Thursday, September 9, 2010

Old Weather Flying Isn't Cool Guys!

Sigh. Blizzard, I really really want to love World of Warcraft, and for the most part, I do. I think it's a great game. It's definitely not art, but hey, it's a fun game.

But then you do thing like this.

"We’ve added a new flying skill called Flight Master's License. When World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is released, players who purchase the expansion will see this skill available from flight trainers for 250 gold once they reach level 60. This new skill is required for flying around all Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms zones, including the new level 80-85 zones."

Sigh. Alright, now I know a lot of the people who read this don't play WoW, so let me explain why the above statement is really, REALLY, irritating.

So, in World of Warcraft, as you level up, you get mounts. These are various creatures you can ride around on, ranging from the natural, Horses, to the more exotic, like Raptors. At level 20 you can get the basic one, which makes you move 60% faster. Then at level 40 you get the armored "epic" ones, which double your speed.

Then at level 60 you can get Flying Mounts.

Now, these mounts, apart from being even faster, allow you to, as the name implies, fly! Hooray! This makes flying over enemies you don't need to fight a possibility, and makes the leveling up experience much easier, and faster. Also, some of them look awesome.

Then, at level 70, you lose the ability to fly again.

To be more specific, you can only fly in Outland, one region of the game, and Northrend, the level 70-80 area, is too cold. But it's ok, because at level 78, you can learn "Cold Weather Flying" for only 1000 gold! Yaaay!

Ok, so, this is annoying, but understandable. When Wrath of the Lich King, the expansion that added Northrend, was released, Flying mounts were not obtainable until level 70, and they didn't want people skipping the 70-80 experience by flying over it. I get that. They should have made you learn it from a quest or something instead of making it and expensive ability to learn, but whatever. The cost was a gold sink. What is a gold sink you ask?

Well, the way a normal economy works is that there is a finite amount of money, and more is created at a controlled rate. As more money is slowly created, we have to deal with inflation. But, inflation is also stopped by the way that money, over time, decays. Something like 90% of the US Dollars that are printed every year are replacing money that was destroyed in the previous year.

But, the way a GAME economy works is not nearly as easy. There is an unlimited number of, well, everything. Money? A small amount of money is generated every time you sell something to a Non-Player Character, or loot money off of a dead person.
And, since it's virtual money, it doesn't decay. It stays there, clogging up the economy until every player generated and sold item sells for an absurd amount.

A gold sink is the solution to this problem. Simply put, you create a desired object, and make players pay money to a source that, essentially, deletes it. A non-player character. For example, after time, your armor and weapons in WoW will break, thus, you must repair them, for let's say 100 gold, by giving the 100 gold to a non-player character. Now, since this is a non-player character, the money doesn't leave back into the economy. Instead, the money is gone.

In this case, however, the amount was larger than, 100 gold, it was ten times that, thus forcing every single character (it's almost impossible to get to level 80 without Cold Weather Flying) to pay 1000 gold at level 78 to a source that deletes it forever. There are, of course, more expensive gold sinks, the fasted kind of flying in the game costing 5000 gold, and some of the more rare mounts costing in the neighborhood of 20,000 gold. But those are generally not "necessary" unlike Cold Weather Flying, and armor repair, which are.

Then, when "Cataclysm" announced that it would be adding flight capability to the areas of the game from levels 1-60, many people asked one question, in fact, at Blizzcon 2009 someone, during the press conference yelled out, "BUT WILL WE NEED TO BUY 'OLD WEATHER FLYING'?"

And the thing is, they said no. They said, to fly in the old world, you would need to buy nothing but the skill to ride flying mounts, and the flying mount itself. No Old Weather Flying.

And then the above quote was released. Sigh. Nice.

Ok, so here's what I really REALLY don't understand. WHY THE HECK IS OLD WEATHER FLYING BOUGHT AT LEVEL 60?! It really reeeeeally seems to me like it should be bought at level, well, 85, the new maximum. Y'know, so people won't SKIP THE NEW CONTENT BY FLYING OVER IT?!

But what really baffles me is the price. If you were trying to make it a gold sink, why did you make it cost a mere 250 gold?! 250 gold is a pittance! It's nothing! A gold sink should either be something cheap you pay for over and over again, (item repair) or something that's reeeeally expensive, you only buy once.

In other words, this makes literally no point. It's like they completely forgot the purpose of Cold Weather Flying in the first place.

Sigh. Whatever Blizzard, whatever.


  1. I! Yes I! have gotten past the anger and (further) resentment towards Blizzard which by now can't do much besides shut down WoW to shock me. This is implemented so players without the new expansion can't fly in old(now new) unless they buy Cataclysm. Which is why it has such a low price, it isn't a gold sink it is just Blizzard being to lazy to make another mechanic to make someone buy their new expansion.

    - That Guy!

  2. If that's the case then where is the trainer for the skill? As far as I know the only expansion exclusive zones are only accessible by either flying, or reaching level 81. To do both of these things you would need either the skill, or the expansion to reach it. So where do you buy the skill? Or is it just next to the flight trainer giving some lame "You don't have cataclysm yet sorry!" message?