Blizzard Brings Pandemonium:
Blizzard has just made official what we knew for so long: Mists of Pandaria will be the next expansion for World of Warcraft. Facts are coming out fast, so forgive me if my rundown is a bit rushed or a bit incomplete, but here’s the big news so far:
Pandaren are playable:
Contrary to my own assumptions, Pandaren will be a playable race. They will start out neutral and choose to side with either the Horde or the Alliance at level ten. Their starting zone is a giant turtle with an island on its back that swims around the ocean, which sounds neat.
I’m fairly indifferent to this news, to be honest. I like Pandaren, but I don’t need to play as one. I was considering race changing my pally to make a pandadin, but they can’t play as paladins, so I can’t do that. I just hope they don’t screw them up like they did with Goblins.
A new class! My wish has been fulfilled! Monks are a hybrid class capable of filling all three roles through a variety of martial arts skills and magical powers. Their resources include chi, which powers some basic attacks, and light and dark force, which powers their finishers. Interestingly, they will not be able to autoattack — the developers want them to have a dynamic feel.
This pleases me greatly. A new class is probably the thing I wanted most out of Mists of Pandaria, and this sounds like a cool one. It sounds like a very dynamic, button-mashy class, which I like, and they can heal, which I also like.
Unlike death knights, monks will start at level one. They are slated to be available for all races but Goblins and Worgen, but I wonder if this is a mistake. It seems weird to cut out only those two. I hope it’s a mistake; I want a Worgen monk, dagnabbit.
Pandaria, a land shrouded in mists since the Great Sundering, will be the setting for the new expansion. It will be Asian-themed and feature several massive zones. Based on the screenshots, it looks like it will be absolutely beautiful. Definitely something to look forward to.
Also, a winter zone. OMGYay!
Pandaria will also bring the requisite new monsters. The only ones that sound terribly interesting to me so far are a race of intelligent mantids that swarm in an orgy of destruction every 1,000 years. Could this be another off-shoot of the Aqir, like the Nerubians and the Qiraji?
Distressingly, this seems to be what’s gotten the least attention so far. The plot of Mists of Pandaria is at best unclear at this point. There’s talk of it focusing on the Alliance/Horde war, but we see none of that in the trailer, and there’s also talk of it being the “calm before the storm” of the next expansion.
I’m worried about this. The last thing I want is another Burning Crusade, where we bravely charge into a new land to wander around aimlessly and kill monsters for no clear reason.
Mists of Pandaria will also feature the level cap increasing to 90 and several new game features.
There will be a new combat system for… non-combat pets. This reeks of Pokemon, and honestly, I think it’s a pretty dumb idea, but I don’t have to participate in it, so whatever.
There will also be challenge dungeons, which offer prestigious cosmetic rewards for completing dungeons in a specified amount of time.
They’ve also mentioned something called “PvE scenarios.” These will resemble dungeons, battlegrounds, and group quests all at once and will feature short, simple challenges for small groups of people. No need for tanks or healers or damage dealers specifically. Just get some friends and have fun.
I’ve wanted something like these scenarios for so long. Reading this just sold me on Mists of Pandaria.
Finally, Blizzard will once again be redesigning talent trees. No more points or ranks. You will get spec abilities (like avenger’s shield) as you level up, and every fifteen levels, you will be able to choose one of a selection of talents for that level. Once you choose one, the other options for that level will be forever lost to you (unless you respec). However, there will be no more prerequisites in talent trees, meaning you won’t need to chose one talent at one level to access one at a later level. This is intended to streamline talent trees while giving more customizability. If you’ve played Starcraft II, it sounds very similar to the lab research trees. Gonna have to wait and see more of this before I form an opinion.
Blizzard’s overall goal with Mists of Pandaria is to give people as many options as possible for how to play. Daily quests will even reward valor points. This is pretty much the antithesis of Cataclysm’s “raid or GTFO n00b” model.
My overall take:
Unlike most people, I’m not going to declare this the worst/best expansion ever until I see more. There’s a lot of awesome potential here, but also a lot of things that have me worried.
So, dear reader, what say you? Are you for or against the pandas? Does this have you excited, or merely bamboozled?