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WoWApr 26, 2022 10:00 am CT

Player housing, Night Elf Paladins, and ducks — highlights from our Dragonflight interview with devs Tina Wang and Jackie Wiley

With the announcement of World of Warcraft: Dragonflight we got the opportunity to see what’s on the roadmap for upcoming inclusions into Warcraft. There was the surprise reveal of the new Evoker Hero Class, the less surprising reveal of the Dragon Isles setting, and the massive updates to how we’ll build our character’s talents and user interface. However, as the dust settled on the announcement there was no news for a few of the things that players have been asking about for a long time — player housing, the rest of the various racial heritage armor sets, and updated race/class combos.

All of these things are popular both in the greater Warcraft community and even within the Developer team itself. I had the opportunity to ask Senior Game Designer Jackie Wiley, and Associate Art Director Tina Wang questions about the next expansion — and I knew I had to include these alongside questions about Dragonriding and how leveling will work on the Dragon Isles.

What’s happening with player housing in World of Warcraft

It’s safe to say that at this point almost everyone playing World of Warcraft has an opinion on player housing. For some players, this is the Holy Grail of things that Warcraft could add to instantly make the game a thousand times more fun. We’ve seen speculation abound about player housing and guild halls with every patch and expansion since Warlords of Draenor gave us the Garrisons. Some players want just straight houses, other times it’s boats and airships that they can customize.

The only thing that has remained constant has been that players really seem to want a space that they can call their own and modify how they like. Blizzard has been paying attention but doesn’t have anything concrete to share right now.

Originally Posted by Wiley
There’s definitely lots of chatter; but it’s something that if we do it, we have to like really do it right out of the gate. So it’s something that involves a lot of buildup. If we were to do it.

Building a housing system is something that would take a huge amount of effort on their part. Especially with so much pressure. WoW streamer Hazelnutty asked Game Director Ion Hazzikostas also asked questions about housing in a one-on-one interview, and he goes a little further into the decision to not focus on it right now.

Originally Posted by Hazzikostas
Player housing is a topic that comes up a ton around the team. Tons of support for it across the community and within the team, it’s something many of us would love ourselves. Putting together any of the packages of features for an expansion, it’s a mix of what thematically suits the expansion, what’s going to appeal to different types of players, but also what would be required to deliver that feature at the level that players expect and deserve, and what would we have to give up to make that happen… and player housing is a big one. It’s a big project, a big undertaking, and I would argue that if we were to do it, it would probably have to span multiple expansions – it’s a large enough feature just from the art. We saw that from doing the Garrisons in Warlords; frankly, due to resources, we were limited to offering only the Alliance and Horde garrisons, while people were like “I’m a Blood Elf, I want cool Silvermoon architecture in my garrison, why can’t I build that?” That was the original “it would cost you a raid tier” joke, but actually it was kind of true – this is how many thousands of hours it would take to make that.

That’s what player housing has to be, if and when we make it happen, and so it’s something that, you know the dream is still alive, something we want to do, but they’re not something we’re going to be able to do for dragon flight

Will we see class restrictions lifted?

I asked about the possibility of classes like Paladins getting more options on who can be one. There is a Night Elf Paladin NPC in the Paladin Order Hall back in Legion, but players can’t make that combination themselves. There are also always people asking for more Druid options, and occasionally Undead Paladins are brought up as well. Especially since Undead can be both Priests and Warriors, it’d make sense for them to be able to be Paladins.

Originally Posted by Wiley
laughs Like one of those ones that’s been like around? We’re still talking, that’s something that’s always on discussion. For the 10.0 launch we’re focused on the Dracthyr and the Evokers, the Dracthyr Evokers. That’s something that we’ve definitely heard a lot about on the team, and something that we talk about a lot.

The last time we saw new combinations added was when Gnomes were allowed to be Hunters during Legion. The other big question has been will Dracthyr be allowed to branch out from only being Evokers. Hazzikostas addressed this in a group interview he did — it’s unlikely to happen in Dragonflight but it’s not something that is entirely impossible.

Originally Posted by Hazzikostas
It’s definitely possible down the line. I think it’s exceedingly unlikely that any race other than Dracthyr could ever been an Evoker because you need wings, you need the ability to literally breath Draconic energy to perform any of the abilities. The Dracthyr that we’re meeting are all Evokers because that’s what they were created by Neltharion to be. That is their unique gift, they can channel the power of all the Dragonflights and this is who they are. Now as they emerge in Azeroth and integrate with the Alliance and Horde over time, could they learn to pick up an axe and be a great warrior, quite possibly, but that’s not where their story is starting in Dragonflight.

Is there still going to be more Heritage Armor?

It’s been more than two years since the Visions of N’zoth patch added Goblin and Worgen heritage armor. For the entire Shadowlands expansion, we haven’t heard a peep about if we’d be finishing up the rest of the race’s armor sets. Humans, Orcs, Night Elves, Trolls, Undead, Draenei, and Pandaren are all still waiting for their chance to strut their stuff in armor befitting a champion of their respective races.

Originally Posted by Wiley
It’s something that we definitely, we have not forgotten that there are races that don’t have their heritage armory yet; and when we were in the Shadowlands, it was not necessarily an opportunity to do those race specific stories; but now that we’re back on Azeroth and the Dragon Isles, we’re definitely talking about continuing that push because we have not forgotten that there are still races who need their heritage armor.

In the meantime, Blood Elves and Dark Iron Dwarves will be getting weapon sets in patch 9.2.5 that match their heritage armor. Hopefully as the rest of the races get their heritage armor, these weapon collections become baseline alongside of them for a truly epic ensemble.

Will we be able to ride the ducks?

We’ve only just gotten our first glimpse of the mysterious ducks of the Dragon Isles, but since this is Warcraft we of course have to know if there’s going to be a larger than average duck that we’ll be able to ride into battle. Surely with all of this wild magic returning to the Isles some of it must’ve caused a duck to grow to an unusual size.

Originally Posted by Wiley
I want one so badly, no news right now. But ducks are the best, and I’m so excited we cracked that technology

It is nice to know that these are all things that have been on their minds, even if we don’t have any firm updates about if and when we’ll see them. The most we can do is continue to talk about how cool it would be to have our Night Elf Paladin ride their duck mount to hang out in their own mansion wearing a Night Elf Heritage armor — because they’re definitely listening.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can opt-in to be added to the Dragonflight beta when it starts.

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