World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is the next major expansion for the aging MMORPG from Blizzard, set in an all-new continent called The Dragon Isles.
Dragonflight was rumored for several months ahead of its reveal a few weeks ago, which is now known to include a new draconic race called the Drak'thyr, who also have access to a new special dragon-themed class called an Invoker.
With Dragonflight, Blizzard is aiming to incorporate some of its learnings from WoW: Classic into the modern version of the game, revamping all existing talent specs for each class down to something more similar to WoW's classic points-based talent trees. Additionally, Dragonflight explores updating and improving the game's core systems, adding depth to things like professions while also revamping the UI for modern times.
As is tradition for World of Warcraft, Blizzard will begin inviting players into public alpha and beta tests in the run-up to launch, which is expected by the end of the year. Per sources familiar with Blizzard's plans, we've heard the first wave of WoW: Dragonflight alpha invites will begin going out on July 14, 2022, this upcoming Thursday.
You can opt-in to test World of Warcraft: Dragonflight using this link, with a signed-in battle.net account.
Typically, Blizzard invites players in waves as it gradually grows the test server population to ensure stability and the like, taking player feedback on class balance, leveling flow, dungeon mechanics, and more. Blizzard has been criticized for discounting player feedback in previous alpha tests, so it will be interesting to see if any major changes occur as a result of this year's testing phase.
Dragonflight tells a more terrestrial WoW story set on the planet Azeroth, as players grow increasingly fatigued with the cosmic world-ending high-stakes stories Blizzard has opted for in recent years. The dragon flights of Azeroth were once charged with stewardship over the mortal races, but sacrificed their power to defeat their corrupted brethren Deathwing. In Dragonflight, it seems that the dragon aspects want to reclaim their role as guardians of Azeroth, while battling new threats that have arisen on the mysterious Dragon Isles.
World of Warcraft has seen a bit of a decline in recent years, with recent expansion Shadowlands likely to end up high on lists of least popular content drops for the game. Renewed focus on improving the core of what WoW is could help prepare the game for its future, and I recently wrote about how I'm optimistic for WoW: Dragonflight, despite all the controversy.
Microsoft and Xbox are attempting to acquire Activision-Blizzard for an eye-watering $72 billion dollars, with the deal expected to close sometime in 2023. Hopefully, that will bring further investment to the WoW franchise it desperately needs to reclaim its place at the top of the MMO pile.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!