World Of Warcraft: Dragonflight Brings Sweeping Changes To Talents And Professions

This week, Blizzard announced World of Warcraft’s newest expansion, Dragonflight, showing off the new race and class combination, the Dracthyr Evoker, as well as the new lands players will be exploring in the long-hidden Dragon Isles. Some of the reveals this week weren’t as flashy as playable transforming magical dragons. Yet, they do provide a better window into the philosophy and priorities of the World of Warcraft team in the immediate future. I spoke with Dragonflight senior game designer Jackie Wiley about the complete talents system rework coming to all classes in 10.0 as well as the big changes coming to professions.

“We’re stepping away from borrowed power this expansion to work on our evergreen systems, but also letting players express themselves how they want,” says Wiley. The concept of “borrowed power” comes up often in the Warcraft community, which references systems like Legion’s artifact weapons, Azerite armor from Battle for Azeroth, and the Covenant abilities and Soul Binds from Shadowlands, which all gave players new stat boosts, spells, and skills not inherent to the core class progression and talents system. At the start of recent expansions, large swaths of your character’s power were wiped away, leaving significant holes in class rotations and utilities left to be filled by whatever the next borrowed power mechanic would be in the new expansion. According to Wiley’s statement, Dragonflight won’t have a system like that, with Blizzard instead opting instead to learn from those borrowed power systems to rebuild a more classic take on Talents.

Currently, WoW players gain a majority of their spells and abilities automatically when they level up, with only a handful of choices given to them regarding their preferred playstyle for their class specialization. Every 15 levels or so, you can choose one of three talents from a specific tier; some offer modifications to existing abilities, while others grant new skills altogether. However, with only six real choices to make per character at a given time, there’s not a lot in the way of player expression and customization for a given class. That all changes in Dragonflight.

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