Everything We Know About World of Warcraft: Dragonflight
Dragonflight is the next World of Warcraft expansion. Thanks to developer interviews and announcements, we already have a fair amount of information on what we can expect from it. After the visit to the fantasy setting’s afterlife in WoW Shadowlands, the MMORPG’s focus returns to its core world of Azeroth. Specifically, heroes are invited to visit the island home of the titular dragonflights, and uncover the region’s mysteries by fighting alongside their reptilian hosts. The update will add a new hero class with its own race, a new mount type with advanced flight, a raised level cap, and major changes to existing mechanics. This article will bring you up to speed about all those changes and more!
Launch Timeframe and Preorder Details
The WoW Dragonflight release date has not yet been revealed. At first, fans speculated that it would have to be in 2023. However, the developers have since pledged to release it before the final day of 2022. Not everyone found this surprise to be a pleasant one, especially since it would mean a shorter final season for the current expansion. People would have to hurry more to wrap up any unfinished business in the current endgame. There are additional concerns about rushed development. On the other hand, quite a few players are eager to move on to greener pastures. Luckily for this group, beta sign-ups are already active, though the beta start date likewise remains unknown.
Preorders for the expansion are now available on this page. Surprisingly, the different preorder editions are pricier than before, even though those prices are already a common target for criticism. All three versions also offer a drakonid hatchling pet. The Heroic edition adds a draconic murloc pet, a normal flight-capable Dreamweaver mount, and a level 60 boost. Those who purchase the Epic edition will receive all of the above bonus items plus a month of playtime, an alternative visual for activating the Hearthstone, and appearances for transmogrification. The latter consist of an arcane headpiece and differently-colored dragon wings for the character’s back.
Dracthyr Evoker Race and Class
The addition of a new class or race is always a big deal in an MMORPG, and moreso in WoW, where it does not happen very often. This update will implement both a race and a class with the Dracthyr Evoker, concerning which there is already a wealth of information:
- The Evoker class shall be exclusive to the Dracthyr race. Dracthyr characters will be forbidden to adapt any other class, at least for now;
- Like Death Knights and Demon Hunters, Evokers are a Hero Class. They begin as level 58 adventurers in a zone of their own and must play through an introductory storyline to leave it behind and join the other heroes;
- Players will be limited to one Evoker per server. The first such character can be made for free, so long as one has the expansion. Later Evokers could only be created on servers where the player already has a level 50 adventurer;
- Evoker character generation and their introductory experience will become available with the prepatch;
- Dracthyr are neutral as a group. Their players will need to choose between joining the Horde or the Alliance individually at the end of character generation, which will have a minor influence on their hero’s introductory storyline;
- Each Dracthyr has two forms: a smaller humanoid form with horns and scattered scales and a larger winged draconic form. They can change between them at will outside of combat. As of this point in development, combat will lock them into the more fearsome draconic shape, but developers are considering allowing those characters use both forms while fighting. The humanoid form will be used while riding mounts (including dragons);
- Players can customize both forms extensively. For example, there will be bulkier and thinner versions of the draconic form. The humanoid form could be modified during play at no extra charge, presumably because it is a supernatural disguise;
- Apart from shapeshifting, Dracthyr have several racial powers that seem to be connected to their draconic form. They can knock back enemies in a cone with their wings or knock all foes near a spot upwards with their tails. Most impressively, they are capable of limited flight or gliding using the new Dragonriding mechanics, though without the upgrades (see below). They can also cast some spells while moving;
- Evoker powers are themed after the five main dragonflights, giving them a versatile array of abilities. That includes an assortment of dragon breath attacks or healing effects. The hero class’ two specializations, Devastation and Preservation, focus on mid-range damage-dealing and support, respectively;
- Holding down a spell’s button allows the hero to empower the spell before casting it, at the cost of seconds. Empowered spells can hit harder, heal more damage, affect further targets, or receive other bonuses depending on the ability. Each spell can be empowered up to three times, after which point it will go off automatically;
- The resource used for all Evoker spells is called Essence. It gradually regenerates on its own when not used;
- Intellect is the primary Evoker attribute;
- Those heroes can wear cloth, leather, or mail armor. Their weapon expertise extends to fist weapons, daggers, staves, and single-handed maces, swords, and axes.
Zones, Story, and Factions
WoW Dragonflight also reveals a whole new corner of Azeroth: the Dragon Isles. The idea of a draconic homeland somewhere beyond the sea has been around for a while, with evidence of earlier attempts to design it found in game files and concept art. This concept has been developed further in this expansion, resulting in an archipelago that has been described as larger than Northrend. It is a land of powerful primal magic, in which even simpler creatures like sheep or frogs have been marked by draconic influences. Apart from the Dracthyr start area, there are four zones, but they are particularly huge by the MMORPG’s usual standards. Here are the other things we know about the zones:
- Verticality is a major theme in the layout of the Dragon Isles. Each zone offers plenty of opportunities for using the complex flight mechanics introduced for Dragonriding. Furthermore, the zones themselves will be visited in the order of physical elevation during the campaign. This order is reproduced in the below list;
- The Waking Shores are the primeval rocky homeland of both red and black dragonflights. It is also where explorers from elsewhere in Azeroth will set up camp and have their initial encounter with Djaradin, a hostile faction of demi-giants;
- Ohn’ahran Plains are a sprawling grassland that is shared by green dragons and an unusually civilized nation of centaurs;
- The Azure Span is said to be one of the most expansive zones in the MMORPG. It is a highland whose chilly climate might explain its attractiveness to the tuskarr, who have settled there in large numbers. Blue dragons inhabit it as well;
- Finally, Thaldraszus is a serene and lush mountain landscape that serves as the site of Valdrakken, the city shared by all dragons and the newest hub settlement. Bronze dragons dwell somewhere in this zone as well.
In contrast to WoW Shadowlands’ high-stakes cosmic conflict, the upcoming expansion seeks to provide a comparatively more grounded and personal narrative for its campaign. Featuring dragons is certainly a good way of travelling back to the setting’s roots, given the prominent roles they played in many earlier plotlines. The campaign’s premise is that the dragons, busy with reclaiming their ancestral home after a lengthy absence, invite adventurers from humanoid races to help them out. As they progress upwards from the coastline to the peak, heroes will need to help dragons with various problems. An overarching threat of some kind will be present, but its identity will only be discovered later.
Indeed, the story itself remains a mystery, which should not come as a surprise. We do know a few things about its mechanics. Characters will again need to earn something like Renown to progress, but this resource will be account-wide and shared across the major factions. There will be four of them, including the Valdrakken Accord, likely representing the dragons, and the Dragonscale Expedition formed by Alliance and Horde scholars. The developers have opted to avoid systems in which advancing through the content gives access to powers that will go away at the expansion’s end. They also do not intend to include another Mission Table.
New and Returning Instances
New zones mean new dungeons. The upcoming content will include eight more dungeons, at least at the start. One of them will be a reworked and expanded version of Uldaman from the first version of the game, which will be added with the prepatch. Neltharus, a black dragon stronghold, and the Life Pools of the red dragons are two other dungeons mentioned so far. The Mythic Plus rotation will include four Dragonflight dungeons and four dungeons from earlier content, with specific instances changing with each season. That will also entail seasonal updates to their loot pools.
There will also be new raids, though so far we only know of the first one. It will force adventurers to go up against the imprisoned Primal Incarnates, leaders of the Primalist proto-dragons. Rewards will include class tier set items.
While in the Dragon Isles, adventurers will gain access to a new class of mounts which will use unique Dragonriding mechanics:
- Four basic types of dragon mounts will be available: classic drakes, proto-drakes, wyvern-like wilderdrakes, and dinosaur-like velocidrakes;
- Dragon mounts could be customized extensively by picking different colors, armor, horns, snouts, and other options, with millions of potential combinations;
- Dragonriding utilizes an advanced flight physics engine that accounts for momentum and different levels of elevation, as well as complex maneuvers like barrel rolls;
- Characters would upgrade their Dragonriding skill during play, opening up more movement options and gaining movement bonuses;
- Normal flying mounts will continue to operate as before, but Dragonriding mounts will be the only flight option available in the new zones at the outset. However, they will be accessed very early, enabling heroes to reach various elevated points of interest. The unlock will also be account-wide;
- Dragonriding mounts will only be available in the Dragon Isles at first, as the locales there have been explicitly designed with such versatile aerial movements in mind. They may spread elsewhere later, like normal flying mounts did in the past.
The developers are planning to overhaul professions, apparently learning lessons from certain recently successful MMORPGs:
- Crafted items will have a quality score that determines their stats and bonuses;
- Crafters will get to assign points to different specializations. For example, blacksmiths could specialize in armorsmithing and in producing pieces for specific slots. Specializations will determine the quality score of affected items;
- Characters will need to access certain tables, found in the latest hub, to craft items;
- Adventurers are going to gain access to profession gear. Those items will not take up any existing equipment or baggage slots. They will provide Inspiration, which will sometimes provide better outcomes from professional activities;
- There will be more profession-related quests and similar content;
- The crafting request system will allow players to place orders for any items with their guildmates, specific heroes, or the entire player base. It could be used through the auction house or personal requests;
- Soulbound items could now be produced for other players.
Flexible Talent Trees
Fully-fledged talent trees, last seen before WoW Cataclysm, are making a comeback. Each character will have two talent trees, one for their class and another for their specialization. Apart from some basic abilities, powers and bonuses will be acquired by allocating points in those trees. Leveling up will give separate points for each tree. That should give players considerably more freedom in assembling their own builds, even if their preferences seem to be suboptimal. Players will be able to save their favorite builds and shift between them in designated areas. The developers have been sharing talent trees for various classes already, allowing fans to plan for this change.
Several other noteworthy changes and features have been announced:
- The level cap will be raised from 60 to 70;
- While new players will have to level up to 60 via Battle for Azeroth content, alts could be leveled up using Chromie Time. This system, which allows players to level up through content of their choice, will now extend to level 60 and cover Shadowlands content as one possible option;
- All races except Dracthyr will be allowed to create Priests, Mages, and Rogues. Other racial class barriers may be removed later;
- The user interface shall be revised in line with certain interface mods, making it simpler to customize and adjusting it to suit bigger modern screens;
- More PvP Brawl events will occur, while Solo Shuffle will be turned into a permanently available Rated Battlegrounds Solo Queue mode;
- PvP rewards will include purely cosmetic Dragonriding mount items;
- Common and poor quality items will become eligible for transmogrification.
How Rocketboost Can Help
WoW Dragonflight looks very promising so far. However, prior experience suggests that getting the most out of it would require a considerable investment of time and effort, which not everyone can afford. Rocketboost stands ready to help our customers enjoy WoW to the fullest. Once the expansion arrives, customers could buy WoW Dragonflight boost services to level up new characters, master the reworked professions, or farm the latest instances. Until then, our WoW Shadowlands boost services can help people take care of their unfinished business in the current expansion and get ready for what is to come. Meanwhile, Classic fans can use our WoW Wrath of the Lich King boost offerings to make the most of the upcoming WotLK Classic release.