Tag Archives: Dragonflight

Blizz Offers a Free Dragonflight Weekend with Caveats

Blizzard has announced that from today, March 9th, through Sunday, March 12th, if you are a lapsed WoW subscriber you can log in and play the Dragonflight expansion for free.

WoW Dragonflight

The specific statement is:

Grab your favorite character and we’ll grab you a Dragon! This is your chance to soar through the magnificent Dragon Isles and experience Warcraft at its nostalgic best. All players with an inactive WoW account will receive trial access to Dragonflight*. And if you don’t have a level 60, check the battle.net launcher app – there may just be a gift for you!

If the gift isn’t a level boost, then they have done something very wrong.

Actually, it looks like you get to create a level 60 Dracthyr, the new race that launched with the expansion, if you want to try that out.

Create an evoker

Blizzard would, of course, very much like you to buy a copy of Dragonflight, pretty please, because they don’t have much else going on in Q1 and it is March already and it would be great if their numbers didn’t completely tank for this quarter.

In order entice you further, all versions of the Dragonflight expansion have been discounted 20% through March 15th, in the hopes that the free trial will convince you to buy.

The catch, such that it is, is that you will not be able to level up past level 60 until you purchase the expansion.  Any experience you earn will be “banked” and held for you, to be awarded once you make the purchase.

I was curious to see who actually would be given free access to the expansion.  The emphasis in the announcement felt aimed at those not currently subscribed.  But the odd cases… people who own the expansion but who are not subscribed as well as people like me, who are subscribed but not playing Dragonflight… appear to be covered.  I can go play the new expansion this weekend if I want.

However, they do make clear that this free period gets you access to retail WoW only.  You cannot use this grace period to slip into WoW Classic and see what is going on there.


Reviewing My 2022 Predictions

We are back once again for another review of some really bad predictions I made at the start of the year.  I have engaged in an almost annual experiment in proving how wrong I can be about the future for a good fourteen years now.

2022 is what we get

While we are still a good two weeks shy of the new year in my book, if it hasn’t come to pass by December 15th, it probably isn’t going to happen.  So it is time to see how off base I was.

As usual, I will score by giving myself 10 points for each correct prediction, with partial credit available… because I often write rambling predictions with multiple points of contact.

Looking back at the questions from the start of the year… well, I seemed to be in something of a mood, especially about EVE Online.  Though not without reason on that front.  After declaring an “age of prosperity” they went and announced a plan to keep the economy strangled going forward.  “Prosperity” was nowhere in the cards they were dealing out.  But I was also moody about a few other companies.

Anyway, let’s get to the scoring.

1 – Activision-Blizzard will drop “Blizzard” from the Corporate Name

I backed myself into this one, having made a declaration about this in August of 2021, when it seemed as though the company could sink no lower in its scandal ridden tales.  It seemed like they had run the name through enough mud that it might be time to go back to Silicone & Synapse.

But it did not come to pass.

Now, I could make excuses about how the Microsoft acquisition, which showed up less than three weeks after my predictions, locked everything in place, so no major name change was likely to occur… but, in hindsight, no name change was likely to happen either way.  When you have Bobby Kotick at the helm, Blizzard would have to work a lot harder to eclipse the stink on him.

Zero points.

2 – No WoW Expansion in 2022

Man, I was not on a hot streak for 2022 was I?

Okay, this one did not look that outrageous a year ago.  Blizzard seemed to be in disorder, Shadowlands was flailing about without content updates, and there was some word about retooling their approach.  It seemed likely that they wouldn’t get out an expansion this year.

But they managed it.  The jury is still out on Dragonflight… I mean, I loved Shadowlands for about a month, before I found the quick trip to level cap meant and endless endgame treadmill… but it launched at the end of November and is still running along.  I haven’t seen the traditional glowing “current expansion exceeds all past expansions” press release about any sales metric yet.

In the end though, even if it dies in a month, they still shipped an expansion.  Zero points.

3 – The Arthas Hail Mary

I’m going to have to quote this one, just to avoid having to recount it point by point.

Wrath of the Lich King Classic will be announced to great fanfare.  This will be the big 2022 announcement for the WoW franchise, and it will be as stale as you expect.  While I love the whole retro server scene, and WotLK as well, there is a reason that Daybreak doesn’t put out a press release every time an EverQuest progression server unlocks a new expansion.  And it will be tainted by the same things that hurt Burning Crusade Classic, like a special deluxe package with a horrendous mount to single you out for ridicule.  It will be more popular than whatever is going on with Shadowlands, an admittedly low hurdle, but it won’t launch until Q4 so we won’t see any financial impact during the 2022 calendar year.

I mean, sure, Wrath Classic, big fanfare… but Dragonflight was probably the bigger announcement, if only because it was new and unexpected.  We all had no doubt Wrath Classic was going to show.  It also made it into Q3, just barely.  But it counts.

It did, however, get the ugly mount that singles you out and it was sure as hell more popular than Shadowlands this year.

I am going to give myself 4 points for this one.

4 – Immortality is Overrated

Okay, I am getting a little better as we go along here.

Diablo: Immortal will finally ship in time for summer… after all, NetEase is the one doing the work here.  It will get a lot of hype from the company because WoW Classic and Hearthstone updates can only carry so much water for them.  It will be briefly popular, because we do in fact all have phones, combining as it will everything Blizzard promised (something like Diablo) and everything fans feared (cash shop from hell), but the Q3 2022 financials will only mention it in passing.

I mean, isn’t that pretty much what happened, right down to shipping in time for summer?

You can split hairs on that one, but I am giving myself the full 10 points.  I rarely get this close to the mark.

5 – Activision Will Settle with the State of California

Okay, after that riding high on that last one I am brought low again.  I, not for the last time I am sure, invoke the Microsoft acquisition to explain this away.  Zero points.

6 – Bobby Kotick Will Remain in Charge at Activision

And, just to switch things around, the Microsoft acquisition pretty much made this a lock.  Not that I thought Bobby was going anywhere otherwise.  He has set himself up to suckle at the company’s teat, sucking down a huge amount of cash while he runs an entertainment sweat shop.  Why would he step away from that?  10 points.

7 – Enad Global 7 will Announce Marvel Universe Online

Oh EG7, you had such a potential winner here.  Even the hint of this project got the company more press than it had seen in a decade.

Massively OP declared Blizzard’s problems with its NetEase contract the biggest MMO company blunder, but when we measure the potential upside lost relative to the size of the company, this one dwarfs the NetEase deal.

Yeah, in case you hadn’t heard, all they announced was that the project was cancelled.

Zero points.

8 – H1Z1 Will Remain in Limbo

Sometimes I need a gimme.  H1Z1 is Schrodinger’s battle royale, neither dead nor alive.

10 Points.

9 – LOTRO Old and New

I was predicting a split in the product, with a new branch to support the console plans that EG7 kept talking about.  But we didn’t get anything really about the whole console thing.  I suspect the tepid response to Amazon’s Rings of Power, which was supposed to ignite more Tolkien interest, might be on the list of reasons.

Zero Points.

10 – Nothing New in Norrath

EverQuest and EverQuest II rolled on as before, and no new Norrath titles were launched, announced, or even hinted at.  Kind of a gimme.  But I need all the help I can get.

10 points.

11 – Ji Ham Confirmed as CEO of Enad Global 7

This is a complicated one.  Technically I think Ji Ham is still “acting” CEO of EG7.  His linked in profile still has “interim” on display.

On the other hand, the Daybreak team completed their reverse acquisition and now pretty much run EG7, so the idea that he is going to be asked to step down from the position seems pretty silly.

I am going to give myself 4 points because he is the CEO and they aren’t going to replace him.

12 – CCP will Circle the Wagons to Defend Against Player Feedback

Yes and no.  CCP management certainly came into the new year saying they knew better and would do whatever they wanted.  But push back from players got them to declare against crypto in EVE Online (for now), and they eventually began to relent on some of the things dragging down the New Eden economy, like capitals and battleships being too expensive to bother producing and the stranglehold on minerals… things that were pointed out as problems the day they were announced.

The economy is still not perfect, but things are at least better now… a year later than they could have been… should have been… but better.  I’m giving myself 2 points for the beginning of the year.

13 – New Eden Economic Times

This is basically part 2 of the previous item, only more about the in-game economy.  CCP eventually relented on many things that players had been complaining about since they were introduced, so I feel like I would be double dipping if I gave myself more that zero points.

14 – New World on Consoles Announcement

Sorry, no.  They spent most of 2022 trying to fix the game so people would play it again.  Their expansion saw a brief spike, but fresh start servers are really what brought people back because they could at least play on worlds that had not been screwed up economically by the company’s bumbling management of the game for the first few months.  Zero points.

15 – New World Store Update

None of these things came to pass.  Zero points.

16 – Crypto Mania will Continue and yet Yield Nothing of Value

I mean, unless you can assign value to schadenfreude I guess.  10 points.

17 – Metaversary Rhymes

Part two, the whole crypto metaverse idea of being able to bring your car from Mario Kart into Forza or whatever.  It didn’t go anywhere either.  10 points.

18 – Non-Fungible Fiascos

My ongoing bets against crypto seemed solid, but my guesses as to which company’s we beshit their games with it… well, this was the list:

  • EVE Online
  • Star Citizen
  • Black Desert Online
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Wild Card: Some Gamigo Title

None did however… which, given the talk a year ago, means crypto must have really taken a dump in 2022.  I was never happier to get zero points.

19 – Chapter and Metaverse

I was predicting that Zuckerberg’s own personal metaverse, Horizon Worlds, would gain no traction.  They were making managers force their employees to log in.  Hell, it was all they could do to announce legs… and even then they didn’t show the actual in-game legs, but specially rendered ones on the virtual Zucks.  10 points.

20 – A Better Metaplace

Raph and Playable Worlds did not deliver anything in 2022.  Zero points.

21 – Non Starters

My usual gimme list of games that won’t ship.  Basically 10 points for free.

Extra Credit

These are bonus, usually outrageous guesses for some additional points.

The first guess was that CCP would get fed up with players electing the CSM and just appoint their own council, the way Blizzard did.  Like I said, I was in a bad mood.  That did not come to pass, so zero points of extra credit there.

Meanwhile, I also guessed that Blizzard would get bored of their own WoW Player Council, thank everybody for their service after a year, and forget about the whole thing.  While the WPC has been a giant nothing burger so far as I can tell, I just went to check its special forum and it still exists.  So zero points of extra credit there as well.

The Final Score

I had a total of 210 possible points for my main predictions.  From my scoring above, I managed to get a total of 90 points.  That gives me a nearly 43% success rate, which is far better than I have done in some past years.  I guess the lesson here is always bet against crypto.

That is all I have.  Another year down.  Now I have to decide what I will do for 2023.  Predictions?  Questions?  Demands?  Something else?  I have two weeks to figure it out.

WoW Dragonflight Arrives Today

Today is the day for retail WoW, that rare bi-annual event when Blizzard ships an expansion to the cornerstone game of their portfolio.  Today sees the launch of WoW Dragonflight.

WoW Dragonflight

Today at 3pm Pacific Time or Midnight Central European Time, the world-wide launch of the expansion kicks off.

Dragonflight World Wide Launch Times

Dragonflight is the 9th expansion in the eighteen year life of the game… again, bi-annual is the pattern here, though there is some variation in the times between expansions.

  • WoW Launch to The Burning Crusade – 784 days
  • The Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King – 667 days
  • Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm – 754 days
  • Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria – 658 days
  • Mists of Pandaria to Warlords of Draenor – 779 days
  • Warlords of Draenor to Legion – 656 days
  • Legion to Battle for Azeroth – 714 days
  • Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands – 832 days
  • Shadowlands to Dragonflight – 734 days

But saying “about every two years” is close enough to the mark to cover it.

And there is quite a bit riding on this expansion.  I don’t think it is exactly controversial to suggest that the previous expansion, Shadowlands, was less popular than previous entries in the series.  There are a few reasons for that.

Every expansion shakes up the meta of the game to some extent, though it at least appears at first glance that those that change the least seem to do better than those that go all out to be different.  And, in that spectrum, Shadowlands was one of the more extreme examples.

To start with, it was built on top of the great level squish, which made the rest of the game a level 1-50 experience… or a series of parallel 1-50 experiences… that still has me wondering if the whole thing was worth the effort.

Then, of course, there was the usual borrowed power mechanics, this time involving pledging yourself to a faction, which generally negatively effect all past content and builds you up into something that is going to be taken away from you the moment the next expansion drops.

Finally, Blizz decided to toss the normal leveling experience in the air and try something new.  The traditional multiple zone effort to work through that might take a couple of months of casual play to make it to the ten levels to cap was discarded.  Instead they made the journey to level cap a short run for even very casual players and bet the farm that everybody would just love doing faction dailies and running the same instances over and over again for the next 18 months.

It was the ultimate “we’ll make raiders out of all of you” by making even you solo play a raiding-like daily grind.  As with the Battle for Azeroth “we’ll make all servers PvP servers” debacle, this did not work out as planned.  (And at least BfA didn’t mess with the normal 10 level casual curve.)

So, as I said, there is a lot riding on Dragonflight.  Did Blizzard learn the right lessons?  The historical trajectory of the game tends to favor the answer “no,” and the whole “let’s go all-in on everything dragons” doesn’t fill me with a ton of confidence.

But I also haven’t been interested enough to read up on the expansion or join the beta, even though I was extended an invite without even opt-ing in.

That is largely because I am playing Wrath of the Lich King Classic, the last expansion to hold its numbers rather than having a second summer… or first summer… population crash.  I am enjoying that and Blizz is getting my subscription money, but I have no interesting in buying Dragonflight on day one.

I am sure that a lot of people will buy it however.  I am equally sure that we will get a post-launch press release that will frame the launch in a way to show it was the best launch ever.  We will see if they have to come up with a new metric to do that… my skepticism abounds since Blizz stopped talking subscription numbers and adopted MAUs across all products as their metric. (Though even that went down regularly since they adopted it, so good work on that front.)

People will enjoy it.  Despite my not sticking around, I enjoyed Shadowlands quite a bit for the month it took me to get to level cap.  Then the prospect of 23 more months of faction grinds and instance dailies left me cold.  And while I won’t be playing, at least initially, I will be watching to see how the new round of Blizzard ideas, from UI changes to another round of class revamps to flying for everybody from the moment of launch, plays out for them.

The Arrival of the WoW Dragonflight Pre-Patch

We’re here in the final days of the Shadowlands expansion… which, by the way, is now part of your base subscription package.  No, you can’t give it back.

The dawn of the Dragonflight expansion is upon us.

WoW Dragonflight is almost here

Whether it will be good or not remains to be seen.  I’m too busy in Northrend reliving the past to worry about it.  But I wouldn’t begrudge it any popularity.  Retail WoW kind of needs it.

The update was off to a bit of a rough start, with downtime being extended on Tuesday well past the initially promised time.  I don’t want to say Holly Longdale brought any bad vibes over with her from Daybreak, but that is usually their patch day story, not Blizzard’s

On the other hand, Tuesday was just the start of the run up to the November 28th launch of the Dragonflight expansion.  If they were going to have a hiccup, this was a better day to have it.

The dates for Dragonflight

As for what the pre-patch brought, the list includes increased system requirements, a new UI system, the expansion of rogues, mages, and priests to all races, and a skills and talent rework for all classes.

The latter is pretty much something we get with every expansion, though this one was a bit harrier than most.  I logged myself in just to peek around and I am not even sure what to do with this screen.

Is that a talent tree or a board game on its own?

I mean, I am sure it is comprehensible if I took the time to sit down and figure it out.  But at first glance I wasn’t sure what was going on.  I felt the way I often feel when I open up one of the many Alternate Advancement talent trees in EverQuest II.  There is a whole lot going on there.

The UI changes look interesting… though, again, I feel like there is some documentation I need to read before I could begin to get the most out of it.  And the default is… tiny.

I mean, I like a UI that doesn’t get in the way of you looking out the window and enjoying the scenery.  But on my 34″ monitor the default size of everything was vanishingly small in places.

There is some level of irony in this.  I finally have a big enough monitor that the UI never feels like it is crowding in on what I can see and they have gone and made it so small that I have to look around to find bits of it.

Again, there is probably a cure for that somewhere in the guide, but i tend to try to stick to the defaults to maintain compatibility and… that just isn’t going to be a thing.

Also, going back to EverQuest II, the default action bar layout looks very much like my EQII setup, with three action bars stacked up in the center bottom of the screen.

The default action bars in the new WoW UI

I am not kidding.

My EQII Paladin action bars

Granted, my EQII paladin has about 700 various skills and three action bars isn’t anywhere close to enough… and the EQII UI doesn’t handle my 34″ monitor all that smoothly, those action bars being in the middle of the screen while the XP bar extends from the left of the screen to just past the middle, ending just below the action bars, leaving the right half of the window to fend for itself.  But the similarity is there.  I saw the new WoW UI and made a mental connection.

Once more, not necessarily good or bad, just an observation.  Dare I suggest another Holly Longdale connection?  Hah!

Meanwhile, the last couple of weeks of Shadowlands content is now winding down.  I liked it when it launched, but felt I was done with it in about a month.  At least leveling up through it was quick, and probably quicker now, so it won’t get too much in the way of people wishing to skip past it… though Blizz would happily sell you a character boost to solve that issue.

The Road to the WoW Dragonflight Expansion

Blizzard has announced their launch plans for the Dragonflight expansion for World of Warcraft.

The company has taken to making handy infographics which make the information easy to absorb.

The dates for Dragonflight

We will get the pre-patch next week, with the new Dracthyr race being unlocked on November 15th so you can start in on fresh character in order to be ready for the expansion, the way the unlocked Death Knights early in the run up to Wrath Classic, which is kind of handy.

My experience after the level squish two years ago was that getting at least up into Shadowlands was no big deal, something you could accomplish in a few evenings of play… if you pick the right path.  (Battle for Azeroth seemed quicker than other choices.)  But, if the path wasn’t short enough already, there is word that an xp boost will land on retail as well so everybody can be level 60 in time for the big day.

And then, or course, as we had already been told, the expansion itself will launch on November 28, another world-wide launch event.

Dragonflight World Wide Launch Times

And then we’ll be fully into the Dragonflight era.

Or some of us will be.

I have no plans to purchase or peek in on Dragonflight at this time.  Wrath Classic dropped less than a month ago, and will be two month in when Dragonflight arrives.  Our group is committed to that Northrend.

I suppose there is something to be said for the every other year pacing of WoW expansions, even classic expansions.  Launching Wrath of the Lich King Classic and Dragonflight two months apart seems like a less than ideal solution.  It will only make Blizz more eager to move on to Cataclysm Classic next year, when there is no retail expansion to launch.  An I am in no hurry to get to Cataclysm.

Anyway, the only thing I am likely to do in retail is take a couple runs at trying to get the Headless Horseman’ mount.  This will be my 14th year of trying.  You would think I would have given up hope by now.

World of Warcraft Dragonflight is Launching November 28th

Companies seem to be in the mood to get announcements in before the end of the month, no doubt to be able to claim they did them in Q3 of 2022, Q4 starting on Saturday.

Next on my list is Blizzard, which has given us a launch date for the Dragonflight expansion.

WoW Dragonflight

As has become the pattern for Blizzard, this will be another world-wide launch, happening at 3pm Pacific time on Monday the 28th, midnight Paris time, and morning hours of Tuesday the 29th in Asia

Dragonflight World Wide Launch Times

Of course, Blizzard would like you to buy a pre-order.  There are the usual three flavors available.

How much to fly a dragon?

The base edition will get you the content and the new race, along with a pet if you pre-order.  If you want a boost up to level 60 you’ll have to opt for the Heroic or Epic editions, which also include an additional layer of fluff, the Epic edition tossing in 30 days of game time as well.

As for the launch date and timelines, Shadowlands to Dragonflight is about mid-pack, coming in at 734 days if they make the November 28th date.

  • WoW Launch to The Burning Crusade – 784 days
  • The Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King – 667 days
  • Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm – 754 days
  • Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria – 658 days
  • Mists of Pandaria to Warlords of Draenor – 779 days
  • Warlords of Draenor to Legion – 656 days
  • Legion to Battle for Azeroth – 714 days
  • Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands – 832 days
  • Shadowlands to Dragonflight – 734 days

Coming so soon after the Wrath of the Lich King Classic launch, I have no plans to join in on the new expansion at launch.  I might log in to see where the action is at 2:45pm on the 28th, but I am not spending $50 to take a step beyond that.

The Shadowlands expansion was a bust for me.  I got exactly one character to level 60, the new level cap after the big level squish.  It isn’t as though I couldn’t have run more alts through.  Getting to level cap was fairly easy.  I just had no interest in doing so after my first run through.  So while I enjoyed the xp boost in classic, the one they’re offering in retail won’t move me.

Shadowlands Redemption Possible?

We are in the summer before an expansion, having been told that the next World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight, will be arriving some time before the end of the year.

So we are in that gap of time where I frequently become most involved with an expansion, that point when all the content has been deployed and the company starts working on getting people wrapped up, with mains and alts all secure at the level cap.  We start getting the pre-story for the next expansion and then the big patch that yanks the rug out from under whatever builds we had settled on for the previous two years.

I think I have missed that transition only once in the history of the game, and that was the bridge between Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria… and I ended up liking MoP quite a bit.  (And I have softened somewhat on Cataclysm over the years.)

Now, however, we’re coming up to a gap between an expansion that couldn’t keep me interested for much more than two months and an expansion that feels like a transparent attempt to drum up player interest by going all in on dragons.

The thing is that Dragonflight is still a wildcard.  Just because I don’t like it today, that I haven’t heard anything that piques my interest, doesn’t mean I won’t like it.  Again, I turn back to Mists of Pandaria… didn’t think I would like it at all and it turned out to be one of my favorite expansions.

So I could get caught up in whatever dragon dreams Blizzard has planned.  It could happen.  Like Kaylriene, I haven’t made a hard call either way.

No, the problem is with Shadowlands.

WoW Shadowlands

WoW Shadowlands

I thought Battle for Azeroth fared poorly when compared to Legion, but I still came back and played the hell out of BfA when its last patch was done and Blizz was trying to tempt us back.  I ran multiple characters to level cap and unlocked all of the alliance allied races and all but one of the horde allied races.

I just have trouble picturing me putting in any similar sort of effort as Shadowland’s swan song arrives.  We are currently about 18 months down the road since I last played the expansion, having gotten one character to level cap.

What got me thinking about this was Blizzard throwing a 50% xp boost at players before season four of the expansion starts.  That made me wonder whether an xp boost like that would get me to play.  But, no, it doesn’t seem it will.  It barely moved the meter for me.

Then again, we are months away from any possible Dragonflight launch.  The time might simply not be ripe for a return.

And, in any case, the next bit of Azeroth I am likely to visit is Northrend once Wrath of the Lich King Classic lands.  August is pretty close.  Maybe September for the launch?  And Blizzard says they haven’t forgotten classic players… or, more likely they remember how much older titles like Burning Crusade Classic and Diablo II Resurrected have propped them up over the last year.

World of Warcraft Dragonflight up for Pre-Order and Promising a Q4 2022 Release

Blizzard would like you to please give them some money now for their upcoming “all the dragon things we could come up with” World of Warcraft expansion Dragonflight.

Dragons are a thing

Announced back in April (on 4/20 no less) you can roll up the dragon race to play the dragon class on the dragon island where you will fly around on a dragon and do all the dragon things with your dragon pals while seeing all the dragons and dragons and dragons dragons dragons.

I swear, if Hemet Nesingwary isn’t out there asking you to collect dragon poop it will be a travesty, because Blizzard is going so deep on dragons that I’m starting to wonder if they’ll have a dragon colonoscopy quest for us.  We’re going all in, so why not go ALL the way in?

After the descent from “good” to “bleh” that was the Legion, Battle for Azeroth, Shadowlands expansion progression, I still need to be sold on this being more than a few gimmicks to get me to buy a box.

A more expensive box.

When I was looking at expansions and pricing and pre-orders back in late 2019, Blizzard was charging $40 for the base Shadowlands box, $60 for the Heroic option, and $80 for the Epic expansion ride.

But inflation is hitting in places beyond the gas pump, and Blizzard wants ten bucks more for each level now.

Dragonflight pre-order pricing

And then there is the physical collector’s edition box, which will set you back $130.

Once again, you don’t get a character boost with the base box, something we got the last time an expansion was $50.  You need to pony up another $20 for the boost… though given the price of one ala carte is $60, that might be a deal if you feel you need one.

There are also some in-game pre-order bonuses, but you will need to have the Shadowlands expansion it seems.  It is there in the fine print.  A chance to sell even more boxes, though at least they’re selling some of those at half price right now. (Though if you shell out the $90 for the Dragonflight Epic edition you get a $20 copy of Shadowlands if you didn’t own it already.  So I guess if you didn’t own Shadowlands and wanted a character boost it would be cheaper to buy the $90 virtual box.  But I don’t need either.)

I guess if you’re really into dragons, you’re probably all in.  But some of the things they’re bragging about are not all that impressive in the context of the game’s history.

Level 70? What, again you mean?

Meanwhile, the most interesting part of the announcement is in the fine print, as it

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight will be available on or before December 31, 2022.

I had written off a 2022 expansion launch for Dragonflight previously, just based on Blizzard history.  Announce an expansion and ship it in the SAME CALENDAR YEAR?  Unpossible!

But there it is, on the page, as immutable as any web content… which means they’ll change it the second they need to and maybe comp you a mount for your faith in pre-ordering if they do.  I wouldn’t bet money against that happening.

I guess the plan for 2022 is Diablo Immoral for Q2, Wrath of the Lich King Classic for Q3, and Dragonflight for Q4, with whatever Overwatch 2 really is somewhere in the middle, and however many Hearthstone expansions they can fit into a calendar year.  Oh, and Warcraft Arclight Rumble.  How could I forget that?

They have to keep up the product roll outs to make whatever metrics they promised Microsoft when they signed the deal to be acquired.  Remember that from back in January? It slips my mind some days, but all of this may soon be Microsoft’s problem.

I think I might wait until WoW is on the XBox Game Pass PC to come back to retail.  We shall see.

Related coverage:

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.