Game Director Ion Hazzikostas answered many Dragonflight related questions in a group interview today, and we’re taking a look at the highlights.
A Change in Focus for the Alpha and Testing in General
They are comfortable with the Alpha to release timing. DF has been in production since Shadowlands shipped and they purposefully decided to have a shorter and more focused testing period – they started the Alpha on a much more finished version of the expansion than before. New content will be coming to the Alpha a lot faster in the coming weeks, with previous zones being shut down and only new ones being available for testing week after week to get focused feedback.
The change in testing style is only related to the testing itself, the game is being developed same as it always has. Ideally they’d want to just publish an expansion without any outside testing, but aren’t quite there yet.
Dracthyr Armor, Reasons for no Tank Spec
“Certain key pieces show in your draconic form–shoulders, large geometric pieces like belt buckles. When we make things like tier sets, we know that this armor is custom-made for the Evoker, and so we can do more things than we could do elsewhere.
But yes, in your visage form, it’s all visible all the time. We want to make sure people are seeing their visage form more than say a Worgen sees their humanoid form, depending on personal preference.”
Dracthyr don’t have a tank spec due to the race fantasy. Also After Demon Hunters arrived the number of tanks didn’t significantly increase, so it wouldn’t have helped with the tank shortage.
“A breath weapon and wings and mobility and all that felt like it lent itself more to a ranged-based class, a caster. And caster abilities don’t always work well with tanking, so we didn’t go in that direction with that fantasy. Future classes may have tank specs.”
Two returning dungeons will be Court of Stars and Temple of the Jade Serpent.
Encounter design in regards to tanks not needing to do as much is a big focus.
Master loot isn’t returning but a type of Group Loot is in raids only:
“But moving away from personal to [a] shared pool of loot, where you kill a raid boss, you work together with 15 or 20 or 30 people to do it, there’s 5 items on the corpse [and] you can roll for those items, you can pass on them, you can trade them to your friends; that’s a world we think we want to be in again. We’re still hammering out the details, but our current plan is to have raid bosses in Dragonflight work that way. This is a raid boss specific system. Dungeon loot is fine.”
One of the major inspirations for DF was Mists of Pandaria, both visually but also in the exploration aspect and gradual buildup of the big bad/plot.
The 5th bag slot is for all profession materials, and will be a LOT bigger than any regular bags.
“Not literally endless, but the intent is Big. It’s not meant to be a meaningful constraint on picking stuff up, or herbing, or gathering.”
Not all DF mounts will be in the Dragonriding system, as it is separate.
The hope is that players like the Dragonriding system so much they will want it to stay and then the devs would be happy to carry it over into following expansions as well.
“What this means for the future, I think is an open question. We want to be guided by what players prefer. There’s certainly a world where months from now, with Dragonriding fully upgraded, no one is asking for the return of Burning Crusade style flying, and they’re just like ‘this is awesome! It’s faster! It’s way more fun!’ cool, we’ll happily run with that. If people feel otherwise, then we’re open to that too. But we’ll see.”
Blizzard have been working with Proletariat for a couple of months already, before the acquisition was announced.
There’s much, MUCH more to read in the group interview over on Wowhead, as Ion not only dives a lot deeper into the above topics, but also cover many more topics!