Ion Hazzikostas, the game director for World Of Warcraft, has revealed that Dragonflight’s upcoming patch, Embers Of Neltharion, will offer more “solo exploration” for players, and acknowledged it as an area where Blizzard hasn’t “done as well as we should” in the past.
Speaking to NME, Hazzikostas shared that for the game’s next major patch, Embers Of Neltharion, Blizzard has “absolutely” drawn from players’ feedback on the launch of Dragonflight, World Of Warcraft‘s 2022 expansion.
Dragonflight, in turn, was an attempt to offer solo players more to do during their travels — and that’s something that Hazzikostas says will be developed further with Embers Of Neltharion.
“I think one of the things we set out to do differently and to do better in Dragonflight is to invest more heavily in our outdoor worlds — our solo exploration gameplay,” shared Hazzikostas.
“We have unique and tremendously deep gameplay in our dungeons and our raids, but there are so many people out there that just want to just be on their own and explore the world, or tackle challenges and progress toward goals, and have a real reward track that is commensurate to the experience they want to pursue. That’s something that WoW hasn’t traditionally done as well as we should, frankly, in the past.”
“Dragonflight aimed to change that,” continued Hazzikosta, who said Blizzard is “doubling down on that” with Zaralek Cavern, a new zone that will be introduced in Embers Of Neltharion.
“As we go into Zaralek, it’s a whole new layer of activities,” the director explained, noting that there would still be activities designed to keep players exploring the Dragon Isles’ surface.
During our interview, Hazzikostas and World Of Warcraft‘s lead quest designer, Josh Augustine, explained how Blizzard worked to make the Niffen — 10.1’s “cowboy mole people” — feel like a natural fit for Azeroth.
The upcoming faction will introduce some of the activities that Hazzikostas references — including an “escape room” puzzle series that will see players team up with a lonely Niffen.