Blizzard’s reign as the top MMO developer in the world just got “fuzzier” with the release of it’s fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria. With this expansion Blizzard Entertainment has finally tapped into a world that has been alive in Warcraft lore since Warcraft II itself.
Mists of Pandaria brings with it a new race called the Pandarens, which are a Panda race that live in the shrouded island of Pandaria. The introduction of this race to World of Warcraft is unique by the way they allow players to create the first faction neutral race. Pandarian’s can choose their own faction to join and are the sole race capable of becoming the new Monk class.
The Monk class is a unique and overall fun class to learn and play in this expansion mainly due to the fact that they can specialize in either a Tanking (the Brewmaster Tree), Healing (the Mistweaver Tree) or Melee DPS (the Windwalker tree); however, unlike other classes in WoW the Monk class uses chi instead of weapons as its main source of damage. The varied talent trees available for the Monk make it one of the most versatile classes in the game, and a fun class to play at that..
Some of the other new features introduced with Mists of Pandaria are the Pet Battle System which allows players to battle it out Pokémon style with the collection of pets to use against other players. Another new feature is the 3 man Scenario mode which plays out with the story as you progress throughout the game and beyond.
Also included in the expansion are Challenge Mode dungeons which add extra difficulty to dungeon runs but adding time trials to them. Doing well in these time trails can earn you medals which offer bonuses like new abilities that can teleport you to dungeon entrances, armor sets and pets. None of this is necessary to complete the game but it gives veteran players another thing to work towards once they have hit the level cap.
Overall, as a player of World of Warcraft since November 2004 I can attest to this expansion living up to it’s hype and beyond. The game is rewarding with each zone telling the story of why the mysterious island of Pandaria was discovered and what treasures it may hold. Graphically Mists of Pandaria is a thing of beauty, the environment layouts are filled with bright and vibrant Chinese inspired colours and creatures. The content of Pandaria is divided into 8 zones. The Wandering Isle which is the new starting zone for the Pandarian race while the other seven zones are high level end game zones where the majority of the new content is held.
Leveling in Mists of Pandaria is a bit harder then what I was used to before the expansions launch. Getting characters to 90 involves quite a bit more work than it did to get characters to 85, but there is such a wealth of content to do in this expansion that it ends up working well. Rather than finishing half of the content in the expansion and loosing interest in completing quests I found it being a higher incentive to see everything through to completion.
Blizzard has come a long way since the original World of Warcraft came out in November 2004 and so has the World of Warcraft. This game is worth picking up if you are new to PC MMO’s or a Veteran player on the ropes and thinking about coming back one last time for an epic adventure. The wealth of new content and the addition of a new class to the game insure that you will be playing for a very long time and I would highly recommend it.