The WoW Dragonflight Expansion has been Announced

Yesterday was the big announcement, the next World of Warcraft expansion, which will be Dragonflight, and I am not sure how I feel… except that I regret saying at one point in the distant past that dragons and dragon fights were special because, as a genre, fantasy MMORPGs have since worked pretty hard to make sure they really are not.

WoW Dragonflight

I am reluctant be be either effusive or dismissive, as both of those come with their own set of baggage and assumptions.

To be upbeat you have to assume that that Blizzard has latched on to the right plan this time, which is a bit tough in the face of Shadowlands.  Also, I have been really excited about past expansions that have been a bit of a bust.  I was amped up for both Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor and both had their issues.

On the flip side, it is really easy to shit all over Dragonflight and Blizzard because they have been screwing up so reliably for the last couple of years so that, as I noted previously, it is tough for them to do anything that can’t be cast half measures or desperation or whatever.  And the one expansion I was quite dismissive of in the past, Mists of Pandaria, ended up being one of my favorites.

Basically, there is a lot of emotion tied up in anybody’s reaction, so I am trying to tread carefully because… well… I am not sure how much I care at the moment.  Clearly I am trending on the “feeling burned by Blizz” side of the equation, but I am mostly just not feeling any strong emotion either way on the expansion.  Take that as the guide to my reaction.

So what are they offering up with Dragonflight?

Some of it is the usual, new locations, new dungeons, new raids, and a rise in the level cap to 70 all sound familiar to anybody rolling into a new MMORPG expansion.  I guess the level cap answers one question I had previously… no, we will not be getting a level squish with every expansion.

Is that a good thing though?  I am not sure.  After I got a bunch of characters to level cap in Battle for Azeroth… which I’m pretty sure people thought sucked at times… I got exactly one character to level cap in Shadowlands before I got bored and wandered off.  So now I have one character ready to go for Dragonflight.  But maybe one will be enough again.

A new, available to both factions race, the Dracthyr, with a new class, Evoker, are something special.   Blizz literally poured new races on us with the allied race concept over the last couple of expansions, but we haven’t had anything really new since the demon hunter.

These guys, and the dragons, made me think of The Serpent’s Spine expansion for EverQuest back in 2006.  It was dragon themed with a dragon humanoid race.  But The Serpent’s Spine was also a pretty bold attempt to change how one might play EverQuest.  (It was 2006 and being able to quest to level cap in old Norrath was not a thing.) I am not sure Dragonflight is quite that sweeping in overview.

Dragon riding, a new form of flying mount travel, with some interesting dynamics, is also worth a peek.  Blizz says you’ll get a dragon to ride right away, so I guess they have decided which direction to roll this time in the flying mount plan… or have the?.  Do you get flying with your old mounts AND a dragon, or will there still be some achievement unlock for old mounts?  Or will dragons be so much better that you won’t care? (Update: Dragon flying only, old mounts be walking for now.)

Blizz is also pushing a redo of talents and crafting, which would be kind of neat if they hadn’t played that card so many times before.  Doesn’t EVERY expansion come with some sort of redo on talents?  I’ll wait for the jury verdict on those.

And then there is the new UI, which could be interesting.  But, once again, messing with the UI can cut both ways.  It could be a huge improvement… or it could just break every UI addon, and how many don’t have any active support now… for benefits that are not worth the cost.

So, yes, I am a bit cynical.  I’m certainly not running to opt in for the beta.  I’ve been too hyped up in the past to feel more than a bit tired with some of this.  Sometimes not buying into the immediate hype is a good thing though.  I’ll watch and see how things develop.  I have other games to play and there is no launch date in sight.  Plenty of time to get on board the hype train later.

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4 thoughts on “The WoW Dragonflight Expansion has been Announced

  1. bhagpuss

    I’ve seen a few comments comparing the vibe of Dragonflight to Mists of Pandaria, particularly in the apparent absence of any “end of the world” scenario and the emphasis on exploration and discovery. I’m not the target market, being a very occasional WoW player, but I was surprised by how interested I was. It looked quite laid back and a new starting area is always a draw.

    I would have thought the out of game issues would have kept me from seriously considering playing a Blizzard game for the foreseeable future but the Microsoft acquisition is kind of a wild card there. If that’s gone through by the time the expansion arrives and if it looks like things have moved somewhere close to the industry standard for unpleasantness, rather than the extremes we’ve been hearing about, I think it would be harder to claim Blizzard is less acceptable to give money to than any number of other companies.

    Wait and see, yet again, I guess.

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  2. Highmesa

    I’m a pretty hardcore WoW fan and I’d say my main feeling is one of wariness. I like the Pandaria exploration vibes I’m getting so far (my favorite expansion), but it’s hard to get a firm feeling on anything. All signs point to the release being well into 2023 and they haven’t given much real information regarding all the new and reworked systems. So I’m wary about professions and talent changes. I’m wary about how dragon riding will interact with or replace normal flying. I’m wary when I hear that the Shadowlands renown system is going to replace or augment normal reputations. I’m wary when I hear that old dungeons will be recycled to flesh out the mythic+ season (and it’s possible the same may be done to raids).
    My biggest concern at the moment is the release date. I predict this will be the longest wait for a new expansion–both expansion to expansion and final content patch to expansion.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Highmesa – Previously I calculated that if Blizz could get the next expansion, now Dragonflight, out by December 1st of this year, the gap between launches would be 737 days, which would put it mid-pack for duration.

    But if it spills out into 2023, and I agree with you that is sure feels like that could be the case, then it quickly moves up the ranks for duration. If it doesn’t release by March 6, 2023, it will claim the crown for the longest gap between expansions, surpassing the 832 day gap between Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands, which is longest gap so far, even beating the vanilla to TBC launch gap of 784 days.

    We don’t have enough info yet to know if that will be the case, but I don’t have anything that makes me feel like that would be ridiculous speculation either.

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  4. Neowolf (@Neowolf2)

    My take on this: I stopped playing very early in SL, and decided I’d have to see a definitive change in game design philosophy to something that was acceptable to me in order to come back.

    I haven’t seen that yet. If anything, the removal of LFD from Wrath Classic makes me think they’re doubling down on the kind of thinking that drove me away. So, at this point, and unless something significant changes, hard pass on DF.

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