With the launch of World of Warcraft: Dragonflight ever closer, Blizzard kindly invited us to speak directly with Tina Wang, the expansion’s Associate Art Director, and Maria Hamilton, its Lead Quest Designer, about the progress of the project. Check out how our chat went below!

The launch of the game is very close and will happen on the next 28/11! How is the mood of the team? Was it fun working on this expansion?

Tina Wang: We’re so excited right now that we’re just shy of launch! The team put so much of their passion into the project, and it was fun working on Dragonflight after Shadowlands! In World of Warcraft we love creating that variety of lore and experiences, so in Shadowlands we took players so far that we thought it would be nice to go back to something more familiar now.

It was really interesting for the art team to have the chance to explore all these cultures that the player was unfamiliar with and only had a slight idea about, and then polish developing everything, both their story and their artwork with greater fidelity.

Maria Hamilton: I would say that the quest design team was absolutely thrilled to be working on Dragonflight! After all, this is dragons we’re talking about, and there are so many things you can do when you’re telling stories about dragons and the places they live… The whole thing about having an earth frozen in time, but not so much… that gave us great quest ideas!

The themes of exploration and discovery made working on the Dragon Isles even more fun. It’s great to be involved with something that has so much high fantasy at its disposal. Because you know, suddenly you’re there walking with Alexstrasza… and that’s a very enriching premise that helps us plan good missions.

From what I’ve played so far, I’ve really enjoyed this focus on having a less cosmic and more intimate experience. It reminded me a bit of Pandaria, which is my favorite expansion…

Maria Hamilton: As for quest design, we wanted to have a main story that wasn’t short, but concise. Something that would take us through each of the five new zones. We had a bunch of people talking and collaborating about what needed to happen, which characters should be there and what pace we should go.

So in Dragonflight we have a lot of local stories, quests focused on each of the zones to highlight them and make them feel like a real location. A place inhabited by real creatures and with their own problems. We focus on different cultures and stories, and while doing quests, we have designers pitching ideas all the time too.

They suggest everything that seems reasonable, and then we curate the best ideas. And the cool thing about it is that it allows them to pour out all their interests and personal stories, maybe even the tales they heard from their grandparents… . Not having to stick to just the main plot gives us more flexibility in writing, and we’re pretty proud of everything we’ve written for Dragonflight. We’ve heard some amazing feedback on the quests from fans!

And since we talked a little bit about the zones, Tina, what can people expect in terms of art and visuals for each of them?

Tina Wang: Wow, I could go on and on about this (laughs)! We put a lot of effort into making each zone feel special and unique, because, for example, when we are working in a greener area, we have to ask ourselves how can we make it different and unique from the other full of vegetation we have already done.

And that goes for the colors of the flowers, the density of the foliage and everything else… and on the Costa Avivada, it was cool to think of the tall pillars and the canyons with reddish rocks. Here in California we also have rocks like that, but they are more arid, so we love the idea of ​​mixing that with a lush environment. In fact, the entire continent is this environment full of elemental energy!

The Ohn’Ahran Plain is an area where we wanted to make good use of the vastness and open spaces, not least because its element is Air. So when it rains, you might see lightning striking rocks in the distance, or even geothermal energy impacting a geyser in the distance. It’s so beautiful to see the green dragons there, it’s wonderful, it’s a wonderful theme!

And then there’s the Azure Tunnel, of course, with its giant trees mixed with rich, colorful fields that gradually get more misty as you venture north. And on Thaldraszus we have flying islands, it looks like a little tropical planet that serves as a fantastic capital city for our dragons. And finally there’s the Forbidden Retreat, and a lot of it will be dungeons, so we can’t wait for players to explore all the fantasy of this story.

Do you know what I liked most about these areas? The fauna there! You guys did too well in animal husbandry. What are your favorites?

Tina Wong: Wow, that’s hard! (laughs) I’m excited about the ducks and the turtles, but I think the thing about World of Warcraft is that nothing is exactly like the real world, it’s kind of like what I said about environments: there’s a little bit of elements that make them special and unique. in the game. And even in the Dragon Islands, the animals have some traits of dragons! There are so many favorites, but I think I’ll go with the otter… it’s so cute to see them running and swimming

Maria Hamilton: I’m thinking! Hmmm… we have these little porcupines, and we’ve had this critter before, but they weren’t as full of flowers and beauty as they are now. Now they have cute colors as they walk, it’s adorable! But I’m also very supportive of ducks!

I thought you guys were going to pick the baby dragons, I loved them so much!

Maria Hamilton: Oh, I thought it was cheating! (laughs) Because they’re not exactly real world animals, right? But they are absolutely adorable with their giant eyes!