I dunno about you, but I’ve been spending quite a bit of time thinking about the announcement that we’ll be quite literally taking the fight to the Legion in this Expansion. That means Argus (artists impression above) and now it is confirmed that this will be 7.3 Content? A lot of stuff makes sense.
I posted that on Saturday, but with the benefit of a day’s thought, that may not yet be the whole story. However, before I get ahead of myself, it’s worth considering why you get Flying in 7.2 but it’s clearly not the end of the Expansion. This, I would wager, is ActiBlizz’ method of assisting those of us with alts who are still in their Garrisons. By providing flying on a main? Suddenly, 100-110 became totally academic. I can go blitz all those treasures, complete all the Professions quests by simply zoooming into areas and zooooooooming out again and BOOM all that content is negated, regardless of scaling. Now, for this to happen at this stage of play is a fairly bold move on the designers part, because what it accepts is that we’re not using levelling as a gate any more. In fact, there’s no effective restriction at all on EVERYTHING involved in the 100-110 ‘journey.’
This could mean therefore that 7.3 is going to be designed with flying mounts in mind.
That belief is further born out by Argus’ very nature: if you go read the Wiki entry, it’s a shattered world, that the Draenei fled with the Naaru in tow. That could mean a lot of islands, and flying would then become an absolute key factor in proceedings. However, those of us who remember the Molten Front from Cataclysm, and later the Timeless Isle from Pandaria also recall that by tying players to the ground allowed ActiBlizz a far greater rein on what was discovered and when, without restricting player’s eventual arrival at those same places. However, that content was dependant on the same ‘rules’ that many players have become critical of: given a choice, now we have flight, people demand to use it.
The question then becomes this: what if Legion’s about to further redefine static rewards for players?
Withered Training is a great example of putting content within content that removes the need for anything other than a single player and some patience. The treasures that are part and parcel of the 100-110 levelling ‘experience’ aren’t nearly as easy to obtain this time around on the ground. In fact, unless you are extremely patient (and install a third party mod) it is virtually impossible to obtain them all easily, even with the Treasure Maps that are provided by Faction vendors. This makes me wonder whether the days of making stuff inaccessible in this manner might be at an end, and perhaps we are about to see a patch that expects players to require flying to progress any further. What if, in 7.3, you couldn’t get to Argus without it?
I wonder how many people might cry foul if that happened. Considering the howls of protest when it became apparent that flying wouldn’t initially come back in 6.2, what if the design team’s looked at the success of ‘attunement’ in 7.1 (300,000 Karazhan runs was quoted as successful in Friday’s Q&A) and thought ‘well, if people want this enough, let’s see what happens if we lock progression behind it…’ I’m already well on my way to having the 7.1 part of proceedings done in good time, and I’m currently World’s Slowest Player EU so if it’s possible for me, you gotta think it’ll happen for everyone else, right? It would also introduce (hopefully) some interesting and challenging things to do on your flying mount. There were a lot of good player suggestions after 6.2 on how content could be adjusted.
Is it possible ActiBlizz simply decided to go with what people have asked for?
Even though it’s a good bet that you won’t be in the air in 7.3, I reckon there’s now a better than average change that might not happen. Looking back at the success of TBC patch content such as Ogr’ila and the whole ‘bombing stuff’ mentality, sticking stuff in the air makes a lot of sense going forward. I hear that learning new stuff’s good for becoming a better player too, so maybe if we saw some completely new and exciting flying-type quest puzzles? You never know. What would be best of all, however, is if there was plenty of warning if there were going to be this kind of change… so that players had lots of time to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. It certainly looks like that’s the mentality at play going forward. I, for one, look forward to being suitably prepared.