World of Warcraft: Dragonflight

Is it worth playing World of Warcraft in 2022? (Updated for WoW: Dragonflight)

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Is it worth playing World of Warcraft in 2022?

Best answer: Long story short, yes! World of Warcraft: Dragonflight puts the game in a better state than it has been in years. A broad degree of boosted player freedom, new features, and mechanics, wrapped in a vibrant and familiar Azerothian continent makes Dragonflight a winner (so far).

World of Warcraft’s previous expansion, Shadowlands, proved relatively unpopular with players due to its time-gating mechanics on progression, haphazard story, and weak characters. The new expansion, Dragonflight, is thus far proving to be a far more positive experience for a variety of reasons. Dragonflight has given players more freedom over how to build their characters with a return of the classic talent tree system, while also adding a new class in the form of the Evoker. The new Dragonriding flight mechanics have proven popular too, alongside a full revamp of the game’s profession system. 

TL;DR: Should you play World of Warcraft: Dragonflight?

(Image credit: Windows Central)
  • World of Warcraft’s previous expansion, Shadowlands, has now come to a close.
  • Shadowlands was relatively unpopular for its time-gating mechanics, Covenant choices, and weak story direction. 
  • Dragonflight launched in December 2022, and has washed away the previous design ethos that led Shadowlands to give players heaps of additional freedom.
  • A reimagined talent tree system gives players more control over their class builds, with a greater degree of variety per spec. 
  • The talent trees incorporate some popular abilities from previous expansions, while also sprinkling in new ones. In some cases, this has made some classes feel incredibly fresh.
  • WoW: Dragonflight also adds Dragonriding which makes flight faster than ever. To accommodate, the world is also massive with broad verticality. Flying through the isles simply feels great. There are also heaps of dragon customization to unlock, and races to participate in. 
  • Dragonflight also adds a new class/race combo called the Dracthyr Evoker. These draconic creations were abandoned by Neltharion, otherwise known as Deathwing, in an attempt to merge the potential of mortals with the power of dragons. 
  • Dracthyr feel a little underdeveloped in some ways. They have fewer abilities and talent specs than most classes, and their designs are also the subject of controversy. They can only wear shoulders and belts, making transmog options extremely limited. In male humanoid form, they are blood elves, once again, adding to the already disproportionate amount of elves in the game. They are however quite fun to play, and add a unique variety of new combat mechanics such as charge-up attacks for those seeking something fresh.
  • The Dragon Isles are filled with activities and very soft time-gating, if any. Players can essentially grind all the reputation rewards if they feel like it, although there are weekly boosts for those who don’t feel like racing to the finish every day. 
  • Most of the rewards are also cosmetic and profession-oriented. Blizzard avoided the mistake of making these soft “Covenants” offer power progression. All of your power progression can come from levels and gear obtained from professions, dungeons, raids, and quests. 
  • The new dungeons and raids aren’t the most unique in the game’s history, but they are fun and interesting and offer familiar challenges and rewards for those who enjoy WoW’s PvE gameplay loop.
  • So far, Dragonflight has been a great experience for me personally. While the new player experience is still awful, returning players should find a lot of things to love in Dragonflight. 

What is World of Warcraft?

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a game near and dear to my heart. I’ve played on and off since the game’s closed beta in 2003, and have struggled to put it down even during its worst periods. I’ve said before, World of Warcraft at its worst still makes it better than the vast majority (if not all) of other MMORPGs out there, owing to its decades’ worth of lore, rapid and responsive combat, and uniquely satisfying endgame loop. 

World of Warcraft has now entered its 19th year with the Dragonflight expansion, which skips the game’s story ahead a few years. WoW expansions add heaps of new content, kickstart new stories, revamp existing systems, and polish the game’s graphics to keep it feeling fresh. Some expansions totally miss the mark, but this latest one is offering hope that better times in Azeroth are ahead of us from now on. 

WoW expansions are near full-priced games in essence, given that they provide thousands of potential hours of gameplay with new systems and landmasses. The game is also funded via a subscription model, which means that every few months a new “season” drops during the expansion. These seasons tend to heap on even more new features and content, moving the story forward while adding new dungeons, raids, and bosses for you and your friends to take down. 

Source: Windows Central Yes, you can travel to those mountains.

Source: Windows Central Yes, you can travel to those mountains. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

World of Warcraft has many imitators (and WoW itself borrowed heavily from other MMOs that preceded it), but few have managed to achieve Blizzard’s level of execution. WoW is an action RPG that is responsive, exciting, and quite honestly, somehow gorgeous despite rocking an engine that’s more than a decade old. WoW is going strong, although the game has had a rocky few years owing to poorly-received expansions like Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands. Blizzard has also been embroiled in a series of scandals and controversies, contributing to a large amount of staff turnover and generalized disruption across its properties. However, Dragonflight represents something of a new beginning for the team, with a total change in direction and a time skip in the story, offering a brighter view on the horizon. 

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