World of Warcraft players have been adventuring across the Dragon Isles of Dragonflight, and the next major content patch seems like it’s guaranteed to have them going blanky mode. Patch 10.2 is called Guardians of the Dream, and it takes players into the magical realm of the Emerald Dream. The patch includes a new zone, new world activities, a new raid, and new Dragonriding courses, glyphs, and mounts.
The Emerald Dream is a part of World of Warcraft lore that has shown up occasionally during the course of players’ adventures. It’s a realm of renewal, intrinsically linked with the world of Azeroth. The Emerald Dream is guarded by druids and the Green Dragonflight, and it’s under siege. Fyrakk, the Primal Incarnate of Fire, has teamed up with the Druids of the Flame to steal the power of Amirdrassil in the Dream itself.
Players are technically only accessing part of the Emerald Dream. “The Dream is massive; it’s theoretically the size of Azeroth,” says Katherine Bankson, an assistant lead quest designer at Blizzard, in a call with Polygon. “It’s the most of the Dream we’ve ever seen at once in its pure state.” Previous expansions have sent players into corrupted, defiled parts of the Dream; 10.2 will depict the original vision of the Dream.
This includes quests, a new world boss, and a raid, as players have grown to expect, but also a public event called the Superbloom. “[Superbloom] is an evolution of the other group events we’ve been doing in this expansion,” says Bankson. “You’ll be following an Ancient around; his name is Sprucecrown, and he needs our help to cultivate the tree.” Players will be joined by baby Moonkin, and they’ll gain some temporary powers from the Dream to help Sprucecrown on his mission.
Much like in other updates, players will meet a new faction: the Dream Wardens, which have their own renown track with its own rewards. Players will also be able to pick up a faerie dragon and the first non-dragon mount with Dragonriding systems: a fire owl that drops on mythic difficulty from the Fyrakk encounter.
Guardians of the Dream will also include new quests regarding the Titan servant Tyr, and a quest line where Wrathion and new ally Vyranoth venture to past zones to recruit more Dragonflights — specifically, the Netherwing of Outland and the Thorignir Storm Dragons from Stormheim.
The Primalists have been fun villains, and one of the highlights of Dragonflight so far. “The old pantheon of villains and gallery of foes from the Warcraft 3 days, we’ve exhausted those at this point. They’ve been defeated or something else has become of them. So it’s been a new challenge for the team to make new villains and ground them in player consciousness,” says Ion Hazzikostas, game director on World of Warcraft. “It’s been encouraging seeing the community’s feedback so far.”
Some night elf fans had hoped the new World Tree would be planted in Kalimdor, allowing for a new home for the night elves. Instead, the World Tree is in the Dragon Isles, the landmass uncovered in Dragonflight. “This isn’t a replacement for Darnassus. Nothing can replace Darnassus. But this is a new place they can use as a base of operations, that they can use to begin to heal some of those wounds that they’ve had,” says Bankson.
Blizzard still hasn’t revealed who the final boss of Dragonflight will be, but players can expect another major patch to follow Guardians of the Dream. The raid, called Hope of Amirdrassil, will take them up the fledgling World Tree in an effort to stop Fyrakk. Blizzard has planted seeds hinting at future story possibilities, but the full picture won’t come into focus until Guardians of the Dream goes live.
Blizzard just launched Patch 10.1.7, which includes Heritage Armor quests for the Forsaken and night elves. Guardians of the Dream will launch on test realms soon; Blizzard did not share an exact release date for the patch.