I posted several articles over the past year detailing desired changes to World of Warcraft to expand player options and modernize the overall gaming experience. I am happy to see iterations of these wishes included in the announcement and subsequent player testing of World of Warcraft Dragonflight. As we approach Dragonflight’s launch in late 2022, I thought it interesting to revisit these articles and grade how well WoW is fulfilling this wish list. To date, Dragonflight is doing better than expected. With beta ongoing, some features may be changed before launch.
Background: When Game Director Ion Hazzikostas suggested the days of borrowed power (i.e., power progression limited to the current expansion) were coming to an end, in the wake of Shadowlands multiple, unsatisfying systems, revitalizing the classic talent trees seemed the most logical solution. Unlike artifacts, Azerite armor, conduits, etc., talent trees allow for power progression to carry forward from one expansion to the next.
Comments: The new talent trees, though still a work in progress, receive an A grade. They miss a 100% for following the old pattern of peaking at max level. I would like to see Blizzard think outside their traditional box and implement continuous power progression beyond leveling. The article’s Champion system is one idea. Other games demonstrate there are many more.
Background: After nearly 20 years of World of Warcraft flying, it was time to fully implement in the feature in the game and provide a sprawling world in which to enjoy it.
Comments: Dragonflight introduces full length expansion flying with the new Dragonriding feature. Players will be able to soar and zoom through large, sprawling zones designed for exploration. Dragonriding offers a more visceral and dynamic flying experience than coasting on a traditional flying mount, and the customization options are nice. Hence the A grade. However, isn’t this also a borrowed power? Blizzard could have just added flying to the Dragon Isles without any requirements. This does look like fun and I hope Dragonriding provides a test bed for eventually adding these new maneuvers and controls to all flying mounts.
Background: I believe adding transmog recipes for crafting professions would be a way to increase crafter revenue and interest in leveling the professions. Players gain a wider selection of appearances and making the recipes random drops from creatures and treasures encourages exploration. Designs can span common to elaborate, with the more detailed having lower drop rates. It’s a win all around.
Comments: The updated professions in Dragonflight do not include crafted transmog choices, but the announcement that players will be able to transmog Gray and White quality items demonstrates Blizzard recognizes players appetite for more customization choices. For this, they earn a B. Hopefully, it will someday be an A.
Background: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends. Once more.” I going to be honest, I debated including this article, to avoid dealing with another cascade of knee-jerk commentary. As the article clearly stated, I do not want sexy attire removed from the game. I want the choice to wear it up to the player and not the designer. Personal choice should not be a debate.
Comments: The new underwear choices revealed for the Dracthyr are exactly what I was thinking. I have not seen confirmation that they will be available for all races, but cannot image why not. Additional steps in the right direction include Blizzard changing new character body style from Male and Female to Body 1 and Body 2. Though, the change I am waiting on is removal of gender-specific armor appearance, particularly pants. Shirt and robes require different proportions, but it is ridiculous to still have plate pieces in the game for which Body 1 displays full leg coverage, and Body 2 displays tiny steel hot pants.
Final Grade: 86% – B
Comments: Blizzard has shown improvement in updating the World of Warcraft for an evolving, diverse player population. They have introduced some fascinating updates to replace aged and listless features with something more fun and alluring. There is opportunity for growth going forward. I hope they continue on this developmental path. I look forward to their next project.