How to win dragon races in World of Warcraft: Dragonflight

WoW: Dragonflight dragon racing
(Image credit: Blizzard)
Discover the Dragon Isles

World of Warcraft Dragonflight screenshot

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Dragonflight leveling: Get to 70 fast
Dragonflight talents: New trees explained
Dracthyr Evokers: The new race and class
Dragonflight professions: What's new
Dragonflight Renown: Befriend the factions

Dragon racing can be a lot of fun in World of Warcraft: Dragonflight. As one of the best aspects of the new expansion, dragonriding's physics-driven swoops and zooms make traveling across the expansion's huge zones a lot of fun. It even makes mundane tasks like herbing or mining an adventure but you can really hone your skill for speed by participating in dragon races.

If you've been advancing through the storyline, you'll have unlocked these courses, and possibly done one or two as part of the world quests that pop up. Dragon races are courses of rings that you swoop and soar through, competing against the clock and a host of obstacles.

The basic courses unlocked during questing are fairly simple, rewarding straightforward completion with bronze or silver times. But once you move on to the advanced courses, things get a lot more complicated. This guide will walk you through all the ins and outs—and ups and downs—of WoW: Dragonflight's dragon races so you can take gold in style.

WoW Dragonflight dragon racing: How to get started

Unlocking dragon racing—at least for your first character—requires getting to the Dragonriding series of quests in the Waking Shores zone. Once you've done the introductory "how to fly" quests, you'll receive a quest to do a tour of all the racing routes which opens up races in every zone. If you abandoned that quest along the way, you can re-take it from Celormu at Skytop Observatory in the Waking Shores.

Before you start working through the dragon races, I highly recommend gathering all of the Dragon Glyphs that are placed throughout the zones. Having all the Dragonriding talents filled out drastically increases your chances of successfully getting advanced golds. Note that it doesn't matter for racing what you choose on the two choice nodes in Dragonriding skills.

You'll find a Bronze Timekeeper at every race location, and talking to them will start the run. The keepers will be marked on the minimap when you get close as items of interest, complete with silver arrows, so they're hard to miss.

Once you've completed the quests for the tours of all four zones, you'll unlock quests for advanced races, which are more difficult. No worries if you've done some of the races without having done the quests; just pick it up at Ruby Life Sanctum and you'll get credit for all the ones you've completed thus far.

Basic racing and course differences 

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Dragon racing courses have yellow rings for you to go through. Most will have a throughline running from one ring to the next, showing you the route you are required to take. A few let you grab the rings in any order you choose, allowing you to set up your own path. For dragon racing courses with set routes, the ring you're going through next is gold, and the next ring after that is a greeny-blue.

Little swirls or clouds of wind along the route give you huge speed bonuses while green orbs give you Vigor; it's not always worth going out of your way for them, but if they're close, pick them up. These are much less common in advanced races.

There are also obstacles along the courses, particularly in advanced routes. Giant purple Stun Orbs stun you, wiping away your momentum. Elemental Orbs slow you. Don't worry though; you can Surge Forward through both without issue if you have enough glyphs to take the Ohn'ahra's Gusts talent.

Completing all the basic courses on Gold gets you some Drakewatcher Manuscripts for customizing your Dragonriding mount—one for each zone achievement. Completing the advanced courses on Bronze does the same. Complete all the races and you'll get a shoulder transmog appearance. Completing them on Silver gets you a cute pet, and finishing on Gold gets you the Isles Racer title. 

Vigor management and advanced races 

(Image credit: Blizzard)

The key to succeeding at most races boils down to two factors: managing your Vigor and avoiding obstacles. Some races are slaloms, with super-sharp hairpin turns that challenge your forward momentum, while others include steep climbs, for which you must save those precious Vigor orbs. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a few times to complete some advanced courses; as you learn where the tricky spots are, you'll soon be going fast.

Basic races don't require much Vigor management, and other than keeping a charge or two in your bank in case of emergency, you can Surge Forward every time it's up to earn yourself a guaranteed Silver or Gold finish.

Avoiding obstacles is a combination of reflexes and knowing where things will pop up—and where your next ring will be. Anything that foils your Dragonriding mount in the real world—rocky outcroppings, random tree branches—will hit you on the courses as well, and some are downright diabolical for obstacles. If you're fast with the fingers, you can avoid them on the go. If you're not, it might take a few runs to practice when you're going to need to twist and turn.

If you're having trouble seeing where you need to go—and on some courses, there is a lot going on visually—turn off enemy nameplates and turn your graphics details way down to clean up your screen.

Multiplayer races 

(Image credit: Blizzard)

You'll see multiplayer races pop up on your zone map as a checkered flag when they're active, and multiple flags over the timekeeper's head denote a multiplayer race. Tell the timekeeper you want to participate, and he'll collect names until the race begins. Those races won't start until enough players sign up, so it's a good activity to do with friends and guildmates for fun and a bit of gold. The leaders are announced between laps and once the race finishes.