Dragonflight Alpha - Developer Interviews
With the Alpha comes a new round of developer interviews!


Gameplay
  • Shadowlands taught the team that they need to help players avoid stuff that feels like a chore. No more daily/weekly routine or checklist, no stuff that you have to do, whether you like it or not, to stay relevant in your preferred content.
  • Play the game the way you want, do the content that you enjoy.

Dungeons and Timewalking
  • There will be four new Dragonflight dungeons and four old dungeons that make up the initial Mythic+ list. Temple of the Jade Serpent and Court of Stars are two of the ones the team is looking at right now.
  • Legion Mythic+ Timewalking was an experiment that helped to validate that changes that are being made for Dragonflight. That speicifc experiment is now over.
  • The team wants to continue to expand Timewalking, so we'll probably see BfA Timewalking at some point during Dragonflight.
  • Timewalking raids will also be added.
  • Outdoor Timewalking is something that the team talks about from time to time due to all of the scaling tech they have now.
  • The team wants to give players reasons to revisit the 18 years of content that is out there rather than spending all of your time in the newest content.

The Great Vault
  • The team is mostly happy with The Great Vault going forward. Resources are being focused on other areas that are in more dire need of tweaks, but they'll keep evolving the Great Vault going forward.

Cross-Faction and Region-Wide Gameplay
  • The Crafting Order system will likely start server wide, rather than region wide. Browsing a region wide listing would be messy and not a great experience.
  • The ability to go find someone directly in person to get something crafted will remain region wide.
  • The team is slowly moving to a more interconnected world, with the expansion of cross-realm play helping to move to a place where what realm you are on doesn't impact your ability to experience the game.
  • US and EU cross-play would be a very large technical undertaking.
  • Roughly 50% of groups formed recently that are doing instances have members of both factions in them. It hasn't eroded faction identity so far.
  • The team wants to continue to expand cross-faction play, but is cautious as it is a one way path. Once it is rolled out, they can never take it away from players.
  • Guilds are likely the next logical cross-faction step. It won't happen with the release of Dragonflight, but maybe during the expansion.

New Players
  • Updating the first few dungeons for new players to be a better experience is probably something that the team should do at some point.
  • The goal is to give Starter Edition players a taste of the content that World of Warcraft has to offer, without the need to purchase anything.
  • There's still a lot of work to do to make the game friendly for new players. New systems could use more explanations.

Misc
  • With modern Reputations, the team is looking at the rewards and determining if they can be made account wide, while still leaving room for some items that are part of your character's progression.
  • The surprise that comes from encrypted content being unlocked with the patch is nice.
  • Bringing in the team from Proletariat will help the team keep content flowing at a steady pace and to avoid long gaps between content.
  • Dragonflight is a return to Azeroth and a more grounded narrative. Cosmic themes have been part of WoW forever, with Burning Crusade or Legion having lots of it.
  • No planned changes for Allied Race unlocks in Dragonflight.
  • The team is looking into raising the 50 character slot limit.

Dragonflight Theme and Gameplay
  • Returning to a more inviting and exploration themed vibe will be nice, without an overwhelming existential threat in your face on Day 1. Those threats will appear over time but the early Mists of Pandaria feeling is what the team is going for here.
  • By the end of 10.0 you'll have a good sense of what the final boss of the expansion will be.



Talents
  • The new talent system will help to increase build diversity.
  • The current alpha talent trees are very rough numbers. Lots of tuning to be done.
  • The team wouldn't be surprised if there are some builds that don't go all the way to the bottom of the tree, but branch out in the sections more.
  • The team is talking about how to handle talents that modify an ability that they may not have taken from their class tree.
  • The team started the design process with one tree, but realized they could do a class and spec tree.
  • Allowing sharing of talent builds in game will be helpful.
  • Legion artifacts were cool because they all had different shapes and it actually worked out well.

Buffs
  • There can be too much complexity when building a group and trying to make sure you have all of the buffs.
  • It should be cool and exciting to be in a party with a Shaman and get their buffs.
  • The team is aware of the pitfalls that come with the current way party and raid buffs work.

Loot Rules
  • The team is talking about raid loot rules. Personal Loot is working well for the large majority of the game.
  • Having loot distribution being a social function makes sense and warrants further exploration and experimentation. We'll hear more about this during Dragonflight development.

Misc
  • The team wants professions to feel like pillar, just like PvP, Mythic+, and raids. There should be the same level of goals to pursue.
  • Mega dungeons are working out well, almost like a five player raid. Gives space to explore things that aren't the main plot.
  • There are some itemization tweaks to be made with mega dungeons to ensure that they are appealing.

Creation Catalyst
  • The team was overall happy with the Creation Catalyst. It allowed for alts and catch-up, but also bad luck protection.
  • The potential changes for Creation Catalyst might be timing related.
  • The team is looking at more deterministic ways to make progress towards your goals.

PvP Gear
  • Profession gear for PvP is something that was in previous expansions and worked fairly well.
  • PvP item level was added back in Shadowlands.
  • With Dragonflight each tier of gear might have the PvP item level pegged at the top of the band for that tier of gear. Upgrading will impact the PvE item level of the PvP gear. You'll still want to upgrade it so it's useful in the outdoor world, but when you go to PvP there will be a more even playing field.




Character Customization
  • No additional character customization for old races is coming with Dragonflight release. The focus is on the Dracthyr and raising the bar.
  • When the team first added the Pandaren, they were higher quality than other races. Not too long after the team looked to raise the bar on the other races to catch up.
  • You can choose body type and voice independently and that is something the team is working on expanding.
  • The game should be as inclusive as possible.

Professions
  • The very best crafted gear will be BoP.
  • You can use work orders to have another player make a powerful item for you.
  • Crafted gear will be subject to tuning if a unique bonus somehow makes it better than gear a tier above it. No Darkmoon Cards situation.
  • The best gear will come from raids, dungeons, PvP, or crafted with components from those activities.

World Content
  • There will be perks, conveniences, cosmetics, and reasonably powerful items from world content.
  • Nothing specific in the Mage Tower style is planned for launch. Future patches could bring other types of content.

Talents
  • The primary focus of the combat team is responding to feedback on the talent trees.
  • In the first talent pass, there will be a bunch of experiments and trying to add some cool hooks to different classes and specs.
  • The team doesn't want to go too far, like late BC when everyone had a buff and building a raid group was like tetris.
  • There should be at least 6-8 talent loadouts that you can save. People should feel like they have enough.
  • It isn't clear if the ability to import, export, and share builds will be ready at launch, but it's something the team would like to do.

Raids
  • The team is exploring the return of Personal Loot for raid bosses.
  • You might end up with a Hunter bow, even if your group has no Hunter.
  • The team wants to move away from borrowed power progression, but there is value in a raid group making progress every week even if there isn't any new loot for them.

Mythic+
  • Shado Pan Monastery won't be one of the launch dungeons, but could appear during the course of Dragonflight.
  • The team is super open to making changes to the flow of dungeons, pacing, and mechanics, especially for dungeons that never had Mythic+.
  • Tyrannical and Fortified will be sticking around.
  • There is a new seasonal affix coming.
  • The team is looking to simplify the seasonal affixes a bit.
  • When the dungeon pool was static, the seasonal affix helped change up your routing. Now that there are new dungeons, you don't need your routing changed.

Dragonriding
  • Most of the races will be Bronze, Silver and Gold, with some achievements to earn.
  • At max level there are a couple multiplayer races that people can start together. They start every so often and you can race against each other.
  • Internally the team is talking about more competitive structured races or events.

Leveling
  • Leveling time should be a little longer than Shadowlands, but not too much longer.
  • The team wants to offer more freedom as you level.
  • Shadowlands had a linear sequence in each zone.
  • Dragonflight should have a few key pillars in each zone and a lot more room to explore as you level.



Wowhead also summarized a group interview, with no video available. Be sure to read the full interview for additional context.


Talents
  • There are two games going on in a raid: Beating the boss and scoring high on the DPS meters. Blizzard didn't build the DPS meter game, so how much focus should they put on designing around it.
  • The question of how best to use Power Infusion in both of those games is a question that helps create an interesting group dynamic.
  • The community does some of the design for the DPS game. Log sites ignore padding the meters with AoE on useless adds because the community feels that it is unhealthy behavior.
  • Blizzard wants to design for the cooperative game of beating the boss and leave it to the community to figure out how to determine who is the best person is on an individual fight.

Dragonflight Timelines
  • The team is comfortable with the target of release by the end of the year. That's the appropriate amount of time between expansions.
  • Dragonflight has had a full development cycle and alpha testing will be more focused than previous expansions.
  • Previous expansions started alpha much earlier and content was slower to be released.
  • Dragonflight alpha will be more focused, as all the zones are ready for testing now and will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
  • The zones, talent trees, and dungeons will roll out in the next month and a half and then Beta will begin.
  • In an ideal world, the team would do no external testing and everyone would get to experience the expansion for the first time together.
  • The team is limiting what is open for testing more than in the past to focus testing and populate the world in a way that is closer to what players will experience on the live servers.
  • Forbidden Reach and the Dracthyr starting experience should be coming next week.

Evoker
  • When sitting down to add a new class, the team has to figure out what will make it feel fresh and different, rather than just a reskin of an existing class.
  • Adding a class is a huge and impactful change that requires a compelling fantasy and unique gameplay to be successful.
  • Early in Dragonflight development, the team wanted to give players the chance to feel like a Dragon with a class and race that fights like no one else in the game.
  • In Draconic form you'll only see shoulders and key pieces like belt buckles for most gear. Tier sets that are custom made will have more to see.
  • Evokers don't have a tank spec because it doesn't fit the fantasy of breath weapons, wings, and mobility.

Character Customization
  • Bringing the new level of character customization to existing races will be a huge undertaking, but something the team would like to do.
  • You should be able to feel connected to your character and able to express yourself in the world.

Tanks
  • The team would love to see more people tanking and talks about it often.
  • Tanks learn at the expense of the group, as they can't just hang back and follow along while learning.
  • Hopefully rotating the dungeon pool will help reduce the barrier to entry that comes with the knowledge required later in the season.
  • The team wants tanks to feel rewarded and appreciated for being responsible for the group's survival and leading.

Raid Loot
  • Dragonflight raid bosses will drop several pieces of loot and let you roll, pass, or trade those items.
  • Dungeon loot will remain on the current system.

Professions
  • Players get a new giant Reagents bag for profession items.
  • With all of the new profession changes, the team didn't want to clutter up inventory even more, so they just added a new bag for all the profession things.
  • The profession bag isn't limitless in size, but it'll be big. Bag space shouldn't be a meaningful constraint on picking stuff up, herbing, or gathering.

Dragonriding
  • Dragonriding unlocks will be account wide
  • Dragonriding was built as an expansion specific system, but if the feedback is great and people want it going forward, that is possible.
  • The Dragon Isles was built with Dragonriding in mind, adding more negative space between areas of interest and creating a more open world.
  • Azure Span is the largest single zone in WoW's history
  • There are more restrictions on Dragonriding than flying, but you can learn to master it to reduce the friction that exists at an early level.
  • By the middle of the expansion, Dragonriding should feel as convenient as flying. Players that are comfortable with the system may find it all around better once they are upgraded.

Story
  • The team wants to tell a more nuanced story with shades of grey, and not just create mindless monster races.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Dragonflight Alpha - Developer Interviews started by chaud View original post
Comments 116 Comments
  1. GUZ's Avatar
    Why is there no section on updating GUILDS the guild page sucks there barely any customization or new things to do as a guild or any housing.
  1. BeepBoo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FelPlague View Post
    LOL "Didnt need daily heroic if you already had access to raid loot"
    Bro didnt play wotlk, cause idk if you know, but wotlk had a thing called badges, which were limited per week, and daily heroic was one of the sources, and because of this you needed ot do them for your tier set.
    Honestly? It was so long a go that I can't remember it. What I DO remember is not having nearly as much garbage and having every piece of BIS well before the end of the tier.
    Needs to be funneled loot? You mean just used my DKP to save and get stuff as I wanted.
    LOLOL again you really didnt fucking play wotlk, cause the only way to get enchants for some slots were from reps.
    Trust me, if there was a DPS optimization I had it. Yes, I freeloaded off my guild mates professions/craftables/whatever, but we funded our guild mate's mats by selling stuff we got in raids for bookoo bucks. Rep grind is finite. One and done, and it was EASY as shit to do while leveling if you knew who you were going for.

    LOLOLOL ok so where did your GUILD MATES get them from? also holy shit you have to be the biggest freeloader
    I contributed best DPS which got us more things to sell to fund our guild endeavors.
  1. Tiwack's Avatar
    So much lipservice all for nothing to change...
  1. supermany2's Avatar
    But in the end it would be easy to use the Old Dungeon again for that, they have all the Data for them in Classic already. And even if not. They could still make Classic Timewalking with the "newer" Dungeons that are active right now.
  1. kingj56's Avatar
    "You might end up with a Hunter bow, even if your group has no Hunter."
    "The team wants to move away from borrowed power progression, but there is value in a raid group making progress every week even if there isn't any new loot for them."

    HOW THE FUCK WILL THIS FEEL GOOD!? Its bad enough my 15 man group only gets 2 or 3 pieces of loot and majority of us get nothing or the exact same pieces every week. Now we can get personal shit we cant even use OR SELL!? Who is smoking meth at Blizzard? I can see if its Master Loot and 1 of the 5 drops is a bow like it used to happen. I can deal with that. Yep prolly wont be returning to WoW since they want to use loot as a retention mechanic. Just make a damn Heart of Dragon and give me my damn loot back. Damn shame.
  1. Niwes's Avatar
    sounds all rather familiar…
  1. Swnem's Avatar
    The team doesn't want to go too far, like late BC when everyone had a buff and building a raid group was like tetris.
    This is so naive. So, basically, let's not care that some unlucky classes/specs will bring nothing to the group and no one will want them unless they have OP damage.
    The balance on that is gonna work out right? Cause you are always so good at that...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kingj56 View Post
    "You might end up with a Hunter bow, even if your group has no Hunter."
    "The team wants to move away from borrowed power progression, but there is value in a raid group making progress every week even if there isn't any new loot for them."

    HOW THE FUCK WILL THIS FEEL GOOD!? Its bad enough my 15 man group only gets 2 or 3 pieces of loot and majority of us get nothing or the exact same pieces every week. Now we can get personal shit we cant even use OR SELL!? Who is smoking meth at Blizzard? I can see if its Master Loot and 1 of the 5 drops is a bow like it used to happen. I can deal with that. Yep prolly wont be returning to WoW since they want to use loot as a retention mechanic. Just make a damn Heart of Dragon and give me my damn loot back. Damn shame.
    As usual, it's them changing the game for pro-gamers even thought they literally just admitted doing that was a bad idea.
    Raids are gonna be even more unrewarding now. People really should rise up to say this is not a good change for the game.
  1. ihate2beapessimist's Avatar
    If they want to get more players into tanking, add some kind of TANK GUIDANCE navigation system only available to tank classes.
    It would show a guide on the "intended" route for a dungeon, along with warnings of certain mechanics that the tank should be wary of.
    The reason people dont like tanking is that they just want to follow the leader.
    Maybe even a ghosting system like Mario Kart, to show what path other tanks have taken in the past.
  1. Iain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kumorii View Post
    Really curious how they gonna solve the daily/weekly routine... The entire game and timegates are built upon that.
    Maybe a bigger focus on emissaries? I liked that they would stack up over days so you could just miss a few days and still clear them out while you have time. And they work without the oppressiveness of a weekly or daily schedule.
  1. Pokeylope's Avatar
    What makes me annoyed is how lazy they are being with the new class/race combos. If anything get all the easy ones out of the way now, Hardest being druids/demon hunters. For Paladin and Shaman biggest thing is designing totems/Charger mounts. But all pally mounts are, are just same armor theme across races, but its just the racial mount paladin'ed' up. DF should come out with at the very least Monk for Gob and Worgen because come on.... made zero sense in MoP too Plus Vulpera is spruced up Gob rig so they already got some animations, and for LF Draenei, Draenei already have monk, so they have the animations, but Monks/Priest/Mage/Rogue/Paladin. Especially since a lot of races that cannot be Paladins, can be a priest or a Warrior, or even the anti-thesis of a paladin as a death knight, but not a paladin. They have Microsoft resources plus that new proletariat team. Since Drac'thyr get all the new customization options, why not give the og/allied races a little customizations with more classes. Undead Blood Elf and Troll all have bigger demographics than orcs/tauren, yet get nothing new. Alliance Demographics 1 2 and 3 are night elf human and void elf. they all get nothing. Draenei is 4th and gets rogue. Honestly Monk is only 2 races of work. Then Paladin shares base animations for many spells and melee strikes. Point sword for judement, DKs do that for death coil and every race can be a dk. Very few paladin moves are unique physicals animations. Plus lore wise you can see a Gob/Undead/Gnome paladin in certain areas. I'd say shaman too, because same deal, only unique thing is totems really, but as a compromise paladin and monk.
  1. Chromell's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pahbi View Post
    The entire interview just made me cringe, I'm really not looking forward to the next expansion at all.

    Really, the most disappointing comment was how they were generally happy with the Great Vault.
    What change would you like to see in the Great Vault?
  1. Alkizon's Avatar
    More scaling, more cross-realm, more general wording, which means nothing, also still nothing about them being understanding of talents' real purpose
    - - - - -
    and nothing about bring in "as old-models" customization, it mostly is my personal issue, but my list won't be full without it, then here it goes; yes, I saw neighboring news, mostly some "vomiting" material for me, as it has been since WoD; omg what they did with gnolls, difference between old and new model here is exactly what has been argued for so long in topics about their art change, in their own words: (Hogger) "gnoll model was the first completed WoW model and was used as the keystone piece of art that they used to base the rest of the game's artstyle around because of how pleased they were with it"
    - - - - -

    so, some new fun systems and a little of content with it without any base course changing. Looks like there is nothing to see here for me, just "face palm" thru the whole wall of text

    ps. They still hate class special stuff (and you better not remind about BC here, since this won't be in your favor).
  1. Twdft's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Chromell View Post
    What change would you like to see in the Great Vault?
    The main problem for anyone who is not a mythic raider is, that longterm your only chance for an upgrade is the vault. After getting KSM I don't care about dungeon loot anymore.

    Hard to fix though. Lowering ilvl to 272 would make mythic raiding mandatory for high key pushers. I think ultimately every content type should get the pvp gear treatment, meaning gear from M+ should be 13 ilvl higher inside dungeons etc.
  1. pahbi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Chromell View Post
    What change would you like to see in the Great Vault?
    I would just do away with the great vault and hand out currency at the end of a run to buy or upgrade equipment; roughly 1-2 pieces a week.

    Sooooo tired of random.
  1. Roar-Powah's Avatar
    You can choose body type and voice independently and that is something the team is working on expanding.
    The game should be as inclusive as possible.

    Yeah I'm out, this game is gross now. The west is going stupid with all this inclusive crap to serve such a tiny % while alienating the vast majority. Go woke = going broke.
  1. Lidenbok's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Roar-Powah View Post
    You can choose body type and voice independently and that is something the team is working on expanding.
    The game should be as inclusive as possible.

    Yeah I'm out, this game is gross now. The west is going stupid with all this inclusive crap to serve such a tiny % while alienating the vast majority. Go woke = going broke.
    I'm sorry, but how does including more options for character customization affect you exactly? The game is a better place without people like you anyway, adios.

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