Blizzard has decided to reverse their decision not to allow flying in World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor. They plan to reintroduce the feature in an upcoming patch.

In past expansion packs, all you had to do get flight was hit the level cap and pay for the training. It won't be so simple in Warlords of Draenor. Instead, you'll need to unlock a new meta-achievement called Draenor Pathfinder, coming in Patch 6.2. To unlock Draenor Pathfinder, you'll need to accomplish the following:
  • Explore all regions of Draenor
  • Discover 100 treasures in Draenor
  • Complete all Draenor quest achievements
  • Complete all Draenor bonus objectives
  • Earn Revered with these three Tanaan Jungle reputations: The Saberstalkers, Order of the Awakened, and Hand of the Prophet (Alliance) / Vol'jin's Headhunters (Horde).
At first, earning Draenor Pathfinder willl earn you a rylak mount called Soaring Skyterror. You won't be able to fly with that or any other map until a "small follow-up patch," though. That patch will allow all players who have earned Draenor Pathfinder on one character to take to the skies with all their level 90+ characters.

This is a big reversal from Blizzard's stance two weeks ago. In an interview, lead designer Ion Hazzikostas said that they had decided against adding flight to Warlords of Draenor in a future patch. What's more, they wouldn't allow flying in any future expansions.

"The world feels larger, feels more dangerous," Hazzikostas said at the time. "There's more room for exploration, for secrets, for discovery and overall immersion in the world. At this point, we feel that outdoor gameplay in World of Warcraft is ultimately better without flying. We're not going to be reintroducing the ability to fly in Draenor, and that's kind of where we're at going forward."

However, the deluge of complaints following that interview have caused Blizzard to reconsider that plan. While they feel that ground exploration is still a key part of WoW, they acknowledge that attaining flight can be "fun and rewarding."

"We believe this [meta-achievement] strikes the right balance between ensuring ground-based content lives up to its full potential, while providing players who’ve already fully experienced Draenor’s outdoor world extra freedom to 'break the rules,'" Hazzikostas said today in a blog post

"This also provides a general blueprint going forward for content to come. Players will explore new and undiscovered lands from the ground, and then once they’ve fully mastered those environments—a notion that continues to evolve with each new expansion—they can take to the skies and experience the world from a new vantage point."

After allowing flight in the past four expansion packs for WoW, I had a hard time believing that Blizzard would completely bar it from future content. Players are very attached to the feature at this point. What's more, they've spent a huge amount of time and money to earn flying mounts. I'm happy Blizzard found a compromise that brings flight back to the game while also preventing it from hurting the world design.

Patch 6.2 will introduce a range of other activities as well including a new questing zone and the Hellfire Citadel raid. It also implements a series of weekend events.

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