Back in the saddle


What, I ask you, is always the greatest difference when switching from a high level alt to a low level one? The gear? The abilities? The gold? Access to reputation gear or crafting recipes?

Travel speed?

Yes, definitely that last one. It already hit me back when I started out on going from a character that had riding back to one travelling by foot. More recently, from 100% ground speed back to a paltry 60%. And now, from a level 70 flying Paladin back to a level 43 Hunter.

The interesting thing is, though, I miss flying. No wait, that’s not surprising. It’s that most of the time I don’t miss flying. Except when I want to get to an auction house. Or to a class trainer. Or go do the fishing dailies in Stormwind. See, I’m questing in Thousand Needles (a completely revamped zone that’s well worth a visit, by the way). Before that I was in Feralas. Have a look at the flight path connection to, oh, Darnassus. Okay, you say, you don’t have to go to Darnassus, the dailies are in Stormwind anyway. That ship sails off at Ruth’eran Village. See? That’s two minutes less travel time!

Of course, you could also go to Theramore, cross to Menethil Harbour, then Ironforge – and if you want the dailies, take the tram to Stormwind. Or Ratchet, Booty Bay, Stormwind. Common to all these travel plans is that the flight paths take extreme detours – getting from the Speedbarge to Theramore by taxi takes approximately five times longer than necessary, simply because you travel via Feralas.

So yes, I bloody do miss flying. When I just want to sell stuff at the auction house, get training or do dailies. Or dig up old stuff.

But during questing? Riding is so much more immersive. No more “get quest, take off, land at the precise spot, kill NPC, take off, land, turn in”. That kind of thing really was a bit of an immersion breaker. A time saver, yes, but it wasn’t so much fun any more. Now, riding, figuring out if I can sneak by those mobs or if I should fight them, trying to find my way to a hard to reach spot or resource node – that’s fun.

Granted, learning the flying skill is a huge milestone, even more so artisan flying and beyond. It’s a symbol for the career of the character. But even so, my ground mounts won’t rot forgotten in the stable.

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