Such dog, very mount, many lunar new year, WoW. Yes, World of Warcraft has introduced a new mount for the Year of the Dog, and it is… a dog. It’s just a big old dog. Why is Shu-zen, the Divine Sentinel available for purchase? Because you can get him over in the Chinese version of the game for buying a large amount of game time, and the rest of us want to be able to fly around on a good dog too.
Obviously, the dog in question can fly, because of course it can. It also features all of the usual elements of a cash shop mount, unlocking on all of your characters for one purchase price of $25. If this addresses a pressing need in your life to have a flying dog in the game, it’s available now; if you can’t understand why someone would drop $25 on a flying dog mount, feel free to mutter “heck” and move on.
Yes, you may have heard that flying mounts are indeed on their way
. But exactly how will you turn the sky into your personal playground? Happily, En Masse
has put out a helpful guide
to turn you into a fantasy aviator.
According to the guide, players can unlock the quest to gain flight at level 65. TERA will give players one mount for free, with others available in the store. You should know that the game has restricted airspace, as only the zones of Velika, Val Oriyn, and Highwatch allow flight. Mounts will only be able to fly for so long before being forced to land, so make sure you keep an eye on how many seconds of airtime that you have left.
The studio said that flight won’t automatically allow you to bypass all of the landmass: “Each free-fly zone has its own limit on how high you can go on a flying mount. This is usually enough to get over tall terrain and give you a good view of the countryside… but it’s not enough to fly over all obstacles in a given zone.”
Some MMOs eschew the entire idea of flying mounts. Some have them in from day one, while others add them in at a later junction (and usually at a cost). As we’ve proved time and again here on the Daily Grind, flight in MMOs is a mildly contentious topic touching on areas of exploration, freedom, world difficulty, and game design.
So today I’d like to put each of us in the shoes of a game designer given the task of instituting flying mounts into a generic fantasy MMO. What rules would you make for them? Would you keep flight limited in time or by area? Would flight force the rest of the game design to be more vertical? Do you have a brilliant idea of how to incorporate flying mounts that we haven’t seen yet?
World of Warcraft player pilots are officially grounded for the indefinite future.
Lead Designer Ion Hazzikostas said that while Blizzard was originally looking at turning flight on for Draenor, the studio has decided the drawbacks of flight outweigh the positives. He said that it made the world feel smaller and came at the cost of eliminating “targeted exploration.”
“At this point, we feel that outdoor gameplay in World of Warcraft is ultimately better without flying,” he said. “We’re not going to be reintroducing the ability to fly in Draenor, and that’s kind of where we’re at going forward.”