Blizzard, please make dragonriding a permanent addition to World of Warcraft

Dragonriding
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

One of the slightly sad parts about World of Warcraft (opens in new tab)'s expansion model is the fleeting nature of experimental features. Things like class halls, island expeditions and garrisons defined the expansions they were in, but as soon as the next one came around they got pushed off to the side. They still exist within those expansions, encased in amber but no longer really relevant. I desperately hope this won't be the fate of Dragonflight's dragonriding. 

There are a lot of things that I like about Dragonflight so far. The Dracthyr Evoker is the most exciting class Blizzard has ever developed; the Dragon Isles are striking and, unlike Shadowlands, actually fun to explore; and the changes to things like reputation and professions are very welcome. But all of them are slightly overshadowed by the joy I feel whenever I'm soaring through the skies. 

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Even though dragonriding is in some ways limited compared to regular flying, the fact that you get access to it so quickly and get so much fine control over your mount makes it a whole new experience, and one that I greatly prefer to simply pointing my mount in a direction and going there. Flying in Dragonflight is an adventure. 

In most cases, expansion features make sense as one-offs, even if I would have liked to see some of them continued. They typically tie into the themes of their era, and with each new expansion comes new themes and ideas for Blizzard to mine—even if those new ideas are sometimes inspired by older ones, the way garrisons inspired class halls. But dragonriding is so much broader. Yes, Dragonflight is all about dragons, but we've also been flying dragons normally since 2007. There's no in-game reason why dragonriding shouldn't continue. 

There's also a precedent for features like this sticking around. Regular flying mounts were The Burning Crusade's big new thing, but they weren't limited to that expansion and quickly became a WoW mainstay. And this wasn't a simple task for Blizzard. Flight completely transformed how players interacted with the world, and how Blizzard designed it. Outland's regions were vast but often contained huge swathes of nothingness, because of the assumption that players would be flying over it.

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)
Discover the Dragon Isles

WoW: Dragonflight

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

WoW Dragonflight (opens in new tab): Everything we know
Dragonflight leveling (opens in new tab): Get to 70 fast
Dragonflight talents (opens in new tab): New trees explained
Dracthyr Evokers (opens in new tab): The new race and class

Flight actually ended up creating some issues for the devs after TBC. It's hard to guide players through an expansion when they can just hop on their mount and fly away, soaring over areas that had been filled with diversions. Rather than scrapping flight or making every expansion as big and empty as Outland, Blizzard instead made flight something you gained access to after you'd already put the time in—after you'd already explored what the expansion had to offer. 

So while dragonriding, right now, is very much designed for the Dragon Isles, which is full of updrafts and massive drops that help you maintain your impressive momentum, it doesn't mean this will always be the case. Blizzard has shown it's willing to adapt if a feature is popular enough.

Indeed, the studio has made this explicit. Back in April, Blizzard told Shack News that if people love dragonriding, it will look into expanding it. And this doesn't just mean it might show up in future expansions—there's a pretty decent chance it will be available everywhere.

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

This makes sense when you consider the Dracthyr Evoker. Thanks to their wings, these mystical reptiles can enjoy a limited form of dragonriding without a mount and absolutely anywhere. One of the first things I did after finishing the Dractyhr prologue was fly around Orgrimmar on the power of my own wings. It was a delight. So dragonriding is, technically, already available outside of the Dragon Isles. Just not for everyone.

Judging by the response to dragonriding, it's definitely popular enough to justify its continued existence. Not everyone considers it a slam dunk, of course—it's hard to get millions of players to agree on anything. But the concerns some players have mostly seem to be born out of a fear that Blizzard would simply replace the normal flying model. I don't see that happening. Don't get me wrong, I would be fine with using dragonriding exclusively, but only a few rabble rousers are really suggesting that it should serve as a replacement. 

Blizzard's got to know it's onto a winner here. After two extremely disappointing expansions, it's finally found something that gets players excited again. Something that makes World of Warcraft feel, if not completely new again, at least novel. It's hard to imagine a world where dragonriding doesn't become a core feature. But this is WoW, and I've been disappointed before. This time, though, I'm feeling optimistic.   

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.