World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is the MMO’s ninth expansion which will pluck us from the Shadowlands and drop us onto the mythical Dragon Isles. You can expect playable dragons, and rideable dragons, and playable dragons riding rideable dragons too. We’ll be headed to the homeland of the dragons, where both Alliance and Horde will face some newly-awakened ancient mysteries.
Dragonflight doesn’t have a firm release date yet, but it doesn’t look like we’ll have to wait until next year after all. There’s plenty of information about the next expansion to go through, from new areas, races, interface updates, talent system changes, and of course, the Dragonflight beta. So if you’re ready, here’s what we know about World of Warcraft: Dragonflight so far.
Is there a WoW: Dragonflight beta?
Yes, the testing phase of Dragonflight switched from the alpha to the beta phase at the beginning of September. There’s no sure method of getting into the alpha or beta phases for Dragonflight but if you want to be in with a chance, you should head over to the official Dragonflight website (opens in new tab) and hit the “Beta Opt-in” button, right at the bottom of the page.
When it was initially announced that Dragonflight was slated for a 2022 release there was some concern as up to that point, there had been no sign of any alpha testing. As it turns out, it was all part of the plan for a more focused testing period (opens in new tab). Now that the alpha has finished and the beta is underway, everything looks to be on track for release later this year.
When is the WoW: Dragonflight release date?
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is set to release in 2022, sometime towards the end of the year—no exact date has yet been given. You can pre-purchase the expansion now too, which states that it will be available “on or before December 31, 2022”.
That said, Wowhead spotted a post on Reddit (opens in new tab) which showed both the Dragonflight pre-patch and expansion release dates as October 25 and November 28 respectively. Other dates leaked in the same post have turned out to be correct, though personally speaking, I wouldn’t start booking time off just yet.
Quick facts on WoW: Dragonflight
- Level cap: 70
- New playable race: Dracthyr, which are Dragons, obviously
- New mounts: Also dragons
- New zones: Four new zones, one new starter zone
- System overhauls: HUD rework, new talent system, professions updates
- Group content: Eight new dungeons and a new raid
- New race/class combinations
WoW’s new playable dragon race is also its own class
Yup, you can play as a dragon in the next WoW expansion. The Dracthyr have a draconic form and a humanoid form, both of which you can customize when creating your Dracthyr character.
Dragons are so special though, that Blizzard say they didn’t really fit any of the existing classes. Dracthyr are getting their own unique playable class: the Evoker. All Dracthyr are Evokers and all Evokers are Dracthyr—though you can choose to be Horde or Alliance.
They have serious physical attacks like flying overhead with dragon breath, unleashing wind with their wings, and also their magical abilities which focus on ranged DPS or on healing.
Here are some other Dracthyr details:
- Dracthyr start at level 58.
- Dracthyr wear mail armor.
- They have their own starting zone.
- Two specialisations; a mid-range DPS and a healer.
Zones and story
WoW: Dragonflight’s new zones and story
The new area coming in the Dragonflight expansion is the Dragon Isles, the homeland of dragonkind. It’s divided into four new zones: Waking Shores, Ohn’ahran Plains, Azure Span, and the ancient Thaldraszus, the home of the new capital city Valdrakken.
The Dragon Isles were always a mysterious part of WoW’s lore, and now you’ll be flying face-first into all its ancient secrets. During the reveal stream, Blizzard explained that the Dragon Isles were the center of the dragon kingdom when the world was new. Long ago, the sundering of Azaroth into its continents sent magic into a dormant state that forced dragonkind to leave the Isles behind. No points for guessing that the elemental energy of dragons isn’t staying dormant much longer.
In addition to dragons themselves, there are several other mortal races that you’ll run into on the Isles. The half-giant elemental Djaradin are old enemies of the dragons. The walrus-like Tuskarr are making a return appearance as well. Blizzard also mention an old civilization of Centaurs living in the Isles.
Dragon riding looks way better than flying
Dragonflight is really into dragons, so much that you won’t just be able to play as one. You’ll also have access to dragon riding, along with your own customizable dragon mount. Blizzard explained that this mount is customizable with different appearance unlocks (snouts, horns, colours, and more) and talent trees for making them fly further and faster.
WoW’s game director, Ion Hazzikostas, has also confirmed that Dragon Riding unlocks will be account-wide. “We’ve talked about the philosophy of what should be character-specific progression, what should be progression that you, the human behind the keyboard, are making across your accounts. The convenience of traversal felt like one of those things—that’s only fun to go in one direction. Having to re-unlock it on subsequent characters would not be terribly compelling.”
Unlike flight as it exists in WoW so far, dragon riding is a bit more involved. It’s a very different way of getting around Azeroth and Blizzard’s developers talked about how momentum and gravity are coming into play with dragon riding, with all new animations for diving and barrel rolling around the Isles.
While it’s not a replacement for traditional flying, dragon riding will allow you to take to the skies in the new Dragonflight zones. The ability to fly is usually only earned partway through an expansion and is gated behind a specific set of achievements. While the same will be true for Dragonflight, dragon riding means you won’t have to rely on going everywhere on foot until that happens.
Dragonflight professions are getting an overhaul
Professions will be revamped for the new expansion. Blizzard has gone into detail on the new systems here (opens in new tab)—but I’ll go over some of the most significant changes coming in Dragonflight. These are:
- Crafting Orders
Crafting Orders will let you place orders for pretty much any craftable item in an “auction house-like interface”. This essentially means that you will be able to customize an item to your liking with the reagents you choose but get someone else to craft it for you. Crafters that pick up these orders will get a small commission for their work.
Specialisations allow you to focus on a particular area of your chosen field. Not many details have been shared about how this will work but it sounds similar to the old system specialisations, such as having to choose between Goblin and Gnomish engineering.
Profession stats will offer four new ways to make your crafting more efficient, and you’ll be able to equip gear to gain their bonuses.
The Dragonflight profession stats are:
- Inspiration: You have a x% chance to be inspired, crafting this recipe with extra skill.
- Resourcefulness: You have a x% chance to use fewer tradable reagents such as ore.
- Multicraft: You have a x% chance to craft additional items. Only works on recipes for stackable items.
- Crafting Speed: Crafting is x% faster.
Quality is also being introduced to professions. Crafted items, including consumables, will have five new Quality levels and this will be determined by the quality of the materials used, as well as your crafting stats and skill level. For gear, higher quality means a higher item level whereas consumables will have a longer duration or more charges.
Gathered materials such as herbs, ore, and leather will have three new quality levels which, in turn, will influence the quality of the item you craft with them.
New Dragonflight profession bag slot
We’ve already mentioned that professions are getting an overhaul, so you’ll need plenty of space to keep the different crafting materials, especially now you’ll be dealing with different qualities.
“Think like what the reagent bank tab is, back in your personal bank in town,” said Ion Hazzikostas in a recent interview. “One of the first questions that came up and feedback from people on the team was ‘I don’t have any backspace as it is. This sucks. Please don’t give me more junk to put in my bags.'”
The new professions bag won’t be the same as those we’re used to either—these will be much bigger. There’s been no word on exactly how many slots it will have, but it seems you won’t need to struggle to find somewhere to put all of your reagents. “Not literally endless, but the intent is: big,” stated Hazzikostas.
Talent tree and UI overhaul
Talents are returning to their roots
Talent Trees are coming back, and look similar to their pre-Mists of Pandaria counterparts. Right now, you get to pick six talents for your specialisation, with a choice of three for each row. Dragonflight will bring back a more complex talent system.
Instead of each class getting a tree for all of their specs in Dragonflight, you’ll have a main “class tree” and an additional “specialisation tree”, depending on which role you’re currently specced into. The neat thing about this is that it will give you loads more choice, and you’ll be able to save profiles for different talent tree set-ups, so you can easily switch between them for different kinds of content.
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The 18-year-old UI is getting revamped
There’s no getting around the fact that World of Warcraft’s UI looks its age and Dragonflight will introduce the first major revamp in nearly 18 years. The upcoming expansion will give the UI a cleaner, less cluttered look and allow you to move individual elements around the screen.
Like talents, you’ll be able to save UI profiles, and you can even have a specific set-up load automatically for different specialisations. If you play a healer, for example, you’ll generally want party or raid frames to be in an easily accessible spot on your screen, whereas a DPS player might prefer those frames to be off to the side and out of the way.
The UI overhaul isn’t going to remove the need for WoW addons (opens in new tab), but giving us the option of not being quite so reliant on them for basic customisation can only help our overall experience.
New Race/Class combos
Mages, priests, and rogues can be any race
Traditionally, classes are locked behind the race you choose, with some being far more strict than others—yes, I’m looking at you, druids. And while that will still be the case for many classes going into Dragonflight, you can choose any race you like if you want to play a mage, priest, or rogue.
The eight new race/class combinations are:
- Tauren mage
- Highmountain Tauren mage
- Highmountain Tauren priest
- Orc priest
- Tauren rogue
- Highmountain Tauren rogue
- Draenei rogue
- Lightforged Draenei rogue
New Dragonflight dungeons
Eight new dungeons are arriving with Dragonflight. Four of these dungeons will unlock as you level through the Dragon Isles while the others will be available once you hit level 70. These are:
- Ruby Life Pools
- Brackenhide Hollow
- The Nokhud Offensive
- Uldaman: Legacy of Tyr
- The Azure Vault
- Halls of Infusion
- Algeth’ar Academy
The changing Mythic+ pool
The Mythic+ dungeon pool is also changing in Dragonflight. Similar to Shadowlands Season 4 (opens in new tab), older dungeons from previous expansions will join the dungeon lineup, with Dragonflight dungeons rotating in or out of the Mythic+ dungeon pool each season.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t apply to normal, heroic or mythic dungeon difficulties, so you can access all eight Dragonflight dungeons on these lower difficulties throughout the entire expansion.
The first Dragonflight raid
The first raid in Dragonflight will be Vault of the Incarnates with eight bosses to go up against. These are:
- The Primalist Council
- Sennarth, The Cold Breath
- Dathea, Ascended
- Kurog Grimtotem
- Broodkeeper Diurna
- Raszageth the Storm-Eater
In the current and previous expansions, raid bosses generally drop gear of the same item level, with instances where the last two raid bosses reward slightly higher loot. But looking at the encounter journal in the Dragonflight beta, it seems that raid bosses in Vault of the Incarnates will drop better loot the further you progress.
These may change before the Dragonflight launch, later this year, but this is how the item levels for Vault of the Incarnates look currently:
- Eranog: 385 (LFR), 398 (normal), 411 (heroic), 424 (mythic)
- Terros, The Primalist Council, Sennarth The Cold Breath: 388 (LFR), 401 (normal), 414 (heroic), 427 (mythic)
- Dathea Ascended, Kurog Grimtotem: 392 (LFR), 405 (normal), 418 (heroic), 431 (mythic)
- Broodkeeper Diurna, Raszageth the Storm-Eater: 395 (LFR), 408 (normal), 421 (heroic), 434 (mythic)
World quests, Renown, and Dragon Racing
As far as the rest of the endgame activities go, it all seems to be pretty relaxed so far. Sure, you’ll have Renown to grind (Dragonflight’s take on reputation) with the different factions but the rewards you get won’t be vital for gearing up or increasing your character’s power. Instead, there is a mixture of cosmetic rewards, pets, dragon customizations, or perks to make your time adventuring in that specific zone easier.
World quests will also return in Dragonflight, and you’ll have the chance to show off your dragon riding skills against other players in Dragon Races that are available in some of the zones.
Group loot should be returning for raids
Personal loot might have solved many problems with players unfairly distributing loot via the old Master Loot system but it brings its own set of issues. Thankfully, it looks like Group Loot will be returning as an option in Dragonflight, for raids at least.
The hope is to move away from personal to a shared pool of loot where you kill a raid boss and can roll for the items on the corpse. Of course, you can pass on them, or trade to your friends too. “That’s a world we think we want to be in again and so we’re still hammering out the details but our current plan is to have raid bosses in Dragonflight work that way,” said game director Ion Hazzikostas.
What about Sylvanas?
She’ll probably be too tied up with grinding her (endless) weekly Maw quest to pay much attention to the next expansion, sadly.