World of Warcraft: Dragonflight reinvents the fundamentals of talent, crafting, and the user interface

World of Warcraft is undeniably a fairly old game as far as MMORPGs go. Although it’s still popular almost 20 years after its initial release, there are a number of outdated systems and visual aspects that Blizzard constantly tries to update with each subsequent expansion. And now, with Dragonflight, it’s time for an overhaul of three big things: talents, crafting, and the UI itself.

For several expansions, World of Warcraft players have been frustrated by a series of gimmicks designed to increase player power that were then dropped at the end of each expansion (RIP Artifact Weapons). In Dragonflight, Blizzard seems ready to ditch the temporary magic amulets and what-have-you and go back to a good old-fashioned talent tree.

As revealed in the Dragonflight announcement, World of Warcraft is resuming talent trees after being abandoned at the start of Mists of Panderia. But the new talent system isn’t just a revival of the old trees – it’s been completely overhauled and includes both class- and spec-specific talents that players can put points into each time they level up.

In an interview with IGN, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas explains Blizzard’s reasons for dropping the trees first and then bringing them back with Dragonflight:

“In the years since we’ve moved away from the standard talent trees, we’ve found that while focusing on the choices and really meaningful pivots in your character’s abilities was initially attractive, this system didn’t lend itself to the same kind continued growth and expansion,” he says.

“We increasingly turned to new systems to fill the hole left by the talent system change. Of course some of these were more successful than others and there was a lot of excitement in them. It also feels pretty bad to leave something behind at the start of each new journey, starting each expansion by saying goodbye to a part of your character that you’ve grown accustomed to over the past few years, rather than the feeling to have progress.

“As such, we’re really excited to overhaul our talent system, going back to its roots in a way, but also taking many of the lessons we’ve learned over the past 12 years about different talent systems and the way our players play the game today.”

Hazzikostas assures players that it will be very easy to reallocate talent points and switch specializations, and says that Blizzard wants to return to a previously popular idea of ​​players having an active, secondary specialization that they could destroy as needed without tons the effort. The current plan, he says, calls for multiple loadouts that can be customized in town but then freely swapped between them in the field.

Talent trees aren’t the only core WoW system being overhauled in Dragonflight. Professions will also experience dramatic differences. One of the biggest changes is the introduction of profession-specific stats that can be attached to profession gear, offering crafters both practical and visual improvements. So yes, an alchemist can now look like an alchemist while doing alchemy instead of just a guy in armor making small potions. And there are also specializations in crafts that allow craftsmen to allocate talent points within their professions.

Blizzard is also implementing a work order system, allowing players to commission artisans to craft specific items using materials the commissioner provides, or to have soulbound items crafted on their behalf. There are also a ton of other changes that we haven’t seen in full yet, such as: B. the addition of quality levels to crafted items, crafting tables for each profession set up in major cities, and an all-new crafting UI and interface.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight Reveal Art and Screenshots

Speaking of the UI, crafting isn’t the only segment of the game getting a new UI. The entire World of Warcraft user interface is being redesigned from the ground up. The overhaul will feature a cleaner and more modern UI, but will also allow players to customize the look of their HUD without downloading a bunch of mods, as has been the case for years.

“One of the challenges with our default UI is that it really doesn’t necessarily have information that is laid out in the best possible way for the larger screens that people are playing on today,” says Hazzikostas. “[It] Everything physically worked when the UI was originally built for the 1024 x 768 CRT monitors people were playing on back then, but now you get your cool widescreen ultra widescreen monitor. You want to play all your games on it. All your other games will immediately feel better. The default UI experience in WoW – honestly, that’s not really the case today. The things we wanted to solve were the information layout; It offers better, more centralized default settings, but also a much greater degree of customization flexibility, allowing players without add-ons to move things around and place the information where it suits their playstyle and aesthetic.

Registrations for the Alpha and Beta versions of Dragonflight will soon be available on the official WoW website, although the expansion does not yet have a release date. We also spoke to Hazzikostas about the new hero class, Dractyr Evoker, and rumors of a WoW console port. And we 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 reinvents the fundamentals of talent, crafting, and the user interface

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