Kalon over at ThinkTank expressed his concern over the change to make Swift Flight Form trainable in 3.0.3, because that would mean players can (and many will) skip over the lore-laden quest chain to get it, but that wasn't the only epic "mount" that would become trainable. Warlock and paladin epic ground mounts will also be trainable as well.
This news was of interest to me being that I have a druid and a paladin that have done their quest chains, and have a second druid and a warlock (both on different servers from my main) that haven't.
While I agree that the Swift Flight Form quest is fantastic, the final leg of it is dependant on finding a group to do heroic Sethekk Halls. Heroics may be easy cheesey at the moment, but after we're all in Northrend the only people picking through Outlands will be alts, the rare newbie, and extremely casual players (and they do exist, I know someone IRL who has played for two years now and has just barely gotten to Outland). It probably won't be possible to get a group "at level" that is geared and keyed to do a heroic Sethekk run, let alone willing to do it. So that means doing the quest "at level" will be reliant on having higher level friends willing to go back and do old content, much like people get their warlock and paladin mounts today.
I've always felt sorry for those paladins and warlocks riding around on their level 40 (now 30) mounts at level 65 because they haven't been able to do those quests, and these players were trapped between spending additional gold for training and getting a different epic ground mount now and doing the quest later (and still paying the gold for the materials to do the quest) or waiting on their regular 60% mounts until the time they could get the training and mount for only the cost of doing the quest. Since my warlock has not yet hit 60 herself, this was a decision that had I had pondered myself.
The Horde paladin quest was ridiculously easy in comparison to the Alliance version or the warlocks' of both factions, which involve multiple instance runs, but all involved returning to old level 60 instances. It's easy to say that people should have a high level friend or two they can drag around to do these, but some of us would rather not inconvenience guildies if we don't have to. Some players in smaller, more casual guilds (or reroll guilds) where they are the high levels might not even have that option.
From a game design perspective, I don't think the player should be held back from getting their reward because the content it exists in is otherwise outdated. A warlock or paladin could have easily gotten Scholomance or Stratholme runs in classic WoW because they were the level 60 instances and that's what people ran. Heroic Sethekk is not the most popular heroic now, but people will still do it for badges, especially if it's the daily. But the primary reason people visit Strat these days is to farm the Baron or Argent Dawn rep (or both). Will anyone go back to heroic Sethekk at 80? I suppose farming Anzu for the raven mount will still be desirable for some people, but Lower City rep itself is only worth a couple achievements and does not contribute to a nifty title (unless you happen to be just that close to getting "the Exalted" for having 40 factions at max).
Will people skip the quest chains? I'm sure many will and never look back. Now that I have the option I most likely will skip it for my warlock. It's a pity, but she exists on a server where most of the people I used to play with have transferred off. I only log in on her once in a blue moon, so supposing I were to level to 60 to undergo her mount quest she lacks the support to do the quest at the appropriate level. But that's not to say I'd never do it.
I am very much a quest person. When I'm leveling I hate killing mobs that are unrelated to my quest because that gives me xp I would rather earn via a quest, and there are more quests in the game than a person could possibly do in a single leveling run. What this change would do is allow me to get my mount (or flight form) when I want to and then do the class quest chain at my leisure, when I'm actually capable or it's most convenient. I don't expect that my second druid will be hitting 70 anytime soon, but when she does I plan on running the Swift Flight Form quest chain all the way up to the point I have to enter Sethekk itself. She'll get her Swift Flight at that point, and then perhaps when she's 80 she'll go back and finish off Anzu for real.
If people want to do the quests, if they're the type that a good lore-driven quest chain appeals to in the first place, they'll still do them even if they're not mandatory. The people who aren't interested to begin with will skip it, but arguably they wouldn't have appreciated it in the first place. Nothing is being taken from anyone.
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