A new expansion pack for World of Warcraft, Dragonflight, is due to be released in 2022. MeinMMO editor Benedict Grothaus got a look at the game ahead of the alpha and is enthusiastic about the new class. Rufer (“Evoker”) is really fun!
The press event only lasted 2 days but I made the most of it. I spent over 10 hours looking at the new Dragonflight content, including UI improvements, crafting, and one of the new areas. Check out our hub for a summary of Dragonflight’s features.
But most of my time was spent playing a new class. I spent 7 hours looking at Rufer, a very special class.
It is closely related to the new race of Drakthyr. Each Drakthyr is a Summoner, and each Summoner must be a Drakthyr. Added to this is an almost unnecessarily large number of personalization options, thanks to which it took 10 minutes to create my character.
Honestly, I didn’t think Rufer was capable of much. A throwing class that only has 2 specs wears chain armor and fights elemental magic? Sounds like shamans and I find them boring.
I don’t like commentators in general. Since Cataclysm came out in 2010, I only play the main melee characters. I have always conscientiously raised my witcher to the maximum level, but I have only been actively raiding with warriors, rogues, paladins, and death knights for only 12 years.
So now the caller calls and shows me how much I could have missed. Because wow, it’s so much fun!
We’ve gathered some of the highlights from my test in a handy 3-minute gameplay here for you. Please note that this is an early alpha build and gameplay is subject to change prior to release:
Only 2 specs but lots of ways to play
Like Legion Demon Hunters, Callers only have 2 specializations: Devastation (DPS) and Preservation (healing). However, they do not actually fight with elemental magic, but with the colors of different dragon herds:
- Red and Blue deal magic damage
- Green and brown are responsible for healing
- Black brings defensive abilities – maybe also to the later role of a tank
The Drakthyr are descended from dragons and as such can fly. Like the new Dragon Rider system, Drakthyr can take to the skies, then soar, gain momentum with skill, and travel long distances. However, it takes practice.
A special feature of Summoners are 2 completely new magic mechanisms: essences and buffs. Essences are required as a resource to cast stronger spells. Empowerment makes spells stronger the longer they are cast, with different effects.
You can read more about the new Caller class in our special offer:
WoW Dragonflight: New Class – All about Dracthyr summoners
Talents make Rufer really good
This all sounds standard for the new class, maybe even a little less than usual. But what makes Rufer my first wheel after 12 years is the versatility.
The talent system returns with Dragonflight. And here Rufer clearly stands out from all the talent trees known to date. Because even within his specialization there are even more subtleties that I can play with in my own way:
- Focusing on blue abilities gives more fission damage and instant spells
- Red skills resemble a Fire Mage with strong area spells
- Green spells deal with direct healing and regeneration
- Bronze skills require foresight, can prevent damage, and can even repeat spells
As a Drakthyr Caller, I truly feel like a descendant of the famous dragon aspects This is why the new class is so exciting. But there’s also the fact that Rufer’s skill set feels round, maybe a little too strong.
During testing, I played alongside Marylin Marx from GameStar – she as red dragon, me as blue. We started right away at level 65, maximum 68. Our experiences were completely different as I could see from our conversations on the side.
Where I fought most of all with lightning speed and lots of movement, Mary often stood in the back and literally bombarded her opponents. Read Mary’s impressions of Dragonflight Alpha as well as her interview with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas on GameStar.
A new Dragonflight feature is Riding Dragons with Drakthyr. You can see the gameplay here in the video:
Versatile and fun, but also very difficult to learn
Even as a DPS caller I can heal myself properly with at least 2 spells and keep myself and my group alive. Spells, at least as a blue dragon, flow on top of each other in harmonious alternating long casts, instant casts, and channelings.
It’s about a dragon fantasy. Things like Deathwing’s fiery breath or Deathwing’s famous annihilation flight, which even comes in a healing version, are part of the kit. The last time I was so immersed in classroom fantasy when it came to Legion Classrooms. First of all, the villain with his pirate makeover really kidnapped me then – just like Rufer manages to do it now.
Rufer, on the other hand, is quite difficult to play. When creating it, you get a warning that this is an “advanced class” and you may want to play another class if you are not experienced.
In fact, being overwhelmed by new talents and abilities, it’s hard to figure out when to use what. Even after 7 hours of intense gaming, I’m not sure if I’m really doing everything right. But at least I felt better and better over time.
As the press event called us to traverse a new area, I spent most of my time playing the DPS spec. There were no dungeons so I couldn’t really test a healer, just play a bit.
However, what I have seen and tried there so far seems unique, as is the damage specification. Green Dragons play differently than Bronze Dragons, similar to Discipline and Holy Priests with different healing styles.
By the way … now that I talk about it, the leak in the Dragonflight inventory is correct. There really is a new bag slot, and at least in Alpha some materials are stacked up to 1000 times. Whether this will be accepted remains to be seen. In the video, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Dragonflight in 3 minutes:
Rufer as a role model for the future
One of the reasons I find Rufer better than any other commentator is because of his reach. Unlike most spell classes, multi-skill summoners only have a range of 25 yards.
This makes Rufer a “middle class” class, as product director Pat Dawson revealed to me in a subsequent interview. So they bridge the gap between melee and ranged combat and are unique in terms of positioning.
Players had ideas for such classes at least from the Legion. A demon hunter or hunter with two ranged weapons such as hand crossbows or pistols. Outlawed villains as true gunslingers in mid-range combat.
For now, these classes do not exist, and Caller is the first to really test this distance. Dawson said the first step is to see how new ideas are received. However, callers can be used as a template for future class changes or new specifications.
WoW wants to introduce more content than ever before, it makes less expansion
If you want to see the new features and Drakthyr with your own eyes, you can sign up for the Dragonflight beta. Alpha launches today (July 14, 2022), but only for a select few players. Beta should be available to more people.
The launch of Dragonflight is scheduled for 2022 and Dawson says everything is well on track to achieve this goal. Internally, the game goes much further. My test also felt… more finished than Alpha Shadowlands at the time. But it remains to be seen if everything else will work out. There is still no consensus in the community:
WoW: Fans are skeptical about the new Dragonflight expansion – aren’t they?