The first Dragonflight Alpha test is upon us, and we’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who read and responded to the talent tree previews we posted in the WoW blog over the last few weeks.
Looking to the Alpha
In this first Alpha build, we’ll have Druids, Death Knights, Priests, Hunters, Rogues, and Evokers available and ready for feedback. We’re asking testers to initially keep several things in mind:
There are UI elements, such as specialization choice, which are works in progress.
Some talents do not function yet, and these are labeled with Not Yet Implemented (NYI).
There are some talents that are not fully tuned yet. This is expected, and we will implement tuning adjustments throughout testing.
For the classes that are not listed above, we’re still developing their talent trees, and they will be brought online in the coming weeks. The responses to our blog previews were highly valuable, as they allowed us to make some early improvements while we didn’t yet have a public test environment. Going forward, we aren’t planning to publish any additional Dragonflight talent previews in blog form, since we’ll add the remaining classes to the Alpha as soon as they reach their ready-to-test state. Our next class coming to the Dragonflight test environment will be Shaman.
In this Alpha build, you’ll see that testers can only swap talents and loadouts when in a rested area. This is a temporary measure, and our intention for talent and loadout swapping long-term, and for Dragonflight launch, is to allow it to be done without the need of being in a rested area or the use of items such as Inscription Tomes. Other restrictions will still apply, such as being out of combat, and not being in an active M+ or PvP match, but we want players to have the freedom to change their talents and loadouts at almost any time. We’re also planning to add a few seconds’ cast time between moving from one loadout to another, or between adjusting and respeccing existing talent trees.
Working from Feedback
We got some great feedback from our talent blog posts, and we want to share some of those points of feedback, as well as our current thoughts.
When comparing the talent system currently in Shadowlands and our revamped talent trees in Dragonflight, we’ve heard feedback that these trees might potentially be too complex or unapproachable for some players. As a result, we’re planning to include starter builds, which are default talent selections that players can opt into as a guide for players that do not want to heavily interact with the system. We’re also discussing using them as a default talent selection given when players log into Dragonflight for the first time. We’d like to make it so that players who are leveling up and do not wish to stop and select talents can simply opt into a starter build to track which talents they should take as they level up.
We’ve heard feedback regarding certain talents only working if you’ve selected other talents on the tree, or a talent not doing anything if you haven’t talented into the ability it augments. Initially, when we built our first trees (such as Druid and Death Knight), we were comfortable with players having to talent into multiple talents or requiring specific talents for other talents to work. As we’ve progressed in development, however, we’ve decided to remove many of those dependencies. There will still be a few occasional exceptions to this, but they should not be as prevalent as they were before. We plan to update many talent trees over the course of the Alpha to address this.
We also heard feedback that placing interrupts on the talent trees can be frustrating, due to the impact that these abilities have. While we do not yet have any changes to share, this is a topic that we’ve discussed internally and something we’ll keep a close eye on during Alpha playtesting.
There were a few comments regarding the placement of niche abilities such as Hibernate or Shackle Undead into the talent trees. One of our goals for these new talents trees is to allow players a wide variety of choices among abilities that are useful for different types of content, and we feel that talents like Hibernate or Shackle Undead exemplify this. Nonetheless, for this and all of the above, we’re taking this feedback into account as we work on further iterations of the talent trees.
We greatly appreciate all of your feedback on our prototype trees, and we’re very excited for you to see everything else we’re working on. Thank you!