Dragonflight Is a Vibe

So Dragonflight launched a week ago now, though it barely took two days for the first "I'm 70 now and here's what I think" posts to show up on my timeline. While I was excited to dive into it as well, the husband and I were slowed down by the fact that we took turns suffering from a horrible cold last week that left us too tired and ill to even spend much time playing video games on some days, but we did get there in the end.

While the husband decided that evoker wasn't really for him and went back to maining his demon hunter, I opted to venture forth into the dragon isles on my new dracthyr first. I still like my monk too, but it just seemed thematically appropriate to take a dragon to the Dragon Isles (and I quickly came across some dracthyr-only side quests too). Plus I'm not gonna lie: the thought of being able to start a new expansion with completely empty bags was very appealing as well.

If I tell you that I've been having a pretty good time so far that won't really say much, considering that I also thought Shadowlands was okay from a casual point of view, despite of the many ways in which people seemed to end up hating it in the end. However, I will say this: Dragonflight is definitely different. There was a nice quote in a recent Taliesin & Evitel video that I sadly can't find right now but which went something like: "Dragonflight made me feel more nostalgic than Classic Wrath of the Lich King". Now, Taliesin is always excited about new WoW content, no matter what, but that particular sentiment struck me as interesting and stuck with me.

I thought of it again when I read about Kaylriene's launch day woes with the boat (something that we were spared, coming into the whole thing several days later) and it hit me that Dragonflight is the first expansion since Wrath of the Lich King where going to the new zones does not require you to do a painfully on-rails introductory quest chain or scenario; you can literally just take the boat and be there. Sure, on the Isles themselves, there's still a main storyline to follow and all that, but you don't feel quite as boxed in from the get-go.

The mood set by the quests and NPCs also couldn't be more different from the start of Shadowlands with its world-ending threat coming seemingly out of nowhere and requiring you to go to literal hell. Sure, there are threats to deal with on the Dragon Isles too - we know about the Primalists from the pre-expansion event for one thing - but they feel much more "manageable" for lack of a better word. To go back to the nostalgia comment, it reminded me how Elwynn Forest has gnolls and Defias, but you also help out a couple in love and feed a naughty kid a pork pie. The general vibe upon landing in the Dragon Isles is one of curiosity and optimism, and many of the side quests are downright wholesome. At one point I was joking to the husband that I was fine with leaving the dragons under attack a bit longer (as part of the main storyline) because we had frogs to save.

The complete lack of an Alliance vs. Horde conflict also plays into that. In fact, I squealed with delight when I met Captain Garrick and her son from Exile's Reach in the starter camp, and she gives you a short quest to introduce yourself to her Horde equivalent and there's some dialogue about how they're gonna have a meal together some time.

You get the feeling that Blizzard really wanted to use this expansion to slaughter a bunch of cows that had become (unnecessarily) sacred over the years. The Alliance and Horde always need to be at war? Nope, let's just not bother this time. No flying until you've "worked" for it? Nope, you gain dragon riding a few mini-hubs in and can then use it freely across the whole Isles. There must never be an auction house in a new hub city, to make sure that people are forced to go back to the old world and keep it alive? Nope, they just put an auction house in Valdrakken without much fanfare.

It feels refreshing and nostalgic at the same time, in the sense that it's reminiscent of a time when the devs used to be more daring and didn't seem to have quite so many self-imposed rules about how they can never do X or Y because of some past complaint that they never want to hear again - it's just been such a long time since that was the case that it almost feels like an entirely new concept.

I can't speak for what the endgame will be like of course... though the fact that it's been simplified to focus on gear and rep again for the first time in many years actually encourages me to at least give it a try. At least I "get" those things as opposed to conduits or whatever. I also like the renewed focus on professions, because even though I haven't yet really figured out how it all works and whether it's any good, as someone who enjoys both gathering and crafting, it's just been nice to see Blizzard give those systems some love again.


  1. I am enjoying these posts about Dragonflight, even though I haven't touched Retail in years and most probably won't while I am still enjoying Wrath Classic.

    Just wanted to pass on a small tip about your writing (which is generally excellent). I notice you sometimes use the term 'despite of' in your posts, which is incorrect. In English the two conjunctions 'In spite of' and 'Despite' mean exactly the same thing. But when using 'despite', it is not followed by 'of'. So it would either be 'in spite of the many ways...' or 'despite the many ways...' in your third paragraph.

    I hope you don't mind me passing this on. I think I am correct that English is not your first language so can certainly understand it being confusing - like many things in the English language!

    1. Interesting! Funnily enough, if I put "despite of" into Google, the first result treats it like a viable phrase and even includes an example sentence that uses it, but then every other result after that is about how it's grammatically wrong. Also saw a couple of mentions of it being an "archaic" form. Wonder where I picked that one up then!