For some time, World of Warcraft players have been wading through uncharted territory, working their way through the shadowlands. Dragonflight, the next expansion, which is currently in beta, seems to be undergoing a narrative reset. Players are returning to Azeroth, and the Dragon Isles seem to be the site of some good old-fashioned fantasy adventure.
Nothing is ever truly effortless in a game as long-running and narratively dense as World of Warcraft. Blizzard is returning to many old plot threads and reintroducing older characters, according to the latest article.
[Ed. note: This article contains small spoilers from the Public Test Realm content.]
Dragonflight appears to have started fresh on the heels of a time skip, which was sorely needed, since each expansion covered a chronological window of about one to two years. Things have changed, too, and Azeroth is no longer stuck in constant, unending conflicts and conflicts.
The Horde and Alliance
The Horde is in a very interesting narrative position, thanks to Sylvanas Windrunner's long and sometimes very terrible story that unfolded during Battle for Azeroth. The Horde has made peace with the Alliance, but that does not change the factions' violent past, which included burning Teldrassil and killing all who lived there. Thats something the narrative tries to grapple with, and Horde characters are in an awkward position right now.
The Alliance, on the other hand, hasn't made any structural changes. Theyre still a monarchy led by a High King. Anduin Wrynn, Warcrafts soft, sweet boy, is still pretty traumatized by the events of Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands, so he's taking a leave of absence. Turalyon is a war hero from 1995's Warcraft 2, who disappeared at the end of the game but reappeared in 2016's
The two factions are at peace. Heck, players from both sides can now play together. This implies we need some sort of adversary after all, as the old joke goes, it's the Warcraft franchise.
Dragonflight is a Dragonflight expansion, so there are dragons aplenty: the Red, Blue, Green, Bronze, and Black Dragonflights, along with their leaders and Aspects, at the end of Cataclysm, the Dragon Aspects gave up most of their power to defeat Deathwing, the maddening Aspect of the Black Dragonflight; dragons are no longer infertile, and were in the new age of dragons.
Alexstrasza, the dragon queen and Aspect of the Red Dragonflight, will be one of the main quest givers and NPCs we travel with. She's been a major part of the franchise since the RTS games, and she's generally a nice person. In Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, she took some time to assist a lost soul from the undeath.
Kalecgos, the Aspect of Magic and the leader of the Blue Dragonflight, is relatively unknown. She was first cast in a manga back in 2005, and she was later dated by Jaina Proudmoore, but she's a blank slate. Merithra of the Dream is the new leader of the Green Dragonflight, who took the role after players killed her mother, a corrupted Ysera, in the Shadowlands.
The last two leaders are the most interesting. Wrathion is the son of the aforementioned evil, maddening Deathwing, and he is on a mission to restore his Dragonflight. The problem is that Wrathion is young, impulsive, and tends to run with an idea rather than checking in with his friends.
Nozdormu, the Bronze Aspect, is the player who learned back in Cataclysm that Nozdormu is set to vanish into a ruthless state and try to disrupt all of the universe's timelines.
The Aspects, the Horde, and Alliance are all working together to put an end to threats like the Primal Proto-Drakes and their elementalist cults, as well as uncovering the secrets of a new playable race, the Dracthyr, who appears to be a hidden science experiment that Deathwing has finally released to the public.
The Dragon Isles itself looks like a decent place in Dragonflight, and our journey to the Dragon Isles is far more enjoyable and adventurous than the starting points of the previous few expansions. However, there are some hidden narrative mines in characters like Nozdormu and Turalyon that will likely cause problems sooner or later.