Mists of Pandaria beta is now live!
To the joy of panda-lovers everywhere!
Much sooner than I expected, too. Maybe this expansion will be out faster after all…
Ha, who am I kidding?
Anyway, this has naturally caused another deluge of new info on World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion, datamined and otherwise. I won’t cover it all, because there’s just too much, and if it’s that important to you, you’re probably already glued to MMO-Champion anyway. But a few things stuck out that I’d like to cover.
Pretty much everything Blizzard does causes a massive backlash. With a fanbase as big as theirs, you can’t please everyone. And plus the internet is just full of complainers in general. But even so, I have never seen anything quite like the fury brought on by the beta.
No, this isn’t another wave of “Kung Fu Panda” comparisons. The issue here is that a huge number of people who signed up for the annual pass, for some reason, thought “guaranteed beta access” meant “guaranteed, immediate beta access.” The fact that most people weren’t in the first wave of invites has launched off accusations of deception and bait and switch and suggestions of legal action against Blizzard.
To be fair, the contract’s wording could be interpreted to have implied immediate access upon launch of the beta. But if you know anything at all about betas, you knew that was never going to happen. It’s just not technically feasible to throw a million people in at once.
What people are also failing to grasp is that the point of the annual pass is that it’s for people who were planning to play for a year anyway. If you only signed up to get into the beta, you’re doing it wrong. I got a bunch of free stuff for something I would have done anyway, so I’m happy, even though my beta invite hasn’t come yet.
Speaking of anger:
Among the datamined info are a wide number of models for the new mounts, NPC races, and monsters. They look fantastic, but what really caught my eye was the Sha models.
These things are legitimately horrible-looking. I find this greatly reassuring, because — as you may remember from my last post — I’m not enthused with the idea of a whole expansion of fighting monkeys and bunnies. I don’t feel like a hero unless the monsters I’m slaying are actually, well, monstrous.
The Mogu look like pretty nasty customers, too.
Yeah, you heard that right. Mists of Pandaria includes something called the glyph of demon hunting that reconfigures a surprisingly small amount of abilities and mechanics to make demonology a viable tanking spec via metamorphosis.
People have already tested this in the Hour of Twilight dungeons in the beta, and by all reports, demo locks are as good or perhaps even better than any traditional tank.
It’s really amusing and enjoyable watching warlock players react to this. I picture to them falling to their knees in slow motion as tears of joy run down their face.
It’s interesting, too, because this would be a very new style of tanking — and not just because locks are a cloth class. Under the current design, demo tanks would have no avoidance at all but utterly unparalleled mitigation. This is very different from any of the other tank specs, including the new brewmaster monks.
Even as someone who isn’t that big on tanking, I’m rather intrigued by the idea. I was planning to spec demonology anyway — why not swap out one glyph and get my tank on every once in a while? I am amused by the idea of my twiggy little Blood Elf girl turning into a giant, snarling nether beast and going toe-to-toe with the nastiest creatures Pandaria can throw at her.
Between this and all the other amazing changes warlocks are getting in Mists of Pandaria, I think I picked a really awesome time to start playing a warlock.
Of course, it’s early in the beta, so there’s no guarantee this will make it to live.
Another of my articles has been posted on WhatMMO: The Lighter Side of MMOs. I wrote as a counterbalance to the “shocking incidents” article I did a week or two back. I particularly enjoy the story of the blind veteran who still manages to raid Dragon Soul.