WoW Dragonflight alpha sees Dracthyr Soar nerf, Evoker tweaks

Changes to the next WoW Dragonflight alpha build include a hefty Dracthyr Soar nerf to its maximum speed along with Evoker changes to tune the new MMO class

WoW Dragonflight alpha Dracthyr Soar nerf - a Dracthyr, a tall red humanoid with scales, wings, and bright blue horns

Fans of zipping around the WoW Dragonflight alpha will be sad to learn that a Dracthyr Soar nerf is going to dramatically slow the speed at which the new race can fly around in the MMORPG. In addition, plenty more changes are coming to the Dracthyr’s unique class, with a range of Evoker tweaks aiming to fine-tune the newest World of Warcraft class in line with player feedback.

The next Dragonflight alpha build will see the maximum speed of the Dracthyr Soar ability dropped from its current 930% down to 640%. That’s a pretty heft change, cutting around a third off the speed bonus offered by soaring. Blizzard says that this change has been made because the Dracthyr’s racial ability is available everywhere, and as such there will be no change to the maximum speed of the Dragon Isles Drakes.

“In the Dragon Isles, all characters of all races are on similar footing because everyone can summon a Dragon Isles Drake,” WoW developer Sunders explains, “However, this isn’t the case in other areas of the game where flying mounts are the mainstay of travel.” Sunders compares the pace of Soar to the current 410% speed of epic flying mounts in the Eastern Kingdoms region, noting that the current speed bonus gives Dracthyr “a drastic efficiency advantage over characters of other races when doing non-Dragon Isles content.”

They go on to explain that Soar is a core asset to the Dracthyr identity, but was “never intended to be a massive efficiency or performance improvement over other races.” As such, they explain that the team came to the decision that this nerf is “necessary for the long-term health of the game.” They note, however, that the change “didn’t diminish the fun of the locomotion mechanics” during playtesting and that players can still take advantage of skillful Soar use to move faster than characters on epic mounts – just a little less dramatically so.

Elsewhere, Sunders details a range of big tweaks coming to the Dracthyr Evoker – the new unique class for the dragon race. In particular, the Devastation specialisation is under the spotlight, with the DPS focused spec set to receive a number of changes in the next alpha build.

WoW Dragonflight alpha - a red and gold dragon stands in front of some glowing rock architecture

Among the points addressed by Blizzard are the talent tree emphasising a ‘red vs blue’ approach instead of encouraging a mix of both as intended. “Devastation utilises both red and blue magic, and the current tree isn’t celebrating that theme well enough,” explains Sunders, “Builds that use both types of magic should be the norm, with all-red or all-blue being much more niche.”

Also addressed are effects that scale with empower level, with a concern that it is being treated as the norm that “it is always correct to fully empower your spells” by charging them up to the maximum level, thus limiting gameplay options. In addition, Sunders lists that the combination of Feed the Flames and Everburning Flame is awkward, that Scarlet Adaptation feels too impactful on builds across the board, and that blue-centric single target builds don’t flow in a satisfying manner.

WoW Dragonflight alpha Dracthyr Evoker patch notes

As a result, here are all the changes being made in the upcoming alpha build:

  • Change to Soar for Dracthyr that reduces their maximum speed from (roughly) 930% to 640%. The maximum speed for Dragon Isles Drakes is unchanged.
  • Honed Aggression now affects both Azure Strike and Living Flame, increasing their damage by 5% per rank.
  • Catalyze is a new, 1-rank passive on the left side of the tree. “While channeling Disintegrate your Fire Breath on the target deals damage 100% more often.”
  • Iridescence is a new, 1-rank passive at the bottom of the right side of the tree. “Casting an empower spell increases the damage of your next 2 spells of the same color by 15% within 10 sec.”
  • Power Swell is now a 2-rank node that reads, “Empower spells increase your Essence regeneration rate by 50% for 2 sec or 4 sec [based on talent rank].”
  • Feed the Flames now triggers whenever you consume an Essence Burst effect, instead of whenever Pyre is cast.
  • Everburning Flame now triggers from all Red damage spells, instead of only Pyre and Living Flame. This means that damage from Firestorm will extend Fire Breath. Damage from Ruby Embers will continue to not trigger Everburning Flame, and Fire Breath will not extend itself.
  • Scarlet Adaptation’s damage cap is being reduced to 2x Spellpower, down from its current value of 6x Spellpower.
  • Charged Blast and Focusing Iris as they currently exist are being removed, and replaced with a spell called Shattering Star.
  • Shattering Star has a 15 sec cooldown, is instant cast, and does not cost Essence. “Exhale a bolt of concentrated power from your mouth for Spellfrost damage that cracks that target’s defenses, increasing the damage they take from you by 20% for 4 sec.”
  • The options in the choice node following this ability are also being redesigned: Focusing Iris is a passive that increases the duration of Shattering Star’s damage taken effect by 2 sec. Arcane Vigor is a passive that causes Shattering Star to generate 1 Essence.

Elsewhere in the World of Warcraft, playing WoW Shadowlands season 4 rewards you with a delightful jellified cat mount. We’ve also been hands-on with WoW Wrath of the Lich King Classic, and it feels like the perfect nostalgia trip to our World of Warcraft heydays.