World of Warcraft players taking their first steps in Azeroth may just have an easier time in Dragonflight with the recent changes to flying.


Over four years after the expansion’s launch, World of Warcraft is finally letting new players soar the skies above Zandalar and Kul Tiras in Battle for Azeroth. Flying in World of Warcraft has long been a contentious point, and the mechanic as a whole has had a colorful history. Initially introduced in The Burning Crusade, flying allowed players to traverse long distances at a time when zones were still filled with a lot of empty space. As Blizzard Entertainment’s philosophy and approach to world design changed and evolved, the ability to fly was becoming either superfluous or counter-productive to the gameplay loop the developers intended for modern World of Warcraft.

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Much to the chagrin of the World of Warcraft community, Warlords of Draenor began a trend of locking flying mounts behind achievements and patch content, forcing players to spend most of the expansion on the ground. This approach continued throughout Legion, Battle for Azeroth, and Shadowlands. Though it worked for Blizzard in keeping players engaged with the open world zones featured in those expansions, it did not work for the personal enjoyment and convenience of the players themselves. The developers knew something had to change, and thus Dragonflight was designed for dragon riding and flight from the ground up.

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To help funnel players into the new expansion and to ease the leveling experience for new World of Warcraft players, Blizzard Entertainment has removed the Pathfinder requirements in Battle for Azeroth zones. Though players argue that this decision could have come much sooner, it is nonetheless welcomed with universal praise. With Zandalar and Kul Tiras intended to be the starting point for new players, letting them make use of flying in those zones will not only make the experience more enjoyable, but will help prepare them for Dragonflight.

The discovery was made by RayZhuLoveHK and shared with the World of Warcraft Reddit community. Though Pathfinder is no longer required for flying in Battle for Azeroth‘s zones, it is still very much worth completing for any aspiring mount collector, awarding players with the Wonderwing 2.0 mechanical parrot mount.

The future of flying in World of Warcraft remains a mystery. With dragon riding being thematically linked to the Dragon Isles, there is no guarantee that it will feature in expansions after Dragonflight. There is little doubt that Blizzard Entertainment has observed its competitors in this regard, given how much of dragon riding evokes the dynamic mount mechanics of Guild Wars 2‘s Path of Fire. Ultimately, it is fair to say that the developers are hoping for an expansion’s worth of feedback on Dragonflight‘s solution to flying before they commit in any direction.

World of Warcraft is available on PC. Dragonflight launches on November 28.

MORE: What World of Warcraft: Dragonflight Has In Store For Mythic Season 1

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