World of Warcraft @ Blizzcon – My thoughts. (Part 1)

Posted: 30/10/2011 in World of Warcraft
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Blizzard’s 4th World of Warcraft expansion … Panda’s and more!

So if you play World of Warcraft you will have either A) Had watched/visited Blizzcon and would’ve seen or B) would’ve at least heard that Blizzard’s next expansion for the behemoth of the MMO world is called Mists of Pandaria.

Now I will admit I was going to write a post about each panel that came around in Blizzcon, but after writing the first post “Blizzcon (Opening Ceremony)“, I decided that for this wouldn’t be the right way to go. So instead I’m going to right about my opinions on what I heard through the convention. I was one of those who had to sit at home, well at my girlfriend’s and watch the live feed. I do hope to go to a Blizzcon one year .. As my adorable other half say’s here. But anyway! 🙂

The Opening Ceremony

When Blizzard dropped the first announcement about the “WoW Annual Pass” my first thoughts were “now that’s blatant bribery to get people to stay subscribed to World of Warcraft. They must be really concerned about the way the subscriber base is plummeting”, but also I couldn’t help but say bravo to them. By giving a mount, by guaranteeing access to the next WoW expansion beta and by giving people a free copy of Diablo 3, I couldn’t help but be impressed. It is blatant bribery but it’s also a masterstroke. Those who were committed to WoW already would sign up in a heartbeat and quite a few of those who were sitting on the fence may have been swayed to sign up for the year (I was one of them).

The other announcement was of course the revealing of the expansion. Now a few months ago it was found out that Blizzard had trademarked the name “Mists of Pandaria”, now many people including myself thought “they really wouldn’t go down that route would they?” .. but sure enough they did. As the trailer for MoP rolled, I couldn’t help but think they while the scenery looks absolutely beautiful, panda’s … really?. I still think that a little bit, but not as much as I did the last week. The new class that was announced “Monk”, certainly sounds interesting to me although I am a little disappointed that it’s not going to be a healer along the lines of a Chloromancer in Rift.

Mists of Pandaria Panel

So the next panel shed some more light on this expansion. The fact that there is no “main boss” this expansion certainly raised a few eyebrows but as Blizzard said, there was no “main boss” in the original World of Warcraft, but to go back to that after three expansions of a main boss is certainly a risk and it will mean that Blizzard will have to make sure they stay fully focused on the objectives for both factions.

I’m happy that they want to get people back into the world, now they didn’t say whether that’s just in Pandaria or in Azeroth as a whole, but either way I think it’s a good move. In a time of instant/group teleports, it becomes all to either to sit in Orgrimmar or Stormwind and wait for something to “pop” and kapow! Before you know it you’re in the battleground/dungeon/raid. I also like the fact that it is going to be a unified continent. One of my biggest gripes about Cataclysm is how disjointed the zones feel. They don’t feed into one another. Instead it’s “oh you are done here? Go back to your capital for the next portal”. The expansion just didn’t flow.

Also the fact that once you reach Pandaria you wont be able to fly until level 90 is a big plus for many people. Not being able to fly in, kill a mob, fly out, is going to increase the time it takes to level, but it will make you feel like your travelling a world again, which can only be a good thing. I’m probably one of the few who enjoyed questing in the old Azeroth. I loved that you had to ride from A to B, sometimes across continents or even the world. It made me feel like I was apart of that world, and it’s something I will fully enjoy to experience again in Pandaria. Whilst I understand you wont be required to travel from one side of the continent to the other, I appreciate the chance to feel part of the world again.

Perhaps the biggest revelation of the Pandaren race is the fact they are neutral to start with. This means that until level 10, they have no faction. Only after level 10 will you be required to choose whether you want to join the horde or the alliance. I think this is a very interesting move and I have a hunch it’s something they would’ve done with goblins if they could have found the right way to do it. As a young Pandaren you level on a turtle that left the continent 10,000 years ago. With the main Pandaren race being fully neutral this is a good move to allow for an isolated caste of the race to feel like they need to join one of the “traditional” factions in Azeroth. I’m not going to talk about the various zones, needless to say from the footage and the screenshots, they look absolutely beautiful. Also we are going to come across their version of a Kobold, but who would want to kill this?

*aw what a cute little bu… MY HAND!*

The Pandaren Race

The Pandaren race will be able to choose from the following classes, Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Shaman and Warrior. I’m a little surprised that they are going to be rogues and that they aren’t going to be druids. I would’ve thought a race that is meant to be as “noble” as the Pandaren’s would’ve chosen a much more “innocent” route.

Blizzard also announced the racial’s for the Pandaren which I think the vast majority have a very good chance of being changed before the game hits the live servers.

  • Epicurean – Increases the stat benefits from food by 100%
  • Gourmand – Cooking skill increased by 15
  • Inner Peace – Your rested experience lasts twice as long
  • Bouncy – You take 50% less fall damage
  • Quaking Palm – You touch a secret pressure point on an enemy target, putting it to sleep for 3 seconds.

Now I don’t know about you, but I can definitely see Epicurean getting either nerfbat taken to it, or deleted completely. A 100% stat benefit from food, would be seriously powerful at endgame. I can also see Inner Peace maybe being brought down a notch or two. Whilst the rested experience would last a maximum of three levels instead of one and a half, it would give them an unfair boost compared to other races. If anything the extended rested experience should be implemented across the board.

The Monk Class

The monk will be the new class come this expansion. It’ll be a melee class with a healer spec and tank spec and a dps spec and unlike the death knight class, these guys will start at level 1. They will wear leather (agility for the dps/tank specs and intellect for the healer). I must say that I’m a little disappointed by this as I would’ve loved the monk to be a cloth wearing class for some reason, although there are already 3 cloth wearing classes so it sort of makes sense to make the Monk class the 3rd leather wearing class after Rogues and Druids.

They will also use their own “energy” called “Chi”. It’s only used for two abilities. “Jab” and “Roll” but by using these you generate “Light” and “Dark” force (Oh hai Luke!)

My own opinion is that this is a very interesting class, in which they are trying to make more unique than they did with the death knight class. Will it end being as unique or fall into the same homogenization trap as the other classes? Only time will tell on that one…

(To make sure this isn’t one giant wall of text, I’m splitting it up into a couple of parts.  So using common sense, that would mean that Part 2 is on its way soon).

  1. […] World of Warcraft @ Blizzcon – My Thoughts (Part II) Filed under: Gaming by guillinuk — Leave a comment 31/10/2011 Part I can be found here  […]

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