World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is the long-awaited Dragon expansion for Blizzard’s MMO

The rumored dragon-themed World of Warcraft expansion is finally here. Blizzard has announced that the ninth expansion for its long-running MMORPG will be titled World of Warcraft: Dragonflight and will take place on the mythical Dragon Isles.

Unlike some recent expansions, Dragonflight will begin on a much more optimistic tone as explorers and adventurers arrive on the shores of the ancestral home of the dragons, recently awakened after spending centuries in hiding. Draconian characters who have previously played an important role in World of Warcraft’s history – such as Alexstrasza, Kalecgos, Ebonhorn, and Wrathion – will return for major storylines. As usual, there will be new quests, dungeons, and raids associated with this expansion and area that will be announced at a later date.

Dragonflight extends the level cap to 70 and introduces four new level zones to take players there, which they will explore in turn: the lush and lava-filled Waking Shore, the vast Ohn’ahran Plains, the icy azure span and Thaldraszus — the seat of power of the dragons and home of the new player center Valdrakken.

The Dragon Isles will also feature a fifth zone – a starting area for a brand new hero class, the Dractyr. The Dractyrs are draconic beings who can shift between dragon and human form and can be part of either the Alliance or the Horde. Dractyr are strictly tied to a single class, the Evokers, who can specialize as either healers or ranged damage dealers.

In the Dragon Islands, not only can players be dragons, but any player can also ride them. Dragonflight will introduce Dragon Riding, a new mount system with far more robust characteristics than a typical flight. Players will work alongside a customizable dragon that will gain new flying abilities as the expansion progresses, eventually allowing them to fly, dive, spiral and swoop through the islands. The Dragon Islands were designed with this flight in mind as it is available from the start and is therefore a much more vertical zone than we have seen in previous expansions.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight Reveal Art and Screenshots

Alongside these new additions, a number of World of Warcraft systems will be overhauled. The UI will be overhauled to allow for much more customization than before without having to download additional mods, and the profession system will implement features such as work orders, profession-specific gear and stats, and the return of specializations. Most notably, the talent system is also being overhauled to allow players to allocate points in talent trees for both their class and specialization at each level.

Registrations for the Alpha and Beta versions of Dragonflight will soon be available on the WoW official website. Blizzard hasn’t announced a release window for Dragonflight yet, although in our interviews with the team they assured us that they won’t be releasing it alongside the upcoming World of Warcraft Classic expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, due out later this year.

We spoke extensively with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Narrative Designer Steve Danuser about the new hero class Dractyr Evoker, the big changes to core WoW systems in Dragonflight, and rumors of a WoW console port. We also spoke to the heads of WoW Classic about some of the changes coming to Wrath of the Lich King Classic and where Classic could go next.

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Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine. World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is the long-awaited Dragon expansion for Blizzard’s MMO

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