At Blizzcon 2011 in Anaheim Blizzard Entertainment revealed the new World of Warcraft Expansion Mists of Pandaria. The first day of Panels gave a first glimpse at the changes we are going to have to expect and a few stunning surprises.
The past years I have heard countless requests for Pandaren as playable class. While they for sure would not be my first choice I can understand that many others like them very much. But let us look at the teaser video first to get a first impression of what to expect.
New Race, New Class, New Zone!
Pandaren will become a playable race available to both factions (at level 10 you permanently decide your faction) and introduce Monk (Tank, Healer, Melee DPS) as class. Blizzard also wants to go back to the Burning Crusade Zone System which will feature the Mists of Pandaria as huge Zone with 5 Subzones, which are larger than for example Twilight Highlands instead of having Zones scattered like in Cataclysm.
In a time when Azeroth was swarmed by demons the last Pandaren Emperor sealed off Pandaria in an impenetrable Mist for 10000 years before the Sundering. A Few wander-lusty Pandaren gathered on Shen-zin Su, a huge giant turtle that roams the seas of Azeroth, but over time they also lost contact with the homeland. Even worse, the Turtle is in jeopardy of being swallowed by the sea and this is where Pandaren players start. They will meet both Alliance and Horde and will have to permanently choose who to side with.
Pandaren like to eat!
Just like me, Pandaren love to cook and eat 😀 However a fat belly and rings around the eyes looks cuter on them I have to admit 😀
Cooking and eating is supposed to plays a big role for Pandaren and even some racials are centered around that.
Increases the stat benefits from food by 100%
Cooking skill increased by 15.
- Inner Peace
Your rested experience bonus lasts twice as long.
You take 50% less falling damage.
- Quaking Palm
You touch a secret pressure point on an enemy target, putting it to sleep for 3 seconds.
If I had to choose between 100 hit rating (Draenei, Racial) and 90 agility and stamina (Pandaren, Epicurean food buff) it seems quite a bit stronger and versatile, with the disadvantage that you have to have the food buff. But who knows what changes are planned for cooking other than „it is going to play a big role“.
This brings us straight to the new class, Monk.
Monks are masters of bare-handed combat, choosing to draw their weapons only for devastating finishing moves. Monk healers bring harmony and balance to every group, healing even the most grievous of injuries with ancient remedies and focused spiritual arts. And few can hope to out-last the unquenchable prowess of the Monk Brewmaster, whose empowering beverages and unpredictable combat style allow them to absorb incredible amounts of punishment.
This means they can fulfill 3 roles, Healer, Melee DPS and Tanking, making them pretty versatile. The following races can become Monk.
- Night Elf
- Blood Elf
Monks are designed to use Agility or Intellect Leather Armor and no shields. They can use Fist Weapons, One-Handed Axes, One-Handed Maces, One-Handed Swords, Polearms and Staves. It was mentioned to have Staves/Polearms for Tanking and Dual Wield for the Melee DPS role.
Monks are designed to be more active than current classes and will not have an autoattack! Basic moves, like Jab and Roll will require „Chi“ to use. Chi can be compared to energy and regenerates slowly. Jabs generate Light and Dark force which can be used for finishing moves.
We will get 5 new zones and the Wandering Isle of Shen-zin Su as Pandaren starting zone. The remaining Zones are located in Pandaria. The Jade Forest starts at the shore and the further zones lead high up to the hidden ancient seat of the Pandaren empire in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
- The Wandering Isle (starting zone)
- The Jade Forest
- Valley of the Four Winds
- Kun-Lai Summit
- Townlong Steppes
- Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Btw, the 6 instances in Pandaria are marked as red dots (additionally Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery in Eastern Kingdoms get upgraded to Level 90)
The new zones appear quite colorful, bright and light … this is actually intented. Cold, Dark and destructive dominated previous expansions and this is a welcome change. If you look closer at the concept art you will realize that the new expansion will also feature some „darker“ zones, too. The Sha (evil spirits that come to life through Alliance vs Horde conflict) exist only in concept art. Also the Mogu look more traditional, the way monsters are supposed to look, with Asian touch of course. There is also a concept art of a dark, mystic jungle passage, so don’t think you have seen it all 😀
The previews for some zones are pretty small and others („Townlong Steppes“ & „Vale of Eternal Blossoms“) don’t even have any, yet. There will be tons of stuff to come the next weeks.
Anyway have a look at this fly-through video, featuring the wandering island and some Pandarian zones and instances.
New Talent System
Basically they cut down to give you only 6 Talents, which is a pretty sad moment for WoW imo. If you look at it from Blizzard’s Point of View it may make sense. Giving you all needed abilities baseline and actually giving you choices, but it will kill off all the fun builds that currently exist (e.g. Enhancement/Resto PvP build) and discourage experimentation. „Giving you an actual choice“ as Blizzard says is only half the truth.
I am pretty startled by all the negativity that is dominating forums and comments at the moment. All we have seen are some bits and pieces and so much that needs to be clarified over the next weeks. It is probably a bit too early to condemn the game just because people don’t like Pandaren. There are many that actually like them.
As before with Worgen and Goblins, introducing a new race does not mean you will have to play it. If you think your Draenei is the better choice you can keep playing it 😀
Blizzard stated that the Pandarian Zones will be larger than Twilight Highlands, which is a very large and diverse zone … Which means we will see a lot of different, varied locations. Some we will like more than others. You cannot hit the taste of 11 million players on the nail. Also the new monster types in addition to the old reappearing ones will bring enough diversification to not bore us too fast. I, at least, am curious what they come up with.
After having spent too much time and money into wow I did not want to pay for another Blizzard title, like for example Diablo and initially planned skipping the game. But Morhaime announced an amazing deal for wow players, the Annual Pass.
Basically you subscribe for 12 months and get Diablo and a mount for free. It is a great way to bind customers and I cannot see to have other companies do anything alike. Imagine Bioware offering Masseffect III for free if you subscribe to SW-ToR.