Blizzard recently announced the ninth major expansion pack for World of Warcraft – Dragonflight. I’ve been playing since the original release back in 2004, and my subscription finally lapses tomorrow, but I haven’t logged in since March. I think this is the first time that I have no plans to buy the box or continue paying the monthly fee in sixteen years. I watched the announcement videos and saw the trailer. I still lurk around the podcast circuit and keep up with what the latest buzz is. I’m just not excited by what I see, and am more bothered by what I don’t see.

They didn’t annouce a relase window or start taking preorders, so this is probably quite a long way off. There’s a good chance it will be next year, which makes it a really long time to be stuck in the malaise of Shadowlands. I know they want to be more regular with new playable content, but I haven’t seen it yet.

A new class and race is okay, but I have my favorite main and few alts that I’ve already invested a lot of time into, so I don’t care a great deal about this. The dragon riding mechanic sounds cool, and maybe it will be an important part of the movement around the zones. I wasn’t really impressed with the cinimatic because it didn’t show anything of what we’ll be doing in these new lands. It didn’t make me care. They’ve promised to revamp professions, which have been entirely neglected for the last few years, but I haven’t seen how this will be worthwhile yet. I really enjoyed my time in WoW. I would love to have that excitement of logging in again. I once said that I would be here until they turned the lights off, but I don’t feel that way anymore.

So, what would make me come back?

The biggest and most obvious thing for me would be to either remove the cost of the box, or remove the subscription fee. I would like to see more social interaction encouraged by the mechanics, and an in-game economy that makes it fun to craft and play the auction house. Alts should be more easy to play, with reputations and currency made account-wide. Take out time-gated progression and allow people to play as much or as little as they like to advance their characters. Give us reasons to go back to old zones and make the older content relevant again. Turn old dungeons into Torghast-like solo runs where we can earn older gear with updated stats. Advance story content every month instead of every two years. Let players have fun.

Another idea would be to have seasonal characters, similar to Diablo. Every few months, let people start new toons and see how far they can get, and when the season ends, they get moved into the stardard character pool.

These are just some things that would make me give the old game a second glance. I want to be lured back. I want to feel like I can go home again. I think they’ll make some improvements, but at the end of day it sounds like it’s just another ten levels and then rep grinds for gear. I’m not sold on Dragonflight.