World of Warcraft’s latest expansion is all about dragons, so it wouldn’t feel quite right unless you got to do some flying of your own. To help make this happen, Blizzard is introducing a new kind of flying called Dragonriding, which will be available to players from the very beginning of the Dragonflight expansion.
Dragonriding isn’t exactly like the free-flying that players are used to in World of Warcraft at the moment, instead it’s somewhere between flying and gliding. Players will hop on top of Drakes, who can then flap their wings to gain extra height and slowly fly, using their momentum to carry them forward. While the Drakes will start off with flying that’s barely better than a glider, their abilities will upgrade as you progress through the expansion, getting closer and closer to true flight.
To help take advantage of this new method of travel, Blizzard has designed the Dragon Isles to be bigger and more expansive than some of Azeroth’s previous zones.
“One of the things about the new zones that we’ve done is, they’re a lot bigger because of Dragonriding,” Brian Holinka, a game designer on Dragonflight, explained to Polygon in a Zoom interview. “We’ve tried to make spaces that are bigger that really take advantage of that and make it a lot more fun. So for the time being, players will be having a good time in the Dragon Isles on their dragons and seeing it in a whole new, different perspective.”
Another important part of Dragonriding is customization. Blizzard wants players to feel that the Drake they’re riding is unique to them, so Dragonflight will include many different customization options for the mounts.
“We got the player customization in Shadowlands and now we’re turning our attention towards things like the Drake mounts in Dragonflight,” Steven Danuser, World of Warcraft’s narrative lead, told Polygon. “There’s just tons and tons of options for you to customize those mounts. We really like giving players those options to individualize not only their own character, but how they’re moving around the world and what kind of mount that they’re choosing to take through and explore these ancient runes with them.”
Players will get four different Drakes throughout their time exploring the Dragon Isles, one for each zone and Dragon Aspect. Beyond just customizing these mounts, players can also earn new moves for their Drakes, upgrade them with special max-level challenges, and eventually explore hidden areas of the Isles thanks to their Drake’s new powers.
Along with Dragonriding, Blizzard also announced several other new features for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, including the new Dracthyr race, the Evoker class, a revamped skill tree, and many other quality-of-life improvements. During this same event, Blizzard also announced World of Warcraft Classic’s Wrath of the Lich King expansion.