The most recent World of Warcraft expansions started out with a tightly scripted, story-heavy, and somewhat awkward on-rails scenario. Dragonflight seems to have remembered that it is an MMORPG and I should decide what kind of adventures I want to live in. Right out of the boat on the vast and beautiful Dragon Islands, you’ll encounter minimal handling and four massive new areas to explore. It’s like Blizzard has finally learned to trust us to find pleasure unsupervised, and they’re letting us roam the world again. I still have a lot of this expansion to play, but it’s already so refreshing.
As of now, I’ve gone from 60 to 67 and have gone through two of Dragonflight’s four main areas. They really do fly – pun intended – which is a little disappointing. I’m much more of a “The journey is more important than the destination” type than the one who thinks the “real” game only starts at max level. However, the new talent points I’ve earned along the way have definitely helped my characters flourish. I feel like I understand so much better where combat designers were going with specs like Marksmanship Hunter and Preservation Evoker now that I have a fuller toolkit to work with.
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight Reveal Art and Screenshots
These areas are downright gorgeous too. The contrast between the volcanic wastelands and the verdant river valleys of The Waking Shores is a breathtaking introduction to the expansion. And it features some of the best side quest writing I’ve seen in WoW in a long time. One of my favorite quests was to sit and listen to a red dragon, shapeshifted into a lowly dwarf, talk about all his regrets and pain at being banished from his homeland for 10,000 years.
Another one I loved is traveling slowly, on foot, with a clan of centaurs to their sacred meeting places, complete with a pit stop for a hunting competition. These kind of heartfelt, memorable moments are truly World of Warcraft at its best. They seem to be there for lovingly give you a boost and remind you to take your time, to just exist in this beautiful world for a while.
A wing and a prayer
If that’s a bit too slow for you, then I think you’ll love the new dragon riding system. Zooming in on the landscape at up to three times the speed of traditional WoW “flying” mounts, I feel like I’ll never be able to go back to that old system. Stamina, which limits your dragon’s stamina, may seem a bit limiting at first. I’ve gotten into the habit of going out of the game to check on my friends in discord every time I’m forced to land and wait for it to reload because there’s often nothing useful or useful. interesting to do during this downtime.
But it’s amazing when you’re hovering, banking, and diving with a palpable sense of momentum and physics that WoW normally lacks. The restrictiveness of your first drake’s abilities is a strong incentive to hunt for hidden glyphs that will allow you to go higher, further, faster, which has been one of my favorite activities – alongside the drake lessons. dragon riding that reward you for better and better times.
I’m not a big fan of the way it controls over a mouse and keyboard, though. It seems to be begging for controller support, something that’s been rumored for a long time but never actually showed up. In addition, there are still some technical problems. If you fly down a steep hill at a high enough speed, you may crash and boot to the login screen. A few of my guildmates were even unable to log back in for a while afterwards.
A dragon dance
The main story, so far, hasn’t really impressed me as much as the side quests. If you haven’t followed all of the out-of-game lore leading up to Dragonflight, you might be a little confused as to why you’re even here in the first place. There’s some tension between the big good guys, but it feels a bit hollow. The new villains, the Primal Dragons and their humanoid minions, the Primalists, have yet to impress as particularly complex or interesting villains. At least there seems to be some sort of succession crisis brewing within the Black Dragonflight that promises to deliver some interesting stories down the line. But the first dungeon, Ruby Life Pools, is very simple and timeless apart from the rather explosive final fight.
So far this has all kind of fallen by the wayside, as I have so much fun exploring the islands and getting excited about little adventures that no longer involve the fate of the world. It makes me feel like I’m playing Vanilla WoW 2004 more than even WoW Classic. I might be called “Champion” by powerful players like Dragon Queen Alexstrasza or arrogant Prince Wrathion, but most of the time I vibe like I did back when I was an independent adventurer when a guy in the woods asked me to fetch twelve bear donkeys for its bear donkey stew. It feels good.
And the extensive crafting system really appealed to me too. It’s easily the best World of Warcraft has ever been for fans of creating and enchanting your own cool stuff, with different grades of materials and different results for finished goods depending on your skill level and your choice of progress. When I craft myself a pair of level 5 leather pants, I know every stat on those bad boys is that high because my leatherworking skills are so much higher than what the recipe calls for, because I specialized in the leather pants specifically, and because I chose to use only the finest bear asses in their manufacture. These pants will be sought after because of my mastery, dedication and reputation as a craftsman. There are many pairs of leather pants. But you want these, because I made them.
There’s still more than half of the expansion to see, so I’ll update this review as my journey continues. I would be remiss to put a score on Dragonflight before I saw the new raid, currently slated to go live on December 12. But in this moment ? While I may miss the spirit of innovation that has run through parts of Shadowlands – I yearn for something like Torghast better done, where it doesn’t feel like a chore but still allows solo players like me to really test our skills and class mastery – this expansion’s back-to-basics approach seems to be paying off so far. The positive reaction to Classic WoW has clearly inspired some soul-searching at Blizzard based on interviews they’ve given recently, and while it may end up looking like a “year of rebuilding” for modern WoW, the foundations laid are solid. .
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