So, the latest World of Warcraft expansion came out a couple of weeks ago, right when I was supposed to be studying for the JLPT. So I didn’t get very far into it until after the test.
Now that I have… it’s pretty good? I think I like it?
For context, I have to admit that Warcraft Lore is one of my weakest points as a nerd. I never played any of the RTS games and I’ve only played WoW during a couple of more recent expansions. So my experience with WoW has included a lot of times where I’m following a storyline and then there’s a Very Dramatic Cutscene where SUDDENLY SOMEONE APPEARS and I’m like, huh, everyone seems very shocked by this.
Sometime the unexpected guest, or guests, turn out to be dragons, and that’s the case with Dragonflight. But, you know, these are good dragons and very rarely eat people.
WoW seems to have a lot of good dragons, and bad dragons, and my wife who has played far more of the game and read far more of the supplemental material is very up-to-date on which is which and which dragons are GOOD dragons BUT had dads that were total jerks. This is different from my typical approach to dragons, which is to ask whether I need frost or fire resist gear.
The previous WoW expansion was set entirely in the afterlife, and consisted of a storyline where you marshaled your forces to fight back an evil, but extremely hot, vampire daddy and then found out that he was JUST A PAWN AND THE REAL VILLAIN was…
…was super boring by comparison. Like, they made one charismatic villain and peaked.
Thankfully, the dungeons were top class and kept me coming back time and again. Except you, Plaguefall. You get to sit in the Bad Dungeon Corner and think about what you did.
So after that, your characters come back to the Real World and presumably have a very hard time convincing everyone that you saved the world again because it’s not like anyone on Azeroth actually saw hot vampire daddy. But hey, champagne all around, except now there are evil dudes running all over Azeroth summoning elementals which is a fair less metaphysical sort of danger.
It turns out that these guys are trying to bring about the rebirth of some evil bad dragons who we’ve never heard of before because there was a war with the good dragons like a super long time ago and the good dragons won but they didn’t want to kill the really bad dragons so they just imprisoned them because good is dumb.
I’ve already forgotten why this is any of my concern as a non-dragon. It would have helped if one of them had just come clean and said something along the lines of
“Look, we may be immortal flame breathing lizards the size of a greyhound bus but we could really use some help from you puny mortals. We’ll let you keep anything you get off their bodies. Do we have a deal?”
Mind you, the raid zone where you do this hasn’t opened for business yet, so everyone is just running around the world and doing all of the other stuff you can do, which includes a pretty bitchin’ dragon flight simulator and storylines revolving around the day to day challenges of Centaurs and Walrus dudes and how you puny humans can make their lives easier, one quest at a time, in exchange for 40 to 60 gold and possibly a new pair of shoes.
There are some Bad Centaurs to go with the Bad Dragons, as an aside. All of the Walrus dudes seem pretty chill, though.
If you’ve done enough chores and want to get into some five-man instanced content, the expansion has eight dungeons at launch. I’ve run all of them at least once and there don’t seem to be any real stinkers. None of them seem quite as fun as Shadowland’s De Other Side, but maybe they’ll grow on me.
Dragonflight also brings the game’s first new class in quite a while, the Evoker. Evokers are limited to a single race, which is also the game’s first new race in a couple of expansions, and there are a LOT of Evokers running around right now. The evoker class can choose between healing and DPS specializations, so if you like to play tanks in MMOs and liked being in demand before, you may find the added popularity either welcome or overwhelming.
Also roughly half of my WoW guild has switched over to Evoker mains for the upcoming raiding and mythic season. So I am predicting a lot of drama around mail armor. I will be continuing to play a Paladin and ignoring the entire issue.
For anyone masochistic enough to do crafting in a MMO, WoW did a pretty comprehensive overall of the crafting system. I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it, but my impression is that it seems less awful than FFXIV’s crafting, but not as good as EQ2’s crafting. It definitely promises payoff for people who deep dive into it, but it also lets you invest deeply into specific crafting specialties with no way to reset them should you suddenly realize you’ve made huge mistakes.
Also there’s PVP for those who want it, even if the Horde and Alliance officially have a truce now. I did a lot of that in Shadowlands, but don’t feel like doing any more of it in Dragonflight. Presumably it’s less of a hot unbalanced mess early in an expansion launch cycle, so getting in on that now is likely going to be the best time for it.
Look, I’m not going to pretend that I’m suited to review an MMO expansion, or even that doing so in its first month is a good idea. But Dragonflight seems good so far and if you’ve liked WoW in the past, but fell off with Shadowlands, I think you’d enjoy this one. It also wouldn’t be an awful place to start playing, since you get to level from 1 through 60 in the fairly down-to-earth Battle for Azeroth expansion and then go right into Dragonflight without any weird detours to alternate dimensions.