The patch 3.2 PTR is up, and there is alot being said about the changes to the mount system. Most people I know with toons still in Outlands are very excited about how fast they can level through Outlands once they can fly out there. I have to say, though, that I am not so sure. I have a few reasons for this perspective, primary being what I call incidental xp. This is all that xp you get from mobs you kill while traveling.
The big change I refer to is the fact that you can learn slow flight at level 60, as compared to the level 70 that you need to learn both speeds of flight. This is a cool change, along with the many other mount changes that are coming in this patch, of that I have no doubt, but I think this will negatively impact on the leveling players. Let me put this plainly: you get a quest from NPC bob and you need to travel a little ways away, kill 5 mobs, and bring back a piece of the mobs armor.
Currently you kill 10 mobs on the way to the target and 3 more on the way back. Let’s say that each mob gives 1500 xp per kill. That is about 20,000 xp. Now in 3.2 you will kick up on your bird, fly to the target mob area and killing, then flying back to the quest giver. That is now 20,000 or so xp you have just lost out on. Multiply that by a dozen or even a hundred quests, and you begin to see a major slowdown in levelling.
‘But Medros’, you may say, ‘won’t this be the same for the other travel changes in 3.2?’ My best guess is no it will not. The difference is that flight takes you over and out of range of the mobs on the ground, while even an epic land mount will not avoid the possibility of being dazed off your mount and forcing you to fight against your desire. So while you can ride really fast past your mobs starting at 40 once 3.2 hits, you will not be able to completely avoid fighting those mobs like we will be able to in Outlands when the patch hits.
The definite benefit to these travel changes is, for instance, that you can now get rep discounts on mounts and training, which will likely save me roughly 3,000g between all the toons who still need to buy riding skills. Whether the benefits will outweigh the downsides, it’s impossible to say, and I think we will not really know until we see the patch hit and compare the duration of leveling now compared to then. I for one am interested in seeing what real, live gameplay will turn out like. What do you think the flying changes and mount changes will do for the game? Found a flaw in my logic or math? Leave a comment below!