World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is the MMO’s ninth expansion and it 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, and talent system changes. So if you’re ready, here’s what we know about World of Warcraft: Dragonflight so far.
When is the WoW: Dragonflight release date?
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is set to release in 2022, some time towards the end of the year—no exact date has yet been given. You can pre-purchase (opens in new tab) the expansion now too, which states that it will be available “on or before December 31, 2022”.
Historically, most expansions have launched in the second half of the year, between August and December, so this makes more sense than our original thoughts. We had speculated that Dragonflight might not arrive until early 2023, partly because Shadowlands Season 4 (opens in new tab) is set to arrive later this summer. But it seems that the last Shadowlands season will be shorter than usual, to make way for the new expansion.
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 homeland of dragonkind. It’s divided into four new zones: Waking Shores, Ohn’ahran Plains, Azure Span, and the ancient Thaldraszus.
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 can also have a dragon as a mount called the Dragon Isle Drake. Blizzard explained that your drake mount is customizable with different appearance unlocks (snouts, horns, tails, and more) and skills for making them fly further and faster.
Unlike flight as it exists in WoW so far, dragon riding is a bit more involved. Blizzard say that riding your drake is something new, a very different way of getting around. 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. And 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.
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
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.