Preorders for the next World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight, are now available. The game is also slated to arrive before the end of 2022, a surprise most players didn't expect.
Dragonflight comes in four different editions: a $50 standard edition, a $70 heroic edition, a $90 epic edition, and a $130 physical collector's edition (which includes all the digital goodies of the epic edition).
Standard editions come with an in-game pet and expansion, while more expensive editions also include a level boost, game time, exclusive mount, and cosmetic items. According to preorders, the expansion will be released by December 31, 2022.
The news surprised fans, many of whom expected it to arrive sometime in early 2023 given the timing of previous expansions, a planned prequel novel, and the fact that alpha testing of Dragonflight has not yet begun on the game's public test realm. Ion Hazzikostas, a WoW game director, stated Blizzard takes a 'when it's ready' approach to its release when it announced Dragonflight back in April.
There will be significant changes to WoW when Dragonflight launches, including the reworking of the game's class talents and profession systems as well as the addition of a new continent. For the first time in the MMO's history, a new playable race, the Dracthyr, will have a single class, the spellcasting-oriented Invoker.
After the disappointing Shadowlands expansion, Dragonflight has much to prove, though Blizzard appears to already be learning some important lessons. For the first time, Blizzard introduced cross-faction groups to WoW for content like dungeons and raids and has been trying to incorporate more player feedback in general through the creation of the WoW Community Council.
Various lawsuits and investigations have described an alleged 'frat boy' culture at Activision Blizzard, which prompted the WoW development team to make changes to older content that could be considered problematic. Dragonflight will be the first expansion on the game since that time. Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.
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