WoW dev promises return to “roots” in Dragonflight to avoid Shadowlands disaster

world of warcraft wow dragonflight alexstraza in ruby temple on dragon islesBlizzard Entertainment, Dexerto

It’s no secret that World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands expansion failed to hit the mark for many, but Production Director Patrick Dawson has hammered home that WoW Dragonflight will cut out some of its predecessor’s most unpopular features.

World of Warcraft’s ever-expanding universe has been through some tough times, but for many amid the game’s community, WoW Shadowlands was an all-time low.

Following on from the controversial Battle for Azeroth, the eight expansion’s overly complex narrative and abundance of frustrating features led to a mass exodus to the likes of Final Fantasy XIV‘s Eorzea, or Lost Ark‘s Arkesia.

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While the ninth chapter in the Warcraft saga, Dragonflight, promises a return to the bare bones of what made WoW great, it’s understandable that many are approaching the announcement with caution. Production Director, Patrick Dawson, however, has addressed fan concerns, quelling fears that Dragonflight will become Shadowlands 2.0.

world of warcraft wow alexstrasza in dragon form roars with rock titanBlizzard Entertainment
Alexstrasza has returned, and most fans are hoping she can inspire some new life in Azeroth following Shadowlands.

WoW dev confirms Dragonflight won’t be like Shadowlands

While Shadowlands was exactly what some fans wanted, unfortunately, the vast majority of the player base struggled to engage with the dark and dreary universe of the Afterlives. Ahead of Dragonflight’s release, Dawson highlighted that Blizzard has listened to and implemented player feedback.

“Our community is very vocal and very engaged, which is a strength for this game,” he told Dexerto. “Being able to react more quickly to what they’re requesting and their feedback is something that we’ve been adapting to and getting a lot better at over this past year.

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“We’ve always listened and tried to make the game in the best interest of the players, but there was a pretty revolutionary moment of questioning some of the more fundamental assumptions about the pillars of this game that we revisited starting with the 9.15 patch. And, as a result of that, you’ve seen major changes in our philosophies.

“There’s things that we question, change, and have look at that maybe we wouldn’t have done in the past, and that’s continuing through Dragonflight. I think you’ve seen that too with us going back to those fundamentals and roots of Warcraft. The community has been asking to get away from the systems like Covenants and Artifacts, and more [towards] the class fantasy of what it’s like to be a mage, what it’s like to be a priest, what it’s like to be a Dracthyr.”

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world of warcraft wow shadowlands venthyr covenantBlizzard Entertainment
Shadowlands’ Covenant system was one of the expansion’s most divisive features.

Dragonflight was very much an expansion borne of community feedback, with Dawson stating that everything from the setting to the expansion’s decision to overhaul core systems is a result of the player base’s concerns.

“Players have been wanting to go back to Azeroth, they’ve been asking about dragons,” he states. “The other big one is our dedication to those core systems of WoW – the talents, professions, and UI – which  are things people have been asking for for quite some time, and to get away from more of those expansion-specific features.”

Concluding “that’s us really listening to what they’re looking for and moving in the direction of that for Dragonflight,” it seems like the irritating systems that unfortunately came to define the Shadowlands experience are very much set to be banished back to the Maw from whence they came.

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While some may remain skeptical, it seems like Dragonflight is Blizzard’s answer to the fanbase’s demands, but will it live up to expectation? We’ll have to wait and see – but Dawson has certainly put us at ease!