WoW: “The Dragon Isles” could fulfill all our wishes

The leak to the WoW expansion “The Dragon Isles” makes Cortyn think. A lot sounds good – but the danger of repeating old mistakes is there.

World of Warcraft is giving me a headache right now. Anyone who knows me and my articles a little also knows that I have not only been supporting the game on MeinMMO for almost a decade, but have also been playing it regularly and almost continuously since “Vanilla”. Sometimes there are small breaks, but basically I’ve always stayed on the ball.

At the moment I play as little WoW as I haven’t in a long time. Aside from the weekly guild night and the occasional RP, I’d rather romp around in other games right now.

I am all the more pleased about the first leaks for the next expansion – regardless of whether they turn out to be fake or the truth. I like the speculating and dreaming, the “what if” thoughts about the next expansion. Maybe there will even be housing – definitely right after the dance studio.

The first leak that seemed halfway convincing was for the expansion “The Dragon Isles”. And if that happens as leaked, that should be an important and right step in the right direction.

Shadowlands – I liked a lot, but I understand the frustration

By the way, I don’t see many things as critically as the loud part of the World of Warcraft Reddit community. I really liked the strange setting of the shadow lands. The intention was to represent the afterlife of the Warcraft universe and it did quite well. So it was completely logical for me that it had little to do with Azeroth.

I loved Ardenweald and loved the sometimes playful cruelty of the fae.

I liked the Bastion and the Kyrians with their – for mortals – difficult to understand view that one should lose all memories.

I liked the decadent Venthyr, who purify souls and allow themselves a lavish afterlife.

Shadowlands as a whole was fairly unpopular, even if it got off to a promising start.

It was all alien and far removed from what Warcraft really is – but unfortunately made tiring by a very boring antagonist in the form of the Jailer and increasingly obscure themes that never make anything clear.

Then there was the whole problem of “forcing people into content they don’t want to play multiple times”. I had a lot of fun in Torghast and I still enjoyed the 100th run. However, I also totally sympathize with all the players who didn’t feel like banging into the tower every week just to be able to earn legendary items.

Unfortunately, this compulsion was found in almost all content. If you wanted to be good at PvP, you also had to play PvE to get particularly good media. If you wanted to be successful in the raid, you had to struggle through PvP and also target mythical dungeons.

The scenario was almost always: “You want to be good at Content X? Then you still have to play Y and Z.”

World of Warcraft has to get away from this thought. Sometimes it’s okay to dovetail systems, but in WoW it’s gotten so out of hand that players are spending more time in content they don’t want to play than in what they actually want to play.

This is of course not a problem for all those who enjoy the wide range that WoW offers. If you enjoy all systems, this interlocking doesn’t bother you. But let’s be honest:

The number of players who really enjoys every content and also enjoys it for months is small.

The Dragon Isles – Leak gives hope

As with every new extension, there are always supposed leaks about the next extension on the Internet. The most promising so far – and based on in-game data also the most convincing – is the release of the addon “The Dragon Isles”.

The expansion would go back to the planet Azeroth and focus on healing the planet.

We have already discussed the leak to “The Dragon Isles” in detail.

I like pretty much everything the leak has promised so far.

WoW Black Prince Wrathion
Wrathion is set to play an important role in The Dragon Isles expansion.

The primary setting, i.e. the dragon islands, is basically still a blank slate. The area was originally planned for vanilla, but was not implemented in the end and has so far been idle. Apart from a few mentions in the story – as recently by Furorion – there is almost no information about the islands.

There is enough room here for something “completely new”, but at the same time not as alien and unreal as the Shadowlands.

I like that it would also come with a return to Azeroth and an “original” story. I’ve always liked the dragons as characters, Ysera and Alexstrasza in particular are interesting characters that I would have liked to have learned more about after the Cataclysm. I didn’t get enough of them in the past expansions, even though Ysera reappeared in Shadowlands.

I also like the second aspect of the leak: the redesign of already known areas. I think the task of revising all zones again like in “Cataclysm” is too big. But modernizing some areas with each content patch and as the story progresses sounds tempting. Just bring a few old classics up to date. Maybe the lava lane in the Barrens has been closed in the meantime? How has Tanaris evolved in recent years? Maybe as cool as in the Hearthstone expansion? What about the Plaguelands, are they now fully cleansed?

There is a lot of potential for interesting and cool innovations in old charm.

I don’t want to comment on the possible game systems around the “personified Azeroth”. You have to see that in detail to see if this is just another borrowed power system or something really long-term and thoughtfully new.

WoW Battle for Azeroth Map Weltkarte
Azeroth back in focus – many might like that.

I find the announcement of the black dragons as a playable race a little more unrealistic. While this is something that players have been asking for for many years, a species that can just take all of the other species’ cosmetic options sounds a little too odd to really reflect gaming reality. It would just ruin identification with all the other races.

Basically, that sounds promising. Because the Dragon Islands have long been anchored in the lore, and were originally supposed to be part of Classic.

The fact that “old areas” are being pimped up during the expansion in order to promote the healing of the planet should also please many players.

As always, hope for the best

In the end, it’s the same as it was before any new World of Warcraft expansion. The hope is that Blizzard has learned from the mistakes of the past and with Patch 10.0 and the latest expansion finally delivers more of what each individual group of players wants.

But if you’re honest: I’m not the only one who has had this hope, but also many others for years. After Battle for Azeroth, you thought things couldn’t go any further downhill – then Shadowlands proved otherwise. And of course everyone knows that one harbors exactly the same hope over and over again and that, viewed from the outside, one or the other could ask critically: Do you still notice anything? If it doesn’t get better after so many years, then give it up!

But I do not want that. For me, World of Warcraft has been an important part of my everyday life and a game I just love coming back to. It would be nice if the next expansion ensured that this would be the case again for many years to come.

Let’s hope that the Dragon Isles, should they be the next addon, will restore World of Warcraft to its former glory and bring WoW back to what made it so successful in the past.

After all: In the meantime, new clues make the dragon add-on even more likely …

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