World of Warcraftnext expansion, dragonflight, aims to step on the gas and deliver an experience that’s less catastrophic and more comfortable. After 18 years, the sheer passage of time has changed World of Warcraftand the game has wandered into truly wild territory. dragonflight is a course correction back to comfort.
The “third place” is a sociological term for the place we most often go when we are not at work or at home. Whether it’s a recreation center or a social center, it should be a third place Relax. For many players over the years world of Warcraft was her third place. Recent expansions have drawn players into an endless array of epic adventures and endgame content. We’ve journeyed to the underwater kingdoms of a tyrannical naga queen, fixed the realms of death, and even investigated a mind-bending alien cosmic cradle of creation. dragonflight will add new adventures, but we’ll also have time to enjoy simpler pleasures – making it an ideal third location.
“It was like a homecoming to create the land yourself,” said Tina Wang, Blizzard’s associate art director, in a conversation with Polygon. “There is a sense of majesty; We wanted to create a sense of undiscovered wilderness.” Players will use their new Dragon Ride to see all of the Dragon Isles from above, but will spend some time smelling the metaphorical roses. “We created these bags because we saw them as seats of power for the various dragonflights, and where we placed them depended on their choices and what made sense in relation to the cultures they were associated with. “
For all the flaws of previous expansions, the starting content of new zones and quests has been well received. It looks like dragonflight will follow this tradition. These areas of the Dragon Isles are contested by factions new and old. As players level up, they will encounter centaur tribes and tuskarr settlements. It’s a big step down in the stakes shadowlandsand welcome.
There will still be the usual types of quests, like gathering skins and killing enemies. The endgame sees the greatest de-escalation, with max-level activities that challenge players to meet and bond with new friends in those factions. Instead of delaying the end of the world, we fish with walrus friends or hunt with new allies.
“It was a tremendous team effort to create these spaces in huge zones World of Warcraft Standards,” says Jake Miller, senior game director at World of Warcraft. “As the player moves through the zones, they unlock new abilities for their dragons, as well as new dragons in each zone. So if the Proto-Drake doesn’t quite suit your jam, maybe the Velocity Drake could – that’s my favorite, he has a big toothy grin.”
The player spends a lot of time on the back of a drake, which he can customize and upgrade with glyphs hidden around the islands. The islands were also built with tons of open plains, vertical towers and peaks, and immense ancient architecture.
“We’ve learned from recent, previous expansions and seen what we can do, so we knew first impressions [on dragon-riding] would be super important,” says Miller. “So we tried to create something that was really fun, engaging, and felt fast early on. Locomotion and exploration give players a non-timed, fully player-controlled way to progress.”
Valdrakken, the social center and capital of dragonflightis also much different than its predecessors. Battle for Azeroth had two capitals, one for each faction, and shadowlands‘ Oribos was more of an interdimensional airport than a real home. Players are expected to spend a lot of time in Valdrakken working on their professions and trading with other players, and Dragonflights has made us mere mortals comfortable.
All of this seems like it will make dragonflight a far more comfortable third place than previous expansions. Blizzard needs to build on this foundation in subsequent patches of the expansion and ensure this status quo reset doesn’t immediately result in threats of the end of the galaxy. But ironically, players seem to be looking forward to a game that’s less on the whole time.
Azeroth has been a third place for fans over the years. A recent fan comic anthology, interludeshows stories of Warcraft champions at rest during post-shadowlands Timeskip. dragonflight seems to be a quieter, gentler time while there are still new conflicts to settle and lands to explore.
dragonflight will be released on Windows PC on November 28th.