World of Warcraft: Dragonflight has finally arrived, letting players take to the skies with their new dragonriding mounts—or in some cases, on the power of their own massive wings. Despite being on one of Europe's busiest realms, the lack of queues tricked me into thinking it would be a smooth launch, and then I spent the next hour in limbo, hoping Blizzard would rescue my character.
Like a lot of players, simply getting to the Dragon Isles proved to be my greatest challenge late last night. My first attempt saw me and the rest of the zeppelin's passengers deposited back in Durotar. My second attempt led to me being disconnected and my poor Evoker trapped between Kalimdor and the Dragon Isles. My support ticket was deleted within 10 minutes.
So many people trying to get to the new zone led to the servers buckling (opens in new tab), and for an hour all I could do was imagine what it would be like to explore the Dragon Isles. But then I was in! Soaring through this new zone, getting my Dragon Isles professions and rescuing animals from tornados.
Dracthyr Evokers can fly straight away, so already this is quickly becoming one of my favourite expansions, as it's just so much easier to explore. I kept having to remind myself I had quests to complete and dragons to befriend, but the skies called to me, demanding that I hurtle through forests and weave between imposing mountains. I was in Heaven. But what's the temperature of the room? Is everyone else having as good a time as me? Mostly, it seems like they're just happy that they've finally escaped Shadowlands.
Even once I finally got into the Dragon Isles, the lag was horrendous, but chat was filled with pragmatists willing to accept the lag if it meant they wouldn't have to go back to the afterlife. Of course, a similar thing happened during Shadowlands launch. Everyone hated Battle for Azeroth, and anywhere new was obviously going to worm its way into their hearts. I don't think I've ever received quite so much hate mail as when I suggested that Shadowlands wasn't very good. But now I feel vindicated.
One of the big differences is that Dragonflight doesn't bog you down with speeches and exposition for hours and hours. You land, you get some quests and you scurry around having a good time. Everyone I passed seemed very busy, instead of just standing around waiting for NPCs to finish talking. There's just a bit more energy and dynamism this time around, even if it took me 30 seconds to loot things because of the aforementioned lag.
Thankfully, the lag was only a temporary problem, and I ended up playing until 3am without encountering any major issues. That's not been the case for everyone, and flight in particular has been summoning some oddities.
While some druids might be encountering weird bugs, flying is still very much what Dragonflight does best, with dragonriding already coming out as the clear winner of the expansion launch. It's both a fun novelty and very practical ability, and I'm reminded of the enthusiasm with which regular flying was embraced during The Burning Crusade. Everyone's just pretty giddy, even when bugs appear.
Even on the forums, where there are players announcing that they will be asking for a refund (opens in new tab)or telling everyone about their pet peeves (opens in new tab), the atmosphere feels largely positive, with most responses defending Dragonflight. It's been a surprise! After two disappointing expansions, I expected people to be at capacity when it comes to bullshit, but even the ambivalent are taking the sensible "wait and see" approach. The most important thread on the forums, of course, is this one celebrating ducks (opens in new tab). I have nothing but love for the Dragon Isles' waterfowl.
Right now everyone's just getting their feet (and wings), and it won't be until a lot of folk have hit endgame before we get a properly clear impression of how the community has taken to the expansion, but from here, at the start, things are looking good.