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A flight path (often abbreviated as FP) is the primary means of zone-to-zone travel on Azeroth and Outland. They are a transportation link between two fixed geographical points via fixed paths on faction-exclusive aerial mounts. The Alliance utilizes both the Gryphons of the Hinterlands and the Hippogryphs of Kalimdor for transportation, while the Horde uses Kalimdor's Wyverns, Lordaeron's massive Vampire bats, and Quel'Thalas's rare Dragonhawks.
Discovery and use
A flight point is manned by a single level cap NPC, most often elite, known as flight masters. Prior to Patch 4.2.0, a flight path must first have been "discovered" by visiting an area's flight master, who would grant access to their flight point's route. Since 4.2.0, however, players will automatically learn flight paths for areas that are level-appropriate for them. The option still exists to track down those that are higher level the old-fashioned way. If a flight master has a flight path to teach you, a green will appear above his or her head, and the flight master will appear as a on your mini-map.
Once you learn a flight path, it will be offered as a route by the flight master. If you've learned all consecutive flight paths in between, you can choose a far-off destination in the flight map window and you'll automatically fly there -- the routes will be chained together.
Different flight paths cost different amounts, but generally increase in cost dramatically if they are between higher level expansion zones. The cost of flights is reduced by 5-20% due to the faction discount based on your reputation with the flight master's faction.
Flight paths are only slightly faster than a 280% flying mount. Flight paths usually take turns that do not need to be taken to reach their destinations. By using a swift flying mount, you can most likely beat a flight path to a destination. So if you were to fly from the Argent Tournament Grounds to Dalaran on an Epic Flying Mount it would clearly be faster. Flying mounts were previously not an option in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, leaving the flight paths as the fastest means of travel. This was changed in Cataclysm when flight was allowed in Azeroth.
If flight masters are attacked by members of the opposing faction, they will spawn a pair of adds to defend themselves ( or s for Horde flight masters, s or s for Alliance). Flight masters, while hostile to enemy players, originally had no aggro radius to players. As of sCataclysm flight masters will now attack players unprovoked within their aggro radius. Certain places where both Alliance and Horde flight masters reside, such as Light's Hope Chapel, remain stationary unless attacked to allow players to remain there without causing unwanted PvP fights.
Originally at each flight point you had to select the next flight point you wanted to go to and so on until you reached your destination. AFK characters were more prevalent than they are now at flight points when the introduction of linked flight paths in Patch 1.10.0 allowed you to pick a point across the map and fly all the way there, provided that you know all the intermediate flight paths. For example, new players in Northrend sometimes quest in both Borean Tundra and the Howling Fjord, but are unable to fly between them because they are linked by several intermediate flight paths in much higher level zones.
As time has passed, additional flight points have been added at various places. The way flight paths are linked is not always the most direct and expected route.
Logging out in flight
If you log out in flight, upon logging back on, you will continue your flight from the same spot where you logged out. However, in a flight of multiple legs, you will then land at the next waypoint of the journey. This behavior can be used to abort a flight, provided there are waypoints before the destination.
Interestingly, logging back in to an Alliance character using a flight path will change whichever steed (Hippogryph, Skeletal Gryphon, Dragonhawk) was being ridden before into a normal Gryphon, and Horde characters will log back in to find themselves riding a Wyvern.
As of Cataclysm, some flights may no longer be aborted by logging out in flight. Several attempts or even waiting for 10 or more seconds has not aborted a flight to land at the nearest stop. The flight continued until it reached the final destination previously set when the user logged out.
For example, if you are an orc or a troll and you visit the Crossroads before visiting Orgrimmar, talking to the Crossroads flight master will show that you can fly to Orgrimmar even though you haven't visited there yet.
Death Knights begin the game with access to all of their faction's flight paths in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, with the following exceptions: the Isle of Quel'Danas, Zul'Aman in the Ghostlands, the Bulwark at the edge of Tirisfal Glades, and at the Thondroril River between the Western Plaguelands and Eastern Plaguelands. All of those flight points were added after the Death Knight class was introduced.
- Patch 4.2.0 (28-Jun-2011): Flight points appear to be automatically learned as characters level.
- Patch 1.8.0 (10-Oct-2005):
- The flight paths in Silithus have been moved from Valor's Rest to the new Cenarion Hold. Characters that previously discovered the Valor's Rest flight path will be treated as having discovered the Cenarion Hold flight path.
- A flight path has been added between Stormwind and Morgan's Vigil.
- Patch 1.6.0 (12-Jul-2005):
- Added a Wind Rider Master to Camp Taurajo in The Barrens.
- New Horde Flight Paths --
- Camp Taurajo in The Barrens <-> Crossroads in The Barrens
- Camp Taurajo in The Barrens <-> Thunder Bluff in Mulgore
- Camp Taurajo in The Barrens <-> Freewind Post in Thousand Needles
- Fixed several problems with the flight path from Undercity to Hammerfall while passing through the Ruins of Andorhal.
- Fixed some problems with the Ironforge to Stormwind flight path.
- The Darkshire <-> Booty Bay flight paths no longer fly over the Gurubashi Arena in Stranglethorn Vale, and therefore no longer flag fliers as being in Free-for-All PvP. Also, they should no longer fly through the zeppelins coming in and out of the Grom'gol Base Camp.
- Patch 1.5.0 (2005-06-07):
- New Horde Flight Paths
- Valormok in Azshara - Bloodvenom Post in Felwood
- Kargath in Badlands - Thorium Point in Searing Gorge
- Flame Crest in Burning Steppes - Thorium Point in Searing Gorge
- Tarren Mill in Hillsbrad - Revantusk Village in Hinterlands
- Undercity - Revantusk Village in Hinterlands
- New Alliance Flight Paths
- Ironforge - Thorium Point in Searing Gorge
- Morgan's Vigil in the Burning Steppes - Thorium Point in Searing Gorge
- The flight path from Undercity to Kargath no longer clips into the ground just south of Dalaran.
- New Horde Flight Paths
- Patch 1.4.0 (2005-05-05): Bloodvenom Post - Crossroads (Horde) no longer flies you through a tree. Sorry for the scrapes and bruises.
- Patch 1.3.0 (07-Mar-2005):
- The following flight times have been reduced:
- Auberdine - Talonbranch Glade
- Thunder Bluff - Orgrimmar
- Theramore (Dustwallow Marsh) - Nijel's Point (Desolace)
- The following flight paths have been added:
- Gadgetzan - Brackenwall Village
- Gadgetzan - Valor's Rest (Silithus)
- Gadgetzan - Camp Mojache
- Gadgetzan - Crossroads
- Orgrimmar - Everlook
- Fixed a problem with the Horde flight path from Light's Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands to the Undercity.
- The following flight times have been reduced: