Embers of Neltharion features the new Zaralek Cavern zone, cross-faction guilds, Aberrus raid, and more. We interviewed Blizzard about it!

World of Warcraft Dragonflight 10.1 will head into the Embers of Neltharion and follow where champions of Azeroth left off in the 10.0.7 Return to the Forbidden content update! Embers of Neltharion will also have new features such as the Zaralek Cavern zone, cross-faction guilds, Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible raid, Mythic+ rotation, Renown track, Niffen creatures, and more!

We sat down with World of Warcraft associate game director Morgan Day and narrative director Steve Danuser for an interview. Here are some insights about Embers of Neltharion.

Embers of Neltharion in WoW Dragonflight 10.1

Embers of Neltharion features the new Zaralek Cavern zone that players can swoop in through the Ohn’ahran Plains, Thaldraszus, and Azure Span. The zone has three distinct biomes featuring sulfur pools, lofty stalactites and stalagmites, and volcanic areas of lava.

WoW 10.1 sulfuric environment (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)WoW 10.1 crystalline environment (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)WoW 10.1 volcanic environment (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • New Zone: Zaralek Cavern
    • Entry Points: Ohn’ahran Plains, Thaldraszus, and Azure Span
    • Biomes: Sulfuric, Crystalline, and Volcanic

"We knew things like Dragonriding were such a popular feature for the outdoor spaces that people have been venturing in," Danuser told Esports.gg. "And we thought, well, what could we do with that in an underground space that puts a different spin on it yet gives you that same feeling of freedom?"

Dragonriding in Embers of Neltharion (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Dragonriding in Embers of Neltharion (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

"So we designed the zone in a way to feel very grand and have lots of openings, but also places that you could kind of swoop in and run some tight corners and get low to the ground," Danuser continued. "And and that became a way to inform the additions that we made to Dragonriding where the new ability that you can earn is that you can pick up your resource as you're near to the ground."

Zaralek Cavern also has Niffen, which are new and friendly denizens. These are mole-like characters who have poor vision, but a strong sense of smell. Drogbar are also in Embers of Neltharion alongside Djaradin Elders. The Niffen and Drogbar are part of the new Renown track, according to Blizzard.

Niffen reside in the Zaralek Cavern (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Niffen reside in the Zaralek Cavern (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Danuser told Esports.gg that when deciding on the gameplay of Zaralek Cavern, his team wanted to have things complement one another. Both the features and the story accentuate the main themes of Dragonflight's Embers of Neltharion. For example, his team thought about the denizens that players would encounter while pursuing Neltharion's secrets in this underground space.

"This was very much in the plans from the beginning," Day added. "You know, this is the direction we really felt the story has been taking us this whole time, and getting Embers of Neltharion into players' hands, they can kind of see the progression of things like the Incarnates and their release in the Vault of the Incarnates and how that is going to impact us and where their stories are taking us — [it's] a huge part of this update and it's really, really cool to get to start to unfold some of those details."

A Crystal Snail and Drogbar (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
A Crystal Snail and Drogbar (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Zaralek Cavern and the Dragon Isles

In addition to its biomes and denizens, Zaralek Cavern has some activities for Dragonriding enthusiasts. These include new glyphs, abilities, races, plus a new drake inspired by cloud serpents. Meanwhile, Fyrakk Assaults feature new rewards such as weapons, gear sets, and achievements. For fans of the Blue Dragonflight, there are also brand-new campaign quests that follow it.

Dragonriding in the Zaralek Cavern (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)Dragonriding in the Zaralek Cavern (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)Dragonriding in the Zaralek Cavern (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • New and Updated Content: Fyrakk Assaults
    • Similar to primalist invasions
    • Gear sets, weapons, and achievements
  • New and Updated Content: Dragonriding
    • Glyphs, abilities, races, and a new drake
  • New and Updated Content: Quests
    • Blue Dragonflight Questlines
    • Reformation of Tyr

"Kalecgos was attempting to get his flight back together, but he was only able to pull a few pieces in and he felt like he still had a lot of work to do to kind of make their flight feel more like it once did under under Malygos long ago," Danuser noted, referring to the different Dragonflights getting a chance to shine in addition to the Black Dragonflight.

"So we'll get to adventure with Kalecgos and Sindragosa and delve into the past of the Blue Dragonflight as well as set a course for its future," he continued. "So that's a really cool storyline that has echoes of the update, but also lets us get out to other places and do some adventuring into other characters that some of which you'll be familiar with. So it was really cool to have both those storylines and be able to tell them both within this Embers of Neltharion update."

Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible raid

As for the new Embers of Neltharion raid, it's Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible. The normal, heroic, and mythic difficulties will be released at the same time. Aberrus was once Neltharion's secret laboratory located within the Zaralek Cavern. Neltharion conducted dark experiments here and it's also the place where he created the Dracthyr and got corrupted by the whispers of the Old Gods.

Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible raid screenshot (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible raid screenshot (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

"Being a story person, I can't help but be excited about being able to delve into one of the biggest looming characters in Warcraft history — that of Neltharion to Deathwing," Danuser told Esports.gg. "We have seen the effect that he had on the world during Cataclysm, and this is the chance to go back and revisit that pathway that took him from being that noble Earth-Warder to the Breaker of the World. So that's a really cool story that we haven't had a chance to tell before to this level of detail.

And to be able to do it through the eyes of characters we care about like Mr. Wrathion here — a fan-favorite character that has his own aspirations of what the future of his flight could be — and also the fact that we're able to bring Sabellian back from Outland and really delve in like — what a tremendous character he has been. And then pull Ebyssian from Highmountain and have him in the mix as well."

Aberrus raid environment (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Aberrus raid environment (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

The World of Warcraft Dragonflight Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible raid has nine bosses. Players must thwart the plans of the incarnates and Scalecommander Sarkareth, who wants to claim the Dracthyr legacy. In addition to Scalecommander Sarkareth, there's an Elementium Dragon, Hydras, and more in this raid.

  • New Raid: Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible
    • 9 Bosses
    • Scalecommander Sarkareth
    • Elementium Dragon
    • Hydra
    • Other Enemies TBD
External raid environment (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
External raid environment (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Neltharion and Deathwing lore

Danuser added that Embers of Neltharion calls back to old favorites like Blackwing Lair and Blackwing Descent. At the same time, these dungeons can be seen through fresh eyes.

Day agreed and shared his excitement about the Aberrus laboratory. "This is kind of like the blueprint of what we saw with Blackwing Lair and Blackwing Descent back in the day," he told Esports.gg. "This is where Neltharion would've gotten the ideas for this kind of space, and we get to see that initial laboratory. And it just has so many awesome story hooks that the team has really been excited to pursue and really bring to fruition."

Day also revealed that the very first encounter that players come across in Aberrus is an Elementium Dragon, which is the prototype for the Elementium plating that Neltharion used while he descended into Deathwing.

"This is where he kind of experimented with that, kind of fine-tuned his armor, as it were," Day said.

Embers of Neltharion screenshot (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Embers of Neltharion screenshot (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

WoW Dragonflight 10.1 Mythic+ rotation

As for the new Mythic+ rotation, other Dragonflight dungeons make an appearance. These include Brackenhide Hollow, Halls of Infusion, Uldaman: Legacy of Tyr, and Neltharus.

Four dungeons from previous World of Warcraft expansions are part of the Mythic+ rotation. These are Freehold, The Underrot, Neltharion’s Lair, and Vortex Pinnacle. As for seasonal affixes, they are still in development and will be available in the PTR later on.

  • New Mythic+ Rotation
    • Brackenhide Hollow
    • Halls of Infusion
    • Uldaman: Legacy of Tyr
    • Neltharus
    • Vortex Pinnacle, Cataclysm
    • Neltharion’s Lair, Legion
    • Freehold, Battle for Azeroth
    • The Underrot, Battle for Azeroth
Embers of Neltharion screenshot (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Embers of Neltharion screenshot (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

World of Warcraft gets cross-faction guilds

World of Warcraft Dragonflight Embers of Neltharion 10.1 also features cross-faction guilds! This is in addition to class balance updates, HUD and UI changes, plus Heirloom Armor updates with level 70 scaling.

Dragonflight Season 2 is part of the 10.1 update. Typically, seasons start about a week or two after the content update goes live.

That's all for now. Stay tuned on Esports.gg for more World of Warcraft interviews, news, and updates!

Sign up to receive more World of Warcraft content from our weekly email

Create account
next article