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WoWJul 14, 2022 11:00 am CT

A first look at Dragon Racing (and Dragonriding) in WoW Dragonflight

Dragonriding is a major feature in the upcoming Dragonflight expansion for World of Warcraft. Although a variant on regular flying, it offers many unique mechanics (e.g., acceleration based on flight angle) and promises to be an evolving system as we progress through the Dragon Isles. One of the more “for fun” elements of Dragonriding, however, is Dragon Racing.

Dragon Racing is, as you might expect, centered around flying your Dragonriding-capable mount through an obstacle course as fast as possible. These “obstacle courses” can be found throughout the various zones in the Dragon Isles, offer multiple difficulties, and even appear to have Bronze, Silver, and Gold achievements for those who truly master the courses. But why talk about all this when I could just show you?

Beginner Difficulty

Advanced Difficulty

Dragon Riding basics in WoW Dragonflight

So what exactly is happening here? Well, there are a few key facets to note about Dragon Racing:

  • Vigor: Those blue diamonds you see? Those are Vigor, the resource required to use your Drake’s special abilities. Vigor recharges on the ground or at “high speeds” while Dragonriding.
    • Note that while I currently only have 3 Vigor, it very much looks like we’ll get more as we progress through Dragonflight.
  • Drake Abilities: In the videos above, you’ll notice I have two abilities I can use. One sends me upward, while the other propels me forward. The latter is especially helpful in the Advanced course to make it to the next checkpoint before time runs out.
  • Drake Features: A little more on the nebulous side of things, but Dragonriding features new flying tech that takes into account your flight angle and momentum. It’s a bit tricky to nail down, but this becomes key in maintaining your flight sometimes, as it helps recharge Vigor. Some examples of this include sharp left or right turns, or making a steep dive.
  • Obstacles and Boosts: Though not always present in the Beginner difficulties, the Advanced difficulties make use of both obstacles and boosts to impede/propel you along the way. In the Advanced run above, you’ll see that the green orbs refresh my Vigor — and while not captured, the more airy orbs seriously hinder progression and can break a run if you hit one without Vigor to make up for it.
  • Courses and Ratings: As mentioned above, each zone has at least one (if not multiple) courses, and those courses each have Bronze, Silver, and Gold ratings depending on how fast you complete them.

This is all subject to change — it’s the alpha, after all — but my initial impressions of Dragon Racing are positive! It was fun to discover the little Bronze Dragon waiting for someone to come and race, and it was even more fun getting to see the Azure Span at breakneck speeds. All in all, I’m excited to see just how far Blizz takes these courses.

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