The most recent World of Warcraft expansions began with a story-heavy, tightly scripted, and somewhat irritating on-rails scenario. It appears that Dragon flight has remembered that this is an MMORPG and that I should be choosing my adventures. You’ll be greeted by four vast new zones to explore as soon as you step off the boat into the beautiful, expansive Dragon Isles. There will be very little assistance provided. It’s as if Blizzard has finally learned to trust us to find the fun on our own and is giving us back control of the world. Even though there is still a lot of this expansion to play, it is already so refreshing.
I have now explored two of Dragon flight’s four major zones and leveled up to 67. They truly pass by, pun intended, which is somewhat disappointing. I’m much more of a player who believes that the journey is more important than the destination than I believe that the “real” game begins at level max. However, the new talent points I’ve accrued along the way have unquestionably aided my character development. Now that I have a more comprehensive toolkit to work with, I feel like I know where the combat designers were going with specs like Marksmanship Hunter and Preservation Evoker so much better.
Furthermore, these areas are stunning. In The Waking Shores, the stark contrast between barren volcanic lands and lush river valleys is a stunning introduction to the expansion. Additionally, it has some of the best side quest writing I’ve ever seen in WoW. During one of my favorite quests, I sat and listened to a red dragon transformed into a humble dwarf express all of his regrets and the agony of being thrown out of his homeland for 10,000 years.
Another one that I enjoyed was one in which a centaur clan travels to their sacred meeting grounds on foot and slowly, making a pit stop for a hunting competition along the way. World of Warcraft’s best moments is truly heartfelt and memorable ones like these. They seem to be here to gently hit you in the head and tell you to take your time and just exist for a moment in this beautiful world.
A Wing and a Prayer
The new dragon riding system, on the other hand, I think you’ll love it if that’s too slow for you. I feel like I’ll never be able to go back to the old system because I can zoom over the landscape at speeds up to three times faster than the traditional “flying” mounts in Wow. At first, the restriction of vigor on your dragon’s stamina can feel a little restrictive. Every time I am forced to land and wait for it to recharge, I have developed the habit of tabbing out of the game to check on my friends in discord. This is because there is frequently nothing interesting or useful to do during this downtime.
However, when you are soaring, banking, and diving around with a tangible sense of momentum and physicality that Wow typically lacks, it feels incredible. One of my favorite activities, along with dragon riding courses that reward you for better and better times, is to search for hidden glyphs that will enable you to go higher, further, and faster due to the limitations of your first drake’s abilities.
However, the mouse and keyboard controls don’t appeal to me. It seems to be pleading for controller support, which has been a rumor for a long time but has never materialized. Additionally, some technical issues remain. If you fly into a lofty slant at sufficiently high speed, you may very well error out and get booted to the login screen. Even after that, a few of my guild mates were unable to log in again for some time.
A Dance of Dragons
I haven’t been as impressed by the main story as I have been by the side quests thus far. You might be wondering why you’re even here in the first place if you didn’t follow all of the out-of-game lore before Dragonflight. The major bad guys are in some tension, but it doesn’t add up. The new villains, the primal dragons, and their humanoid minions, the Primalists, have not yet established themselves as particularly interesting or complex antagonists. At the very least, it looks like the Black Dragon flight is going through some kind of succession crisis, which could lead to interesting stories in the future. However, Ruby Life Pools, the first dungeon, is uninteresting aside from the rather overpowering final fight.
I’m just having so much fun exploring the islands and getting excited about smaller adventures that don’t involve the fate of the world again that all of that has kind of fallen by the wayside so far. More than Wow Classic, this makes me feel like I’m playing the original Wow from 2004. I might be referred to as the “Champion” by powerful individuals like the Dragon Queen Alexstrasza or the arrogant Prince Wrathion, but most of the time I’m just vibrating in the same way that I did when I was a freelance adventurer and someone in the woods would ask me to go collect twelve bear asses for his bear ass stew. It’s pleasant.
Additionally, the expanded crafting system has enchanted me. For fans of making and enchanting their cool things, this is easily the best World of Warcraft ever. You can choose from a variety of materials with varying qualities and different outcomes for finished products depending on your skill level and progression options. My leatherworking skill is so much higher than the recipe calls for, I specialized in leather pants specifically, and I chose to use only the finest bear asses in their manufacture. When I make myself a pair of Tier 5 leather pants, I know that every stat on those bad boys is as high as it is. Due to my skill, dedication, and reputation as a maker, those pants will be sought after. Numerous pairs of leather pants are available. But because I made them, you want these.
As I progress through the expansion, I will be updating this review with new information. It would be remiss of me to rate Dragon flight before seeing the new raid, which will launch on December 12. However, right now? While the back-to-basics approach of this expansion appears to be paying off so far, I may miss the spirit of innovation that ran through certain parts of Shadowlands. I long for something like Torghast done better, where it doesn’t feel like a chore but still gives primarily solo players like me a place to test our skills and class mastery. According to recent interviews, Blizzard has conducted some soul-searching following the positive reception of Wow Classic. Although this may end up feeling like a “rebuilding year” for modern Wow, the foundations that are being laid are solid.
Following a time of catastrophe for the universe of Azeroth, long-neglected powers are mixing in the legendary winged serpent Isles, the genealogical home of dragonkind. The Elder Scrolls V: The acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game Dragon flight, the ninth expansion pack released by Blizzard Entertainment, transports players to this fabled land and ushers in a new era of high-fantasy adventure. The dragons of Azeroth, at times both allies and foes of the mortal races, call on the heroes of the Alliance and Horde to help them deal with the looming threats and ancient mysteries that are about to come to light as long-dormant forces begin to stir in their sacred homeland. The Dragon Isles’ primordial wonder and ancient secrets can be discovered in four new zones when you reach the new level cap of 70: the Waking Shores in turmoil; the huge Ohn’ahran Plains; the stark Span of Azure; and the ancient and imposing Thaldraszus. As you level up, you can use Dragon riding, a brand-new method of flying, to take to the skies on a Dragon Isles Drake, which you’ll meet in each of the four new zones. As you progress, you can customize your drakes by acquiring more appearance options and gaining access to new abilities that will allow them to fly further and faster. As the first race/class combination in World of Warcraft, the Dracthyr Evoker can terrorize enemies or empower allies. Create humanoid and draconic forms, choose between the Alliance and the Horde, and take on the role of a healer (with a specialization in preservation) or a ranged damage-dealer (with a specialization in destruction) who harnesses the power of all dragonkind. You will be able to choose creative and flavorful talents at every level without sacrificing effectiveness with a complete overhaul of the Wow Talent System. Dragon flight introduces player-driven work orders, brand-new professional equipment, and a brand-new specialization system to help you become a renowned artisan across the realm. Crafters will be thrilled by these additions. Also, prepare yourself for a completely new and customizable Heads up Display (HUD) User Interface (UI) that was designed with modern displays in mind and is intended to be effective, appealing, and accessible.