Mists of Pandaria Wishlist + New Graphics

Mists of Pandaria Wishlist:

Blizzcon is just around the corner, and at this point, I think we can all be honest with ourselves and accept that it will bring with it the announcement of Mists of Pandaria as the next World of Warcraft expansion. Since pointless speculation is the national sport of nerds and geeks everywhere, I thought I might indulge in some and give a run down of what I’d like to see from this expansion.

#1,  Asian-themed continent: This is the most obvious, and the one we’re most likely to get. While many of the Cataclysm zones were cool individually, they lacked a feeling of cohesion, and there wasn’t the same sense of progression and exploration Northrend brought. I want to explore an entirely new continent again.

Plus, I think an Asian-themed expansion would just be neat. I want water garden pagodas, I want my rogue to be dual-wielding katanas, and I want my paladin in samurai gear. They could even include some South Asian-inspired zones, maybe. A zone based on Hindu mythology would be awesome.

#2, New hero class: I love making alts and experimenting with new classes, but at this point, I’ve tried every class at least once. The time has come for a new class.

Based on the supposed Asian theme, most people speculate MoP (best acronym evar) to include monk as a hero class. For those not familiar with the archetype, monk is generally interpreted as a melee DPS/healer hybrid, most likely resembling a cross between a rogue and a priest.

Monk is not my first choice, but it’s not my last, either. I do like the idea of a new healer class. But if it were up to me, I’d make it a Titan-inspired class with Algalon powers (“The stars come to my aid!”) or a ranged weapon class that doesn’t use pets. I love the archer/ranger archetype, but I hate pet classes, so I could never get into being a hunter.

#3, (Non-playable) Pandaren: I don’t want Pandaren to be a playable race. For one thing, I think six races per faction already borders on the ridiculous, and there are several that really never needed to be there. You know who you are. Plus, making Pandarens playable would over-expose and ruin them, just like it did to the formerly awesome Goblins.

That said, Pandaren are probably the Best Thing Ever. They’re giant, drunken, fire-breathing, pun-spouting, deadly panda people. What’s not to love? And it’d be a letdown to do an entire expansion set in their homeland and never see them.

I’d like for them to be a friendly neutral faction, similar to the Tuskarr in Northrend.

#4, Enhanced customization: I’m not sure what form this would take, but more ways to customize our characters is always a good thing. Blizzard’s already said that transmogrification is but the first of many new options they want to implement, so this is something we’re likely to see.

One idea is adding more appearance options for existing races. For example, why not let Orc players have brown skin? The Mag’har are now commonly seen in the Horde as NPCs. Hell, the warchief himself is Mag’hari.

Another possibility is more options on how to display our gear. Personally, I’d like to have the option to sheath my weapons on my back even if they’re not two-handers or freakishly huge. I like the look. And there’s not a hunter on this earth who wouldn’t be happy to be able to show off their bow outside of combat.

#5, Endgame solo content: This is another thing that I’m not sure what form it would take. The best examples of this currently in-game are the Molten Front and the soloable version of the Nexus created for the Tarcegosa’s Rest chain.

Yeah, yeah, I know: it’s an MMO. But not all of us like it when the endgame requires you to be in a group just to pick your nose. I like grouping, but I like to play on my own once in a while. It’d be nice to not have to play an alt to do this. I know a lot of people didn’t like the Molten Front, but I loved seeing the solo game get as much love as a raid or a dungeon.

This is also something Blizzard has hinted that they want to do, so it may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

#6, A clear goal: The great thing about Wrath of the Lich King was you knew what you were there to do from the moment you stepped off the boat. We were there to kill Arthas. Everything we did was a lead up to that.

None of the other WoW incarnations really had that. Classic didn’t have any single villain or story. Burning Crusade’s story was so messed up that even today people can’t agree on why exactly we went to Outland, why we killed Illidan, or who the expansion’s main villain was. Cataclysm seems to have a clear goal on paper — end Deathwing’s reign of terror — but the zone storylines are too disconnected from each other, and Deathwing himself is almost entirely absent, which sucks the urgency out of it all.

When I arrive in Drunkenpandaland, I want to know why I’m there, and I want the new baddie (smart money is on Queen Azshara, and/or the Drowned God N’zoth) to be in my face and making me hate their rotten guts.

#7, Kul Tiras: This may seem a minor one, but it’s always nettled at me that World of Warcraft barely makes mention of what is possibly the largest and most powerful human nation left on Azeroth. We finally got a peak at Gilneas; now let’s head to Kul Tiras. Since we’ll probably be taking to the sea to reach Pandaria, this would be the perfect time to implement it.

* * *

And what of you? What are you hoping to see when the new expansion is announced? Are you clamoring for a new hero class, or are you dreading the balance problems one might bring? Are you just hoping it doesn’t turn into a giant Kung-Fu Panda parody?

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