But I am not in any way obligated to like it. This post isn't all about flying, but it's a lot about flying. Feel free not to read the rest of it if you've read enough on that topic, I wouldn't blame you at all.
I remember back when I first started playing this game, one of the things that first sold me on it was the realization that if I leveled high enough my character could FLY! Not only that, but they could acquire and ride actual dragons. Sold! Many of the things I might have looked forward to while leveling were maybe not all they were cracked up to be or exactly what I imagined but I never felt that way about flying. I could fly. I could fly up to the tops of mountains and land in trees and explore every little nook and cranny of an area to see what was there. I could take dramatic screenshots of my character on dragonback against the sky.
Of the many things I loved and probably took for granted the most in World of Warcraft it was that when you get to a certain level... you can fly. You have to shell out gold every expansion, you have to hit the new level cap, but when you do you get your wings. I've -never- had a problem with waiting to level cap for flying. Heck I liked leveling on the ground because it made the wings an added incentive at the end. I was never one of the people who felt like my alts should get flying before max. I was willing to make the journey there on the ground every time before I got to spread my wings.
So I'm heartbroken to think that's not coming back, that I'll never get to fly around Spires of Arak like I fantasized about from the moment I saw the zone for the first time. I won't get to have that moment I had in Pandaria when I hit max level and flew to every peak in the Jade Forest to see the top. Because apparently that makes me not take the time to appreciate the world the designers have made. I could argue that, but I won't. Because even though flying feels like a sort of catalyst and turning point it's not what has me feeling so sad and miserable and wistful. It's just the thing that's finally made what was bugging me click into place in my head so I can understand it.
This isn't a quitting post. Not yet. But it is a 'thinking harder about quitting than I ever thought I would' post. And it's not even just because of the flying. Silvermoon City has no flying and though I have always dreamed about flying up to the spires and balconies and exploring them I accept that it doesn't and I love it anyway. Maybe it's partly because of how the whole situation was handled. I don't need to go over how we were so indirectly given the news. But I'd like to mention that as of this morning this ad was still on the front page:
I didn't buy the mount, that's a whole other kettle of somewhat related fish, but I feel bad for the people that did maybe thinking that ad implied it was going to fly in Draenor at any point in the future. 'Cause you know, there it is... flying in Draenor.
No what my problem comes down to is that I don't feel like this is at all the same game it was. Not because things have changed. I'm used to the changes between expansions in how to play, but when I compare what's actually there in the game now to what was there in Mists, and even in Cataclysm, well the answer is that it doesn't feel like much. This Blizzard isn't the one that made Silvermoon. It's not even the one that made Pandaria, and honestly illogical as it is the decisions lately make me feel almost as though they are deliberately trying to kill the game for some reason. I can't imagine any reason why they'd do that, but time and time again I realize that is what it feels like to me.
And that's why for the first time ever I'm feeling like I might need a break or something. I love this game. I love the people I play with in it, but right now I have no love or trust for the people who are making it. Every time I log on now I feel a little rush of sadness that I never felt before. And so I'm tempted to walk away because I don't want to watch them break it. If flying can be taken out regardless of what it's likely to do to the sub numbers, maybe all those other things I love in the game and have taken for granted can go next. Maybe one day Silvermoon won't be there either.
In my opinion there were a lot of ways they could have compromised on the flying. If they want to be sure people do the jumping puzzles as they intended, put in an achieve for doing them all before flying is added, tie them to flying even. Or better yet put in the achieve and rather than making flying tied to that... or a boring gold sink like it always has been make a quest chain to get it back. A quest chain that takes you on the ground in every zone, a chain that ties it into the lore of Draenor and is maybe even just a little bit challenging at the end. Make it so when you get it back you've -earned- it.
Make it so alts need to do it even, then not only do you give people back their flying, but you have them out in the world exploring it to get it. On the ground. And what's more you'd have added some lore behind something that's never made any sense... and you'd have given all those level 100s something to do besides stare at the garrison walls.
I'm not leaving over this, but I'm switching to paying with tokens for a bit, even though I'd intended to keep up a real money payment plan. I'll be spreading my wings to try some other games out. I'll still be on for raiding and for some of my garrison chores, and most of all for my friends (the ones that are still playing) but I am abandoning my alt leveling projects and some other things until I figure out what I really want to do or until I stop feeling sad when I log on.