Blizzard pulled back the curtain on the next chapter in World of Warcraft in a developer livestream Tuesday, and it’s all about dragons. The appropriately titled Dragonflight expansion will unleash players upon the Dragon Isles and let them roll as a new playable dragon race called the Dracthyr. And of course you ride some of the dragons too.
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight focuses on Azeroth’s Dragon Aspects who will once again help the game’s heroes take on the baddies. The Dragon Isles where much of the action takes place will be split into four zones, and the developers said exploration will be a key focus of the expansion. To that end, players will be tasked with becoming dragonriders and making use of four new drake mounts to navigate the world.
Here’s the trailer:
Some of the dragons can transform into people on a whim, and these are called Dracthyr. This new playable race makes sole use of a new Evoker class to wield long-range attacks and heals. Unlike the game’s existing races, however, they won’t have access to any other classes. With less overall customization comes a more focused moveset.
“[Evokers are] able to use their wings to buffet people away, they’re able to breathe fire out of their mouths, they’re able to knock people back with their tail,” lead combat designer Brian Holinka told Polygon.
Blizzard also revealed Dragonflight will see changes like the game’s “largest talent system revamp yet,” improvements to the HUD, and new crafting and profession systems. At the start of the livestream, game director Ion Hazzikostas was candid about some of the issues the game has had since Shadowlands released in 2020. Community feedback during this period led to the team “re-examining some of the assumptions and foundations of World of Warcraft about things like character investment and mains versus alts or how catch-up should work or the appropriate role of friction in our systems,” he said.
In recent years, WoW has faced stiff competition from the explosion in popularity around Final Fantasy XIV. In addition to discontent over the Shadowlands era of the game, the game has also suffered from the cloud of misconduct and abuse that hangs over Blizzard’s past following a lawsuit by California regulators last summer alleging gender discrimination and harassment, including by some of the MMO’s former “star” developers.
Dragonflight doesn’t have a release date yet, but Blizzard is currently taking sign-ups for the expansion’s beta test. The studio also announced Wrath of the Lich King will be added to World of Warcraft Classic, free for existing subscribers, sometime later in 2022.