On April 19th, the World of Warcraft expansion reveal event put a name to the hype, Dragonflight. We already sort of knew that, thanks to the rumors that have been going around for a while. The presentation showed the trailer and a couple of new features.
WoW: Dragonflight comes with a new dragon flying system, professions revamp, HUD customization, a return to the old talent trees, and a new exclusive race/class combo, the Dracthyr Evoker. That’s what the reveal event told us. More info has emerged from developer interviews. Let’s get going!
The Sword of Sargeras is barely an inconvenience nowadays
We took care of the Sword’s corruption and, as a result, the humongous planet-stabbing weapon is now inactive. It may still play a part in a future story, but nothing to worry our pretty little heads for now. Azeroth is fine. Stop asking about it! Look, dragons!
And Koranos was his name
Dragons may be the lead of the upcoming expansion, but the lonesome titan watcher featured in the presentation trailer stole the show. We learned that his name is Koranos and he will make an appearance as an NPC.
The pre-patch event will last for two weeks. It will feature a special level 60 Uldaman revamp. The Dracthyr race will also be available in the pre-patch.
Mages, Priests, and Rogues for everyone
Patch 10.0 lifts the race limitations for these three classes. It’s a go on invisibullity and holy sneaks. Let the memes roll!
Verticality as a core concept
We’ve seen that the Dragon Isles have many geographical ups and downs. The layout works hand in hand with dragon riding. It also ties in with the story.
We start the adventure on the Waking Shores at sea level. The journey takes us higher and higher and culminates on Thaldraszus, an area comprised of floating platforms.
Dragon Isles introduces new races and dragon types
For the first time in the WoW lore, we meet lava mammoths, Djaradin half giants, and titan watchers. Familiar faces include Tuskarr, dryads, centaurs, elementals, gnolls, and dragon sheep.
The draconic influence affects all Dragon Isles creatures. For example, sheep have horns. New dragon types include stone and thunder. We also come face to face with the Primalists, dragons who opposed the Titans and sided with Galakrond.
Who is the expansion’s baddie and why do we need to stop it?
Lead Game Designer Jeremy Feasel explained that Dragonflight is not about dealing with another doomsday. This expansion taps into an unexplored part of the lore focusing on exploration and character development.
The Primal Incarnates represent a threat. To what extent, we don’t yet know. Tyrande Whisperwind, Khadgar, and Wrathion – who is on the verge of a character-defining adventure – are some of the main characters. Stories concerning Galakrond will shed more light on the Father of Dragons.
Dragon riding won’t replace traditional flying
Dragon riding introduces arcade-style mechanics similar to a physics mini-game. The purpose is to enable riders to traverse long distances, reach high points, or quickly return to an area.
Players unlock dragon riding early and develop their dragon riding abilities over time. Dragon-mounted combat will not be possible.
Normal mounts aren’t going away. In fact, the developers assure us that an awesome new mount selection will keep collectors happy and busy.
Massive dragon customization
In Dragonflight, we’ll be getting our very own dragons to care for, love, ride, and – more importantly- customize.
Build-your-dragon customization options allow you to twink with the dragon’s body type, snoot (yes, you can customize the dragon’s nose!), horns, and more.
Dragonflight will feature two types of talent trees
The return of the talent tree is one of the most touted Dragonflight mechanics. However, the new system will work differently than the old pre-MoP talents.
Each character will have a class talent tree and a specialization talent tree with distinct class and specialization points. Characters obtain points as they level up. All classes share the same class talent tree, while the specialization tree depends on your character’s specialization.
Blizzard’s reasoning behind this decision is to separate the performance-enhancing talents from the class-favor and utility talents. Loadouts will allow players to save different build configurations.
Players need to be in a town to create and customize a loadout. Switching is possible anywhere as long as you are not in combat. Swapping loadouts is free. The plan is to keep this dual-tree system for the next two or three expansions.
Covenant abilities and Shadowlands legendaries become talents
The Legion/Shadowlands legendary items system doesn’t transition to Dragonflight. The most popular Covenant abilities and legendary items become talents.
The team is looking forward to the beta testers’ feedback on which Shadowlands abilities should be part of the new talent system.
The professions system is getting a massive overhaul
Crafting orders will allow players to put up a crafting request that can be either public, targeted at a certain player, or limited to guild crafters. One major change is that crafters can create soulbound items for others, not just for themselves.
Dragonflight introduces quality for crafted items. High-quality crafted items will have higher item levels, better stats, or longer-lasting effects. The plan for crafted gear is to be useful for all aspects of the game, on par with endgame gear, or even BIS.
Re-crafting will allow crafters to enhance the quality of a piece of crafted gear.
Profession specializations are another new feature. They allow players to focus on separate areas, such as armorsmithing for blacksmithing.
Profession stats and crafting-boosting gear are other aspects of the revamp.
The main Dragonflight city will have crafting tables.
The Dragonflight Mythic+ Season will feature a dungeon rotation
Dragonflight launches with eight dungeons. The first Mythic+ season will have four new dungeons and four dungeons from old expansions.
Shadowlands dungeons are too recent, so they won’t be part of the first rotation.
The second Mythic+ season will feature the other four Dragonflight dungeons and another set of four old dungeons. The plan is to revamp dungeons from expansions that didn’t feature a Mythic+ system.
PvP equipment will have distinct item levels for PvE and PvP content. For PvE, the gear will have a base item level that can be upgraded with Honor based on rating.
For PvP, Conquest gear will have an item level equivalent to Mythic raiding. Solo Shuffles get a rated mode. The team is looking into ways to make War Mode more attractive at launch.
Time-Gating is under revision
The weekly renown cap wasn’t the best idea. The developers took note and amended things with catch-up mechanics. They are reconsidering content pacing and time-gating for Dragonflight.
Renown is adapted into an end-game reputation system
The old reputation system is getting a rework that incorporates renown. The developers are planning open-ended activities that allow players to achieve renown. The rewards include cosmetics and outdoor gear for players that aren’t into Mythic+ and raiding.
No more Covenants
What happens in the Shadowlands, stays in the Shadowlands. In Dragonflight, we will be able to complete tasks, gain reputation, and reap the rewards from all factions. No more exclusivity, Old Gods be praised!
Less borrowed power
Borrowed power refers to those systems, such as Legion’s artifact weapons or Shadowlands’ Covenant abilities, that give us formidable strengths, only to be left behind in the next expansion. The developers are coming up with new systems, such as the talent tree, that can be sustained over several expansions.
All past expansions will be level-scaled from 10 to 60
New characters can pick any expansion to level in after leaving the starting area. At level 60, they will advance into Dragonflight zones to continue the journey to max level 70. The idea of stopping the level cap at 60 is out of the question for the foreseeable future.
Master Loot is not on the features list
While the development team acknowledges not being satisfied with how Personal Loot currently works, a return to the old Master Loot system is not a solution. They are exploring loot-sharing possibilities, but nothing concrete so far.
More alt-friendly systems
Dragon riding and story completion will be account-wide. The plan is to let alts have access to content, cosmetics, and utility.
Armors and weapons, obviously, remain character-bound.
The 60-70 leveling route will take your first character through Dragonflight zones in a predetermined order. Alts won’t have to repeat the main story and will have more freedom when choosing leveling methods.
Old raids will be more solo-friendly
Encounter mechanics are adjusted to allow players to solo, or clear with a small group, Mythic raid bosses from two expansions ago.
We will be able to transmog gray and white items
This feature might make its way into WoW before the new expansion.
Goodbye mission table!
The mission table didn’t make the cut. Let’s hope Blizzard doesn’t come up with a clever way to bring it back under a new name.
Player housing isn’t likely to happen any time soon
Game director, Ion Hazzikostas, explained that player housing is a tremendously complex system that cannot be developed without sacrificing crucial systems. The joke “it would cost you a raid tier” emphasizes that it would take thousands of hours to implement player housing. Would you be willing to lose a raid tier for a house in Azeroth?
Archaeology is still on hold
Shadowlands left Archaeology behind because the developers weren’t happy with how the system turned out. The artifact-digging pastime won’t return in Dragonflight either. The profession isn’t defunct. It is on pause until the developers think of something cool for it.
Pet Battles remain unchanged
The capturable pets collection expands with new Dragon Isles creatures. The whole Pet Battle system, however, remains the same. Plans for the future include making PvP pet battles more beginner-friendly and an offline mechanic that would permit players to engage in matches faster.