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 the past, Blizzard has used some form of a Pathfinder achievement for the last three expansions. However, it’s looking like there won’t be an achievement we’re unlocking this time. 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.
Don’t worry too much if you’re not at the max Renown going into patch 9.1. A catchup system will increase how often you get the Renown items and how much they’re worth.
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 patch 9.1. While in Battle there were only four months between the launch and the first major content patch there has wound up being a lot more of a wait to get to patch 9.1. Before the Shadowlands launch, 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. We now know that the patch will be releasing on June 29, so we don’t have long to wait now!
Flying will come from an item that we get as part of our Covenant Campaign. Luckily we won’t even have to wait long for it either. According to Blizzard’s official flight preview — you’ll unlock flying by completing the quests you unlock at Renown level 44. Which you’ll be able to do in the second week of patch 9.1 — July 6th for anyone who’s all caught up! Getting to Renown level 45 will also unlock your Covenant-specific mounts. Once you use the item, any character on your account will be able to fly in the Shadowlands, provided they have the requisite Expert Riding skill.
We are still only able to fly in the first four zones; Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, and Revendreth, but maybe down the line we’ll get 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 6/17/2021.
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