Just last month, Blizzard announced the controversial decision to effectively remove flying from the game, disallowing the function in all future expansions. However, in a somewhat abrupt Dev Watercooler post that went up early June 10, the company discussed its alternative plans for flying – instead of simply buying the ability, players will need to earn achievements.
“….while we firmly believe that keeping your feet on the ground is a key part of discovery in WoW, we also recognize that breaking free from those restrictions can be fun and rewarding as well, especially for those who’ve already fully experienced the game’s world content. With that in mind, we’re planning some changes in the near future that will allow players to enjoy their hard-earned flying mounts in Draenor—in a way that doesn’t compromise the excitement of ground-based exploration.”
In a future Public Test Realm build, Blizzard will introduce Draenor Pathfinder, an achievement earned in patch 6.2. Players will need to work for their flying by exploring Draenor’s many zones, collecting 100 treasures, finishing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements, and raising three Tanaan Jungle reputations to Revered. At the end of this journey through Draenor exploration, players will receive the Soaring Skyterror flying mount as a reward. Only after 6.2 will players who have earned Draenor Pathfinder on at least one character be able to unlock flying for each of their 90+ characters.
“We believe this 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.”
While the sudden backtracking of a previously non-negotiable decision might sound as if Blizzard isn’t on top of their game, this actually looks like it’ll be a fair, non-competitive, and fairly easy way to obtain flying. Contrary to the last announcement’s reception, people are viewing this post pretty favorably. It’s giving those who want flying a chance to earn it themselves, and for those who don’t want flying to keep going on their merry way. It’s an impressive compromise, and an indication that Blizzard might be taking player concerns a bit more seriously than it would seem.
Currently, Blizzard has no set date for when the achievement will reach the PTR, but we should expect to see results over the summer.