- March 28, 2013, 8:24 p.m.
We’ve seen a bit of confusion over the removal of automatic flight path discovery for characters leveling in patch 5.2, so here’s some background on the whole series of events that lead to where we are.
Players have always been required to visit a Flight Master in order to unlock transportation to and from that location. We’ve always viewed this as a fundamental element of exploration in World of Warcraft. Players should feel like they’re in a massive world with vast continents to explore and thousands of adventures to embark upon (because there are!).
With Cataclysm, every zone in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms was changing, flight points were moving, being added or removed, and we needed to make sure people didn’t log in to find they were missing large portions of their flight points. To solve this, characters exploring the world below level 80 were given every flight point automatically to ensure no edge-cases were missed. It was supposed to be a one-time changeover in the old-to-new world transition to resolve what could be numerable bugs due to the vastly altered landscape in the expansion. However, when the change went in, we didn’t realize it was implemented in a way that would affect all characters forever. When we found out it just wasn’t an immediate priority to fix. We began implementing new tech in 5.1 and (more completely) 5.2 to resolve it.
We understand it was very convenient, but it wasn’t an intended change for flight path discovery forever. Over the course of patch 5.1 and 5.2, we implemented new functionality to remedy the original implementation issues. We’ve improved our tech in a way that allows us to remember what flight points a character has discovered, or determine what paths a character should/shouldn’t know on a case-by-case basis. In some cases you’re provided flight points when we’ve determined a character’s foreknowledge of them is important to the experience, but in most cases you will need to brave the wilds, seek out adventure, and visit a Flight Master before you can unlock flight to and from that location.