World of Warcraft's anticipated alpha for the next expansion, Dragonflight, has officially begun today. To celebrate, the team has lifted the veil on the Azure Span zone as well as talked about crafting updates and more.
The first round of alpha testing focuses squarely on one of the new zones coming to Dragonflight: the Azure Span. The new zone, which Blizzard states is one of the largest ever created in World of Warcraft to date, is a snowy, misty forest tundra where players can see the "greatest visual elevation change" in the whole of the Dragon Isles.
Azure Span takes inspiration from one of Blizzard's previously released zones, the Grizzly Hills from Wrath of the Lich King, but also evokes the redwood forests of the Bay Area. Players will encounter the Tuskarr, Blue Dragons, Furbolgs and much more in their quests through the Span itself.
Blizzard also talked a bit this morning about upcoming crafting changes, including new stations which some recipes will require the use of in the Dragon Isles. Described as a desire to "increase the immersion and fantasy of your chosen professions," these new stations will play a role when exploring WoW: Dragonflight.
"With those goals in mind, much like for Blacksmithing, most new Dragon Isles crafting recipes will require you to be at these new crafting stations. You will find many of them scattered throughout the regions of the Dragon Isles for your convenience during leveling. Once you reach the main city of Valdrakken, you will find a large profession hub which includes all the crafting stations, as well as vendors and trainers. The Artisan's Consortium also has Crafting Order representatives located in the city and has even convinced some Auction House representatives to set up shop in the area as well. You should find this profession hub to be vibrant with the commerce of buying, selling, and crafting!"
In a recent interview with IGN, production director Patrick Dawson told the outlet that the Dragon Isles are the largest continent ever made by Blizzard. The reason? Dragons need space.
"This is the biggest expansion continent we’ve ever done, and that was designed with dragon riding in mind so you can traverse it a little more simply. It’s the land of dragons. They need space.”
Also getting rave reviews from the alpha preview period is Dragonflight's almost eponymous feature, dragonriding. PC Gamer describes the feature as "WoW's version of [Elden Ring's] Torrent."