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World of Warcraft: Dragonflight aims to feel more comfortable

world of warcraftthe next expansion of dragon flight, aims to smooth out the throttle and offer a less catastrophic and more comfortable experience. After 18 years, the sheer passage of time has changed. world of warcraftand the game has wandered into some truly wild territory. dragon flight it’s a course correction back to cozy.

“Third place” is a sociological phrase for the place we go the most when we’re not at work or home. Whether it is a relaxation station or a social hub, there must be a third place cool. For many players over the years, World of warcraft It has been his third place. Recent expansions have taken players on an endless series of epic adventures and final content. We’ve traveled to the undersea realms of a tyrannical naga queen, gone to fix the realms of death, and even visited a cosmic cradle of mind-warping alien creation. dragon flight it will add new adventures, but we will also have time for simpler pleasures, making it an ideal third place.

“It was like coming home to creating the land itself,” says Tina Wang, Blizzard’s associate art director, on a call with Polygon. “There is a feeling of majesty; we wanted to create a feeling of undiscovered wilderness.” Players will use their new dragon to view all of the Dragon Isles from above, but will spend some time smelling the metaphorical roses. “We created these pockets, thinking of them as the seats of power for the various Dragonflights, and where we put them was up to their decisions and what made sense with the cultures they were associated with.”

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World of Warcraft: Dragonflight - Alextrasza, the Aspect of Red Dragonflight, stands in a stone room in her dragon form.  She is a large red dragon adorned with heavy golden fittings on her horns.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

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Despite all the failures of the previous expansions, the launch content of new zones and quests has been well received. It seems that dragon flight will continue in that tradition. These territories on the Dragon Isles are contested by factions both old and new. While leveling up, players will encounter centaur tribes and fang settlements. It’s a big step down in the stakes after shadowlandsand a welcome.

There will still be the usual types of quests, like collecting skins and killing enemies. Late game sees the biggest de-escalation, with max-level activities asking players to hang out and build bonds with new friends in those factions. Instead of delaying the end of the world, we’ll be fishing with walrus friends or hunting with new allies.

“It was a great team effort to create these spaces in areas that are huge by world of warcraft standards,” says Jake Miller, senior director of games at World of Warcraft. “As the player progresses through the zones, they unlock new abilities for their dragons, as well as new dragons in each zone. So if the Proto-Drake doesn’t fit your needs, the Speedometer might. That is my favourite, he has a big toothy smile.”

The player will spend much of their time on the back of a dragon, which they can customize and upgrade with glyphs hidden throughout the islands. The Islands have also been built with tons of open plains, vertical towers and peaks, and immense ancient architecture.

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World of Warcraft: A player's companion dragon, in the process of customization.  This dragon is a horned and toothy beast with heavy claws and wings folded to the sides.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

“By learning from recent previous expansions and seeing what we could do, we knew first impressions. [on dragon-riding] it would be very important,” says Miller. “So we looked to create something that was really fun, engaging, and felt fast from the start. Locomotion and exploration give players a way to progress with no time lock and completely player-driven.”

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Valdrakken, the social center and capital of dragon flightit is also very different from its predecessors. Battle for Azeroth had two capital cities, one for each faction, and shadowlandsOribos was more of an interdimensional airport than a proper home. Players are expected to spend a lot of time in Valdrakken working on its professions and trading with other players, and Dragonflights has made it comfortable for us mortals.

All this seems to do dragon flight a much more comfortable third place than previous expansions. Blizzard will need to build on this foundation in subsequent patches of the expansion and ensure that this reset of the status quo doesn’t immediately trigger galaxy-ending threats. But ironically, gamers seem excited about a game that is less in all time.

Azeroth has been a third place for fans over the years. A recent anthology of fan comics, Interludeshows stories of Warcraft champions at rest during the post-shadowlands time skip dragon flight it feels like a quieter, more peaceful time, while also introducing new conflicts to resolve and lands to explore.

dragon flight It will launch on Windows PC on November 28.

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