Last week saw things in the world of WoW.com turn on their heads somewhat, with the Archmage Pants and myself trading columns for a week. A little back story might be in order. I was flicking through the forum for the Cataclysm mage changes ("Know your enemy" -- Sun Tzu) and found a lot of crying about spells being removed. For those who didn't read it, the feeling was that spells like Dampen Magic had "no clear role" in the game. Over 1,000 posts later, Ghostcrawler himself felt it necessary to step in and make a semi-retraction of the phrase to stem the flow of tears.
This experience played right into a hypothesis I have that mages are credulous crybabies. I stress here that this is a hypothesis, a tentative explanation for an observation, little better than a guess. However, these things beg to be tested and elevated to the status of theory. And so a test was performed to study both the credulity and propensity for lacrimation of mages. I put forward that this test was entirely successful in validating the hypothesis and that further such studies should be performed to corroborate -- maybe I should ask someone for a research grant. Either way, I feel that we are well on the way to scientifically proving that mages are indeed credulous crybabies.
This, my fellow warlocks, is how you come about facts. It has nothing to do with simply trusting the assertions of someone claiming a list of "facts" with no proper basis in reality. Especially when that someone is a mage.
Anyway, with the sciency bit behind us, I wanted to pick up on one of the hotly discussed topics from our own Cataclysm class change forum post -- that of flying mounts for warlocks. Ok, so it wasn't mentioned in the forum post, but that's kinda the point. Its absence was a glaring hole, bigger than the space where a mage's sense of humor used to be. It was picked up later in the thread with the following:
For me, this is pretty telling. What we have here is a clear acceptance that providing locks with flying mounts is both "a great idea" and "on the developer's wish list." The only argument against is that of resources. This is pretty much the last obstacle to something being put into the game. As a company, Blizzard needs to invest time and effort in areas that will yield the greatest return. Frankly, that comes down to appreciation, so if warlocks want it enough and will appreciate it enough, then it makes the game that much better to encourage more people to play the game. "Yeah I play WoW. I play a warlock. It's sooo cool I can't wait 'til I get my demonic flying mount; it looks really badass." "Hey, that does sound cool; I'll start playing right now."
The big problem seems to be what form this badass flying mount should take. As you might have guessed from the title image, I have been playing around with some ideas and wanted to go through them with you.
Winged steeds are one way to go. In the image, I've just re-colored the model of Invincible (Arthas' mount) to get some kind of feel. This seems the natural progression for the warlock mounts, continuing on from the Felsteed and the Dreadsteed. The winged horse model is pretty new to the game but is obviously something that can be re-skinned, as demonstrated with the purchasable Celestial Steed. The similarities between the two examples in game at the moment are clear (the armor, for example). Change the color a bit (and a bit better than I did), add a few flames and spikes and you're away. Doesn't seem a load of work to be done.
The wings from Malefic Raiment are also another option that are often put forward. I group this one up with any "sprout wings from the warlock" solution and are a basic flight-form variant similar to that of the druids (who have been doing this sort of thing since The Burning Crusade). Though it is undeniably cool to think of growing demon wings out of your back, I found the Malefic coloring to be to rainbow-like for my blood. Also, it was a model that was only designed to display once; there doesn't seem to be modeling for flapping in flight. If it were to work, I believe it would need a new wing form designed from scratch. I like it but think it's asking too much.
Being carried by a doomguard is a silly idea I floated but while it might be a little daft and demeaning, I actually like it and think it wouldn't be too hard to model -- though having the mount above the character may well not be desirable from a mechanics perspective.
Metamorphosis is probably the simplest answer. It's already a form that warlocks can talent into for combat and has the flight modeling all done (though unused). It does open the debate about having a female version once again. I'm afraid I'm not behind this one. If I channel the form of a demon, then I expect to take that demon's form, and while there are female demon forms, this one isn't. Not that I would want to dissuade the development of a female meta; I just don't think that just because there are calls for it, we should let that stand in the way of further use of the metamorphosis as a flight form for warlocks.
My preference would be for growing bat-like wings but understand that would be a load of work. I'd like to know what you would like to see or think is most appropriate. So here's a poll just for that. You'll notice there's a mage trap, so we can simply discount their votes afterwards.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. If you're curious about what's new with locks since the last patch, check out WoW.com's guide to patch 3.3 or find out what's upcoming in Cataclysm from the BlizzCon 2009: Class Discussion Panel.