WoW Dragonflight Expansion Overview
Published on: 20 November, 2022 | Last Updated on: 13 February, 2024
The ninth expansion for World of Warcraft is just around the corner, bringing us tons of global changes, minor improvements, and new features. This time the path of glory will lead us to a new continent called Dragon Isles. We will meet dragon Aspects again, and they will certainly need our help. The overall level is increased to 70. We will also have a new race and class to try, a new story to be a part of, new mechanics to learn, and new things to collect. There are dozens of topics to discuss, so let us not waste any time; fasten your seat belts, for we begin our journey.
A new continent is called Dragon Isles, and it is placed in the Northeast of the global Azeroth map between the Eastern Kingdoms and Northrend. There are five new zones to explore. Four, as one of the new zones, is a Dracthyr starting location. The other four are The Walking Shores (level 60 – 62), Ohn’ahran Plains (level 62 – 65), The Azure Span (level 65 – 68), and Thaldraszus (level 68 – 70). Each zone is an ancestral home to one of the Dragonflights. Thus the Walking Shores are a native land for red and black dragons; green dragons live in Ohn’ahran Plains; the name of Azure Span zone speaks for itself – the Blue Dragonflight lives here. The bronze dragons watch the world from the high peaks of Thaldraszus.
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The capital for this expansion is Valdrakken, which is also located in Thaldraszus. The city is divided into several squares, each representing this or that dragon family. Well-known Aspects settled themselves at the main building, called The Seat of the Aspects.
New Race: Dracthyr
The biggest and the most important innovation to the WoW Dragonflight expansion is, of course, a new race. This time it is a shapeshifter who can turn into a human from a man-like orthograde dragon. A new race is called Dracthyr. This race can choose only one class – Evoker, which can be either a middle-distance Damage Dealer or a Healer. Rumours say that developers had mentioned a possible widening of class variability in the future.
Dracthyrs have several racial abilities. Here are the most interesting ones:
Glide: Reduces your falling speed. Activates by pressing the jump key while falling.
Soar: Launches you into the air and enables the following abilities while soaring:
- Skyward Ascent: Flap upward, gaining height at the cost of some momentum.
- Surge Forward: Flap forward a short distance, gaining speed.
Soar has a four-minute cooldown.
Familiar Skies: Soar’s cooldown is reduced by one minute on continents you have fully explored.
Tail Swipe: Lash out with your tail, knocking enemies within 6 yards into the air. Has a 1.5 minute cooldown.
Wing Buffet: With a powerful flap of your wings, knock away enemies in front of you. Movement speed is reduced by 70% and lasts for four seconds. Has a 1.5 minute cooldown.
Customization variability for Dracthyrs is really large. Players may select a body type, form of horns, ears, tail, default gear, colour combinations, etc. It’s good to know that both appearances may be customised separately.
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Dracthyrs may become Horde and Alliance loyal champions, but they all start at the same place – The Forbidden Reach zone on the Dragon Isles. A new character starts at level 58, which lightens the levelling process. There are seven chapters in total, and at the end, you will gain a full set of iLvl 216-239 Rare gear. This is more than adequate for starting your levelling experience in the Dragon Isles.
The newborn Dracthyr begins its journey with general Evoker abilities (three racial and two skills) and can pick a specialisation only at the end of the starter campaign.
Dracthyr is a full-fledged race, and they are entitled to have racial mounts. There are seven variations of non-flying beasts, four with plain saddles and three armoured ones.
Unarmored Vorquin Mounts
Armoured Vorquin Mounts
Cavalry Master Treysh sells these in The Forbidden Reach for 40 gold coins for rare animals or 80 for epic beasts.
New Class: Evoker
Since Evokers use the powers of Dragonflights as their own, this may mean that this would remain a race-bound class. The Evoker is a hero class, which means a player may have only one Evoker per realm. Moreover, there should already be a level 60 character in that realm for Dracthyr creation to be enabled. The same limitations had Death Knight and the Demon Hunter classes. These restrictions were removed later, so maybe the same thing will happen to Evokers.
The Evoker class has two specialisations: Devastation – a Mid-Range Damage Dealer, and Preservation – a Healer. Each spec has certain skills from another specialisation, which makes them rather useful party members.
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Devastation specialisation focuses on combination attacks. The explosive power of the Red Dragonflight combines with the focused and overwhelming magic of the Blue Dragonflight to deal massive damage from a distance. Devastation Evokers use a tremendous variety of spells, including a famous dragon breath that looks really cool. This spec looks a bit uncertain now because of its in-between attacking distance of 25 metres. It’s not a full-range DD like Mages and not a melee DD, who usually dances under the boss’s feet. Healers, thus, won’t be able to heal a Devastation Evoker properly.
Preservation Evokers, on the other hand, look very promising. This spec uses the powers of the Green Dragonflight to nurture their allies and utilise the Bronze Dragonflight’s time magic to rewind wounds done or heal allies faster. This sounds very intriguing and promising, as such mobility is very valuable in high keys, where the right timing is a good half of the victory.
Evokers are mail-wearers, which is good, especially for the healing spec. But surprisingly, the gear won’t be seen on Dracthyrs when they are in their true form. Any clothes will become visible only in their human versions. But don’t worry, you’ll be able to change their default armour in a Barber Shop.
Evokers can equip Daggers, Staves, Fist Weapons, One-Handed Swords, One-Handed Axes and One-Handed Maces. They can also use Offhands but cannot have a dual-wielding specialisation.
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An absolutely new game mechanic is the ability to empower your skills by making a second input to a corresponding key on a keyboard. Right now, this ability is available only to a new class, but the developers might enlarge its usability if the innovation proves itself well.
There are two ways of charging a spell. You may either Hold and Release the key or Press and Tap. Hold and release is a default variant. It allows you to begin casting a spell by pressing and holding down your spell key and then release the spell when you release the key. The press and tap option allows you to tap the spell once to start casting and then tap it again when you want to release the spell. The specially added bar will show the process of charging so that you can calculate the time and the strength of your spell. You may always change the preferred variation in Game Menu → Options → Gameplay → Controls.
Note that this cast may be interrupted if you move forward or backwards.
The talent tree has also experienced massive changes. Right now, it looks more like it used to in Vanilla WoW. The very idea has been re-modified – instead of picking one of three active or passive abilities every once in a while, players can now create a unique talent structure that works within their gaming paradigm.
A very important renovation is that the most powerful skills are now placed in the upper part of trees so that players can get accustomed to them and build their active rotation around these abilities and not wait till the maximum level.
Each class has two-branch trees. The one to the left represents general abilities for the class, most of which are active utility skills; the right one is mostly for the concrete specialisation – passive abilities. Some talents have several ranks to master. This structure is also taken from Vanilla times when class trainers taught characters their class active abilities, and the talent tree passively improved them according to a chosen spec.
The talent points are given to each tree by turn every level starting from level 10, and by the time you get level 70, you will have 31 talent points in a class tree and 30 points in a spec tree.
The talents were severely redesigned; many were inspired by the Artifact system from Legion expansion, Azerite traits from Battle for Azeroth, and Covenant abilities from Shadowlands.
Unfortunately, many active abilities were moved to talent trees, but again, a character will gain a new talent point at every level, so they will get those they want anyhow. All these renovations are made especially to give players complete freedom in creating their own way of playing World of Warcraft.
As for PvP talents, they stay separate as before and become active only in PvP type of content.
Each tree has three types of talents: square, round, and octagonal. Each shape represents a certain category.
- Square talents are active abilities;
- Round talents are passive effects;
- Octagonal talents display the ability to change current talent within this icon. Note that you will never have both talents at the same time.
To get access to the fourth row, players have to spend 8 points in the first three rows; to get to the eighth row, 12 points should be spent in the previous seven rows.
Players may also name and save current tree versions for later use and switch between them anytime. Remember, however, that not only your talent tree but your action bars arrangement will also be saved. An unusual feature is that you can share your saved talent distribution with other players. Players can switch their presets wherever they like outside of combat.
Another game mechanic that was reconsidered is flying. A new expansion allows players to customise and train their dragon mounts to fly faster, making breathtaking air pirouettes in the process.
Each zone in Dragonflight grants players a special mount: a Proto-Dragon, a Ptero-Dragon, a Wyvern, and a Drake. Each is completely customizable, with armour, wings, tails, and even an occlusion. But, most probably, to get all appearance variations, players must participate in various game activities, such as Mythic+ dungeons, raids, Arenas, RBGs, etc.
Your dragon must be well trained and levelled to learn new acrobatic manoeuvres like mastery over momentum, and gravity, or fighting against exhaustion and the pull of the earth. And for that, you have to complete multiple quests and tasks. Dragonriding is not a replacement for regular flying and won’t be available outside Dragon Isles.
To learn more about Dragonriding mechanics, please read our complete guide.
A more or less clear picture of all class changes will show itself somewhere in the first third of the expansion, but some generic alterations are revealed already. The most visible change is the availability of some classes towards races. Now, every race except for the Dracthyr can become a Mage, Priest, and Rogue.
New Dungeons and Raids are the most anticipated part of each new expansion. Usually, we’ve got eight dungeons and three to five raids to explore. Dragonflight is expected to continue such traditions. Right now, we know of all eight new dungeons and one raid.
This is a small table that demonstrates general information about each new dungeon.
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Unlike previous expansions, this one will represent new dungeons in two steps – the first four at the very beginning and the second four – sometime later. Formed free spots will be taken by adequately scaled and changed old dungeons.
- The Primal Council;
- Dathea, Ascended;
- Kurog Grimtotem;
- Broodkeeper Diurna;
- Raszageth the Storm-Eater.
The item level range for this raid is 389-405. Among the most interesting items is a Neltharax, Enemy of the Sky bow that has great equipment usage and stats and looks fantastic.
Right now, we know of four main Dragonflight factions.
Dragonscale Expedition – A joint expedition of the Explorer’s League and Reliquary, this fearless group of adventurers, scholars, and crafters seeks to uncover the many mysteries of the Dragon Isles.
Maruuk Centaur. Centaur clans roam the Ohn’ahran Plains, where they follow the call of the wind and seek the thrill of the hunt.
The Iskaara Tuskarr have been on the Dragon Isles for generations, living in harmony and telling tales of the world around them.
Valdrakken Accord. Centred in their most ancient city, the Valdrakken Accord is the unified might of all dragonkind, seeking to protect their island home and all of Azeroth.
Renown System Revamp
Gaining reputation for new Dragonflight factions will vary from the usual way and will not follow a typical Friendly, Honoured, Exalted reputation grind. Instead, we will have a renown system that is moving to the next expansion from Shadowlands. Luckily, it will also experience some changes. We’ve got the same amount of, so to say, covenants, though this time it is house of dragons.
You don’t have to select a single faction and be tangled in it till the end; you will gain reputation levels with all four factions for completing various activities, basically everything we usually do. Apart from that, a new renown system is not tied to daily or weekly limits. There are 25 renown levels in total right now. This amount may and will probably increase in the course of expansion. You get the next renown level by gaining 2500 reputation points with the faction tied to the concrete scale. The announced rewards have cosmetic usage, like transmog items, treasures, recipes, and mounts.
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Professions will finally have a huge redesign. A new system should tie professions more to player identity; at least, this is what is planned. There are a few very important renovations.
Crafting Specialisations will return in a new expansion. Players will craft higher-quality items. A Blacksmith, for example, will be able to become an Armorsmith and craft more powerful Plate armour items. To master a profession, players will have to complete different tasks. They may meet a hermit in a cave who can teach them more about a chosen profession or find an old book with crumbling sheets on a bookshelf at some long-forgotten ruin.
Crafting Orders are a new system that helps players to get a crafted item from a profession they don’t have. You may meet with your fellow-crafter tet-e-tet or visit a special NPC, who will help you place an order. Feel free to send needed materials if you happen to have some – this will reduce the total cost of an item.
With the help of the crafting orders option, players may get Profession-exclusive items, which were previously bound to a certain profession. We wonder whether this innovation includes mounts?
New optional reagents were added to the existing ones. There is also an opportunity to recraft a before-made item if you don’t like it any longer.
A new ranking system was added to crafting professions. It is called Item Quality. The more times you craft a certain item, the better quality it becomes. Better, in this case, means a higher item level, better or even additional stats. There are five quality ranks for gear pieces and three for potions and materials.
The capital city for a new expansion, Valdrakken has a profession district with Crafting Tables for everyone who wants to master their skill. Players can also set a personal meeting to agree upon orders.
A separate material bag spot was added to regular bags, and this is great – no need to replace one of your precious bags and thus reduce free space, – just insert a reagent bag.
Developers have added special professional gear to make you look more like an expert in your profession. Your character will automatically swap into it when doing anything profession-related, like herb gathering or crafting items.
Ah, yeah! Collections! A thing everybody is interested in. Everyone knows that the larger your collection is, the cooler you feel. The developers know that too. That’s why they keep adding new collection items and new achievements to mark out the zealous collectors. A new 500 mounts Thanks for the Carry! the achievement was added, and it rewards players with Otterworldly Ottuk Carrier. The pet collectors were blessed with five new achievements, for collecting 12, 50, 1500, 1700, and 2000 pets. Each achievement gives another pet as a reward. Now isn’t it great?
The new expansion brings dozens of new collection items such as pets, mounts, transmog, achievements, etc. New class sets are surely worth gathering, for instance. One of the most interesting mounts is Divine Kiss of Ohn’ahra, as it turns a character into a bird. An extremely rare option, by the way.
User Interface Changes
The User Interface system has required massive changes for a long time. The screens have become larger and wider since 2004, and the old icon positioning is no longer convenient. Players may construct their own interface design as of now. Go to the Game Menu (ESC by default) and choose a new option, Edit Mode. Voila! Feel free to change in your personal way every element on the screen and move it wherever you like. There is an option to save your current UI setup, and download it later if you want. The layouts bind to a current spec and may be changed for every other spec of every other class. They also may be imported and exported between characters. Good old wyverns and gryphons, which guard the skill bars, have also been redesigned and now look more modern.
Now, let’s discuss some smaller and, maybe, less noticeable changes that significantly improve the gaming experience.
- In addition to joint raids, Horde and Alliance followers may now share mobs’ tags. No more problems with elite quests, where there is always an acute shortage of needed mobs. All the loot and experience will be available for all members of a fight. However, note that this refers to ungrouped players only, and the limit is five different characters.
- Another interesting change is a Resurrection Sickness debuff, which all players get when resurrecting at a Spirit Healer. A debuff now lasts for a minute only instead of 10 minutes and causes 50% of for the players above level 10 and 10% for those beneath this line durability loss instead of 75%.
- Blacksmiths can craft a new item that will save players over Azeroth lots of time and gold coins. A Tyrivite Repair Hammer repairs one chosen item to full durability. Great stuff, though it’s disposable. But. There is an upgraded version of this item – Master’s Hammer, and it is permanent. A truly irreplaceable thing!
- The World Quests seem to have a much larger time limit. This makes it far more convenient to orient between them and to actually play the game without rushing as if you are late for work.
- Some zeppelins’ and ships’ masters have a little timer above their heads now, so you can always know where that stupid bucket is.
- The Group Loot system has been changed as well. Now, one cannot Need the items their class cannot wear. The main spec and off-spec priorities were added, which means that any DD who would want a tanking piece of armour will automatically lose a Greed roll not only to a Tank but to those who use Tanking as an off-spec as well.
- There can’t be two wins on the same item or the item you are wearing now. Not even if you roll Need for it.
- You can now track far more currencies in your bag interface than before, eight instead of three.
- Say goodbye to Shadowlands levelling. Now you can raise your alts in other zones, and just as a free reminder, – Warlords of Draenor is still the best expansion for such purposes.
- The barbershop is free now. You may change every detail of your character daily as often as you like. Make barbers suffer!
- Campaign quests NPCs get a special mouseover.
- The gameplay support for gamepads was enhanced, but it’s better to use a special console port add-on.
- We can finally combine all bags into one officially. Go to Game Menu→ Options→ Gameplay→ Controls and enjoy your huge single bag.
- And a PvP aspect as a dessert. Solo Shuffle has become rated now, giving active PvP players a chance to compete for seasonal achievements and rewards. Rated rules are identical to the ones in Battlegrounds and Arenas.
New Accessibility Options in Dragonflight
There are a couple of new accessibility options, which might not be seen from the start. However, they may ease your gaming experience, so check them out.
Press and Hold Casting. A life-saving change for certain circumstances. No need to press the key over and over, making even more moves that may be necessary. Just hold the hotkey and have your tea already.
Interact Key. A new option that allows interacting with NPCs by pressing a key on a keyboard and relaxing your finger muscles. To interactable objects and NPCs, developers have added a special icon.
Action Combat. Now you can target your enemies by just turning your face to them. Targets will change the moment you face away.
All these features are optional and may be switched off in the Game Menu.
Things Going Away
Every time we have a new expansion around the corner, we say goodbye to some features and rewards. There won’t be any global removal this time, but the usual things will go away.
- The Veilstrider [name] title and Back from the Beyond meta-achievement for doing practically everything in Shadowlands.
Jigglesworth, Sr., aka Jellycat, for completing all Shadowlands raids on Normal Fated difficulty.
- Three meta-achievements for completing all Shadowlands raids on Normal, Heroic, and Mythic Fated difficulties. The title [name], Hero of Fate, counts as well.
- We Are All Made of Stars (Heroic), and We Are All Made of Stars (Mythic) achievements will no longer be available. However, a Normal difficulty variation will still be obtainable.
- The Shadowlands Keystone Master: Season Four Achievement and associated Restoration Deathwalker mount.
Fractal Cypher of the Carcinized Zerethsteed. Unlike other mounts from the last bosses, this one is completely removed. No one-per cent-chances for this automaton