One of the great additions of World of Warcraftthe ninth expansion of, Dragonflight, is the Dracthyr Evoker – the third “hero class” and fourth class overall to be added to the game since its launch in 2004, and the first ever locked race and class combination. The Evoker is a spellcasting warrior belonging to the ranks of the Dracthyr, a humanoid-dragon hybrid race.
Although Dragonflight launching today, November 28, Dracthyr was added in one of the expansion’s recent pre-patches, and I’ve been playing the Evoker ever since. Specializing as a damage dealer or healer, it’s a fun class with lots of mobility and utility, a relatively streamlined skill set, and some nice tweaks that make it punchier and slightly more modern to play than many. wow Classes. But there’s something about the whole Dracthyr package – the concept, the look, the lore, the special introductory quests on Forbidden Reach – that I find lacking. By wow‘s exaggerated standards, it’s oddly tasteless.
There’s no denying that the Evoker is fun to play, or makes the most of its unique opportunity to match the form of your character’s race with the function of their class. Dracthyr, like all dragons in the Warcraft universe, are shapeshifters who can take on the look or face of one of Azeroth’s humanoid races – in this case, a particularly sexy race, based on human female models. or male blood elves. But in battle, they default to their true form: a bipedal dragon with wings and a tail, much like a handsome gargoyle that went to the gym.
The wings are essential for the Dracthyr to handle differently than any other wow class to date. An Evoker can repel enemies by striking with its wings and tails, but the wings also enable two stunning mobility skills: Hover, which allows rapid movement across the battlefield without preventing the use of attack skills, and Soar, who launches the Evoker high into the air for a limited version of the new Dragonriding flight skill. This allows the player to cover large distances at high speed without mounting (albeit with a five minute cooldown) – a huge advantage when questing. Soar alone has many players considering switching to an Evoker as their main character.
The Evoker is a dragon-themed variant of an offensive spellcaster, an archetype wow is barely short of – despite being the first ranged class of any kind to be added to the game since launch. The Evoker excels in splash and burst damage, and has Deep Breath, a satisfying airborne area-of-effect attack that launches them across the battlefield, spitting fire at all enemies below. The focus is on cheap and fast skill rotation that relies on a few Empower spells, which can be charged by holding down the hotkey – a new mechanic in wow this adds an interesting element of risk versus reward to optimize your damage output.
So the Evoker feels as fresh to play as you would reasonably expect from an addition to an 18-year-old game. But still, if you step back and look at the whole concept of this racing class combo, something is wrong.
It is important to look at the Dracthyr in the context of wows two previous hero classes. (Hero classes start at a higher level than normal classes, are designed for experienced players, and come with uniquely distinctive abilities.) with deep roots in Warcraft lore. They had both been units in Warcraft 2 and 3the strategy games that preceded wow, and they have strong ties to two of the most memorable character arcs in the universe: Arthas, the Lich King in the case of Death Knight, and Illidan Stormrage in that of Demon Hunter. These links gave them a poignant narrative dimension in addition to their extremely Warcraft, designs without more metal.
In contrast, the Dracthyr feels like an afterthought – because they are. Dragons are central to the Warcraft story, and the theming of an expansion around them has been widely welcomed by the community. But there’s no precedent for the Dracthyr themselves, and they were clearly invented to fill a hole. Their introductory story bends over backwards to explain why they’ve never been mentioned before – rather less successfully than the Secret Pandaren, which made the journey from joke to canon in 2012. Mists of Pandaria – and tries to modernize a link to Neltharion, aka Deathwing, the mad black dragon and big bad of the 2010s Cataclysm. But at this point, these gestures seem superficial. (It’s possible that the scenarios in the expansion itself flesh out Dracthyr’s backstory in a more satisfying way.)
This lack of inspiration carries over to the look of the Drachthyr, which, despite an impressive range of customization options, is a conventional, somewhat innocuous, cosplay-ready high fantasy with a hint of fur about it. (Or should it be scaly?) It lacks the distinctive Warcraft flavor that characterizes some of them. wowother original and newly invented races, such as the Draenei (noble space fauns) or the Worgen (Victorian werewolves).
Even the Evoker’s mechanically excellent class design makes it feel like it’s missing that secret Warcraft ingredient. You are a dragon that can heal or blast magic; cool. But it’s not as hardcore as an undead tank tapping into the power of corrupted blood, is it? He’s also not as unique as a drunken, drunken master of a martial artist – the Monk class Brewmaster specialization, which was added in Mists of Pandaria and is still one of the most sophisticated and pleasantly ridiculous mashups on the wow pop culture canon.
The problem with the Dracthyr Evoker is that you can easily imagine it appearing in any other fantasy game. It’s not true of wowits other hero classes, or its many vanilla races and classes. The craftsmanship in its design is still there, and it’s understandable that after 18 years this game is finally starting to run out of ideas. But it’s still a bit of a shame.
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