Pandaria Press Tour


Now that the NDA has lifted on the information gathered from Blizzard’s Mists of Pandaria Press Tour, an enormous amount of information on World of Warcraft’s next expansion has begun to be released upon the masses.  Although I have bid Farewell to Azeroth I remain a fan of the Warcraft universe and, despite my misgivings about the game’s future, am certain that I will at least return for a visit after the expansion’s release. So I thought I would take the opportunity to take a brief look at some of the information to come out of the recent Press Tour and give a few thoughts on some of what we’ve learned.

  • AoE looting is being added to the game.

Despite how simple this announcement sounds I cannot stress how big this one is to me. After experiencing the AoE loot systems in both RIFT and SWTOR I can honestly say that turning their back on this idea would have been a deal breaker for me. While many might see this as just a quality of life improvement, It is such a simple game addition that makes such a world of difference to the enjoyment of playing that this announcement alone could make me be willing to try this expansion.

  • Players will be given an 11th Character Slot.

As an alt-aholic I had hoped this would be the case, and was nearly certain that Blizzard would agree. After seven years with the game and max-level alts of nearly all classes, gaining another slot for a new Monk character is a nice plus.

  • Raids will offer three levels of difficulty.

I love raiding, but as a casual player I seldom get the opportunity to experience some of the harder raid content. Still, I actually hope that this means a difficulty beyond the current heroic level, as the raid content seems to be getting easier in general. For those hardcore players a Nightmare mode might be the challenge they are looking for.

  • Five or more scenarios will be available at launch, and won’t require a healer or tank to complete.

I like the idea of scenarios a lot. Duo or trio instances that take around 20-30 minutes to complete are perfect for a casual player who prefers to play with just a few friends.  RIFT added solo versions of several of their full instances, and I am not sure why it has taken Blizzard so long to catch on to this idea. If implemented correctly this could be a lot of fun.

  • The Tillers faction lets you run your own farm.

So, we get Pokemon AND Farmville.  This honestly might be the worst piece of news to come out of the Press Tour. Blizzard is starting to feel like the worst bottom feeder of the MMO world. I suppose after so many years of other games drawing from the WoW well, Blizzard is viewing Pandaria as their chance to start doing the same to other games. (As though they hadn’t been doing it all along, but it just seems to be getting out of hand.)  What I think really smells fishy about this choice is players will be able to use this farm to plant and grow cooking ingredients and herbalism nodes, meaning I suppose that gold farmers will really be doing just that.

Also, if Blizzard can find room for player run farms, why do they keep shying away from the much asked for player housing?

  • Mounts are joining achievements on the list of things that are being made account wide.

I suppose this is a nice addition. I am a bit of an achievement hunter, and have been clamoring for acount wide achievents since before they were implemented to begin with.  Making achievements account wide makes it easier for a player like me, who is willing to switch characters to fill the role-specific needs of a raid, to play whatever character is needed without having to worry about not getting an achievement on my “achievement toon.” Anything else that shows that allows players freedom to play as they choose is just icing on the cake.

  • Monks will have autoattacks.

I was honestly a little surprised when Blizzard announced that monks wouldn’t be given an autoattack, not because I ‘m in love with autoattacks, but because it seemed odd to take such a core mechanic away from just a single class. I had nearly believed that before the expansion was released we would learn that Blizzard had decided to take a page from SWTOR’s book and remove the autoattacks from all classes. Personally I am happy with this decision.

As a fairly old-school MMO player, games that have done away with the autoattack have never quite felt right. SWTOR is a great game, but I often find myself feeling as though combat is clunky, and I think that the lack of an autoattack is a part of that.

  • In the final patch of the expansion, players will lay seige to Orgrimaar to end the reign of Garrosh as Warchief.

Of all the reasons that I would consider returning to World of Warcraft, this may be the greatest, but also one that I fear Blizzard could easily screw up. Garrosh has been one of the sticking points of the “new horde” since the release of the Cataclysm expansion. I enjoyed the renewed strength that Garrosh gave to the horde, but there has been a lack of nobility and honour to the horde since the new Warchief took power. Now we get to take him down, and I certainly hope that the story surrounding the assault is strong, and the story following it up is even stronger. If Blizzard pulls this storyline off well, that alone would make Mists of Pandaria a success from my perspective.

That’s just a few thoughts I had as I’ve been sifting through the latest information. World of Warcraft has been seriously showing it’s age, and some of what Blizzard has planned for this expansion feels like just a new coat of paint. Other announcements feel like Blizzard is finally attempting to correct mistakes they’ve made with the last two expansions. And then it seems there are some rare gems that show why Blizzard’s behemoth is still the biggest game in the business, and likely will be for years to come.


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Author: AxiomXIII View all posts by
  • M.A. Brotherton

    I am all for the swift and public execution of Garrosh, and my fond memories of piles of paladin bodies makes me long for some WoW AoE Looting, especially places like the infinite monster runs in Northrend, but nothing can make up for the homogenization and gutting of WoW that is planned with Pandaria.

    Even Kung Fu Pandas.

    It just isn’t going to work out well.