World of Warcraft revealed their 10th expansion today, Dragonflight. It has been 10,000 years since the destruction of the Well of Eternity shattered the ancient supercontinent, but with the healing of the elemental energies, the veil concealing the Dragon Isles has lifted and the dragons of Azeroth have returned home. Though, they will not be alone. The Horde and Alliance are traveling to the Isles, not to compete for resources as in the past, but to explore them side by side in a joint expedition, as they help the dragonflights rebuild and confront old enemies.
Welcome the Dracthyr
The Dracthyr is a Hero Class, meaning they begin the climb to level 70, the new cap, at level 58 and have their own starting zone on the Dragon Isles. There is no requirement to roll a Dracthyr, unlike when Death Knights, the first Hero Class, were introduced. These new allies wear mail and specialize in ranged damage or healing. They serve as Evokers, a unique class, which draws power from all five Dragonflights, giving them powerful abilities and flashy animations. Both the dragonoid and humanoid forms will offer extensive customization options.
Size matters on the Dragon Isles
The Isles will feature five zones, four for leveling, and the Dracthyr starter zone. I am curious about the size comparison of them to other landmasses. Comments about the zone designs in the Deep Dive following the announcement made repeated mention of their size and the opportunity for exploration. I have written of a larger, more open world being vital to improving player immersion and enjoyment. While the story will initially lead us through the four zones, as in Shadowlands, it sounds like there will be plenty of secret places for players to seek out, with awaiting treasures, friends, and foes.
Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder!
In the article referenced above, I had hoped Blizzard would incorporate flying into zone design, and in Dragonflight, it is done, but not in the usual way. Upon arriving on the Dragon Isles, players will be gifted a drake mount and learn the art of Dragonriding. Unlike standard flying mounts, drakes are designed to convey the sensation of momentum and physics as you maneuver around the Isles. As you fly, you will improve your flying skills, advancing to more flying abilities, and fully customizing your drake to express your inner dragon.
Revamped Talent Trees look to the future
I was not expecting completely redesigned talents but the reveal is in line with my hopes for a new talent system. Dragonflight is bringing back talent trees and points, but with more choices, hybrid builds, and functionality to name, save, and load talent builds with ease. The stated goal of the revamp is to create a power structure to support the player beyond Dragonflight. I believe this is a good start. Although the screenshot is a Work in Progress, I see a lot of space to keep adding new branches and offshoots for several expansions to come.
A Modern HUD
It was nice to hear the UI will be updated, after 18 years. I was thrilled when they announced Horde players will be able to display wyverns instead of the gryphons besides the action bars. I’ve been wanting this since I rolled my first Horde character in ’05. Relocating the mini map and other fields allows players to manage their screen real estate without downloading addons, although addons will still be supported.
Freshening up Professions
Still no mention of dyes, but a professions refresh is a welcome change, regardless. A new feature allows a player to gather materials and post a work order for a crafter to complete, for payment of course. This system has the chance to stimulate the crafting economy, especially since orders can be placed for Soulbound weapons and armor.
Transmog continues to be a favorite player activity and a very visible way to express oneself. The promise of new transmog items from crafting fulfills another hope of mine for the game’s development. I await further details on what is to come.
Dragons are cool, especially World of Warcraft dragons. Our return to Azeroth and the Dragon Isles transports us to a land of high fantasy, with a new race, new abilities, and refreshed systems. I am excited by what I saw, which hasn’t happened in a reveal since Legion. I look forward to future deep dives and reveals as we countdown to Dragonflight, whenever it will be.