World of Warcraft: Dragonflight producer on the difficulties of adding a new race

Production Director Patrick Dawson also talks about Dragonflight's dragon riding, new classes, talent revamps, and more.


World of Warcraft players have been taking to the skies for the first time in recent weeks with the launch of the Dragonflight alpha. As Blizzard moves towards the full release of the long-running MMO's latest expansion, Shacknews recently had a chance to talk to Production Director Patrick Dawson about its many new features, such as the ability to fly. However, for everything that Blizzard has been able to implement, one subject that gets brought up a lot is new races and adding new ones isn't as easy as it looks.

"It does seem a little confusing to players sometimes where it's like, 'Well, why can't we just play as this character, they're already in the game, I see them in the game,' but a new race involves not only a new character model, but there's an animation rig that has to be created for that character and then the animations need to be done for that, the texturing, the skinning, the customization, there's a ton of work that goes into those things," Dawson told Shacknews. "When it comes to things like the animation, a lot of those NPCs that you see that are in the world don't have all the animations that a player has, so you would need to do a lot of work to do not only variant spell casting, but different crafting animations, a lof of stuff like that, so a tremendous amount of effort goes into creating this stuff."

Dawson was also happy to discuss one of Dragonflight's most exciting new features and that's dragon riding.

"That was one of the first things we wanted to solve," Dawson added, regarding flight physics. "Let's get [flight] to feel good, like viscerally just feel good from a gameplay perspective before we start to integrate it more with rewards and content and how that works. There was a team of designers, artists, engineers, and producers all working together just to get that right. So we've been working on that feature for quite some time. We've been working on the game for quite some time, so that was their job: make this feel fun. What you're seeing in the alpha is the results of that effort. Was it meant to be some exercise in physics? It really was just meant to make dragon riding just feel good, and normal, and fun and... you see it already."

With how good dragon riding feels, there are naturally questions regarding whether the feature will eventually go beyond the Dragon Isles. Dawson discusses that, as well as the many new features of the Dragonflight expansion, including new races, classes, talent revamps, the storyline, and more.

World of Warcraft Dragonflight dragon riding
Image courtesy of Blizzard

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is currently in alpha. You can learn more about that over on the World of Warcraft website. For more interviews like this, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews and GamerHubTV on YouTube.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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