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Returning to Azeroth: How to Unlocking Flying in World of Warcraft

  • 2020-05-09 12:56:22
  • unlock flying
  • Pathfinder
  • WoW Flying Unlock

So you've just come back to World of Warcraft after a break, you log in, you put all those odd abilities that you barely even recognize on your bars, and jump on into Battle for Azeroth, ready to battle, For Azeroth! But wait.... you can't fly? But everyone else is... What's up with that?

Worry not, friend, Keep your eyes on Raiditem, you will get more details here. Let's talk about the things you need to do to unlock flying in those areas where all your friends are happily riding the currents.

Why does Flying Need to be Unlocked?

Unlocking flying can be a bit of a pain and many wonder why they have to go through the process. Well this is a brief explanation. Each new expansion is designed to be explored at ground level. When you trot about on your own two feet or ride around on a ground mount you have to interact with the game in ways that flying negates. You are forced to fight through mobs, interact with the environment, find creative ways to get from here to there, fall, die, and generally be annoyed by the complete lack of flying. You also meet new NPCs, discover hidden areas, trip over treasure chests and interactable things, and generally get yourself a lot more experience with the game - and not just the numerical kind. Once you have explored the zones, done the quests, and reached maximum level you are granted the privilege to earn your wings.

A Short History of Flight in World of Warcraft
Let's be clear, we have always been able to fly in World of Warcraft. Flight points have been in the game for as long as it has been a game. But that's not what you are after. Autonomous flying was introduced to World of Warcraft in The Burning Crusade. The Burning Crusade expansion took us to the disintegrating world of Outland where part of the design philosophy included the concept that you would need to be able to fly in order to navigate around this would as it broke apart, and lo, a can of worms was opened. Players delighted in flying, not only because it made travel easier, allowed you to fly over enemies to skip them, made farming herbs and ore a snap, and let you AFK in safety, but also because the World of Warcraft is beautiful. There is nothing quite like viewing a zone from the air, soaring over the frankly amazing art of this world that is a second home to so many of us. Through Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm (which introduced flying to Azeroth proper), and Mists of Pandaria, all you needed to do to unlock flying was to reach an appropriate level and grease the right NPC palms with a substantial amount of gold. With the introduction of Legion, this unlock system was revised, making it even easier for you and all of your alts to soar at will. As long as you are at least level 60.

Who would not want to be able to see this view?
In Warlords of Draenor, the expansion that saw us returning to Outland, but in the past before it broke up, parts of the new world of Draenor were ironically designed without flying in mind. Players demanded to know when they could fly and Blizzard, realizing that these areas would require a rework decided that introducing flying was not a good idea. You may, or may not, depending on how long you've been gone and what rock you were under, have heard about the drama that ensued. It went a bit like this:

Blizzard: Flying at max level...eventually...
Players: <grumble> ok
Blizzard: Flying is hard. No flying. Ever.
Players: <sounds of explosions getting closer><blood curdling screams><the end of the world approaches><no really, Draenor was about to become Outland way before its time>
Blizzard: Um. Just kidding? Here, this is Pathfinder...

And the Pathfinder system for unlocking flying was introduced. Pathfinder is an expansion specific Achievement. It is also an umbrella Achievement, meaning that the achievement itself is a collection of smaller achievements. It is also, and this is the awesome bit, account-wide. Earning Pathfinder ensures that you have traveled around and explored all of the zones, completed the major storylines, and interacted with your faction objectives and allies.

Unlocking Flying at level 60

I have never been able to fly, how do I unlock flying in Azeroth?

When your character reaches level 60, you can purchase  Expert Riding for 200 or 250 (depending on your faction reputation) from a flight trainer in a major city. This will now unlock flying for the Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm (Kalimdor, most of the Eastern Kingdoms, and Deepholm), and Mists of Pandaria zones.

Make sure you have 250 wow gold.
In Stormwind, talk to Bralla Cloudwing. She's the dwarf you pass as you run to the flight master.
In Orgrimmar take the elevator to the upper section and talk to Maztha near the flight master.
Note: In order to fly, you do need a mount that is able to fly. If you don't have a flying mount, you can purchase one from a vendor near the trainer.

If you played a bit in Warlords of Draenor, Legion, or BFA, you may have already fulfilled some of the requirements for flying in those expansions. We have a great tool for checking up on your progress:
Wowhead's Pathfinder Progress Tool

Unlocking Flying in Draenor - level 100
I can fly, in Azeroth, but how do I unlock flying in Draenor?

Once you reach level 100, you are eligible to earn the first Pathfinder achievement.  Draenor Pathfinder requires the completion of 5 achievements - hopefully many of which you will have completed as you leveled.

 Draenor Explorer: Explore all zones in Draenor
 Master Treasure Hunter: Collect 100 Treasures
 Loremaster of Draenor/ Loremaster of Draenor: Complete the major storyline quests for your faction in Draenor
 Securing Draenor/ Securing Draenor: Complete all 12 Apexis Dailies
 Tanaan Diplomat/ Tanaan Diplomat): Achieve Revered reputation with the three new Tanaan Jungle factions

Unlocking Flying in Legion - level 110

I can fly, in Azeroth, but how do I unlock flying in the Broken Isles?
Starting in Legion, the Pathfinder achievement is earned in two parts. Part one covers the early zones, factions, and story, and part two covers later content, new zones, and new factions.

 Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One
 Broken Isles Explorer: Explore all 5 zones in the Broken Isles
 Loremaster of Legion: Complete the major storyline quests in the Broken Isles
 Variety is the Spice of Life: Complete 100 World Quests in the Broken Isles
 A Glorious Campaign: Complete your Class Order Hall Campaign
 Broken Isles Diplomat: Achieve Revered reputation with the 6 Broken Isles factions
 Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part Two
 Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One: Complete part one
 Explore Broken Shore: Explore the Broken Shore
 Legionfall Commander: Achieve Revered reputation with Armies of Legionfall

Unlocking Flying in Battle for Azeroth - level 120
I can fly, in Azeroth, but how do I unlock flying in Kul Tiras and Zandalar?

As in Legion, Battle for Azeroth requires the two part Pathfinder achievement.

 Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder, Part One
 Battle for Azeroth Explorer: Explore both Kul'Tiras and Zandalar
 Azerothian Diplomat: Achieve Revered reputation with the 3 factions of either Kul'Tiras or Zandalar, either the Horde or Alliance War Campaign, Champions of Azeroth, and Tortollan Seekers
 Wide World of Quests: Complete 100 World Quests in Kul'Tiras and Zandalar
 Loremaster of Kul Tiras /  Zandalar Forever!: Complete either the Horde or Alliance storyline
 Ready for War /  Ready for War: Complete either the Horde or Alliance War Campaign
Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder, Part Two
 Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder, Part One: Complete part one
 Explore Nazjatar: Explore Nazjatar
 Explore Mechagon: Explore Mechagon
 The Unshackled or  Waveblade Ankoan: Achieve Revered reputation with Waveblade Ankoan or The Unshackled
 Rustbolt Rebellion: Achieve Revered reputation with Rustbolt Resistance

Unlocking Flying in Shadowlands

Many things are changing in Shadowlands. The leveling experience is being completely reimagined and it seems likely that the Wrath through Warlords unlocks will no longer apply in their current form. As a new player in Shadowlands, will you need to do the Legion and BfA Pathfinders? We just don't know yet, and neither does Blizzard. In an interview with Zoltan, Ion Hazzikostas revealed that they are "listening to a lot of feedback on flying" and that the design is incomplete at this time. So if you really want to fly NOW, do those Pathfinders, if you don't mind being ground-bound for a few months and want to chance that Blizzard will decide not to require Pathfinder... well, don't worry about them - you do you, Boo.

No Fly Zones

There are a few corners of Azeroth where flying will never be a thing. Raids, dungeons, battlegrounds and other instanced content are and always have been no-fly zones. Some parts of the game were designed without flying in mind and it would take more work than it's worth for Blizzard to implement flying. Other parts were designed with the intent that they would be ground only, and adding flying would honestly ruin them. There are no unlocks for flying for the following zones:

Eversong Woods
The Exodar
Azuremyst Isle
Bloodmyst Isle
Isle of Quel'Danas
Darkmoon Island
Tol Barad
The Molten Front
Isle of Thunder
Isle of Giants
The Timeless Isle
Tanaan Jungle - the starting zone, not the end zone!

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