World of Warcraft Dragonflight, meet the dragons! – It’s gaming

On November 29, Blizzard Entertainment will launch World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, the ninth expansion to the acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

Read on for a deep dive into all things dragon – from design concepts to skills and knowledge:

Where it all started
The Dragon Isles were the heart of the Dragon’s Kingdom until they were called away during the Legion’s initial assault on Azeroth, leading to the great dismemberment of the land and seeing much of the magic drained from the islands.

Now the Dragon Islands are waking up and bubbling with magic again. The dragons are ready to reclaim their heritage as the rightful protectors of Azeroth. However, the islands have undoubtedly changed over the past 10,000 years, with new challenges and the resurgence of old enemies.

Players travel the islands, helping the dragons and uncovering long-forgotten secrets.

A new draconic race

The expansion adds a new draconic race, the Dractyren. Players can switch between a humanoid face and a draconic form to defeat enemies and overcome obstacles, both of which can be customized during character creation. There are almost countless ways for players to customize the Dractyr, including a selection of tails, scales, horns and snouts. The wide range of customizations for the Dractyr are the most robust currently in the game.

Earth-Warder Neltharion, former aspect of the Black Dragonflight, later known by his more infamous name, Deathwing, created the adaptable Dractyr with a unique intelligence not embedded in previous Dragonkin. The Dracthyr are an ancient race of humanoid dragon families that can harness the powers of the five primal dragon flights. For example, using the powers of Bronze Dragon Flight, they can manipulate time to heal allies’ wounds. Dractyren’s armies are divided into specialized units called weyrns. They are expert soldiers who use their abilities to serve the Earth-Warder and defend the Dragonkind. Harnessing their unique skills is a long process, but those who master their skills can effortlessly switch between skills and become true Evokers.
Dracthyr gets its own unique playable class, the Evoker, where players must choose their allegiance, the Horde or the Alliance. Summoners have two main specialties: destruction and preservation, meaning they can fight from the air with fiery breath attacks and use magical healing abilities to strengthen their allies.

Players will be introduced to the story of Dracthyr in a brand new starting experience and will be able to practice the new skills before exploring the Dragon Isles. Dracathyr is available to players starting at level 58, with their own unique starting zone in the Forbidden Reach.

Suit armor concept

In the concept phase, it was important to ensure that the armor could be modular so the player had enough options to choose from so they could mix and match. When designing the armor detail, we used smooth shapes and sharp silhouette changes, avoiding straight lines, to give the dractyr their own unique look that stood out from other cultures in World of Warcraft.

Ariel Fain – Senior Character Artist

Suit armor concept

This concept was created to showcase custom armor for our new race/class combo, the Dracthyr. It mainly focused on visualizing the class fantasy of a mid-class draconic warrior.
Our other character artist, Ariel Fain, designed some draft bull armor before mine, so I wanted to make sure the new armor I was designing could be combined with her armor. So of course the design is heavily inspired by Ariel’s armor and other cool weapons and props that the art team has been working on. There is a certain idiom with the pieces, so I wanted every little detail to convey that feeling, including the chain mail.

Sukjoo Choi – Senior Character Artist

Meet the dragons

Dragon Aspects, also known as Great Aspects, are the leaders of the five dragon flights. They are immensely powerful, intelligent and ancient creatures that have been driven by the Titans to protect Azeroth.
The models for Dragon Aspects hadn’t been updated since Cataclysm, so Dragonflight gave the team a chance to update them. They started with concept art to re-imagine what the leaders of each dragon flight would look like in today’s WoW art style – read on for more!

Alexstrasza Visage Concept

Nozdormu Visage concept

Nozdormu, also known as The Ageless, is the aspect of the Bronze Dragon Flight. He was empowered to act as Azeroth’s guardian and has been involved in many battles, including The War of the Ancients and the defeat of Deathwing.

“My goal was to make Nozdormu’s design look recognizably similar to the older design, while simplifying some design elements and drawing more attention to others. I liked the scales around his waist and neck and wanted to highlight them in the new design and give them their own geometry in the 3D model. My favorite part of the new design is the asymmetrical shirt that covers one shoulder, something I thought would help Nozdormu feel unique, along with incorporating its iconic shoulder pads into the design.

Alexstrasza Visage is a Life-Biner and guardian of everything in Azeroth. She is the aspect of the Red Dragon’s Flight and was one of the five dragons that the Titans had empowered with some of the Pantheon’s power. Alexstrasza was also crowned queen of all dragons. “Working on Alexstrasza for Dragonflight was really exciting – I love this character and she has a very special place in my heart. She has had so many great looks over the years in many games, books, fan art and cosplay. For Dragonflight, we wanted to give her a regal, extravagant look as she returns to an active role as the Queen of Dragons. We also wanted to make sure her new armor didn’t feel too heavy and that she kept the elegance she’s known for. This was the final drawing for Alexstrasza’s new look (some features were further changed while I worked on the model).

Natacha Nielsen – Character artist

Kalecgo’s Visage Concept
Kalecgos, also known as Kalec in his mortal form, is the former aspect of the Blue Dragonfly. In his mortal form, Kalec appears as half elf and half human with blue hair, representative of the fusion of the dragon and human worlds.

“For the updated Kalecgos model, we wanted to keep familiar elements from its original design while emphasizing its magical side. I decided to dress him in something more elegant, adorned with arcane runes befitting an Archmage of the Kirin Tor and leader of the blue dragon flight. His mortal face is half elf, so this new model gave us the opportunity to make that a distinctive feature of his appearance.”
Cody Harder – Character Artist

Nozdormu Visage Concept

Nozdormu, also known as the Timeless, is the aspect of the Bronze Dragon Flight. He was empowered to act as Azeroth’s guardian and has been involved in many battles, including The War of the Ancients and the defeat of Deathwing.

“My goal was to make Nozdormu’s design look recognizably similar to the older design, while simplifying some design elements and drawing more attention to others. I liked the scales around his waist and neck and wanted to highlight them in the new design and give them their own geometry in the 3D model. My favorite part of the new design is the asymmetrical shirt that covers one shoulder, something I thought would help Nozdormu feel unique, along with incorporating its iconic shoulder pads into the design.

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