgical experience. You fly up high enough to be completely safe, but also almost invisible to others. You fly down to your target, perform whatever you require, then take off and disappear again. Almost like other players only exist in a flash or brief encounters more commonly 'stealing your kills' than being part of a living and vibrant world.


This all sounds very good but it isn't reflected in the reality of the game. Once players hit max-level, the zones naturally depopulate over time as instanced content becomes the primary vehicle for gameplay. Sure, you see players going in and out of reputation quest hubs but then over time those areas depopulate as well once the majority wave of players pass through. Flight's presence or absence has nothing to do with this natural population progression.

How you get players visible in the world is solely through shared activities or compelling content. Hence, class order halls, expansion capitals, quest hubs, and pre-expansion events. Let's look at the Legion pre-expansion event, for example. Swarms of players descending upon Legion invasion points via flying mounts. One of the best memories I have of the game was the epic sweep of 50-60 players all descending on Westfall on their flying mounts at the start of a Legion invasion. The players weren't invisible because they traveled by flying mount; their visibility was clearly because of the shared, compelling content.

Flight's removal from Warlords wasn't to improve the visibility of other players. Nor was the introduction of Pathfinder. Blizzard uses the popularity of flight to get players into questing content at end-game because unlike the Legion invasions in the pre-expansion event, daily quests are not very compelling content.
06/18/2018 11:40 AMPosted by Chimisuto
but it's very hard to argue sub numbers when we don't even get proper reports anymore.
One of these days, "Time Played" isn't going to be good enough anymore, either.
The alternative would be that Suramar would be as it's now, people divebomb out of the sky, get whatever objective they have, take off. Instead of the "sneak into the city and plan your way around" thing they had going there.
I don't see why Pathfinder couldn't have been earned for all the other zones first, then a patch adds a Pathfinder for Suramar, then another adds PF for Broken Shore. Instead, we had to wait to fly at all until the patch for Broken Shore.

Blizz would still have their gating and their Pathfinder "parts", but players would at least be able to fly in the content they've completed.
My guess is that a lot of it is related to unlocking flying when people are bored of the content and are looking for something new.

I am curious too about just how many actually finish pathfinder part 1 significantly early. I certainly will be (if just to get those great looking mounts at exalted), but how many?
06/19/2018 11:20 AMPosted by Nyzer
The flight & overworld content issue alone isn't enough to keep me from getting BfA, but it's one of the big reasons I won't be. I'm convinced that Blizzard doesn't want to do better, because of their irrational hatred for it and (of course) the desire to stretch out players' time in the pursuit of raw greed.

So, let's take this point of view for a moment.

First, Blizzards "hatred" is completely rational, even if you don't agree with it. They repeatedly pointed out why they don't like flying. And they're all rational arguments. It's not like "Why do you hate flying?" "Um..uh..cuz..cuz reasons! Why do you always attack me?!!?!?!??"

"The time gate is to keep people subscribed!"

You think that people will sit around the game and do "nothing", continue pouring money in to the subscription, while waiting for flying? Because there's nothing else to do? If there was nothing to do, no reason to stay "but flying", people would just "do the content" and unsub. Some DO do that, but most don't. Because there's ALWAYS something else to do.

"Keeping people on the ground make them stay subbed longer because things take longer, they'll burn through the content!"

Since everything in the game is time gated by dailies, WQs, daily heroics, daily faction chests, weekly raids. Considering, save for XP, gold and mats, nothing in the game is "grindable", where you can spend endless time collecting whatever. Do you think that, given the taxis, whistles, gliders, and, what, I think I have 4-5 different hearthstones. Does flying "save" time? yes. Does it DRAMATICALLY save time? No.

Outside of gathering, the majority of your time spent in game is NOT traveling. It may FEEL that way, but it's really not. If I have to take a trip to Stormheim, I taxi out and do what I do. Then I hearth back. If that hearth is down, I garrison hearth and use those portals. If garrison in down, I Temple hearth and use those portals. On my druid and DK, I have free hearths to my class hall, which have Dal portals. So it's not like its even a "long trip" back if I'm just going out for a one off.

And when it is traveling, flying doesn't save a large amount of time over taxis and everything else. It's certainly more convenient, it lets me "go anywhere" (and, yes, High Mountain particularly has its pain points). And, of course, flying doesn't help in Argus at all (which is where the bulk of PvE world PvE content is happening now, anyway).

So how, exactly, does the lack of flying keep people subscribed? You subscribe by the month, not by the hour. And lack of flying might slow you down, at MOST, 15% all told...if that.

As I recounted elsewhere, in Stormheim, I was doing WQs and partied with another guy. It wasn't until the 3rd one that I realized that the other guy didn't have flying. He was always pretty much right behind me. I never had to really wait for him, standing around /tap-ing. When I did realized he couldn't fly, I switched to the Sand Drake and took him with me. When I level toons, I keep them grounded, "just cuz" (back in the day I made my toons pay their own way for flying and such anyway, but, no, I don't have them redo Pathfinder). I fly around enough end game, it's nice to see the world from the roads from time to time.

Flying is "better", yes, measurably so. It's just not significantly better in terms of just raw time spent and save. Certainly not enough to make "1 month of content" take "2 months", stretching a subscription.

No, what slows down the pace is the gating in raids, and the raid release dates. Just like always. The raids offer the "best" gear. If you want the most powerful character, you raid the current tier - whether LFR or better. And that stuff takes just a few hours a week, week after week, whether you're flying or not.

Everything else is "stuff to do between raids", and you have all week for that.

"Well if flying isn't important, why don't they let us fly!?"

Because of all the reasons they've mentioned.

Look, it's their movie. You have to watch it from the start to the finish in the order that they've put it together. "Let's watch Momento backwards!" Sure, after you've seen it first.

Have you ever considered how much time it takes to make some of the quests? Sure, it's "collect 10 broken pots" task. But it's not just the quest. Someone has to lay out the terrain, lay out the huts, place the mobs, schedule the patrols, place the sparkly things to collect, decorate it, including creating assets and art and approving color palettes. All of that stuff gets edited, discussed in meetings, signed off for approval, lore checked, coded, tested, debugged. Who knows how many hundreds of net man hours goes in to a quest or quest hub. Yes, even a "collect 10 broken pots" quest.

For us it's a "what quest text? Like I give a rip about Grim Totems" gogogo. For them, they actually spend a lot of time on it. And, like a movie, or a book, or a magic trick, they want to present that in a particular way.

It's their content, their world, their creation, and their right to present it and have it experienced how they want. Even if it inconveniences you a little.

You can always take a year off, come back after all the gates are down, get flying "right away", and go from there. But then you miss the fun of being in a new expansion, with new people, and new things. When you come a year late, all that was new is mundane to everyone else.

The first half of the expansion is always better than that last. Flying or no.
06/19/2018 12:13 PMPosted by Velara
Honestly you're right, but the dungeons in WOLTK were such facerolls, even Heroic. Cata was an effort to return to the old days of having to use cc and careful pulls in dungeons, rather than just steamrolling them.


Yep. But the difficulty spike was too much, too soon. A lot of those Cata release bosses also had mechanics that only certain classes could counter... interrupts (I mean, you usually had one or two, but one boss in particular needed an insane number of these, and that was before tanks got standardized interrupts), dispels (not cleanses), chainable (AoE, in some cases) slows...

06/19/2018 12:13 PMPosted by Velara
The raids were challenging, made easier for some by the availability of a 30% damage buff (optional).


That buff definitely wasn't present at the start. And it wasn't just that the raids were challenging, it's that we launched with no real beginner raid, unlike Wrath, and lost the split 10/25 lockout. An inexperienced player suddenly had very little opportunity to cut their teeth in a raid for the first time - sure, there was Baradin Hold, but two trash packs and one boss is lacking even by LFR standards.

We'd had the Obsidian Sanctum and a couple easy Naxx wings for players in Wrath. Include the dual lockouts and VoA, and players could have up to six different newbie-friendly runs in a single week.

06/19/2018 12:13 PMPosted by Velara
It was a hard act to follow and the Cata tale of a super P.O.'d dragon just didn't quite make the grade. But imho no story since has either.


Actually, Cataclysm's biggest storytelling failure was Green Jesus. Though Deathwing's under-utilization is a ... somewhat close second.

Done right, Thrall could very well have been the canon protagonist of Cataclysm while still being well received by the playerbase. He could even have weathered becoming a Mary Sue. The problem was he ascended beyond a Mary Sue to become a Black Hole Sue: he stole the spotlight from the dragons and Malfurion in Hyjal (oh yeah, Staghelm would definitely prefer to waste his one-shot weapon on Thrall instead of his long hated opponent Malfurion or any of the Dragon Aspects; seems legit), from the Alliance in their version of Hour of Twilight (we get more screen time with him than with the "reveal" of our high ranking traitor) and from everyone in the raid.

And, of course, all that time spent building him up meant we had less time building Deathwing up. Which we sorely needed.

All said, I had a pretty decent time in early Cataclysm. I started in TBC, so the return to hard dungeons didn't really faze me. But its flaws were significant, and ultimately the biggest contributor to the introduction of LFR - which came with its own major flaws that make the issue of Wrath's faceroll dungeons look like an utter joke by comparison.

(Side note: while I feel we could do better without the crutch of LFR, in a matter perhaps akin to the devs' feelings about flight, I'm not so conceited as to pretend that we could do away with it to match my "glorious vision" and everything would turn out okay. Nor do I think the early Cataclysm design was better; just because I preferred it doesn't make it better. There were very real issues with the lack of accessibility back then, and even thoroughly addressing it from a different angle now wouldn't change that it's a feature people have had years to have fun with and would, indeed, miss. That's how you compromise: by realizing you can't have your way at the expense of others.)

06/19/2018 12:53 PMPosted by Kheradin
Once players hit max-level, the zones naturally depopulate over time as instanced content becomes the primary vehicle for gameplay. Sure, you see players going in and out of reputation quest hubs but then over time those areas depopulate as well once the majority wave of players pass through. Flight's presence or absence has nothing to do with this natural population progression.

How you get players visible in the world is solely through shared activities or compelling content. Hence, class order halls, expansion capitals, quest hubs, and pre-expansion events. Let's look at the Legion pre-expansion event, for example. Swarms of players descending upon Legion invasion points via flying mounts. One of the best memories I have of the game was the epic sweep of 50-60 players all descending on Westfall on their flying mounts at the start of a Legion invasion. The players weren't invisible because they traveled by flying mount; their visibility was clearly because of the shared, compelling content.


Exactly. We saw this in Mists, too - there were plenty of events released periodically throughout the game that kept players returning to specific areas of the original continent. Sure, you never again saw the high numbers of players running through the Jade Forest leveling regions, but you'd constantly see people at daily hubs, at Warbringer and Warscout locations, at rarespawn locations, at world bosses, climbing the mountain to meet the spirit of the Emperor, and hunting for treasures (and not the overdone "handful of AP" treasures, but things like rare BoA leveling weapons).

It's telling that, even then, with the convenience of flying available, Blizzard didn't fill up old leveling locations with max level busywork to "make the world feel populated". The dev team in Mists actually had a decent grasp on what it takes to keep people engaged in the overworld, and cheap bandaid solutions aren't it.
06/19/2018 01:45 PMPosted by Piddy
First, Blizzards "hatred" is completely rational, even if you don't agree with it. They repeatedly pointed out why they don't like flying. And they're all rational arguments. It's not like "Why do you hate flying?" "Um..uh..cuz..cuz reasons! Why do you always attack me?!!?!?!??"


No, it's not that bad. However, a lot of the arguments they used in the buildup to and following the release of WoD were picked apart in a hurry. We've never really seen their arguments hold their own against any counterpoints.

There are many ways to go straight for your objective. Why is flying targeted as opposed to tanks' immunity to daze-dismount, or stealth classes, or gliding from a nearby high point? Alternatively, why don't the objectives include "kill X many trash mobs in the wild" if the devs are so concerned?

If the design goal is to give us more areas like, say, Suramar, why didn't this actually happen in practice? We got nothing new for outdoor content in Draenor (in fact, we had far less max level outdoor content than ever before, even in expansions that had a much stronger focus on instances), and only one area designed around it in Legion.
Furthermore, what exactly is the real issue with "no flight zones" like we had in Mists? Sure, it's weird and has no real lore explanation, but spreading the "no flight zone" over the entire continent doesn't really change anything. We still go from being able to fly in all other areas and losing the ability to fly here, or in instances... it's an exceptionally trivial detail that nobody cares about.
Besides, you can easily set up anti-flight cannons (they were doing this all the way back in TBC, for !@#$'s sake) and justify complete no-flying zones as being under the effect of some magical anti-flying thing. Nobody would have blinked if Suramar's lingering barrier effect dismounted and teleported anyone flying above roof height, and prevented anyone from mounting a flier inside the city. Suramar alone doesn't justify turning off flying across all the non-max-level zones for eight months.

If the idea is to keep players engaged and make the world seem more populated, why is the outdoor max level content spread around so much, forcing us to spend more time on a taxi or autorunning than actually playing the game? Why do we have to deal with flight taxis instead of fast travel - considering the former essentially locks us in to five minute "loading screens" just to get to the closest waypoint to our real destination? Why are we constantly going back to quest regions we've fully cleared just to encounter the exact same enemies in the exact same camp we already razed to the ground?

Why have we seen no significant improvements to the ground travel design - and, in fact, actually seen the local terrain get worse over time?

And most importantly, why would Blizzard stick to their guns on this decision when the player backlash against the idea of being stuck like this forever was enough for them to assign a brand new duty to their CM team over the weekend and have them offer exit interviews to the flood of players who were unsubscribing all at once? The clear, obvious, majority opinion on the issue was that we hated the "new" design (which was really just the exact same design with less content and considerably worse travel) enough to quit the game over it all at once. Even Cataclysm's issues weren't that horrific, and Blizzard flip flopped so hard on those that we're still feeling the whiplash today.

The core issue of their dislike for flying might be rational, but Blizzard picked the laziest method possible to counter it - going so far as to remove flying in pursuit of their bold new vision for outdoor content, and then failing to implement that vision in any way - and ever since that decision was made, they have stubbornly refused to do any bare minimum of work towards any sort of compromise or genuinely better system unless they absolutely have to. That isn't rational.

Only an obstinate fool would look upon the feedback that's been given and think that this is a good compromise. It's a "compromise" that doesn't immediately lead to another mass exodus. And because it's not the worst possible outcome for a compromise, it's apparently good enough for Blizzard to completely stop caring about the issue. Which is ridiculous.
Cause Devs are lazy and don't finish moutain tops till 2nd or 3rd patch
06/19/2018 01:45 PMPosted by Piddy
Look, it's their movie. You have to watch it from the start to the finish in the order that they've put it together. "Let's watch Momento backwards!" Sure, after you've seen it first.


Yeah, this strawman argument doesn't really hold water. If you really want a metaphor that comes closer to reality, this would be like if someone only wanted to produce a movie in videotape form in the middle of 2018. Its sales would flop. "BuT tHe DiReCtOr WaNtS yOu To FeEl ThE iMmErSiOn Of HaViNg To ReWiNd It" wouldn't be a good excuse.

And given that we've seen video games include airships to let players skip over all the content they cleared ages ago, to hone in on the few useful, scattered areas with endgame content, all the way back in the original Final Fantasy, yeah, I'd say the mulish "NO YOU CAN'T HAVE CONVENIENCE, YOU NEED TO KEEP HAVING THE EXACT SAME WORTHLESS TRASH ENCOUNTERS FOR A YEAR" stance is pretty damn outdated.

And, uh, never mind that we have actually done the equivalent of "watching the full movie" first. Very few people care that Pathfinder requires you to full clear every quest region and then do extra stuff on top of that. That's perfectly fine. What we care about is that we can get all of that done and then still have to wait eight months to get flying. If we just need to experience it in the glorious majesty the devs envisioned first, why can't we fly even after we do so? Must I really go through over half a year of watching Momento from start to finish just to unlock the Scene Selection menu?
06/18/2018 12:04 PMPosted by Brænnuð
...
See but therein lies the fundamental issue that makes these threads so loathsome.
It doesn't matter what you or I or Santa Claus think is adequate or excessive. We aren't on the design/development teams. This isn't a Co-Op situation either. The game is put out by Blizzard and we as consumers decide to consume it. After that? It's on us as players whether we continue to do so.

If I design and distribute a product and a portion of folks that purchase it are unhappy with it? It's up to ME whether I cater to their desire for me to change it. It's not up to them to dictate how it should be "improved". That said, I may go out of business if I'm not careful so I will do whatever research I need to do to ensure I'm not ignoring a potentially critical/business killing issue.

Pretty sure that after 3+ years, Blizz has calculated the risk to their bottom line and decided PF is staying.

We'll see how things shape up after BfA hits

I think Blizzard may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

LOL yeah. The idea that businesses are most profitable by completely ignoring what their customers wants is just hilarious. The path they have followed over the last couple of expansions shows clearly that they do no market research and just assume that flooding the forums with house trolls is the best business strategy for convincing unhappy customers that everything is wonderful.
06/19/2018 01:45 PMPosted by Piddy
06/19/2018 11:20 AMPosted by Nyzer
The flight & overworld content issue alone isn't enough to keep me from getting BfA, but it's one of the big reasons I won't be. I'm convinced that Blizzard doesn't want to do better, because of their irrational hatred for it and (of course) the desire to stretch out players' time in the pursuit of raw greed.

So, let's take this point of view for a moment.

First, Blizzards "hatred" is completely rational, even if you don't agree with it. They repeatedly pointed out why they don't like flying. And they're all rational arguments. It's not like "Why do you hate flying?" "Um..uh..cuz..cuz reasons! Why do you always attack me?!!?!?!??"

Um, no. Some of them are not remotely rational.

"Flying makes the world seem smaller." Nope. When real flight was implemented in the real world, people said that it made the world seem bigger because of improved access.

"People who fly themselves go on auto-pilot when they fly and are not engaged, people who take flight points remain engaged." Oh, please, ROTFLMAO. I don't know anyone who goes on auto-pilot when flying themselves, just as every single person in the game who parrots this lamest of all lame excuses takes a break and gets up from the computer 9 our of 10 times they take a flight.

Get real. Most of those claims are just as lame and make just as little sense.

It's cheaper to design terrain without having to take flight into account, and it increases the time it takes to do world content by several times. That's why they wanted to remove flight, not because some previous generation of devs was forced against their will to design fun expansions that incorporated flight.

In fact, I'd bet money that actual programmers found designing expansions for flight to be an interesting challenge before the lawyers and accountants started setting the parameters for design.
06/19/2018 02:13 PMPosted by Nyzer

There are many ways to go straight for your objective. Why is flying targeted as opposed to tanks' immunity to daze-dismount, or stealth classes, or gliding from a nearby high point?

Because those are not universal solutions in contrast to free style flight. Stealth only goes so far, and you have to come out sometime. I stealth all over Argus, and still, at times, get caught "in the open" or catch an add.

Alternatively, why don't the objectives include "kill X many trash mobs in the wild" if the devs are so concerned?

Most of the quests do have that though. For example, a lot of the "collect" quests place the shinies right next to a mob. Now, sure, the mob may be dead by another player, your maybe you can sap it as a rogue. But, again, not a universal solution that applies to everyone.

If the design goal is to give us more areas like, say, Suramar, why didn't this actually happen in practice? We got nothing new for outdoor content in Draenor (in fact, we had far less max level outdoor content than ever before, even in expansions that had a much stronger focus on instances), and only one area designed around it in Legion.

We had those awful treasures and jump puzzles in Draenor (I never said it was GOOD content...). We also had the walled city in Stormheim, and that fortress in Suramar. Plus the entire Grappling Hook mechanic. Then, of course, there's simply "High Mountain".

Nobody would have blinked if Suramar's lingering barrier effect dismounted and teleported anyone flying above roof height, and prevented anyone from mounting a flier inside the city. Suramar alone doesn't justify turning off flying across all the non-max-level zones for eight months.

There is no justification that would satisfy anyone, much less everyone. Whether it's Thunder Island, Timeless Isle, Argus. You think that if you had "Argussian Fel Gas prevents you from flying" would have sated anyone?

And surrounding everything with cannons (or whatever) is just as bad. They did that in MoP. And I think it was a mostly horrible experience for everyone, particularly when they nuked you for just being on the mount.

Why do we have to deal with flight taxis instead of fast travel - considering the former essentially locks us in to five minute "loading screens" just to get to the closest waypoint to our real destination?

But it's not a loading screen. It's part of the whole "world" thing. Big, expansive. Travel makes it bigger. I, like others, have hearthed to my Garrison, portaled to town, portaled to Stormwind, and portaled to Pandoria. It's certainly very fast, but it loses something as well. The boats and zeppelins are a love hate thing (save the Zep to TB -- that's just a "hate" thing). Waiting for it, getting on, exiting, "loading...dot dot dot", arriving. But it also has an experiential part of the game.

It gives the game "mass". The other alternative is what, "Hearthstone"? "Look!..flip...flip...flip...mobs and bosses and spells and game over oh my!"
Why have we seen no significant improvements to the ground travel design - and, in fact, actually seen the local terrain get worse over time?

We got the Whistle in Legion, as well as Yet More hearthstones. The Whistle was a significant improvement. I don't know why they made the terrain more rugged and sticky. But recall the primary thesis, travel time is not there to "increase sub time", since that's that the primary mechanism where time is spent in the game. They may have simply wanted the environment to "matter" more, like how the grass moves when you move through it.

And most importantly, why would Blizzard stick to their guns on this decision when the player backlash against the idea of being stuck like this forever was enough for them to assign a brand new duty to their CM team over the weekend and have them offer exit interviews to the flood of players who were unsubscribing all at once? The clear, obvious, majority opinion on the issue was that we hated the "new" design (which was really just the exact same design with less content and considerably worse travel) enough to quit the game over it all at once. Even Cataclysm's issues weren't that horrific, and Blizzard flip flopped so hard on those that we're still feeling the whiplash today.

Save for the "real names" in the forums, I don't think Blizzard has ever backed off on any significant decision that they've made. They have always had a "vision" that they pursue. That vision may well change over time, as they learn things, as designers change, as their internal goals change. We do not know all that goes in to these decisions. But we do know, once decided, it's mostly impossible for them to go back. But for others, obviously, for example, they're STILL not happy with PvP. When has PvP actually survived an expansion change without some significant change. So, they're willing to move things along, however slowly.
Only an obstinate fool would look upon the feedback that's been given and think that this is a good compromise. It's a "compromise" that doesn't immediately lead to another mass exodus. And because it's not the worst possible outcome for a compromise, it's apparently good enough for Blizzard to completely stop caring about the issue. Which is ridiculous.

Oh, but they do care! Whether it's their vision, to save face, to "not give in", because they "hate players", or "we have too many customers", or whatever. If they didn't care, they'd revert it. But they haven't, and they're sticking to their guns.

And just to add this.

From the "Money grubbing bastages Department", Do you think that Pathfinder has netted Blizzard more money or less money?
06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
Because those are not universal solutions in contrast to free style flight.


Then why can't they be universal amongst all classes? Why do most classes have to worry about being dazed when they just want to pass irrelevant, trivial time-wasting enemies?

The fact of the matter is, it's a significant difference if you can stealth or ride through annoying packs of enemies. Most notably in caves: a stealth class can flit all the way to the boss at the end, then get out with very little reasonable chance of detection. I've played both stealthies and non-stealthies in caves, and I promise you, there's a major difference. In fact, I outright rolled up a whole new character in Cataclysm specifically for the purpose of mining, since the best mining spot I could find in Cataclysm was in a rather long cave.

And when I'm riding through a region as a tank, I can just ride through packs of enemies without caring. I'm never dismounted. And unless I'm jumping off a lot of cliffs or it's a higher endgame region, death isn't a concern either, because tank, high HP, etc.

Is free-flying in the open world even easier than that? Sure. But either skipping packs of enemies is a major problem that needs to be addressed for all players, or... it's not.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
Most of the quests do have that though.


Exactly. So the idea that players will just drop in on their quest target, nab it, and fly out doesn't really hold water. I know that, in practice, I didn't do that unless I'd already completed my kill goals, or wanted to attack from the edge of the area (squishy class/spec maybe) (and I'd usually still just kill my way to the object first).

In fact, lots of quests have changed to the format of "fill this objective bar" leaving you with complete freedom to choose how you raid an enemy camp. Slowly and stealthily, grabbing objectives and getting away? Or loud and strong, murdering your way through? Neither should be any more or less valid than the other, though the stealth approach should of course be slowed a bit to make it more of an option rather than always the best choice. Maybe it offers less progress percentage than mob kills, for example.

Those rare, more engaging "raid a stronghold" quests that we have? They're so uncommon that they don't justify putting a blanket flight ban on the entire continent. And when it comes to regions like Suramar City, well, it's not hard to set up a "no fly area". We've seen it done for one-off quests. Frequently. Khadgar would teleport you to him during a stealth mission if you tried to just fly in and ask you if you were insane.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
We had those awful treasures and jump puzzles in Draenor (I never said it was GOOD content...). We also had the walled city in Stormheim, and that fortress in Suramar. Plus the entire Grappling Hook mechanic. Then, of course, there's simply "High Mountain".


So most of this was leveling/pre-Pathfinder content? The content you normally couldn't fly in prior to Pathfinder anyway, the content Pathfinder requires you to complete first? Well, how about that, that's the content most people don't want you to be able to fly over without first completing. That's not the part of Pathfinder people find bad at all.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
But it's not a loading screen. It's part of the whole "world" thing. Big, expansive. Travel makes it bigger. I, like others, have hearthed to my Garrison, portaled to town, portaled to Stormwind, and portaled to Pandoria. It's certainly very fast, but it loses something as well. The boats and zeppelins are a love hate thing (save the Zep to TB -- that's just a "hate" thing). Waiting for it, getting on, exiting, "loading...dot dot dot", arriving. But it also has an experiential part of the game.


This is true. However, the vast majority of people have said that actually being able to fly through the world to experience this firsthand is a far superior way to convey that big, expansive feeling than to simply watch it all without being able to interact with it. It's considerably more engaging to be able to fly to the top of Karabor than to be stuck forever staring up at the side of it from the ground. Lots of people enjoyed flying around and seeing all the sights of Pandaria; I know I, myself, spent a lot of time with this. Pandaria was an utterly beautiful continent.

Also, you have to weigh that advantage against the disadvantage of players having to sit through the several minute "loading screens" every time they want to travel a significant distance, every day for the first eight months of the game. The novelty and excitement fades fast, and is long gone by the time you can actually travel the world freely. Frankly, I've had less fun exploring Draenor and the Broken Isles post-flying than I ever have with any region that came before it. Because I didn't get the chance to do so while it was new.

That's like saying that biking is healthier for you and the environment. It's quite true. However, the modern world is largely designed around the use of motor vehicles, and to simply rip them away would cause more harm than good. While WoW expansions feature new continents and don't necessarily need to follow the same design as continents that include flying, so far they haven't shown any significant changes to account for this new philosophy. WQs were a step in the right direction, but nowhere near enough of one.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
We got the Whistle in Legion, as well as Yet More hearthstones. The Whistle was a significant improvement. I don't know why they made the terrain more rugged and sticky. But recall the primary thesis, travel time is not there to "increase sub time", since that's that the primary mechanism where time is spent in the game. They may have simply wanted the environment to "matter" more, like how the grass moves when you move through it.


I'll agree that the whistle was an improvement. But... it seems to clash with the design philosophy of getting players to experience the world more. It Fast Travels you to the nearest unlocked flight master, which lets you experience even less of the world than flight taxis or free flight do. You can rush to an area, complete your objective, then immediately Fast Travel out. It's not really an improvement to the ground travel design.

When I say I'd like to see improvements to ground travel, what comes to mind is a significant upgrade to the mount system. Look, we're MMO players, leveling things up is just icing on the cake. Why not let us level up mounts in some fashion, unlocking traits like minor combat ability (nothing that would surpass unmounted combat, but enough to take out trivial enemies without wasting time), daze protection, fall damage protection, minor healing, sprinting, high/double jumps, gliding, scaling rocky cliffs, burrowing, second saddles, etc. etc.? It'd be kind of like the battle pet system, except with real advantages to the player for going through it all. Bonus points, spread the traits out across mount families (i.e. cats get jump stuff, wolves get sprint, winged mounts can glide, bears can sort of tank). Many people would love to level up their favorite mounts and get character bonuses for doing so.
There we go: improvements to ground travel, more stuff for players to do, and a whole new system that helps to soften the temporary long-term inability to free fly. If WoD had led with a system like this, we could very well have permanently lost flight without losing players. (And the continent wouldn't have felt so !@#$ing barren.)

And with a setup like this, the environment would matter. Without feeling horrendously punishing whenever the devs decide to set up tons of mountains and cliffs and unclimbable hills, but also without feeling totally skippable.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
Save for the "real names" in the forums, I don't think Blizzard has ever backed off on any significant decision that they've made.


They backed off on the Cataclysm difficulty spike. I mean, it took them a while, no question, but there was a definite drop in difficulty going from launch and Zul' heroics to the End Time ones. That's also when LFR came out, and, well. Its difficulty speaks for itself. Originally, their stance was a nicely worded statement of "git gud":
https://worldofwarcraft.com/en-us/news/2053469/wow-dungeons-are-hard

To quote probably the most relevant blurb:

we don't want you to stumble your way to victory. We don't want you to be able to overwhelm bosses without noticing or caring what they’re doing. We don’t want healers to be able to make up for all of the mistakes on the part of the other players. While at the end of the day, dungeons may just be gussied up loot vending machines, we want you to do more than push a button to get the loot.

Ultimately, we don’t want to give undergeared or unorganized groups a near guaranteed chance of success, because then the content will feel absolutely trivial for players in appropriate gear who communicate, cooperate, and strategize.


Look at heroic dungeons and LFR now. Look at the way they were in Mists. Did Blizzard keep this philosophy? Absolutely not. And we didn't see Mythic dungeons for two whole expansions after Heroics were set to a lower difficulty again, so it wasn't as if they just gave us a new middle point difficulty.

And, in all honesty, the difficulty spike in Cataclysm wasn't anywhere near as universally disliked as the permanent loss of flight decision was. It took Blizzard two weeks to flip that decision. So it's confusing that they completely and utterly flipped on the difficulty spike, yet barely budged for flying. You'd think it'd be the other way around.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
But for others, obviously, for example, they're STILL not happy with PvP. When has PvP actually survived an expansion change without some significant change


That's mostly because the issue of balancing PvP is a very tough one. There have been issues with every expansion. And, of course, player opinions change over time: for example, unending PvP flags might have been fun once upon a time, but once servers started getting faction-dominated, popular opinion changed in a hurry. I think most of us enjoyed a good old-fashioned breakout brawl, but very few enjoyed being camped or harassed.

Flight is a far simpler issue.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
Oh, but they do care! Whether it's their vision, to save face, to "not give in", because they "hate players", or "we have too many customers", or whatever. If they didn't care, they'd revert it. But they haven't, and they're sticking to their guns.


They care about their vision. They don't care about the issues it created. The fact that WoD could launch in the way it did, and for Blizzard to then decide that player feedback didn't matter and they considered it a "success"... that proved it beyond a doubt. Only when the issue got too big to ignore did they do anything, and as long as it's even remotely ignorable, they continue to ignore it.

06/19/2018 03:12 PMPosted by Piddy
From the "Money grubbing bastages Department", Do you think that Pathfinder has netted Blizzard more money or less money?


I think it's become obvious over the past few years that Blizzard has decided WoW's time in the limelight is over. We've seen a lot of steps taken towards monetization and a lot of new (and more monetized) games released.

Obviously, the flight issue and the Pathfinder time gating have lost Blizzard subscriptions. That said, the video game industry's disgusting lootbox craze has lost them a lot of players, too (not to mention caused a few controversies) but still rakes in money, so developers don't really care. And that seems to be what's going on here. Certain decisions have made the game less enjoyable to people overall, and caused player loss, but their other IPs and monetization have eaten the loss, so why care about such a trivial issue?
06/19/2018 04:48 PMPosted by Nyzer
Obviously, the flight issue and the Pathfinder time gating have lost Blizzard subscriptions.
Not enough, as Blizzard said they are happy with it and are going forward with Pathfinder.
06/19/2018 04:52 PMPosted by Stonebeard
06/19/2018 04:48 PMPosted by Nyzer
Obviously, the flight issue and the Pathfinder time gating have lost Blizzard subscriptions.
Not enough, as Blizzard said they are happy with it and are going forward with Pathfinder.


... Well, yes? I pretty much laid out what seems to be the reasoning for that in, y'know, the entire rest of that paragraph. And I've been mentioning it in previous posts as well.

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