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First of 2 World of Warcraft: Dragonflight pre-patches drops next week

New expansion features will roll out in phases

An impressive red dragon tilts its head back and roars, with wings spread against a blue sky Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

Blizzard has announced that the traditional pre-expansion patch for World of Warcraft will come in two phases ahead of the release of the game’s ninth expansion, Dragonflight. The pre-patches introduce new features and gameplay changes ahead of the expansion proper.

Phase one of the pre-patch goes live next week, on Oct. 25. This phase focuses on features that will be free to all WoW players. The talent system is getting a revamp, with talent trees being reintroduced for the first time since 2012’s Mists of Pandaria expansion. The new user interface will go live, with a modernized look and new customization features, and new accessibility features will be added. New class and race combinations will become possible as the rogue, priest and mage classes are made available to all races for the first time. And there’ll be a new ranked player-versus-player mode in the form of Rated Solo Shuffle.

Phase two, on Nov. 15, is when players who have pre-purchased Dragonflight will gain access to the Dracthyr Evoker race and class. The first locked combination of race and class to feature in WoW — only members of the Dracthyr race can be Evokers, and no other classes are available to them — Evokers start at level 58, just shy of the pre-expansion level cap of 60, and can specialize in ranged damage or healing. Their new starting zone, The Forbidden Reach, will also be added.

Also on Nov. 15, players will get access to a new dungeon, Uldaman: Legacy of Tyr, and Primal Storm quests and world events will begin setting the stage for the Dragonflight storyline.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight launches on Nov. 28, and introduces the Dragon Isles continent, a new form of flight in Dragonriding, an overhaul of professions, and more.

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