Despite the overall success of the Dragonflight expansion and the warm reception from the community, a problem looms with a new feature. It’s like a monkey’s paw. Dragonriding showed us that traveling in a game can become a game in itself, a really fun game. However, when a system like this is so good, it makes previous travel systems stick out like a sore thumb. So the question becomes, what can Blizzard do to fix the broken mount system in World of Warcraft?
Floor stands don’t feel out of place
Right now, ground mounts feel completely useless in World of Warcraft, unless they’re one of three mounts: the Tundra Mammoth, the Grand Expedition Yak, or the mighty Brutosaurus. of the caravan. The reason for this is that these mounts actually serve a purpose by having vendor, transmogrification, or auction house abilities.
The only other time ground mounts mattered in WoW was when flying wasn’t an option. This was the case throughout the life of Vanilla World of Warcraft and at the start of each expansion. Traditionally, players couldn’t fly until they reached the end of an expansion. Even then, players must also pay an exorbitant amount of gold or progress through a mind-numbing set of different achievements usually involving one or three overwhelming reps.
So floor supports made sense then. They would be a player’s primary means of transportation for a dozen hours or several months, depending on when flying becomes available in an expansion.
With the release of Dragonflight, players have early access to a dragon mount. Due to the verticality of some areas, this mount is practically a necessity as well as a novelty for traversing the Dragon Islands. It basically flips the flying script.
The birth of flight in World of Warcraft
Flight came to World of Warcraft with the release of The Burning Crusade expansion in 2007. Players could purchase their flight license after progressing through the main campaign. This allowed players to fly over the shattered remnants of Outland. With the release of Wrath of the Lich King in 2008, players had to purchase Cold Weather Flying in order to brave the freezing skies of Northrend. A pattern was established in Cataclysm (2010) when players had to pay a third time to be able to fly in classic areas.
This pattern continued until the release of Warlords of Draenor in 2014. As adventurers traveled to an alternate timeline, they had to complete a series of achievements in order to fly. These involved exploring areas, gaining reputation with factions, and a few extra steps. This would be compounded in the following expansions: Legion (2016), Battle for Azeroth (2018), and Shadowlands (2020). It would take players months to unlock the flight, but the upside was that it was available account-wide once unlocked. This meant that alternate characters could enjoy the flight right away.
Flying in Dragonflight – A Useless Division
World of Warcraft is a game that has evolved over decades and the product we have now shows the milestones. Floor stands work as an extension of your player. They simply run faster, but otherwise do the same jump and swim. Flying mounts continue this expansion by allowing players to navigate the skies with controls similar to swimming. Dragonriding works very differently than normal flying. Players must manage their dragon’s stamina through a series of charges. These charges are expended when using abilities but can be recharged by increasing enough speed.
It is a system that requires active player interaction, and has therefore been widely advertised as a fantastic system. Combined with a series of upgrades that can be made by finding various tokens spread across The Dragon Isles, it’s a great way to reward and encourage players to explore this exquisitely designed world.
Compared to dragon riding, traditional flying in World of Warcraft feels outdated and boring. The problem is compounded by the fact that traditional flying mounts cannot fly in the Dragon Islands and vice versa. Dragon-riding mounts are completely useless outside of the Dragon Islands, even as ground mounts, as they cannot be summoned at all. This defines three different categories of mounts (ground mounts, flying mounts, and dragon mounts), all dependent on the expansion a player is playing, their level, and their current status with their achievements. Needless to say, this is a little less than ideal.