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WoWFeb 21, 2021 6:00 pm CT

How (and when) we’ll get flying in WoW Shadowlands

Flying is always on players’ minds when a new expansion comes out. We always want to know how and when we’ll be able to soar through the skies on our many varieties of Dragons and other flying beasties. In an interview with Hazelnutty, Warcraft Executive Producer John Hight confirmed that Shadowlands would have another Pathfinder-style achievement to complete, saying we were in for another achievement run to get flying this expansion.

This isn’t the biggest surprise honestly. Blizzard has used some form of a Pathfinder achievement for the last three expansions. However, we’ve been told that the Shadowlands Pathfinder won’t have a reputation requirement. Instead, it’ll be tied to your Renown with your Covenant, and completing parts of the Covenant Campaign.

This is a great change! The reputation grinds for Pathfinding have not been players’ most favorite things in the past. Especially when you’re down to the very last reputation, getting the final few points necessary can feel like it takes forever. Especially once you start seeing other players flying around and you’re still stuck walking everywhere. Tying flying to Renown definitely tones down the rep grind — and there are catch-up mechanics for Renown, so if you’re someone who took a bunch of time off you won’t be as far behind as you would’ve been if you needed to get your reputations up.

On the downside, though, changing your Covenant at all before getting flying will be a major pain. Since your Renown will be reset when you choose your new Covenant, even with a catch-up system that’s still erasing any progress you’d made towards flying with that character. Since the flying comes from completing a Covenant campaign mission you’ll still have to get all the way back up to the Renown required to unlock that mission.

When we will be able to fly in Shadowlands?

The other big question is when we’ll unlock flying. It was roughly a full year between Battle for Azeroth launching and being able to complete the Pathfinder Part 2 with the release of patch 8.2, which feels like a super long time to be landlocked. Back in Legion, it was roughly nine months, or just long enough to get really tired of hearing “An illusion, what are you hiding!” every time you went to Suramar.

In Shadowlands, flying will be unlocked in the first major patch — in Battle there were only four months between the launch and the first major content patch. Back before the launch of Shadowlands, I speculated that we could be flying through the Shadowlands as early as March. Which would’ve been great news considering that we didn’t get an upgraded Flight Master’s Whistle. However, since we’re getting a patch 9.0.5 that won’t be happening as quickly.

Flying is still on track for patch 9.1, but we’re still likely a few months away from that patch since we haven’t even gotten patch 9.0.5 yet — but knowing for sure that flying is coming in patch 9.1 is great. Flying will be unlocked through the Covenant Campaign for everyone and will come with some fancy new Covenant-specific mounts. We’ll only be able to fly in the first four zones; Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, and Revendreath, but maybe down the line we’ll be able to fly in any new areas that get added. After all, we’ve seen that the Maw is going to allow ground mounts in the same patch — so maybe in patch 9.2 the restrictions will get looser still.

I can’t wait to fly through the skies of Ardenweald.

Originally published 11/19/2020, updated 2/20/2021

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