Yesterday, Blizzard had its big World of Warcraft reveal — a two-in-one. New expansion and next step of WoW Classic. I have thoughts — deep, profound, possibly gassy thoughts — on these, so let’s comb through this.
As I (and many others) said in recent months, Blizz really had to bring it hard with this expansion. BFA and Shadowlands were so underwhelming in the end and the playerbase kind of disillusioned that this had to revitalize interest.
So what do we get here? Dragons, dragons, and (spoiler) more dragons. Players can roll up dragon characters (and their associated Evoker class), go to the Dragon Isles, and fly around on personalized dragons.
Listening to the WoW devs gush (according to a carefully and sometimes awkwardly written script) about the new race, I felt like they were pulling my leg. I mean, it’s a dragon humanoid, which looks as good as any other MMO dragon humanoid, which is “not very.” Hey you get wings and spikes and Au Ra envy, good for you. But I’m going to say what people aren’t here: The race is kind of a mess, visually. It’s not quite the draw that they think it is.
I mean, you know me. I am not a dragon fan. I think it’s such a tired and overplayed fantasy creature that MMOs go to time and again, and WoW leaning this hard on dragons is a huge miss with me. Shouting “DRAGONS!” at every turn is not going to get me to run full-tilt at your game again. I need more.
So thematically, this fell flat. The zones look cool, but the story and motivation here is lacking. Dragonriding is, what, flight 2.0 designed by Guild Wars 2? What about those of us who want those flight mechanics without hugging dragons? Guess we’re out of luck. It’s not that thrilling of a feature announcement.
There are a bunch of quality-of-life improvements designed to stick around, which is something that I approve. Better UI, the return of talent trees (yay), and more involved crafting.
But Dragonflight feels like it’s missing a huge exciting tentpole feature. There’s nothing here that’s making me want to resubscribe tomorrow. It’s decidedly middle-of-the-road when this needs to be a whole lot more.
It feels like a judgment upon retail WoW that I was legitimately more thrilled to hear confirmation of Wrath Classic than Dragonland 2: The Dragoning. We already know, more or less, what we’re getting here, but what’s really great is that we’re getting it in 2022. Everyone is already done with Burning Crusade, so it’s time to move on.
But it wasn’t a slam-dunk announcement. I was less-than-thrilled to hear was Blizzard’s glee at selling yet another level boost like it’s a good thing rather than something that has been incredibly divisive and destructive to WoW Classic since TBC Classic launched.
What’s worse is that Blizz up and decided that one of the best features of Wrath, the dungeon finder, won’t be included in this version. The studio claims that this is what the Classic community wants, and I call B.S. on that. Everyone I know is beyond tired of trying to find and put together dungeon groups in that game. The dungeon finder was an invaluable tool that let players get into dungeons without the hassle, and it boggles my mind (and makes me see red) that it’s not included.
Seriously, this is a dealbreaker for me. And maybe that’s a good thing, because I was so on the fence about Classic anyway that it’s probably a good thing to remove it from the table altogether.
While I’m sure that Dragonflight is going to get some interest because (a) new WoW anything will do that and (b) dragons interest some people, that expansion seems as boring, tepid, and safe as could be. It’s not anywhere near a Wrath or Legion level of expansion — and it absolutely NEEDED to be that. This is like someone coming up to you and giving you permission not to be hyped about the future.
As I said on Twitter yesterday, “I don’t know about you all, but that Dragonflight reveal was so boring it legitimately almost put me to sleep. The cinematic, the features, the interviews, the deep dive… all of it. There’s no soul to any of this, it’s just a colorful candy shell.”
For me, my interesting in WoW — Classic or Retail — is now at an all-time low. Just as well, I have plenty of other worlds to explore.