World of Warcraft: Dragonflight Announced
Blizzard Entertainment announced their latest World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight, on April 19th. Since the player base has been overly excited to continue their adventures on Azeroth, Reddit, MMO Champion, and Youtube channels have been teeming with speculation and alleged leaks. Even though the player base was exceptionally creative and inventive in regard to expansion theme leaks, the idea of a dragon-themed expansion fascinated the majority of the fanbase. It would be an understatement to say that the WoW community was thrilled when the potential concept art leaked on Reddit. What’s more, the expansion had already been confirmed in the eyes of the community when Blizzard several days later registered the certifications for Dragonflight.
With this in mind, the official Blizzard announcement, which took place on April 19th, was a formality that finally revealed the major upcoming features such as new zones, new race/class combination, dragonriding, talent system revamp, professions overhaul, and HUD and UI updates.
When Does World of Warcraft: Dragonflight Release?
At the moment, the exact release date of World of Warcraft: Dragonflight remains a mystery.
However, given that the Shadowlands 9.2.5. patch is currently live on the Public Test Realms without an announced release date, the WoW community cannot expect the release of Dragonflight any time before 2023. In the meantime, players who strive to be pioneers of the Dragon Isles can sign up for the beta test.
What’s new in World of Warcraft: Dragonflight?
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight will be set in the Dragon Isles. The fabled Dragon Isles are the ancient homeland of dragonflights, and was conceptualized during the Vanilla days. Originally, the zone was to be located above Lordaeron and west of Quel’Thalas, but it was scrapped early in production. Even though the Dragon Isles existed in the game files, the Dragon Isles were introduced to the canon only in Battle for Azeroth.
In Dragonflight, the Dragon Isles will consist of five distinct zones: four leveling zones and a starting zone. The starting zone is called the Forbidden Reach, and it was designed by Neltharion to be the training grounds for the upcoming class/race combo, the dracthyr.
Players will venture to their first zone, the Waking Shores, from their respective capital cities. As the players arrive at the Waking Shores, they will once again meet their favorite dragon aspects: Alexstrasza and Wrathion. Initially, the players will be tasked to aid Alexstrasza in healing the wounds of the red dragonflight. Then, the adventures in these wild, untamed lands will continue by reclaiming the black dragonflight’s citadel with Wrathion.
After the triumphal renewal of both red and black dragon aspects, players will head to the Ohn’ahran Plains, where they reunite with the green dragonflight. Soon enough, the players learn that the green dragonflight has been steadily declining since Ysera’s death because an unfamiliar centaur clan has dominated the plains.
After re-establishing the order in the Ohn’ahran Plains, the players travel to the largest zone in MMO yet, the Azure Span. In the Azure Span, the players work with Kalecgos as he unravels Sindragosa’s secrets from the past. Apart from this, the players will there once again meet Azeroth’s famous races, such as tuskarrs, gnolls, and furbolgs.
After the sweet reunion, the players will enter Thaldraszus, the capital of dragon power, where they will tackle the salvation of Azeroth’s timeway in the company of bronze drakes. In addition to that, Thaldraszus will be the seat of the player base with the hub cities Valdrakken and Tyrhold.
New Dungeons and Raids
Even though Blizzard didn’t share details concerning dungeons and raids in the Dragonflight expansion, Ion Hazzikostas, World of Warcraft game director, announced in an interview that the upcoming expansion will launch with eight dungeons. Apart from this, Hazzikostas added, Blizzard had intended to spice up the Mythic+ Season by rotating the dungeons. The plan is to launch Dragonflight with four mythic Dragonflight dungeons, along with four legacy dungeons. The goal, according to Hazzikostas, is to design an equally challenging experience for Mythic+ players just like Shadowlands, but with a hint of refreshment each season.
New Playable Race/Class Combination
World of Warcraft launched back in 2004 with eight playable classes. Over the years, Blizzard Entertainment has released three additional classes, with the latest one being the Demon Hunter, released at the launch of the Legion. Despite adding allied races to WoW during the Battle for Azeroth, the larger part of the WoW community has been craving a new class.
In Dragonflight, World of Warcraft will, after countless years of waiting, get a brand new ranged class. What’s more, the upcoming ranged class, the Evoker, will be the first-ever World of Warcraft’s playable race-and-class combo. The only race that will be able to play the Evoker are the humanoid dragonkin, Dracthyr.
The Evokers, which harness the magic of dragonflights, will be a mid-range class that will wear mail. At the release of the expansion, The Evokers will have only two specializations: Devastation, a DPS specialization using blue and red dragon aspects, and Preservation, a healing spec, using green and bronze dragon aspects. Besides being unique in their appearance, the Dracthyr Evokers will introduce a fresh mechanic to World of Warcraft – empowerment. Empowering spells means that the strength and quality of casted spells will depend on how long you are holding the key.
As a rule, Blizzard Entertainment sees each expansion release as an exceptional opportunity to implement new features that will resonate with players. Naturally, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight couldn’t avoid being a part of this long-lasting tradition. One of the most prominent and memorable features in the upcoming expansion is dragonriding.
Dragonriding is a new form of unique movement limited to Dragon Isles. At the beginning of the expansion, each player will receive their own personal and fully customizable dragon mount. However, these dragons won’t be just an average mount, as they will move in a distinctive fashion, and they will be able to learn extra moves. In addition, not only will the players be able to fly their drake, but they will also be able to customize the dragon’s type, color, snout, tail, horns, and armor.
Talent System Revamp
Back in the golden era of World of Warcraft, talents were organized in a talent tree system that allowed the players to combine spells and bonuses from each specialization. The talent trees survived till the release of the Mists of Pandaria, which introduced the system of talent rows that we know today. Nowadays, players can choose between three spells every five to ten levels. However, since the community’s discontent carried over from expansion to expansion, Blizzard decided to return to the previous state of talents to offer the players versatile and exciting builds.
In order to preserve the core gameplay, Blizzard chose to leave the specializations. Thus, there will be two separate talent trees in Dragonflight – one will be class-specific, while the other will be tied to your specialization. The class-specific tree will purely be a utility tree, whereas all the power and skill expression will lie in the specialization talent tree. In addition, to avoid the previous mistake of being able to have only one specialization, Blizzard will be introducing the ability to save, delete and load different talent trees with ease.
Professions have long been a side job in WoW, helping players to attain a rare item or earn a living. However, professions and their development have been neglected for the last several expansions. The community has been complaining about professions for several years, and finally, their voices have been heard, as professions are receiving a minor rehaul in Dragonflght.
Creating a specific number of items to level a profession has been an extremely outdated system for quite some time now. To fix this issue, Blizzard developers introduced the concept of quality in professions. Simply put, players will, along with their profession, level the quality of items. Another remarkable feature coming in Dragonflight are profession specializations. Profession specializations will be unlocked in various ways, such as discovering an item in a hidden cave or learning it from a hermit in the woods.
Additional innovation coming in Dragonflight will be an auction house-like system that grants players the opportunity to order profession-specific items. And lastly, in order to give flavor to professions, Blizzard will install crafting tables around hub cities where players can craft items and keep each other company as they level their professions.
HUD and UI
WoW players have been using more or less the same iteration of the interface for over a decade now. Commonly, the players who wanted to customize their interface were obliged to install add-ons such as Bartender and Elvui. However, Dragonflight will include a fully customizable interface with new elements that bring about new functionality, accessibility, and aesthetics to the UI. The central idea has been to maintain the core charm of the old UI, but to create an easy-to-understand and fresh UI. Players will also be able to save, edit, copy and move specific created UIs.
Features the Player Base Would Love To See
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is widely considered a step in the right direction, including the quality of life and gameplay improvements. However, there are many unaddressed features left that the player base would love to see either resolved or implemented:
- Player housing
- Resolutions to the old storylines (especially Sargeras’ sword in Azeroth)
- Implementation of master loot
- Add-ons limitations
- More time walking dungeons and raids
- Revision of old content and zones