World of Warcraft’s Dragonflight expansion has come out and added some pretty impressive things to the WoW ecosystem, especially in regards to flying mounts. Fans have enjoyed the experience, but there’s always the question of what comes next. Thankfully, our own Greg Burke sat down with World of Warcraft associate director Morgan Day and narrative designer Steve Danuser to speak about that very matter, as well as other burning questions from the WoW community.
During our interview, Day and Danuser shared thoughts on the response so far, improvements that are coming in a later update, a new flying mount on the way, and the challenge of applying the Dragonriding system to older mounts. You can find the whole conversation below:
Shacknews: The first question I want to ask you guys is what’s it been like seeing, since the release of Dragonflight, you guys have giving players a lot of ways to experience the world, get gear, explore, level up… What’s it been like and what have you learned since the release that you’re now adding, implementing into all the features you’re doing in 10.1, if you have any specific lessons you can talk about?
Morgan Day: Yeah, I mean, there was such a tremendous amount of effort that the team put into Dragonflight. There’s been so much positive feedback around all the different features from the talent revamp to professions revamps.
I think Dragonriding has been a really incredible addition to World of Warcraft. That’s something that we’ve seen really amazing player feedback from as well. And really a lot of those things we’re looking to continue to update and expand upon in the Embers of Neltharion update – I guess I can talk about Dragonriding for a minute because I love it so much.
That’s an area where we’ve had tons of positive feedback, and we’re actually continuing to improve upon that in the Embers of Neltharion, where we’re adding new Dragonriding glyphs. Those glyphs are kind of sprinkled all throughout the Zaralek cavern, as well as new races, and there’s new traits also you can use your glyphs to learn. So, yeah, there’s a tremendous amount of effort that the team has put into it, really just wanting to build upon that foundation that the team kind of created with Dragonflight’s launch.
Steve Danuser: The players have really responded to a lot of the characters of Dragonflight as well, both the major ones like the Aspects, Alexstrasza, the others, as well as some of the smaller characters that tell more personal stories. And so you’ll see that continue in Embers of Neltharion as well, because you’ll get some of those smaller, quieter story moments, combined with the big, boisterous battles, and that is the hallmark of [World of] Warcraft.
Shacknews: So one of the things the community has really, really been asking about you guys for since Dragonflight was launched was that they want other mounts to have Dragonflight capability. Now I know you probably can’t talk about that, if you are working on that, but can you kind of? I know you guys did work on that mechanic specifically, but can you kind of paint a picture of what goes into how it’s not just a copy-and-paste into the other mounts and the old grounds to make Dragonflight work? Can you paint a picture of the difficulty to get that working and updated if you were to put it in other zones and have the feature on different types of mounts other than dragons?
Day: Yeah, I mean we’ve heard that feedback loud and clear. We think it’s a great idea as well. To your point we’re actually adding a new Dragonriding mount. I forget the name of it, but it’s kind of a long, slender-looking mount – I think you all might have seen screenshots of it – that will be introduced in those areas like caverns. There will be new customizations available that you can earn through the questing down there. So we are adding to that library of Dragonriding mounts that you can have more customization for.
And in terms of applying Dragonriding to pre-Dragonflight mounts, yeah that’s, there’s definitely challenges there. I would say first and foremost is just the animations required to make that work right, like the Dragonriding rigs and the Dragonriding models. There’s a tremendous amount of time and effort to make that feel so visceral and so awesome, so that when you’re diving, your wings go back and there’s so much…
Shacknews: The dynamic…
Day: Exactly. There’s a ton of effort that goes into making that feel as good as it is. And we want to make sure that we’re hitting that quality bar if we were to ever, you know, do that on existing mounts. So it’s definitely something we’ve heard feedback on and are even exploring. Like you said, we’ve definitely asked that question of ourselves, “What would be the challenges, right?” So we’re definitely asking those questions, trying to understand what work would exist there. And yeah, nothing to announce, other than there is a cool new Dragonriding mount, and we’ll definitely have heard that feedback loud and clear.
Shacknews: Cataclysm had a focus on the Aspects as well and it all had a major influence on that expansion. We haven’t seen much of it in Dragonflight and I wanted to know if there was a reason for that. As a follow-up to that, is it difficult from a narrative standpoint to write a story and not try not to crush on the Hall of Fame — your “Thrall”s, your “Arthas”es, and that kind of stuff — when moving forward with story-driven content?
Danuser: Yeah, it’s definitely a balance. We try to pull in recognizable characters as well as elevating some of the more B-level characters that you kinda know but want to learn more about, as well as introducing new characters. So that’s always a process. And certainly we’ve talked about Thrall and his place, having been kind of the stand-in Earth Warder during Cataclysm. But with all the other Dragonflight-related stuff going on, we didn’t feel like we really needed to tell that story right now, but we do recognize that we want to get back to Thrall and kind of better define his place in Orc society and The Horde moving forward. So look for that coming down the line in the future.
Shacknews: Can you tell us where he is right now as of 10.0.7?
Danuser: He will be involved in the Orc Heritage line, for example. So, you’ll get to spend some Thrall time there.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, World of Warcraft leads on upcoming improvements & mounts for Dragonflight
It's so good. The updates look really promising, as well. The first time in many years that WoW feels like it's on the up-swing.
It's fascinating to see the evolution of World of Warcraft's Dragonflight expansion and the addition of new features like Dragonriding. Just as the 1989 Cummins-powered Dodge Ram changed the truck industry, WoW keeps pushing boundaries. The intricate process of implementing Dragonriding and considering its application to other mounts mirrors the challenge of engineering powerful truck engines. I have even some tips to share https://wowvendor.com/en-us/wow/ how to boost your game expirience. The dedication to enhancing player experience and exploring new narratives in both worlds is truly commendable.