On Tuesday, April 19 — Blizzard Entertainment announced the new expansion World of Warcraft: Dragonflight which introduces the new Hero Class/Race combo: The Dracthyr, four new customizable dragon mounts exclusive to the new zone Dragon Isles.

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Jackie Wiley (senior quest designer) and Tina Wang (associate art director) on the Dragonflight expansion. In my time slot, there were other outlet representatives: Cory Taylor (BlizzardWatch), Greg Burke (Shacknews), Robin Baird (MMORPG) and Max.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight interview with Tina Wang and Jackie Wiley

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight Interview Transcript

Tina: I’m Tina Wang, associate art director on World of Warcraft. I’m most focused on the world, and I’m excited to talk about all the art.

Jackie: I’m Jackie. I’m a senior quest designer on the team. I’m also the quest point for one of our zones: Ohn’ahran Plains.

Cory Taylor: In Shadowlands, we saw the Covenant storylines. Each had its own self-contained storyline that tied in with the Covenant story itself. But that meant that while you were leveling, it often made the zone feel kind of incomplete. So as a player who’s only played one covenant, you don’t get the full story there. Are you going to do something similar with the four zones in Dragonflight? Or is that something that you’ve iterated on?

Jackie: Yeah. So in Dragonflight, there’s no Dragonflight Covenants or anything. The content is for all the players to go through. So while in each zone we have questing with the Dragonflights that make their homes there.

In the Waking Shores, we find the red and black dragonflights. In the Ohn’ahran Plains, it’s the green dragonflight; and in the Azure Span, it is the blue dragonflight; and in Thaldraszus it is kinda like everybody in — which is also the home of the bronze dragonflight. We’ll be questing with all of them and experiencing all of their stories.

So there’s no locked quests behind different Covenant systems or anything like that. You’re free to pursue as you go forward.

Tina: Yeah, and there’s not just the dragonflights, but there’s also the cultures that are in each site and they will have their own storylines related to them, like in the Waking Shores is our first.

You’ll have the the Dragonscale Expedition, which is a mix of the Explorers League from the Alliance and the Reliquary from the Horde. And so that’ll be part of when you first step into Dragon Isles. It’s like that story of discovery; and then we have like centaurs out in the Ohn’ahran Plains. So things like that, but you can explore all of them at your leisure.

Greg Burke: They mentioned that here in the zones you are going to start, then to your third zone and this is your fourth zone. Is that just for labeling purposes? Are you guys still going to have the mechanic of the level up anywhere, experience the storyline wherever you want to start in your level up process; or is it more linear this time around?

Jackie: So in Dragonflight, when you’re leveling your first character, you will go through the zones in order. So Waking Shores, Ohn’ahran Plains, Azure Span, Thaldraszus — trying to keep in mind players wanting to get to max level, moving through the zones; and then there’ll be more to explore that you might not be directly directed to during the level up.

We’re still talking amongst the team about what we want to do with alts, but our hope is that if you don’t want to do the main questline altogether, it’s not something so specific as like Threads of Fate, but there’s so much content in these zones. They’re absolutely massive.

Players should be able to level through the Dungeons if they want, or level through like doing side quests or different chapters that might appear throughout the zones.

Robin: I know this is maybe a little bit outside of where you guys can talk, but I was curious with the bringing back of the Talent Trees to the characters, and the split of having a tree for the class as a whole, and then having spec specific ones. Are you able to go any detail of what sort of things would be in the class specific one versus what sort of things would be in the specs per specific trees?

Jackie: So we have the class-specific trees and the spec-specific trees. So class specific trees are more focused on your shared class spells, your class utility — things of that nature; and there are your role abilities — such as your output as a healer holy Paladin, or your pet on Beastmaster hunter — things that are specific to that spec and role.

Even like now when you look and your play class, when you look in your spellbook, you kind of have these two different books when one is more like related to your class; and then the other one that’s kind of related to your spec.

Blizzplanet: Let’s see… big elephant in the room. People thought many years have passed by the time we returned to Azeroth. That we would emerge at a different point in time. A bit confusing. How do we transition from Shadowlands to Dragonflight — considering the strange way Time works in the Shadowlands?

Jackie: Time maybe works weird in the Shadowlands, but it’s not like we’re coming out of Shadowlands and: “oh my God, you’ve been gone for 50 years.” It’s nothing of that nature. It’s still Dragonflight. It still definitely takes place after Shadowlands, but not like the character was like asleep during Shadowlands in a coma for a long time or whatever.

Cory Taylor: The Dracthyr have wings because they are dragons obviously, much like demon hunters do. Even though demon hunters notoriously cannot fly with their wings — like true flight, like zipper around the zone. Are Dracthyr going to be able to fly, and are they also going to get the glide ability that demon hunters have?

So on the Dragon Isles, the Dracthyr will start off with a type of Dragonriding that won’t be able to be like as advanced as you’ll eventually be able to achieve on your actual dragon mount. However, as a Dracthyr, you will be able to ride a dragon in your Visage Form; but yes you will be able to fly in some form.

Jackie: It’s similar to Dragonriding, but Dragonriding overtime, you like advance it (upgrade it) and like a lot of different mechanics, you might be able to use. The Dracthyr don’t have that progression in their flying, but they can like jump off and dive.

Greg Burke: So regardless of how the new race looks, will we be able to play our mage-like abilities in and out of human and Draco form, or are we going to be permanently stuck in Draco form when we’re in combat?

Tina: You are all going to be in Dracthyr form when you are in combat. Yes. But let me talk about the Dracthyr and their customizations. There is more customization than what you saw in the video. there’s actually so many ways that you can customize that Dracthyr. Even the shape of the face. You can have, like these snouts that can look more ancient, or more sleek, or like a more blunt.

You can even slightly change your torso to be like slightly more slender or slightly bulkier; and the armor that you wear is a type of armor that you will be able to customize at the Barbershop, too. So Dracthyr, I think they’ll also be able to wear shoulders, tabards, belts across their visage and Dracthyr form. While the visage form is able to wear all-armor.

Jackie: We want to be clear that Dracthyr are Evokers, and Evokers are Dracthyr. They’re one and the same. It’s definitely a race/class combo. Dracthyr aren’t like warriors. They are Evokers. The Evoker class abilities are such so tied to being a dragon — wings and tails and claws and dragonflight magic — that the two are just like interconnected at the core.

Robin: I was curious about how you guys determined the order that we progress through the zones, like how the story works with the dragonflights and why you chose to do them in that order?

Jackie: The Dragon Isles are built kind of like going up in elevation — right, Tina? So you start at the shore, on the lowest elevation, and then they’re kind of going up from there culminating in the big city.

Tina: One of the things too with the zones that you explore — the very first zone, the Waking Shores, we want to introduce you to all of the background of the history of Alexstraza and the black dragonfight.

So in the Waking Shores you have the Ruby Life Shrines (we call them the Life Pools), as well as the black dragons; and also in this first zone, you’ll have the Djaradin, which is one of the enemies that are from the Dragon Isles. So it’s really about introducing you to, first of all, the history of the dragon relationships, as well as ancient threats that they might’ve faced.

So that’s one of the reasons why we show this intro experience that tells you, what is the dragon Isles? What is the history of the dragons? And then, we would delve into another zone where we tell you more of the Centaur story and the Ohn’ahran Plains where we get to explore.

In addition to this being the history of the Dragon Isles, there are cultures that have been here for so long and what about them? So that was the type of thinking behind it.

Blizzplanet: Are there requirements to unlock the Dracthyr Evoker or will they be available before the expansion, like all the classes have been?

Jackie: It’s a classic Hero Class. So we’ll start a little at 58, etc. They will be available during the pre-patch. You can get started with your Dracthyr Evoker and get ready for the expansion.

Cory Taylor: With the Dragonriding and the customizable dragons, we saw the four chassies, the proto, wyvern, drake, and ptero. Is there going to be more chassies added over time? Is that like a patch kind of situation; or are you sticking with those four; or is it just something that you don’t know yet?

Tina: I love how you call them chassis. So we have the four, but honestly the amount of customization within them is huge. Like you can really dramatically, dramatically change the look of them with the customizations. For instance, you mentioned the four kinds of drake — which are traditional drakes in World of Warcraft.

The proto-drake, which we’ve seen before. These two others: the veloci-drake and the wyvern-drake are ones that we’re seeing for the first time — these body types on the Dragon Isles; and the veloci-drake specifically has wildly different snout customization: a beak that’s shaped like a rhino or like pterodactyl looking. The range of customization there is huge and distinctive, and we’re really excited about it. You’ll be able to customize a dragon that maybe no one else’s dragon looks exactly like yours, just because the options are just so wide.

Jackie: Yea. Definitely keeping our options open for the future; but for now these four dragon basis are just like, they’re ridiculous; and the amount of customization. So you can have your green veloci-drake that has antler and a beak; and then you have your proto-drake that you can make like black and have like the really smushed-in snout and spikes all over it. You can have all four of them and customize them at will.

Greg Burke: I’ve been playing the game since it launched over 18 years ago on and off consistently enough. One of the things I remember from the first three expansions was your original talent tree — before you redid it in Cataclysm. But one of the memories I have of that is not getting into raid groups because people would say: “Show me your talents. Show me your talents. Show me your talents.” Do you guys… has the team talked about that? When you revamp the system, is it a worry for the new expansion? And how will you address it?

Tina: We’ve absolutely talked about that component of it; and one thing that is great about this new system is that there is no respec costs. There’s no friction there. You just have to go into a rest area and you can save out a different loadouts of your talents. So you can have a raid specific loadout, or a PVP specific one and name them what you want — and easily know like, okay, tonight I will just be playing like this. And you know, you have that freedom of choice.

Max: Back to the drake customization options. What’s going to be the process for customizing the drakes. Is it going to be something that’s like all encompassing as soon as you get access to them? Are there going to be like potential customizations to the drakes that you can unlock through gameplay like in previous content such as the Legion Legendaries?

Jackie: So the Dragon Isles’ drakes have so many customizations, it’s like an overwhelming amount. So as you move through your Dragon Isles’ experience, you’re going to unlock different ways to customize your dragon. So you might do a side quest that gives you one customization or maybe a boss in a raid drops another one; Diving in on another repeatable system; or as a faction reward; you can get another one in treasure chest. You’re going to find them throughout your experience of Dragon Isles doing different activities, and then you can go to what is essentially a Dragon barber, and we’re going to have them in each of the zones; and you can go there and customize your dragon, but you’ll be unlocking the customizations over time by playing the game.

Tina: And I’ll call out specifically to that. Like these customizations are purely cosmetic, right? And so you can look, however you want, you can make your dragon look like flat face, but it can still go really fast. It’s fine. It doesn’t have to look aero-dynamic to go, to be able to customize those snouts. Very important.

Robin: So another thing that I’m personally really looking forward to is the profession updates, and how that will work, because professions have been either too important or not at all important a lot in history. But I was wondering if you have any more details on how that will work fundamentally like with the order system and all of that.

Tina: One aspect of that work order system that I’m really excited about is that it can include a soulbind material. So you saw in the deep dive, like I can as a player say, I’m waiting and I get a bunch of materials. Some of them are soulbound. I can include those materials and some money and put them up on this work order system that’s almost like its own type of auction house, and then have a crafted crafted.

We don’t want players to just simply be able to best buy the best items with gold; and this work order system gets around that. So I’m really pumped. There’s also ways that you can specialize more and there’s like gear that you can get specifically for crafting that will be in its own gear slots where you’ll be able to equip them; and they’ll appear as you do these types of activities.

Jackie: My main is a miner/blacksmith and she always has been like, I’m very much like I’m making all my pick up mine professions regardless of whether what WoW expansion it is. I’ve been doing this since 2004. So my main’s identity is like a miner/blacksmith. I switched to alchemy once to help my raid make flasks, and I was like: “I got to go back. She would never do this. I can’t do it.”

So I’m really excited to when I mine, I take out my pickaxe that I have equipped and my hat and my mining backpack, and I can see myself mining with my specific gear; and then I can go through the city, hanging out with other blacksmiths, hangout at the blacksmithing table to make more of my advanced crafting items; and then I can just start crafting. I can take work orders from the work order auction house guy, and I can make stuff for my friends. I can specialize specifically in like armor smithing and then like shoulder smithing to make those like ridiculous wild pauldrons. You can also like overtime crafting specialization points, which let you work down the specialization tree and you can increase your crafting speed; you can like increase your chance to make dupes of an item; you have a stack called inspiration, which is like creating on like crafting. So maybe instead of like just crafting normal normal craft, normal shoulders, I can like get a crit with my inspiration and craft even better shoulders; and you normally can. It’s a system that’s like it’s super deep.

You don’t have to go deep. Like you can like treat it like current professions and just like craft stuff and go for it and make stuff that you’re happy with. But then for folks who love crafting, you can really get in, get down. All the phrases I’m thinking of are very poor. I’ve been talking all day. You can really get deep in their crafting system.

Blizzplanet: What was the inspiration and process of designing the Primalist Raid Sets? These look like nothing we have seen before in World of Warcraft. Almost all stone-clad with elements of water, fire, and storm on the helm and shoulders.

Tina: Yeah. So the Primalists– when we talk about the Dragon Isles, that this is a land that dragons were born from — dragons originated as proto-drakes, which are of the elements; and so even like the ancient threats of the dragons are related to that: the elements.

So the Primalists… they’re maybe not as ancient as the Titans, and so they truly are using the chaos, the chaotic elemental energy to form their weapons, the landscape. You’ll be able to see these like crazy swirls of almost like hardened lava rock that just have those elements in them — just to show like, they are the masters of this. And so the armor sets do themselves reflect that.


Cory Taylor: During Legion, we got the 7.2 content with the many deaths of Chromie. Is that going to be circled back around to in the Dragon Isles? Because we never did find out who was trying to kill Chromie.

Jackie: Oh man. It’s an option. We have so many narrative hooks throughout WoW. Right? Like all of the dragonflights are in like questionable circumstances based on all the stuff that’s happened to them since we launched WoW. Like… we sure have fought a lot of green dragons that got nightmare and etcetera, throughout the expansions. So there’s so many plotlines to pull from. I can speak to like more specifically on the greens, for example, right? The green dragonflight is in a state right now because their one aspect they’ve ever had (Ysera) died, and it was in the Shadowlands and we saw her in Ardenweild, like she’s dead.

So the green dragonflight is in these various interesting states right now of like, they’ve lost a lot throughout history with the nightmare and everything. They’ve had a very fraught past. So now the green dragons are kind of in this state where Ysera’s daughter Merithra has been acting as like the de facto leader for the green dragonflight since Ysera’s death, but they don’t have an aspect right now.

How do they move forward from that? You know, not all green dragons might agree that Merithra should be in charge. This responsibility kinda fell upon her, right? So we’re going to explore that with the green dragons, with some like really neat questing that I can just spoon over because I’m not the one building it; but we’re really going to dive into like the green dragon situation, and what their future is without Ysera. We will see that happening with all the dragonflights as they like come to terms with past events and for the bronze dragonflight, future events; and move forward from that.

So there’s a lot of stuff that we’ve done throughout the years that we’re really excited to pull in together, going to have some deep lore cuts for the lore fans. I’m sure.

Greg Burke: You guys are adding a new race and I know from past interviews that it’s not an easy task because you have loads of armors and shoulderpads and helms, and what-have-you-not that have to fit on the model perfectly. Can you talk about any challenges you faced when adding this specifically new race to the expansion of Dragonflight.

Tina: Yeah. It’s definitely a challenge; and that was one of the things with the Dracthyr that we’re excited about is with their Visage Form. Some people ask like: “Oh, why can’t I be like a gnome Dracthyr,” for instance; but truly, this makes it so that we can put so many options within this single class; and that’s why we wanted to do it. Just like give all of these options. We have way more options in terms of how many.

Jackie: How many options do you think? Not enough!

Tina: Yeah. But for instance, you mentioned the Dracthyr themselves, like in terms of that form, it is really challenging, right? That’s why, for instance, they’ll be able to wear like the shoulder and the tabard and the belt across the forms, but only their visage form — that more human-shaped form will be able to wear armor.

Jackie: Like you got us all those dragonscale tiles. They’re very good. By customization. You can choose your scale patterns. Like you got to show it off.

Tina: Yeah. And when it comes to the class itself, The Evoker, so much of the fantasy of what that is when you come to the Dragon Isles, using the magic of the dragonflights relates to being a dragon. So we really felt that we needed to create something like that to fulfill that fantasy, being able to cast and channel like a disintegration beam while you’re soaring as a Dracthyr, and like swooping across the battlefield, just so core to the fantasy that we wanted to achieve. So, yeah. We wanted to do it.

Greg Burke: As a quick little follow-up question to that. The Worgen have a really cool transformation animation where they like spread both their hands and they howl. Will we get something for the Dracthyr something similar to that?

Tina: You will transform between the two forms; and you can do that at will, too, out of combat. You don’t have to remain in a visage form.

Robin: Which zone is your personal favorite that you worked with.

Tina: You can’t choose a favorite. Honestly. It’s either. They’re like children. You have to love all of them equally.

Jackie: I could pick a favorite because I only worked on one zone: Ohn’ahran Plains. My favorite dragonflight is not the green dragons. It’s the bronze. I love green dragons, but I love time gremlins. So. Like I’m obsessed with like Chromie, but, um, yeah, from an art standpoint, obviously, I have a soft spot for Ohn’ahran Plains, but bronze dragonflight for life.

Tina: Honestly, each of the zones have like such a wide range in terms of the art and the biomes in them. It’s not just like Ohn’ahran Plains. While it has the plains, it also has these foothills, and geysers as does the Azure Span. It has these like Redwood forests, but it also has these really colorful, like gold and red Tundra sections as well as the snowy sections. So we’re just really excited for players to be able to explore this like huge landscape.

Jackie: The nice thing about the WoW team is that everyone is so passionate about different parts of WoW. So we’ve got people who are like obsessed with each dragonflight individually. So when we were like choosing who was going to go work on what zone from a quest design perspective — there are people like (raising their hand): “Greens.” “Reds. Give them to me. Now! Thank you.”

Tina: For people who are enthused about the dragonflights, too, each biome in each land that is reflective of the flight. You can just see it built into the flowers and the plants. Like these flowers are like red dragon, life and flowers; and then in the dream green dragonflight area, it’s all about like, you know, the swirls and like these purple groves and like draping Ivy; and then with the arcane in the Azure Span and in the Azure Archives there’s even like Crystalsong Forest-inspired locations. So we’ve really leaned into the fantasy of each dragonflight.

Jackie: Yeah, I gotta say, I’m obsessed with the red rock pillars in Waking Shores. They’re huge. Like the trees in Azure Span also giant. But there’s something about that really vibrant red rock that you can find everywhere in Waking Shores that is just… it’s so good; and also I want to get to the top of those pillars every time.

Tina: As you can see, it’s hard to choose.

Blizzplanet: How is the level 70 cap going to work with Chromie Time? Will Chromie Time be stretched to cover level 50-60 as well? Or will we be forced to go to Shadowlands for level 50-60?

Jackie: Oh, so we’re keeping it. For the new player experience, new players specifically will be sent from Exile’s Reach to BFA, then onto Dragon Isles. More veteran players, people who have already leveled a character to max can choose like Chromie Time to go level in Draenor or Pandaria or Shadowlands. But for new players, it’s going to go: Exile’s Reach, BFA, Dragon Isles.

Cory Taylor: So with the Covenants, we’re leaving a lot of this stuff behind, obviously. You can’t bring your Venthyr class power because that’s tied. I’m sure. But the one thing that would be a big blow to lose is the Soul Shapes. Has there been any work put into a system that would allow the Soul Shapes to come forward into new content? Even if, obviously, not keeping the same teleport/speed/dash power, but just to show off.

Tina: We have talked a little bit about that. Yeah. Some players are. My Beastmaster Hunter I’m currently playing is a Night Fae, and I still need to do PVP to get my Gryphon soul shape, if you want to do some PVP to that. Because you gotta have it if she’s a Wildhammer. So you’ve got to have that Gryphon soul shape. Yeah, it’s definitely something that we’ve talked about as we’re like letting players express themselves in different ways, whatever fits for them. It’s like, we went from Legion to BFA and a balance druid is like please let me keep dropping a moon on it. I just want to drop a moon on it; and then we found a way to like, continue that forward. It’s one of those things that we’re still talking about now of like, I really love this thing. It’s very important to me now. Can I keep it? Um, so we’re still talking about it.

Greg Burke: The new dragonflight mechanic that you’re introducing in Dragonflight, which is a nice job dropping the name and the mechanic. It’s a twofer.

Jackie: Crushed it.

Greg Burke: Will we be able to do that stuff outside of the Dragon Isle? Like in old areas, or is this going to be exclusively for the Dragon Isles?

Jackie: So for now dragonriding is exclusive to the Dragon Isles. It’s kind of us trying a new way of locomotion. So the physics space flying will be limited to the Dragon Isles for now, and on your Dragon Isles drake, because there’s a ton of animation support for it to help it feel as dynamic as it is to play it; but we’ll be definitely looking forward to read player feedback. Like — “this new form of locomotion is really cool, but we would like to see it in other places? Are there other different forms of locomotions that players would be hyped to see?” Um, it’s like the beginning of a conversation.

Robin: To continue with the dragonriding a little bit, I know we’re going to start working on that from like the beginning of the expansion, essentially. That’s what was said. I was curious if you guys know how that will work with unlocking like general flying and mounts later in the expansion, have you talked about that or talk through that process at all yet?

Jackie: So like your normal flying is something that we’re not looking at right now. It’s a conversation we have in the future, but for now we’re really focused on the dragonriding and the momentum, gravity-based flying, and iterating on that with our players for alpha and beta.

Tina: One thing that is super exciting with this dragonriding is that eventually as you become extremely advanced at it, you will be able to fly significantly faster than normal speed is. So you’ll be able to traverse the Dragon Isles effectively.

Blizzplanet: In Shadowlands, we had Oribos as our main city hub. What is the city hub in the Dragon Isles? Can you talk about it?

Tina: Yea. So the main city hub is in the zone of Thaldraszus and the name of it is Valdrakken. So it’ll have all of your expected player amenities — including an auction house as was mentioned in the deep dive. So we’re really excited for people who aren’t engineers. We’ll also be able to use an auction house in the main player hub, which is awesome; and one area that I’m really excited about is the crafting area.

So we built a location specifically for crafters, all the trainers, their vendors; and this work order system will have an NPC — its a version of an auctioneer — who will be there as well. So it’ll be super convenient. You know, you’ll have your bank and then within the city there are these components of it that are related to the dragonflights as well, because this is a city that was built by the separate dragonflights together.

So there’ll be an area that is the red trees; or it’ll be the green dragons area where maybe there might be a little portal there; and then there’s also this massive tower in the center as well — where there’s like a building on top of it, like maybe this is where like all the aspects met in their dragon form, and had awesome dragon related meetings.

Jackie: Like Wyrmrest, you know how iconic it is to go up to the top of the Wyrmrest Temple, and you’ve got all the dragon leaders there. Okay, well, what about that that they’re all in their dragon forms? Because this is their home and they would build it with a giant Alexstraza in mind.

Tina: It’s also in one of the zones, that’s like the highest elevation in the Dragon Isles. So something that’ll be really fun when you have your dragon is being able to like jump off of it and just like soar across of the landscape as you take off from the player hub.

Jackie: Yep. First thing I’m doing get to the top, dive until I almost hit the ground, and then– (makes glide-at-the-last-second movement with hand gesture).

Cory Taylor: Housing has been on people’s minds a lot, and with every expansion, the drum gets banged a little louder. Why the hesitance? Is it a technical issue on the server-end or is it going back to the War Garrison days where they don’t want to feel like you’re separating out people into their own little spaces?

Tina: There’s a lot of interest within the team, as well as in the community with housing; and we know that if we were to do it, that’s something we truly would want to do it right, and share a lot of the community feedback on it too. But there is certainly interest there.

Jackie: Yeah. There’s definitely lots of chatter; but it’s something that if we do it, we have to like really do it right out of the gate. So it’s something that involves a lot of buildup. If we were to do it.

Greg Burke: Ysera the green dragon is in the Shadowlands, but we found out how the other aspects are reacting to that in their own way. We have a rescue mission to bring her back to life. How is that going to work if you can talk about it?

Jackie: Ysera’s death was super impactful. She’s always been the aspect for the green dragons. I’m sure they aspects are all like brothers and sisters. Alexstrasza and Ysera are like sisters. So they all felt that loss; but especially in the green dragon stories, we’ll be diving into like how the green dragon specifically are dealing with that because it impacts their flight most of all. But we’ll see that a lot with all the different dragonflights and all of the woes that they have all faced.

Greg Burke: Are we going to actually get to see like kind of the bureaucracy of the dragon aspects? Because, I mean, they’ve slapped it on the books, but in the game, it’s always kind of just what we see in the cinematics really in the dialogue. So are we all get to see all that as well?

Jackie: You know what? The giant city it’s like, we gotta have some intrigue in there. I’m super into my dragon politics. Like, let’s go. Get me some intrigue quest. Let me go on a mission. With a city as big as Valdrakken is, we got to like explore it.

Tina: Yeah. And you think about the Dragon Isles and their history there. It’s like we have our aspects, but what about those other dragons who didn’t get to be an aspect? Maybe they’re not necessarily pumped about the situation, but what might come out of this?

Robin: Normally, going into a new expansion, there’s like a scenario or something about how we get there; and I know they mentioned we’ll be like on a boat. The Horde and Alliance will be on their own boats, but together. Do you guys have any other details about what happens to bring us there?

Jackie: So basically, not going into too many details about like a pre-patch event. Right? But we’re going to build new Stormwind docks, and like the Orgrimmar docks are a little like busy and full. So we’re going to be building new docks and going forth on this expedition. Now that the Dragon Isles beacon has been lit and the dragons can now go back to the Dragon Isles, they call their allies in the Horde and the Alliance to explore and retake their lands with them. So we’ll build some new docks. We’ll get those boats ready, and then if you don’t like PvP turn War Mode off before you get on the boat.

Tina: There are still some conversations. We might not exactly be building your docks, Jackie. Sorry, just to clarify that, but– Yes. Yes, we will be making our way there, but not too many details. Still to be confirmed.

Jackie: Good call out.

Blizzplanet: You mentioned this dragon location within the capital city, Valdrakken, do each dragonflight give a specific power or buff or benefit to players like the Covenants did. Otherwise, what role do the dragonflights play in this expansion as we explore the Dragon Isles?

Jackie: There is no aspect power or anything. So we are going to be exploring with the dragonflights, et cetera, but there’s no like covenant system or a borrowed power system.

As we go through like reputations and like the factions we’ll be unlocking like different cosmetics and such so we can use, but we’ll really be exploring alongside them, not like taking their powers to use for ourselves. But the dragons are very central to the narrative of the Dragon Isles.

Cory Taylor: Will we see more heritage armor? Because we haven’t seen anything with that in Shadowlands at all, and there’s still a few classes or races out there that don’t have their sets yet.

Tina: Oh, you know what? That’s a great question. Let’s check on that.

Jackie: I can speak to it a little bit on the design side. It’s something that we definitely, we have not forgotten that there are races that don’t have their heritage armory yet; and when we were in the Shadowlands, it was not necessarily an opportunity to do those race specific stories; but now that we’re back on Azeroth and the Dragon Isles, we’re definitely talking about continuing that push because we have not forgotten that there are still races who need their heritage armor.

Tina: Yeah. The reason I don’t remember what it is because, you know, we continue to have those conversations about it. So, but I don’t know if they are part of the Dragon Isles expansion.

Cory Taylor: If I could real quickly… archeology coming back, maybe?

Jackie: Uh, we’re seeing archeology more as like a content type now. Not like a profession, because archaeologists gameplay… you’re not crafting things. It’s definitely something that we love on the team; and with a place that’s filled with ruins, it makes sense for archeology. You’ll be doing a lot of fun gameplay with the Dragonscale Expedition that we’ll be talking about in the future to scratch that itch of like exploring ruins, etcetera.

Tina: Yeah. The Dragonscale Expedition is this mix of Explorers League from the Alliance and the Reliquary from the Horde; and they’ll be in a partnering together with us to discover more about the Dragon Isles.

Jackie: They’re all about some ancient history.

Greg Burke: Speaking about this history with the dragons coming back to their roots, back to their destiny or their fate or whatever you call it, will (that) fix all the environmental damage that Deathwing caused in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, like when they come back to power, will old Azeroth return?

Tina: Um, let’s see. Azeroth itself is healing and like powers be surging. However that does not get through the paperwork of Stormwind bureaucracy. So none of this happening. Sorry. (Jackie laughs)

Robin: So back on Dragonflight, they mentioned potentially Wrathion struggling with wanting or not wanting to be the leader of the black dragonflight; but the black dragonflight as far as I can remember is essentially him and Ebonhorn at this point. So I was wondering if that was a subtle, like inclusion that there might be more black dragons in the Dragon Isles or something.

Jackie: Yeah. I think out of all the dragonflights the blacks probably had the most problems seeing as, you know, the whole Deathwing thing and all. When it comes to the dragonflights, like what makes a dragonflight? Right? That’s an important question to ask of like… is a dragonflight, two people? I don’t know about that. Also Wrathion is like… what? Age 7? (laughs) So, Wrathion coming back to this Homeland that he’s never been to, he’s got a long road ahead of him, of what the future of his flight can be — which is why I think it’s very helpful for him to have Alexstrasza nearby to help guide him. Because the two of them have had their disagreements in the past, but at the end of the day, she has much more experience than he does; and looking towards the future of his flight is going to be super important to his story, and to the story of the Waking Shores in Dragonflight.

Blizzplanet: Any new Battlegrounds or Arenas for PvP?

Tina: We are talking about that type of thing of like an arena and where it might be. But one thing I do wanted to mention related to PvP is that we will have a rated solo shuffle so if there are players that have been playing it, give us your feedback. Please continue to send more. It will be a form of rated PvP in 10.0.

Cory Taylor: Are we going to get any more race/class combinations in 10.0? I don’t know, let’s say Night Elf Paladins, maybe?

Jackie: Maybe one of those ones that’s been like around. We’re still talking. That’s something that is always on discussion. For the 10.0 launch, we are focused on the Dracthyr Evokers, but it’s definitely something we’ve heard a lot about on the team, and something that we talk about a lot.

Greg Burke: We were kind of distracted with Shadowlands. We’re in a different plane of existence, stopping the world from blowing up. We didn’t really have time to settle the devastation of Darnassus with the night elves. Will we see the follow-up from that returning to Azeroth? Will there be more night elves in capital cities, of refugees traveling along roads? Like what’s going on with that race?

Jackie: The Night Elves story is definitely not over. Especially going forward, they still got a lot that they lost. With the Shadowlands wrapping up, going back to the Dragon Isles, the Druids and the green dragons are very intertwined. So as we’re adventuring with the green dragons, you might see some familiar faces amongst them. Their story is definitely not over.

Cory Taylor: Is there going to be a duck mount?

Jackie: I want one so badly. No news right now, but ducks are the best and I’m so excited that we cracked that technology.

Hope you enjoyed this article. Please, support Blizzplanet on Patreon, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch for daily Blizzard games news updates.

BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts