WoW expansion: Mists of Pandaren

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Mists of Pandaria is the fourth expansion for the massive multiplayer online role playing game World Of Warcraft, to be launched on the 25th of September 2012.

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The main theme in this expansion will be the added race Pandaren, a panda along with classes.The Pandaren will be a shared or allianced race the first 10 levels, both Alliance and Horde can play the Pandaren. You start as Pandaren at level 1 in a shared area together with possibly future Horde and possibly future Alliance characters. At level 10 you will have to choose whether you will belong to the Alliance or to the Horde. After you have chosen, you will no longer be able to communicate with opposite faction Pandaren.

The new expansion will also bring five more levels, several new quests, a lot of new areas to explore, new crafting recipes and ofcourse a new storyline with quests to follow.

With the Pandaren also a new class is introduced: The Monk. This class uses unarmed martial combat combined with staves and fistweapons. Instead of mana or stamina, the Monk uses the energy ‘Chi’.

Together with the new expansion, Blizzard has announced several changes to the accounts and the game itself.The change on your account is that achievements, pets and mounts will be shared among all your characters. So if you worked hard on getting that Violet Proto Drake on one of your characters, all of your other characters will finally also have access to it. The same goes for pets and mounts. It does though make me wonder. Did they just make their game even easier to complete?

Another thing is the enabling of BattleTag’s. As was already available to the newer games StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3, also in WoW you may now be add and see battle tag friends online.

Also some helpful changes have been added to the general game play.
One example is AOE looting. When you would kill several monsters in the same area and you would loot one, you would with one click loot all the other corpses at the same time.

I think that one of the biggest changes that this expansion is going to bring is that they have completely redesigned their talents and skills system. They have changed how the whole system is build up. No longer will you have trees of skills or stats to choose from.

Instead you choose a specialization (available from level 10) and then in this specialization you can choose per certain levelrange one new talent out of three possibillities.
Glyphs are still there, but have prime glyphs removed. And spells? Spells you get automatically by chosing your specialization.
This seems to me that they have once more reduced the game content for a player to customize and play with. I just hope that we won’t be seeing several identical characters with this on the server.

Mists of Pandaren will also introduce World Events (PVE), where certain common goals have to be achieved.
Also they plan to launch a pet battle system with a VERY close resemblance to Nintendo’s Pokemon!!! I am for one baffled about it that this type of copying is allowed at all, but otherwise it seems to be the one type of (addictive) fun I would have liked to have in a game I play. So I also do understand it very well. It nicely fits in with the comparing feeling you get in this type of games. See my armour, see my skills, see my achievements, see my mounts.. and.. see what pets I have gotten collected and what they can do.

Anyway.. to explain: like in Pokemon, you will be able to use your vanity pets to fight other pets. This could be a pet of your friend who you are duelling (in a special mini-game) or battle other wild vanity pets wherever you find them in the world. Well, then I can only say: Collect them all!

Other additions are ofcourse more (daily) quests, group based scenarios and dungeons, new gear, new sets, new raids, new factions, new battlegrounds and then there are two more things added to the game I will quickly talk you through.

Nine new dungeons will be added, six of them will be Pandaria dungeons, three of them will be heroics type dungeons based upon the classic Scarlet Monastry and Scholomance dungeons. This will probably bring back memories!
Also they will add challenge modes for six of the dungeons which will give you ultimate challenges of your dungeon skills, which will ofcourse lead to special rewards.

I do notice once more that Blizzard has been using their copy abilities, but I suppose they only copy ‘the best’ of other games here.
I conclude with that this expansion will add a lot of new cool content, but I do put my doubts on:
1) the size of the extra content (only five levels extra)
2) the reducement of the talent system and account-bound achievements etc

Although the expansion will be launched by the 25th of September, you can now already preorder the game from a retail store or from the Blizzard online store.

“Mists of Pandaria will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 and Macintosh® at a suggested retail price of 34.99 € / £29.99. The expansion will also be available digitally directly from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft website (www.WorldofWarcraft.com), also priced at 34.99 € / £29.99.
A special Collector’s Edition packed with bonus items will be available exclusively in retail stores for a suggested retail price of 69.99 € / £59.99. In addition, for the first time, World of Warcraft players have the option to purchase a special Digital Deluxe version of the expansion containing the in-game bonus items from the Collector’s Edition. The Digital Deluxe version is available to download directly from Blizzard via www.WorldofWarcraft.com for 49.99 € / £39.99.”

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