Why can't you go on bombing runs in Gnome-engineered flying death machines? Because Blizzard just doesn't think WoW aerial combat's good enough, that's why.
People lucky enough to get into the Wrath of the Lich King beta last year were treated to a number of things that didn't make it into the final product, the most thrilling of which was the aerial combat that took place in the Wintergrasp PVP zone. Here you could take to the skies in a Gnome-crafted bomber and drop explosives on your foes below, while anti-aircraft machines tried to shot you down to the ground. It really put the "war" in World of Warcraft, quite literally.
So why didn't aerial combat end up in the final release? Because it just wasn't good enough, according to Blizzard's Tom Chilton. "If you look at a lot of games that have done flight simulation, there is a lot of care that goes into giving you that sensation of flying by having the world tilt and stuff like that so it feels a little less mechanical, feels a little bit more alive or more natural," Chilton said on last night's Blizzcast. Nobody's asking Blizz to produce a Microsoft Flight Simulator level of verisimilitude here, but apparently there are standards to be kept over at Blizz, and apparently aerial combat didn't make the cut.
Chilton, however, does want to see dogfights and bomb runs in WoW eventually, and says that it's on Blizzard's to do list. The WoW team, he says, has plenty up their sleeve. "So one of the things that we have kind of tasked ourselves with doing is figuring out how to polish that, how to improve on our vehicle physics, there's still a lot of vehicle physics tech that we want to get in that didn't make it into the first pass of Lich King," he said.
Planes are all well and good, but how about some mounted air combat? I'm flying on my drake, you're flying on your griffon, and we clash swords in mid-flight. You know it would be epic.