Dragonflight: The Next Big Expansion in the World of Warcraft

The world’s most popular role-playing game is constantly innovating to keep its player base on top of things, and the latest edition is no exception. On November 28, Blizzard unveiled its ninth and latest iteration of the most addictive game in history: Dragonflight.

Ever since its inception in 2004, WoW has been captivating audiences with its fantastical kingdoms full of diverse creatures and home to the Orsch horde. With successive iterations of the game, the Kingdom of Azeroth has been expanded and made more nuanced for eager players. Critics say that no other game can come close to matching its complexity, sophisticated graphics, and capacity for leading players into new adventures.

The game now has over 100 million registered players, which was previously unheard of in the gaming industry. Earlier expansions have included The Burning Crusade, Warlords of Draenor, and Shadowlands, among others. In fact, the game is so popular that it has been transformed into other media, including comics, card games, and even a Hollywood movie that came out in 2016.

What’s new?

So, how can Blizzard, the game’s creator, possibly surpass what it has already achieved? Game creators have listened to customer feedback and created a game that is both more innovative and has a “homier” feel for its players.

Innovative? Sure. But homey? Yes, this too is something that WoW players have been craving. As the virtual experience grows and morphs in its many varied directions, players are becoming familiar enough with the thrill of action and unexpected spectacle that they are now craving something of a return to “normalcy.” Example

This could herald a new trend in gaming altogether. VR and its associated forms are taking people to a level where they want to feel comfortable in their new world, have it be less of a detached experience than the old thrill of entering the arena carries wow.

A host of new features

Dracthyr Evokers

The new class of heroes are dracthyrs, created by the Neltharion 20,000 years ago. These casters are somewhat similar to mages but with their own distinctive features. Dracthyrs start at level 58 and have the unique distinction of having a unified form and fighting method (as opposed to other beings whose forms and methods are interchangeable).

They are able to beat away enemies by knocking their wings, or batting them with their tails. Other distinctive features include the ability to wear mail, and use staves, axes, swords, maces, and daggers. Dracthyrs are likely only able to wear shoulders, belts, and tabards in their draconic form. They start in the zone of the Forbidden Reach of The Dragon Isles.

The Dragon Isles

One of the major features of Dragonflight is The Dragon Isles, which is home to the four new zones to be introduced to the game. It was once the center of Azeroth during its early period. Its capital is Valdrakken.

The four new zones within the realm of The Dragon Isles are the following:

Waking Shores

Waking Shores are a zone on the Dragon Isles. They are a level 60-62 contested zone. After having lain dormant for 10,000 years, the zone has been reawakened and its geysers and hot springs are waiting to be discovered.

Ohn’ahran Plains

Ohn’ahran Plains is the next zone that players move into after Waking Shores. The zone takes its name from Ohn’ara, the Wild God of the Wind. It is a level 62-65 contested zone. In this zone, players will find the Green Dragonflight, and scenery will become progressively more and more dramatic.

Azure Span

Next, players will come upon the frosty zone of Azure Span. As the name suggests, the blue and icy hues of the colder terrain take players into an entirely new climate. It is the ancient home of the Blue Dragonflight. Azure Span goes through levels 65-68.

Thaldraszus

Thaldraszus exists in levels 68-70. It is an ancient kingdom, considered the cradle of dragon civilization. It is located in the Dragon Isles. This dragon paradise includes its own distinct structures, architecture, and is also home to diverse scenery including mountains and waterways.

Yet more new additions

Dragonflight also contains a heads-up display (HUD), and upgraded user interface (UI) for improved graphics.

In addition, Dragonflight offers even more new features, including “dragonriding,” a new interactive mobility system. Early critics are already praising this feature as something exciting for players. The zones are also said to be particularly sophisticated in terms of their detail and navigability.

So we’ll see what the success rate of this new expansion to the world’s biggest game will be like. If the current momentum is maintained, the game’s player base is only due to grow and become more enthusiastic. Then the pressure will be on Blizzard to come up with something even more spectacular in the next round.


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Huynh Nguyen

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