Blizzard invited the press to show off the progress on Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard’s newest expansion for World of WarCraft. The general feel for the event emphasizes lots of content for max level players (90 for this expansion). There wasn’t any shocking news from the event, but I feel the big reveal and takeaway from it was when Chris Metzen revealed the final raid for Mists of Pandaria, and that it would take place in Orgrimmar and have both the Alliance and the Horde taking down Garrosh Hellscream.
They overviewed the expansion as a whole, with Metzen explaining that this is the perfect expansion for WoW at this time. It’s a perfect “throttle off” chapter for WarCraft, and Pandaren are an idea that they’ve thought about for many years (WarCraft 3: Frozen Throne, Samwise’s artwork, etc.).
Dave Kosak and Cory Stockton overviewed the zones then detailing the seven zones that players will be playing through in level 85-90. The Jade Forest is the first zone everyone will be going through and it’s an expansive forest zone where all players will be starting their adventures in Pandaria.
New features in Pandaria, include the scenario feature, which is an extension of group quests. They showed a very rough UI of the scenario feature where you would be able to queue up with two other adventurers, and you are not required to have a tank or healer to be able to start it. Queues should be very quick to hop in.
The pet battle system, also announced at BlizzCon, is being designed to not feel mandatory. It’s completely optional. The first mini-game for World of Warcraft. There was a rough animation shown in-game between Arthas and Illidan fighting with various WoW pets. They announced that it wouldn’t be ranked and would be anonymous (i.e. you wouldn’t be able to communicate with your opponent).
The Dungeon Challenges UI was also shown off showcasing leader boards, and three tiers of rewards; bronze, silver, and gold. Rewards for clearing all dungeons at each level include achievements and titles for bronze, transmog gear for silver, and an awesome epic cool mount. You will be able to sort by your realm and then by your guild, which should promote competition within the server.
Ghostcrawler went over the talent system, which hasn’t undergone any major renovations since BlizzCon and the new talents don’t add player power directly. There is a new item “Tome of Clear Mind” which is used to clear out glyphs and talents now. It also appears that there are only two tiers of glyphs now, Major and Minor and Prime glyphs have been removed and some moved into the Major glyph category.
Overall the expansion looks packed with content for everyone including the casual and hardcore alike. There will be nine level 90 heroic dungeons (Six new dungeons, and three revamped old world dungeons, including Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery), three raids with 14 bosses total with three difficulty levels (looking for raid, normal, and heroic).
They overviewed two new battle grounds: Silver Shard Mines, a Venture Company Mine at the center of a mine depot in Stranglethorn Vale, where mine carts head off on each rail line. Three are going one at a time, and each faction tries to claim it before it reaches the end. Along the path, there are rail line changers which allow you to alter the path of the carts. Think of this as similar to a payload map in Team Fortress 2.
There is also the Temple of Kot Mogu in Uldum, with a new gameplay type where players carry an ancient artifact and gain points for their team. You get a damage buff while holding it, but you also receive reduced healing and receive damage over time. Different areas of the map are worth more points, such as the center being worth the most, but you are most exposed. This battleground will be available to players in the upcoming beta.
There is a ton of content coming out for players in Mists of Pandaria, a new continent, tons of max level content in dungeons, pet battles, challenges, scenarios, daily quests, raids, and PvP content. There looks to be a lot of content that will be available to players at the beginning of the expansion with a variety of gameplay types that will fulfill the wants and needs of the player base.