Blizzard unveiled the next chapter in the World of Warcraft saga... and we're hyped. Here are the highlights.
The big questions about World of Warcraft always start with a big number: 10.0. What is the next version going to bring? What will we see after Shadowlands? How will Blizzard incorporate the feedback they've received, and take the game to the next level?
It's hard to pick a less popular theme than dragons, though. Dragonflight looks hype -- like a return to the classic fantasy roots of Azeroth. But other than the atmosphere, there are plenty of concrete features to get happy about.
1. Dractyhr Evoker
Can't wait to see how many ways this race will be misspelled, but what's more compelling is the game's first race/class combo. Dractyhr are draconic/humanoid mixtures (draconoid?) who can freely switch between their dragon and human forms. What's more, they can work for either the Horde or Alliance, similarly to Pandaren.
They access the new Evoker class, which splits into DPS and healing specs. With Devastation, fight mid-range with breath attacks, or heal allies as a Preservation Evoker. The class uses a new button-holding technique to maximize the output of certain abilities.
Dractyhr also get a unique starting zone, beginning the game at level 58. Can't wait to dive deeper into what they can do; as a healer, it will be great to see someone shake up the meta.
2. Your own episode of How to Train Your Dragon
Honestly, not sure if this should be number 1. Who doesn't love flying in Azeroth? Finally, we'll get to experience a revamp to the mechanic (at least for this expansion) with certain techniques to break through that 310% speed cap.
We'll get to select from one of four Dragon Isles Drakes, probably with differing, unique abilities each. Complete with its own skill tree, we'll get better at Dragonriding with time, utilizing special maneuvers. Can't wait to dive down with crashing force onto an unsuspecting group of enemies, or soar faster than the typical mounts do.
There will be plenty of customization for the dragons. Blizzard claims "millions of possible combinations" and that "no two Drakes are the same."
3. Revamped Talents, Trees are Back
It's a little weird that in 2022, Blizzard is harkening back to a nostalgic (and often pretty enjoyed) aspect of Talents in MMOs -- the talent tree system. I do think the current Shadowlands system is pretty good, giving you different options at every row, but Blizzard wants to get at the granularity of the game more.
There's concern that this could once again funnel into those "put all your points like this so that you can get 3% damage more" but I'll have hope for now. This feels a bit like a compromise between really big talent nodes that grant you abilities and probably some incremental, passive skills. Squares on the tree represent active abilities, circles are passives, and hexagons require you to make a choice. This will help hybridize certain specs, as in you could be a Retribution paladin with some more emphasis on healing or tanking, etc.
Also, we will be able to save multiple presets and call upon them immediately for various modes of play, like your Mythic Dungeon build, etc. I would assume that you'd have to set those up in safe areas first. Here's to hoping for some cool new abilities!
4. Profession Changes
Professions are finally getting a revamp in Dragonflight. The brand new UI looks a lot more interesting than previously. I don't think this will take away the grind of sowing many robes, but Blizzard is trying to emphasize feeling like a craftsman developing their work and standing out. That will be determined by things like Crafting Quality, which are important statistics, as well as optional, finishing reagents. We'll also be able to Specialize again. There will also be special Crafting Gear that boosts our skill (probably similar to Lost Ark's.)
What's more, a new ordering system will shortcut Trade Chat hunting or Auction House management. You'll be able to place specific orders for just the gear you want, or earn commission yourself by fulfilling those. Here's to hoping Blizzard accomplishes this fantasy of being a rare, skilled craftsman.
5. WoW System Revamps
This is more of a general plus, but multiple systems are getting a positive rehash in the upcoming expansion, confirmed in multiple interviews. For instance, the Renown system from Shadowlands is going to return, but this time, you won't pick just one and stick with it, you'll be able to raise all of them by doing various activities. It sounds like there will be more fun, cosmetic stuff tied to them (perhaps less player power?).
In an interview with Bajheera, Brian Holinka explained changes to PvP gearing, which will be similar to that in Warlords of Draenor. PvP items will once again be most effective in PvP situations, with the Conquest gear becoming the best, regardless of your rating. Then that gear could be upgraded for PvE efforts, so those who gear through battling other players will be more relevant in other areas.
There's also a slew of UI changes and more baked-in options to customize. While you're probably already doing that with mods, it's no secret that some elements could use a refresh.