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World of Warcraft Dragonflight Interview – Talking dragons, flies and more

After the unveiling of the new dragonflight expansion, I had the opportunity to discuss some topics further with Tina Wang, Associate Art Director, and Jackie Wiley, Senior Game Designer (Content). We’ve covered a lot of different topics, from what we’ll be experiencing in the Dragon Isles to some of the system overhauls. So, let’s hop in and get started!

dractyr

Dractyr is a bit different when it comes to hero classes because there is a very close connection between race and class. Wiley quickly confirmed that Dractyr can only be Evokers and no other races can be Evokers. Essentially, Dractyr are Evokers and Evokers are Dractyr. So there won’t be a warrior or druid Dractyr walking around, which is disappointing but makes just as much sense since only night elves and blood elves can be demon hunters. However, I hope that these limitations will be lifted when we move to 11.0. However, that is 100% my hope; They gave no indication that this is on the table.

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Wang also jumped in to give some examples of the customizations we’ll have access to during character creation: “There are so many ways you can customize this Dractyr; even just like the shape of the face you can have those muzzles where you look more ancient or slimmer or a blunter muzzle. You can even change your torso to be a little slimmer or bulkier, and that’s only when it comes to their Dractyr forms; their face shapes (humanoid) will have their own options as well.

Also, Wang clarified that the Dractyr forms would be the combat form (similar to how Worgans work), and while the face form will show all armor, the Dractyr form will only show the shoulder, tabard, and belt. I was a bit disappointed to hear this, but it reduces armor clipping issues, which probably would have been a significant issue considering Dractyr also has two massive wings. Interestingly, the graphic images for Dractyr appear to show helmets, but it’s likely that these are just adornments chosen at character creation.

As with other hero classes, Dractyr will start at level 58 and will be available during the prepatch phase for players to get started dragonflight with her new Dractyr, all ready to go.

dragon riding

Over the years, Blizzard has struggled with the effects of flying Impressive, namely getting from A to B much faster and massively trivializing multiple forms of content at once. The balance they found in the last couple of expansions was to prevent players from immediately flying to one of the later patches. While this has worked reasonably well, especially after removing reputation from the equation, it’s always felt a bit like an arbitrary limitation. I keep finding myself waiting to fly to make the effort to even try certain things. Most of the time it’s treasure chests that I put off until I’ve flown.

Dragon riding appears to be a new way Blizzard is attempting to address this issue. Initially we will be quite limited as to how far or how fast we can fly with our kites, but our skill in handling them will increase over time and we will be able to do a lot more things. All of this sounds like it could be interesting and fun (it reminds me of GW2 Griffon, which is a great thing). However, the big question will be how do we get those unlocks and how long will it take to train everything. I’m hoping for a generally fun system that doesn’t make me feel handicapped too soon. Ideally a system where I can unlock things faster the more I use my kite.

I also asked about the role of our regular mounts in the rest of the expansion. Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything to talk about flying later in the expansion, as they’re still having those conversations and figuring out what makes sense. Wang pointed out that once we advance our kite riding skills far enough, we will be able to fly faster than normal flying. I think the team will assess how players feel about kite riding as we move through the system, and then decide whether regular flying is still necessary or desirable.

An aspect that was briefly covered in the reveal and deep dive, but Wang went into much more detail about how much we would be able to customize our kites. She specifically evoked the Velocidrake, which is an entirely new breed of drake Impressive, will have “wildly different snout adaptations”. She also pointed out that since the possibilities of dragons are so vast and varied, players should have no problem making their dragon different from all the others. Wiley also had this to say about getting customizations: “As you progress through your Dragon Isles experience, you’ll unlock different ways to customize your dragon… You can do a side quest that will give you a customization, or maybe a boss.” in a raid drops another one…or in treasure chests, you’ll find them in various activities throughout your Dragon Isles experience. She also clarified that the customization changes will be made through a system that is “essentially a dragon barber.”

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No borrowed power

One of the best changes coming kite flight is that there is no borrowed power to acquire. Wiley was quick to point out that this also means the dragonflights won’t function like new alliances and aspect power won’t matter. It also means that as we level through each zone, we’ll have a more cohesive story experience than before shadowlands. Because players had to choose a covenant, each zone worked more like an intro for them, and it felt like their stories weren’t complete until I started playing through each covenant’s max level storyline. I’m glad to know that this issue no longer appears in dragonflight.

Another thing Wiley touched on is the fact that the leveling storyline is so linear; that some players don’t want to play through it multiple times for each alternate. However, they are aware of the issues that have been encountered with Threads of Fate and do not wish to repeat them. Instead, they envision a system where players “can level up through dungeons if they want, through side quests or various chapters that might appear in the zones.” What she describes sounds like the ideal situation for alternatives, where players can level how they want and change course if they decide to level a different way. You haven’t worked out all the details yet, but this is a great place to start.

Talent trees are returning

One thing that surprises me a bit is that I’m actually happy to have more opportunities for talent again. Hopefully this time everything will be balanced so everyone isn’t running the same cookie cutter builds as everyone else. The ability to customize my build the way I want to play is something I’ve missed. Wang also clarified that we can save different builds, name them, and then switch between them, similar to how we currently switch talents. So no respec costs and no random resources like line power to limit these changes.

I’m concerned if there will be a limit to how many builds we can save. Part of me thinks that three or four might be an expected limitation so players could have their PvP build, M+ build, raiding build and maybe an open world build. However, there are several situations where having more than one build for a game mode can be useful. For example, different M+ builds could be useful depending on class synergy or different affixes. Also, I also hope that the limit applies to the specification rather than the character as a whole. Setting a limit of three per character might be slightly insufficient for anyone playing multiple specs on one character.

What makes a dragonflight a dragonflight?

During the deep dive, it was mentioned that Wrathion might have some conflicting issues with being the Black Dragonflight’s leader, and whether he even wants to do that. I realized this when I last knew the black dragonflight was just Wrathion and Ebonhorn, so I immediately wondered if there might be other black dragons that we don’t know about. While neither Wang nor Wiley was able to specify whether there might be more black dragons out there, Wiley did point out that this expansion offers plenty of room to explore Wrathion and his relationship with the other dragons, as well as his personal history.

Wrathion is the youngest dragon to assume a leadership role, and he has never been to the Dragon Isles before. Well, just being here could cause a lot of inner turmoil for him. Also, the obvious question is, can two humans be a dragonflight, and if not, what does that mean? Wiley also hinted that he could take advice from Alexstrasza because while they didn’t always agree, she has a lot more experience than he does. Aside from anything related to the Green Dragonflight, this is the story I’m most curious about. Wrathion has always been a bit complicated, but I’m interested in where he goes.

That’s all we talked about; We’re still early in the expansion reveal and I’m sure more information will follow in the coming weeks and months. My only question right now is alpha when?

https://www.mmorpg.com/interviews/world-of-warcraft-dragonflight-interview-talking-dragons-flying-and-more-2000124852 World of Warcraft Dragonflight Interview – Talking dragons, flies and more

Fry Electronics Team

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