Despite the focus of World of Warcraft in the fantasy-filled world of Azeroth, dragons seem to be largely absent in the Warcraft mythos. While a few whelps, drakes, and even massive wyrm skeletons exist throughout the land, the massive reptiles only exist in Warcraft legend. Older World of Warcraft players may remember encountering these mythical beings for the first time during Cataclysm, where it was revealed that the most powerful of Azeroth’s dragons were organized into Dragonflights tasked to guard Azeroth in its growth.
With the end of Cataclysm forcing the Dragonflights to retreat away from Azeroth, the Dragonflights returning in their eponymous expansion may surprise players. And for newcomers who have no idea just how significant the Dragonflights are in the context of Warcraft’s overall story, just what are the Dragonflights?
10/10 A Rather Mysterious Origin
Aside from the fact that there aren’t many Dragonflights, and therefore dragons, left in World of Warcraft, tracking their origins posed a more difficult task to scholars. As per evidence gathered by archaelogist Brann Bronzbeard, it may be possible for dragons to have originated from elemental drakes.
Not only that, but their appearance suggests a common ancestry with similar flying beasts such as wyverns and gryphons, though it’s yet to be seen at what point their evolutions diverge. It’s also interesting how the first Orcs from Draenor have named Azeroth’s dragons “nelghor” or “loyal beasts,” a term they also use for their two-headed rylak mounts that, strangely enough, also look like dragons.
9/10 Before The Aspects Were Proto-Dragons
Based on the events of World of Warcraft, players discover that dragons have indeed come from proto-dragons. They are said to have originated from elementals who fled to Azeroth to avoid being imprisoned in the Elemental Plane. Their stay in the mortal realm soon transformed their elemental bodies into flesh, which may explain why some ancient dragons such as stone and storm drakes share characteristics with proto-dragons.
Unlike the intelligent dragons of today, proto-dragons tend to be more aggressive and feral. The only instance of this not happening could be attributed to the five (5) proto-dragons who would eventually become the Dragon Aspects tasked to protect Azeroth.
8/10 Enter Galakrond, The Father Of Dragons
Anyone who’s ever talked to a member of any dragonflight in World of Warcraft lore would be told that the first dragons originated from Galakrond. However, the Aspects propagated this myth to hide a terrifying past. In truth, Galakrond was a massive cannibalistic proto-dragon corrupted due to unknown means. In this corruption, Galakrond managed to amass an army of not-living, which are undead dragons that rose from the flesh he cannibalized.
It took the intervention of the Watcher Tyr for this to stop. With his guidance, young proto-dragons of different colors managed to gather and stop Galakrond, as dangerous as this process may become. After succeeding in eliminating the proto-dragon, Watcher Tyr and the other Keepers of Azeroth rewarded their bravery with a new role: as guardians of Azeroth.
7/10 No Easy Task For The Aspects, Dragonflights
Despite the objections of Keeper Odyn, Watcher Tyr and the other Keepers proceeded to approach the Titans, the creators of the known universe, to empower the heroic dragons as Azeroth’s new protectors, be it from both the Alliance and the Horde. It’s with their powers, and the aid of Azeroth’s moons combining in a phenomenon known as the Embrace, that these proto-dragons became the Aspects and the first dragons. However, the task of the Aspects isn’t just to “protect” Azeroth, it’s to specifically protect it from the Hour of Twilight, a plot of the Old Gods that may wipe out all life in Azeroth. In turn, the five (5) Aspects and their respective Dragonflights are as follows:
Nozdormu, Bronze Dragonflight
Ysera, Green Dragonflight
Alexstrasza, Red Dragonflight
Malygos, Blue Dragonflight
Neltharion, Black Dragonflight
6/10 The Dragon Soul, Rise Of Deathwing
Unfortunately for the Aspects and the Dragonflights, their powers over an aspect of Azeroth also took a toll on them in all forms – physically and even mentally. It was due to Neltharion’s attachment to earth that he was corrupted by the Old Gods who were trapped beneath Azeroth, and slowly lured him into serving them. Through this corruption, Neltharion, who would become Deathwing, will create the Dragon Soul, a medallion capable of forcing any dragon to do his bidding.
During the War of the Ancients, Deathwing almost forced Azeroth to bend for his will had it not been for the efforts of the Dragonflights, who would force him to retreat. Because of the Dragon Soul, thousands of years later, the Red Dragonflight would be enslaved by the Horde in their attempt to invade Azeroth in the Second War. Hundreds of years later, the pure version of the Dragon Soul in the past will find itself in Cataclysm to be empowered by the Aspects once more to defeat Deathwing, who at that point was trying to bring upon the Hour of Twilight.
5/10 Impressive Biologies Prove Their Supremacy
Unlike other fantasy creatures in World of Warcraft that become mundane, dragons in Dragonflights have impressive biological characteristics that cement their claim to be supreme beasts. Their physiology alone boasts keen senses, with dragons capable of not just night vision but even recognizing specific scents of mortals. Their scales are highly durable and robust, with their claws being one of the few that could penetrate through them.
Despite their massiveness, dragons need less effort to fly and maintain a high altitude due to their wings. It’s observed that dragons fly much faster than other lighter fliers such as hippogryphs, and may even fly as high as the stratosphere. Conversely, dragons can swim equally and hold their breaths for up to an hour or so.
4/10 Blood, Scales, Magic Have Mysterious Properties
Aside from impressive physical properties, some aspects of a Dragonflight in World of Warcraft exhibit somewhat mystical components. For instance, scarlet dragon blood is intolerable to most animals for mysterious reasons. More importantly, being Titan-blessed means all Dragonflights have some attachment to magic, whereas some dragons are even observed to be capable of “smelling” magic.
What’s perhaps most intriguing about a Dragonflight’s affinity to magic is their innate shapeshifting, which most dragons are observed to be capable of. It’s also said that holding a dragon’s body part such as a scale would mean holding a portion of their power. This is proven true when Red Dragonkin Korialstrasz created a gem out of his scale that he said would have magical properties noticeable to mages who know how to use dragon-like magic, potentially located within some of the members of the Kirin-Tor.
3/10 Embarked On A Huge Sacrifice
During Deathwing’s assault in Azeroth, the Dragonflights combined all their powers to stop him. This happened quite literally, as the Dragon Aspects – and therefore their Dragonflights – have given up their abilities to empower the Dragon Soul and stop their corrupted brethren. When Deathwing was finally defeated and the Hour of Twilight averted, the Dragon Aspects stopped having a “direct” purpose to the world and lost much of the power given to them.
However, this also came with a lot of costs. For instance, after Deathwing’s defeat, Dragonflights could no longer lay eggs. Back then, only half of the dragon eggs supposedly hatched, and only half of those hatchlings ever became adults. It’s said that dragons in World of Warcraft lore may be able to interbred, but most Dragonflights have kept strictly to themselves due to culture and tradition.
2/10 Lesser Dragonflights, Hybrids
While the Dragonflights of Azeroth imply the existence of five (5) pure-colored dragon types in World of Warcraft lore, there are still questions surrounding other dragon-like figures in the game. They are called Lesser Dragonflights, with each variant having seemingly been created through unique means:
Created by Deathwing’s son Nefarian through the blood of other flights.
Corrupted Bronze Dragons who want to control the timeways for their benefit.
Dragons created by black dragon eggs infused with raw nether energies during Draenor’s sundering.
Corrupted Green Dragons in the Emerald Nightmare.
Created in the horrific lab of Scholomance as a way to spread the Plague of Undeath to dragons.
Dragons empowered by the storm in the Broken Isles.
Vampiric dragons who hunger for magical energy.
1/10 The Threat Of The Primal Incarnates
One interesting thing of note regarding the Dragonflights is their eventual confrontation against the Primal Incarnates and their Primalist hordes, which serves as the highlight of the new World of Warcraft expansion called Dragonflight.
It’s said that the Primal Incarnates were also candidates for being Dragon Aspects. However, whereas the likes of Alexstrasza accepted the gift, these proto-dragons rejected it. Eventually amassing elemental energies to rival the Dragon Aspects, they would become the Primal Incarnates that the Dragon Aspects would seal in a hidden conflict. In the events of Dragonflight, the depowered Aspects would seek help from the adventurers to regain their powers, as they are currently powerless to stop the recently freed Incarnates
World Of Warcraft: Dragonflight is set for a November 28, 2022 release.