Dragonflight is the next World of Warcraft expansion after Shadowlands, and is scheduled to be released later this year. Maybe it’s due to my lack of interest at the end of Shadowlands or burnout, but this time the expansion announcement seems underwhelming to me. This expansion will bring a new hero class, Evoker, a new humanoid dragonkin-ish race, Dracthyr, and a return to Azeroth. From what I’ve seen so far, it will also include newly worked talent trees and many quality of life updates such as a UI overhaul. Dragonflight brings with it the introduction of possibly the best WoW character ever: Stony Danza – you can watch Blizzard’s announcement cinematic trailer and read my thoughts on Stony and other things from the cinematic here. So, why do I feel underwhelmed?
Maybe, just maybe, seventeen years is a long time to play one game. Especially if that one game is an MMO which is constantly evolving and where the current “endgame” is obsolete by the next content patch. I’ve experienced it almost from the beginning, through the good and the bad. Even with the promise of returning to Azeroth after the otherworldly expansion of Shadowlands, and playable dragons, it’s just more of the same. That’s not to say I’m not interested at all, I love a good WoW story involving dragons and Titan lore. I’m looking forward to raiding with my team, as I do every year, but Dragonflight has yet to pull me in. Even with Stony Danza. I haven’t played the beta or PTR, so maybe I’m missing out on a lot of interesting features. Dragonflight to me seems like a return to the basics of WoW: story focused on Azeroth, dragons, Titan structures and lore. I think that it will be a good break from the complexity and uniqueness of Shadowland’s story.
If I get invited to the beta test at some point, I will probably play it and try to pique my interest. Maybe I’m reading into all this too much, and I really just need a break before jumping back in. Taking the time to work on other projects, play other games… Nonetheless, WoW will always be a special game to me. Moving forward, I might choose to enjoy it with more moderation in order to preserve the magic. Now I’m wondering why this post feels like I’m trying to rekindle the fire in a fizzled out relationship?
While it’s true that I haven’t been playing WoW much lately, ever since the conclusion to the current expansion, Shadowlands, I was really excited about this video when it was released back in April. A big part of why I wanted to finally post an article about it is Stony Danza, Stony Tony, Stone Boi… whatever people may call him, he’s the definite star of the video. Blizzard unveiled this cinematic to us in an online event showcasing the future of WoW, as there was no BlizzCon this year.
Everything about this cinematic was amazing to me. It opens up with a glimpse of 10,000 years in the past where the dragons are leaving the island. I’m assuming this is after the time the Titans raised members from each of the dragon flights into Aspects, but I’ll need to brush up on my dragon lore to be sure. We see some beautiful Titan structures since, after all, the Dragon Aspects themselves were granted their power by the Titans in order to safe guard Azeroth in their absence and can also be described as constructs of the Titans. It was a welcome surprise to see Titan Watchers, common within the game, featured in such an important cinematic. Then begins the story in earnest.
As the dragons leave the island, it and everything else on it including the Watchers power down. We can see the island’s power source looming high above everything else, signifying its importance. In present day most of the keepers have been destroyed from thousands of years of weathering, being that they are made out of stone. The only Keeper to awaken is our hero, Stony Danza, who recognizes his task at once. For a man made out of stone, much emotion is displayed on his face as he somberly walks toward the tower. It’s easy to see the sadness on his face as he reaches the Titan Keeper who time has not been kind to. When Stony reignites the beacon and seemingly accepts his death, only to be caught at the last moment by the dragon Alexastrasza, tears were shed. Once again the skies open and the dragons are home. Stony Danza is a hero, my hero.
What I love most about this cinematic is that it conveys so much emotion from a character with no dialogue. You can tell just by watching him how sad he is to be the only Watcher who awoke that day, and the calm determination in his face as he realizes what he must do. Blizzard has confirmed that Stony Danza will be in the game, and that his “real” name is Watcher Kouranos. I can’t wait to find him and give him a hug.