Dracthyr make World of Warcraft feel like a different game

  • November 28, 2022

I’m a thousand feet above The Forbidden Reach, with elemental wind buffeting my dragon-like wings. I’ve flown in World of Warcraft (opens in new tab) many times before, but you could hardly call that flying compared to the Dracthyr’s racial Soar ability, which is like a baby version of the full dragon riding system that will be available when the expansion launches. There’s a palpable sense of momentum and wind resistance, and I can’t simply hover in midair indefinitely. Seeing that I’m just about over my next quest target on the minimap, I go into a hard dive toward the cold ground. I want to try something.

Moments before I would have met the horizon line and made a nice reptile purée, I tap the button to break out of the soaring animation and immediately smash the key for my new Deep Breath ability, still in midair. Without skipping a beat, I unfold my wings again and perform a fiery strafing run that devastates the unfortunate enemies who never even saw me coming.

“What just happened??” I excitedly ask my dog sleeping a couple feet away, who doesn’t know the answer and doesn’t care.

Highway to the danger zone

In that moment, I really had to check myself: Wait, this is World of Warcraft? That completely bonkers aerial maneuver I just pulled took place in a practically ancient MMO that I started playing 18 years ago, when the height of adventure was watching my human character auto-attack wolves with a stick? I have mixed feelings about WoW: Dragonflight’s back-to-basics philosophy (opens in new tab). But I have to hand it to Blizzard with my big, scaly claw: stuff like this makes Azeroth feel new again.