In the interview rounds leading up to Dragonflight, the developers mentioned that the Dragon Isles are the largest zones they’ve ever created. They have to be, too, because a 1000+ percent fast Dragon Ride mount will zip you from A to B much faster than its 310 percent flying mount.
But shortly after the launch of Dragonflight, one of the criticisms was that the Dragon Islands were way too small. This statement was even part of the weird social media campaign specially designed by Blizzard. Are the critics right? Are the zones for kite riding too small? Do the Dragon Islands offer too little because they are too tiny? We measured and compared.
Dragon Islands vs. Northrend in size comparison
All sorts of comparisons with Classic or Shadowlands zones are made on Reddit. The post above shows that a Dragonflight area (Waking Coast) is twice the size of a Shadowlands area (Ardenweald). Critics like to use Nordend as a comparison. Northrend is the largest of all “expansion islands” and has nine zones instead of four. So the comparison to the Dragon Islands is a bit unfair. Both of which are simple extension zones. So you can already make the comparison. Let’s go.
In our comparison, which is admittedly not 100 percent scientifically correct, we simply picked out the four diagonally furthest points on the continents, placed a map marker on the opposite side and looked at the display to see how far away the marker is. Thanks to the addon Unlimited Map Pin Distance our distance pointer does not disappear and we are shown the distance in meters.
The dimensions of the Dragon Islands
A few land masses are cut off or a bit of the sea is taken along as an area that is not relevant to the gaming experience. But that’s enough for a rough size comparison. Thus, based on our markings, the Dragon Islands are good 60,000 square kilometers in size. As I said, it is Calculation of square kilometers not 100 percent correctbecause you still have to calculate the angles and the diagonals.
We don’t include the islands to the west of the Ohn’ahra steppes because they’re just there for decoration. There are no mobs, NPCs, deposits or anything else here. We also leave out the Forbidden Island, because only the Dracthyr are allowed to go there during the start. We don’t include the death knight starting area in Northrend either.
The Measures of Northrend
Measuring Northrend is even more difficult because the shape is not as compact as the Dragon Islands. To be fair, we take Hrothgar’s landing site in the north with us, because there are mobs up to the north, which you theoretically even have to defeat for daily quests in the Argent Tournament.
Diagonally going from Coldarra in the west to the Howling Fjord in the east, we’re taking some “dead” sea space with us, but also cutting off some of the Borean Tundra and southwestern fjord to compensate. Overall, the relevant landmass fits again to some extent. Northrend comes up a good 80,000 square kilometers. So Northrend is bigger than the Dragon Isles. The same applies here: Without the exact inclusion of the angles and diagonals, we are a bit off from the exact result of the square kilometers.
For a simplified representation you can take the widest and the longest point of the areas. In this case they are Dragon Islands 11 KM wide and 11 KM high. northrend however is at the widest point 14 KM broad and included with Hrothgar’s landing site 11KM longwhereby some sea flows in here.
So the naggers were right? No not true
So a 14 year old expansion has more to offer than a current WoW expansion with super fast dragons because the zones were bigger then? Of course that’s nonsense. Because what you have to consider in addition to the length and width of the zones is the height. The Dragon Islands are much more voluminous vertically and the content is also designed for climbing these high points and not just fallow mountains.
In addition, compared to other expansions, you are not surrounded by mobs every meter on the Dragon Islands. However, the “mob-per-meter ratio” should be significantly higher than on Northrend. It is not for nothing that the continent bears the addition “The icy expanses”. Anyone who travels a long distance in Icecrown will not encounter a single mob or NPC for approximately one kilometer. While the Dragon Isles may seem small with the high-speed mount, the scale of the content you’re racing over is far greater.