Mists of Pandaria:
Yesterday, someone over at MMO-Champion stumbled across evidence that Blizzard has trademarked the phrase “Mists of Pandaria.” Unlike most internet rumors, this seems legit. Furthermore, people have done some digging and determined that this was trademarked in relation to a software product (as in a video game, and not a novel or tie-in comic), and it’s also worth noting that Blizzard generally doesn’t trademark its patch titles.
So, all signs point to Blizzard making a game called Mists of Pandaria.
Now, a little backstory here. Pandaria is an established place in WoW lore. It is the homeland of the Pandaren brewmasters, a hero class introduced in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. They were a group of giant, drunken, fire-breathing, bad pun-spouting, kung fu-practicing panda-men, and in my opinion, they were possibly the Best Thing Ever.
I Bring Pandemonium:
Perhaps not surprisingly, the prospect of an entire WoW expansion of drunken panda bears has caused quite a stir. It’s sparked polar-izing and grizzly debates on the official forums. People are positively bamboozled! Alright, sorry.
My feelings are mixed to say the least. Much as I loved the Pandaren, I fear an entire expansion of them would make it impossible to ever take anything seriously in WoW ever again. And making them playable might well ruin them in the same way that the Goblins and Gnomes have been. It seems to me that the Pandaren are best left as an amusing but minor footnote in Warcraft lore.
That said, there’s no guarantee that Mists of Pandaria will be all pandas, all the time. Two other significant possibilities are immediately apparent.
1: Mists of Pandaria is not a WoW expansion. Some people have suggested it may be a minor game intended for consoles or cell phones and will thus have little relevance to the Warcraft universe as a whole. In which case, we can rest easy. Pandaren fans will have their fix without the whole of WoW having to smell of bamboo and booze from here on in.
2: Mists of Pandaria is simply set in Pandaria. Pandaria might be a new, Asian-themed continent to explore, but the Pandaren themselves will not play a central role, perhaps having been brought to the brink of extinction by either the expansion’s baddies (my money is on Naga) and/or the environmental effects of the Cataclysm. In this theoretical version, the Pandaren would likely not be playable and only appear as a minor neutral faction similar to the Tuskarr in Northrend.
Of the available options, I think I like the last the best. An Asian-themed continent would be pretty cool, and it would theoretically allow us to enjoy the silliness of the Pandaren without them becoming over-exposed.
No matter what, monk is looking more and more likely to be the next hero class. It’s not my first choice, but it’s better than the most popular alternatives. As awesome as demon hunters are, there are several reasons why they wouldn’t work, and I don’t even know what a runemaster is–despite having it explained to me several times.
If nothing else, the revelation of Mists of Pandaria made for a particularly hilarious day on the official Warcraft forums, with silly threads like this one popping up all over.
And what do you think, dear reader? Are you eager to make yourself a Pandaren toon and start bring pandemonium? Do you wish all this talk of pandas would just go extinct? Is Warcraft lore about to get trashed, or will you raise your glass to the brewmasters? Please, share your thoughts, and bear with me as I bring new updates as they become available.