Removal of borrowed power in Dragonflight – was it a good decision?

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Removal of the borrowed power in Dragonflight caused different reactions. Many players were happy to learn the upcoming expansion won’t have this feature. Some argued that it must remain, and some changed their opinion after the release. This short text is an attempt to cover all the borrowed power issues and the impact of its removal on gameplay.

What is Borrowed Power?

First of all, let’s define the terms. Mostly the “borrowed power” concept refers to the systems brought with expansions since Legion. For example, the Legion’s artifact and some of its legendaries. Or the BfA Heart of Azeroth artifact and azerite armor traits. Or the soulbinds and legendary items of Shadowlands.

These systems had one main distinctive feature: they were relevant only before their expansions ended. There were plenty of exclusions, of course. Some spells and passives were passed to the future patches. For instance, many classes suddenly found the most remarkable Legion‘s artifact skills in their basic spellbooks in BfA. But the best example is the current talent system. Removal of the Shadowlands’ borrowed power didn’t stop many past legendary effects from appearing at the new Dragonflight talent trees.

One may say that a similar system existed long before the Legion. A few ancient legendaries and unusual epics may fit the definition of the feature that was relevant only in its time. Such an item was the Corrupted Ashbringer. Many people were unhappy to find it not as powerful as the new gear in Burning Crusade, and to completely lose a possibility of looting it in Wrath of the Lich King.

But this is where we come across one more distinctive feature. The borrowed powers had the strongest impact on gameplay since WoW Legion. They became its mandatory part. What’s more, they required lots of grinding.

It could be a daily farm of the artifact power in dungeons and raids. It could be a long farm of reputation needed to unlock some necessary upgrades. Visions of N’Zoth feature in BfA is often remembered with fear due to the amount of grind in patch 8.3. Yes, the development of borrowed power in Legion was entertaining and full of fascinating class-specific lore. But the necessity to pass through all the class-specific questlines and farm something to continue them may disappoint even the most patient lorewalker.

Dragonflight Сhanges

Grind was the main reason why the community asked about at least diminishing the borrowed power effect on gameplay in Dragonflight. And the game developers satisfied the request.

The Renown reputation system in Shadowlands was much less convenient than now and had more gameplay dependent on it. A player may still unlock a few pleasant features and obtain good equipment within the Renown of the Valdrakken Accord or the Maruuk Centaur. But the player is not forced to do it. And if they want to, it can be done much quicker than in the recent past.

The Dragonriding glyphs can be collected within an hour. Flying being unlocked from the start of an expansion is already a gift from Heavens. But to have it fully upgraded without weeks of grind is especially fascinating. Dragonriding is a “power” that may also potentially be taken away in the next expansion. But the loss of this borrowed power won’t be felt so disastrous because of the time contributed to receive it in Dragonflight.

The introduction of the new talent trees solved a few problems too. Firstly, they contain the best skills and passives to be found in former borrowed powers of various specs. In the reworked trees, you may find not only legendary effects from Shadowlands and Legion, but the artifact and azerite traits, and even past tier set buffs. Secondly, switching specs became easier. It’s also affected by the absence of a Covenant-like system. For instance, changing Covenant could seriously affect the gameplay and make players think through ways to quickly restore the spec’s full efficiency.

All in all, the decline of borrowed power impact was well-received in Dragonflight. It can be judged by one more factor. Recently there was a rumor of the system returning in the upcoming patch 10.0.7. The datamined Onyx Annulen Ring and the Primordial Stones looked exactly like some fresh boost players will need to farm and upgrade to stay afloat.

The community’s fear grew so big that developers were quick to publish a blue post explaining how the feature works. In short, it will just diversify the current gameplay with a temporary power boost ring which players will certainly change in Season 2. So, no new borrowed power, at least for now!

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