Dragonriding Guide for World of Warcraft
Among the many innovations introduced to World of Warcraft in Dragonflight, none have attracted as much attention as Dragonriding. The groundbreaking mechanics and varied choices involved in this new system for a player-controlled flight can make learning it a little overwhelming. Read this guide to learn everything essential about Dragonriding mechanics, abilities, and more!
Dragonriding in a Nutshell
Dragonriding is the original flight system currently exclusive to the expansion’s new Drake mounts. It is much more complex, dynamic, and versatile than that used for traditionally mounted flight. Drakes fly at varying speeds and heights, which players can control through maneuvering and special abilities activated with a resource called Vigor. Talents that modify abilities or grant passive bonuses can be unlocked by collecting a currency. Dracthyr heroes possess a limited version of this system. It has long cooldowns and does not feature Vigor abilities, but is affected by passive benefits from some Dragonriding talents. They can use it even outside expansion content, albeit without those benefits.
Dracthyr variant aside, this mechanic currently functions exclusively in the Dragon Isles zones. Since traditional flying mounts are not available in this region and many of its areas are designed around airborne maneuverability, Dragonriding is critical for exploration. There are many secrets one cannot reach in any other way. Even when traveling to more accessible areas in the sprawling zones, the considerable speed bump they provide can save a lot of playtimes. Adventurers could use it to escape danger, whether it is posed by other players or by monsters. Players can also take on race challenges found through the archipelago.
How Does Dragonriding Flight Work?
Dragonriding flight revolves around managing speed, height, and Vigor:
- While riding their drake, the player’s interface will change to show a dedicated action bar and a Vigor tracker;
- Nearly all abilities use Vigor, which regenerates gradually when the adventurer is on the ground, whether they are mounted or not. Flying particularly fast also grants a Vigor regeneration effect while this velocity is maintained. Players start out with three units of Vigor, which can be increased to six as part of the progression;
- Players can set flight directions in three dimensions by aiming their cameras;
- On top of that, there are several abilities that enable more effective navigation, some of which need to be unlocked by playing through the campaign in all zones:
- Skyward Ascent increases the mount’s height and speed. It is also activated automatically if the player presses the Space key while riding the drake on the ground;
- Surge Forward simply increases speed;
- Winds of the Isles (obtained in Ohn’ahran Plains) lets riders see and use winds in the skies over any zones, mainly in elevated areas. Those local effects alter their course and boost velocity;
- Whirling Surge (acquired in Azure Span) boosts speed and sends the mount forward, at a greater cost in Vigor. Half a minute must pass between uses;
- Bronze Timelock/Bronze Rewind (acquired in Thaldraszus) allows players to save their position while flying and then jump back there without losing any time or Vigor on complex maneuvers.
- While flying, the mount will gradually lose speed, moreso if it is currently aimed upwards. Descending deliberately, on the other hand, increases speed;
- If the mount runs out of speed, it will begin to descend automatically and eventually set down on the ground. This will not result in fall damage, unlike dismounting in mid-air;
- Local threats like Scalechillers, Scalechargers, and Wingshredders can forcefully dismount fliers nearby unless countered through talents unlocked during the progression.
Players will unlock the basic Drake forms and all active abilities over the course of the introductory campaign quests. Shortly after getting their starting drake, they will also gain access to the Dragonriding talent tree. Talents must be bought with Dragon Glyph Embers obtained by flying through Dragon Glyphs, which become visible following this unlock. The Glyphs are tucked away at fixed locations throughout Dragonflight zones. Since their positions are static, guides and add-ons can help players track them down quickly. Once a Glyph is collected, each adventurer on the same account will receive an Ember, although they will need to allocate the points separately.
There are enough Glyphs for every adventurer to obtain all talents eventually. The progression is linear for the most part, but players can choose the order in which some talents are unlocked. Upgrades include:
- Increased maximum Vigor;
- Bolstered Vigor regeneration under various specific conditions, such as fast flight, combat, or gathering activities;
- Ability upgrades that let players use them to avoid obstacles or ground fellow fliers;
- Stacking combat buffs acquired while flying, including one that may be employed to initiate combat with a forceful landing that does area-of-effect damage and stuns foes.
Players can adjust the appearance of their Dragonriding mounts through a barbershop-style interface at the Rostrum of Transformation, found in several parts of the archipelago. While there are just four basic drake types, each is open to extensive tweaking. Nearly every individual part of the drake, from head to tail, has multiple variants that may be combined. There are also skins that override their appearances completely. Such adjustments have no gameplay effect, and neither do the drakes. However, those varied cosmetics definitely help personalize the mounts and distinguish them from similar beasts belonging to other riders.
There are dozens of customization options, with several ways to acquire them:
- Buying from Dragon Isles faction vendors after reaching a sufficient Renown or Standing;
- Collecting drops from specific or random opponents in instances or the open world;
- Crafting with professions like Inscription, or harvesting with ones like Fishing;
- Playing through certain quests found throughout the zones;
- Winning Dragonriding races. Customization options are included among both random prizes bestowed upon the winner sand bonus rewards given with racing achievements.
- All heroes on an account can apply any customizations once they have been unlocked once.
Drake racing is a novel activity in Dragonflight, unlocked shortly after the first Dragonriding mount is acquired. It lets players put their Dragonriding skills to the test and earn assorted prizes. There are several extra mechanics in races:
- Each race takes place in a particular course within the open world, requiring fliers to travel between rings to reach the finish;
- Participants can see the current (yellow) and upcoming (blue) rings as they fly toward them. They must pass through the yellow ring before the timer runs out or else lose the race;
- In addition to familiar wind gales, participants can fly into Vigor Orbs, regaining one Vigor from each;
- On the other hand, standard obstacles and environmental hazards are joined by moving Slow Orbs and Stun Orbs. The former simply reduce speed on contact, while the latter stops the pilot for a couple of seconds and robs them of all momentum.
Every zone has several basic and advanced racecourses, and each racecourse has a quest attached requiring simple completion (regardless of final speed). Completing the quests for all basic racecourses in a region unlocks its advanced offerings. The races can be repeated as often as desired after finishing their quests. Clearing an advanced racecourse unlocks a version that goes in reverse. Completing a race quickly enough can result in a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award, all of which grant achievements and Drake customization items. Succeeding in a race also results in random prizes including Gold, Dragon Isles Supplies, and further customization options.
Basic races are relatively simple and do not require full talents, though it would help. Winning in advanced races, on the other hand, would be much harder without a completed progression. Many advanced racecourses incorporate large concentrations of hazards that may be managed using upgraded abilities. On the other hand, they tend to feature beneficial effects more frequently as well. Familiarity with the route and terrain, use of environmental boosts, and well-timed deployment of abilities are crucial for success.
In addition to taking part in the standard single-player races against the timer, riders can also race with other players at certain spots. To do so, they would need to speak with timekeeper NPCs found at chequered flags in the open world. The race initiates with two or three players after a waiting period, or once there is a maximum number of four competitors. After another brief period of preparation, the race will begin, with leaders announced during laps and on conclusion. The victors receive some amount of Gold, but for the most part, it is just a friendly competition.
There are numerous tricks players can use to make their use of this mechanic more convenient and effective:
- Falling while riding the drake on the ground will automatically send it into flight mode;
- Angling the drake slightly downwards will ensure that it will keep building up momentum, making it preferable for continuous flight. Of course, that would work even better if the drake is already as high as possible;
- Conversely, sharp bursts after gathering enough momentum to harmlessly absorb the loss of speed are ideal for moving upwards;
- Aiming upwards before activating Skyward Ascent will give an appreciably larger height and speed boost than using this ability several times without aiming;
- Particle effects mark different speed levels (none for slow movement, white for medium, blue for fastest - which also provides the Vigor buff);
- Once upgraded, Whirling Surge may be used to ground one’s, fellow adventurers. PvPers can use this to force confrontations with their rivals, but should make sure they can surprise or else exhaust those enemies first, as a successful evasion on their part would be costly;
- While Drake appearances are mostly cosmetic, differences in hitboxes between core drakes can still have a mechanical effect. The Velocidrake in particular is optimal for moving through narrow areas;
- Asking the trainer about ways to help other adventurers unlocks the Ride Along functionality, which lets one fellow hero’s drake latch on to the leader’s ride in the form of a whelp. That is the only way to follow a rider automatically through the skies;
- Tracking down all Glyphs at the earliest opportunity is highly advisable since it increases the convenience and speed of flight for all heroes on the account. That can save many hours down the line;
- Players who have trouble with motion sickness can use Accessibility settings to finetune visuals;
- There are already several add-ons focused on this mechanic, such as AzerPUG’s DragonRider, which makes Vigor easier to track at all times, and DragonBinds, which alters keybinding for drake maneuvers to ones used in flying games. Installing such add-ons could make using this mechanic this much smoother.
How We Can Help
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FAQ About Dragonriding in World of Warcraft