World Of Warcraft Interview: Dragonflight – Factional Action

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight: At least it’s a really nice piece of art (photo: Blizzard)

The new The World Of Warcraft expansion has been unveiled and it not only brings dragons, but also the possibility of cooperation between factions.

After several expansions focused on world-changing cataclysmic events that tore Azeroth apart, World Of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Dragonflight, takes a different take on the venerable MMO. Set in a high fantasy land filled with dragons, centaurs, fangs, and ‘crazy magic’, this expansion aims to return to the roots of Azeroth and the classic components associated with the World Of Warcraft legacy.

Instead of launching players straight into another apocalyptic battle, Dragonflight will focus on deep exploration and adventure. The expansion hopes to emulate the ‘classic experience’ of World Of Warcraft, while adding dragons and new and modernized features.

Dragons have been around for a long time in the World Of Warcraft franchise, but Dragonflight is the first expansion to put these colossal creatures at the center, as players journey to the secretive Dragon Isles. These mystical islands have been hidden for 10,000 years and offer players a “fresh look” at how creatures exist in the world of Azeroth.

Players will have the opportunity to create their own dragon character, thanks to the new Dracthyr race. And if you’re not sure if you’re trapped inside the body of a scaly, winged reptile, you’ll be pleased to know that his draconic body also has a humanoid form, also with a great deal of customization.

Senior game designer Jackie Wiley considers the dragons in Warcraft to be “unique” and the pinnacle of high fantasy. “World of Warcraft dragons are such a special take,” he told me. “As fantasy nerds, they are one of those cultures that everyone is excited to work with. I mean, who doesn’t want to do dragon stuff?

Associate Art Director Tina Wang also offered her vision: “Players will be able to encounter dragons that they haven’t seen before. With the new dragon typing ability, you’ll be able to collect four different types of dragons. And the first fully customizable mounts. Our new Wilderdrake comes with tons of customizable options.’

While paying homage to the original qualities of World Of Warcraft in terms of lore, discovery, world, and character creation, Blizzard will also be implementing some ambitious, if not sweeping, changes to the game. Players should expect to see a much more user-friendly and modernized UI and talent overhaul, and the opportunity to play between factions.

Striking the balance between nostalgia and experience is key. After all, World Of Warcraft is not the same game it was 17 years ago. (Unless you play World Of Warcraft Classic, that is.)

World Of Warcraft: Dragon Flight screenshot

World Of Warcraft: Dragonflight – Dragons come in a variety of forms (photo: Blizzard)

Exploring the Dragon Islands

Many gamers will remember the joy and wonder of logging into World Of Warcraft for the first time and seeing the world slowly unfold, ready to be explored. As Jackie says: “There’s nothing like a true adventure in Azeroth!”

Fans of the game will have fond memories of venturing into beautiful areas full of secrets and rich lore to discover. Tina sees Dragonflight as fitting into this mold: “Story-wise, we want to go back to the very foundation of what World Of Warcraft is all about.”

The Dragon Isles will be located somewhere between Northrend and the Eastern Kingdoms, where they have remained untraceable after an ancient war known as The Sundering. So why has it taken so long to reveal the Dragon Isles, if they are so close to familiar continents within Azeroth?

Jackie had some thoughts about this: ‘Dragon Island has been shrouded in thick fog. When The Sundering occurred, all magic was drained from the island. But now, while Azeroth is healing, all the magic is returning. When our lovely friend Koranos from the trailer, aka stone man, fixed the Titan relic and unleashed that beam of light, he revealed the Dragon Isles again.

The idea that Azeroth has all these secret lands, that go beyond what was previously known, has always been its biggest selling point for me as a player. The world feels limitless, which is a key quality for fantasy games.

The mystical Dragon Isles are filled with jagged cliffs, golden tundra, and icy waterfalls. The new zones are described as “rich, secret and vibrant”. The incredible cinematics and artwork speak for themselves.

Dragonflight will focus on exploration, as players peel back layers of history, old ground some will be familiar with. Starting in Waking Shores, players will immediately be thrown into the action when they arrive at the ships, with the opportunity to battle opposing players as they sail through the Dragon Isles.

Azure Span is one of the largest zones to date and is inspired by Grizzly Hills (photo: Blizzard)

Other zones, such as Azure Span, have been inspired by Grizzly Hills, a fan-favorite zone from the 2008 expansion Wrath Of The Lich King, a nice touch due to the return of Wrath Of The Lich King for World Of Warcraft players. Classic.

The core conflicts and main enemies in Dragonflight have yet to be officially revealed, but there is certainly a hint of an impending threat, due to the different types of dragons that exist in the zones. Could an internal fight between the dragons be imminent?

Jackie had this to say: ‘There’s more to dragons than we’ve seen. The original dragons were raised by the titans and are tall and intelligent. But this did not happen to all dragons. Some dragons have their own languages ​​and cultures. They have their own threats that they could impersonate dragons that aren’t titans. As we dive into the Dragonflights, we’ll also see what came before them and where the future with dragons will go.

Game between factions

For the past 17 years, the Horde and the Alliance, the two factions in World Of Warcraft that players can choose to join, have been at war with each other. But for the first time in World Of Warcraft history, players will be able to collaborate with those of the opposing faction to complete dungeons and raids.

How will this play out in terms of the lore of the game, where the pacts between the Horde and the Alliance have always been tenuous? Jackie is optimistic about cross-factional features: “I think the lore suits cross-factional play. We have expansions where the Horde and Alliance are actively at war together, but they’re prepared to put their differences aside for good. the common good.’

It’s true that we’ve seen the Horde and the Alliance come together at certain points in World Of Warcraft’s history, so perhaps factional play isn’t as quirky as it seems. It’s happened before, when opposing sides united against the Burning Legion, and the Horde and Alliance also scouted zones side-by-side in expansions like Mists Of Pandaria.

Although faction play will be integrated into World Of Warcraft, Jackie insists that this will be a limited optional feature dependent on community feedback. ‘Cross faction is not something we would do lightly. We have had 18 years of separate factions. But at the end of the day, it’s an MMO and we want players to be able to play with their friends.’

In a Twitter poll posted by the developers, which solicited player votes on faction play, 70% of players voted for the feature. Night elves joining groups of undead teammates might seem strange and break the tradition of not being able to complete objectives with the other factions, but hopefully it will work to help the game evolve.

In terms of Dragonflight, Tina explained that “the Horde and the Alliance will come together to explore this land that has been hidden for so long.” There will be different factions working together to unravel the mystery of the Dragon Isles. But these adventurers are not the conquerors. These are scientists, explorers, and settlers known as the Dragonscale Expedition. There will be rivalries between the two factions, but they will also be collaborating.

The Horde and the Alliance are prepared to put aside their differences to explore the Dragon Isles. And that’s how the new cross-faction system will be threaded into the structure of the game.

Dragonflight carries a message of hope. The hope of healing the world and restoring some order within the fractured world of Azeroth. The Dragonflight trailer is light and hopeful, especially when compared to the frigid showdown at Icecrown Citadel between Sylvanas and Bane in Shadowlands.

With everything that has happened in the last two years, a message of hope feels very welcome. Jackie agrees: “As storytellers, we always put a little bit of ourselves into what we create. Including the things we look forward to. As a team, we all have a shared vision for the future of World of Warcraft, so it’s good to hope for an expansion.”

final thoughts

Dragonflight, the ninth expansion for World Of Warcraft, seeks to usher in a new era of high-fantasy adventure and fuse the old and the new. Jackie is excited for players to be able to experience the vastness of a dragon’s homeland: “Expansions like Wrath have given players clues to what dragon architecture is like. You have Wyrmwrest Temple and Dragonblight. Returning to the Dragon Isles allows players to really see what a dragon city is like and where the dragons live.”

With such a strong concept underpinning the expansion, I’m excited to learn more about Dragonflight and how the story will unfold.

By Charlotte Fodor

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