World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
|World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria|
North American box art
|Release date(s)||NA September 25, 2012
EU September 25, 2012
|Distribution||DVD DL, digital distribution|
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is the fourth expansion set for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following Cataclysm. It was announced on October 21, 2011, by Chris Metzen at BlizzCon 2011, and was released on September 25, 2012.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Plot and setting
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Announcement and development
- 5 Reception
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Mists of Pandaria raised the existing level cap from level 85 to 90. It introduced a new character class, the Monk, along with a new playable race, the Pandaren. The vanity pet system was overhauled and a pet battle system was added. Scenarios were introduced, and Challenge Modes were added for dungeons. The existing 41-point talent trees were replaced by a new system of tiered talents that are awarded every 15 levels. Cross-zone realms were introduced, along with account-wide achievements and area of effect looting. The initial patch included nine new dungeons, three new raids, and two new battlegrounds, the Temple of Kotmogu and the Silvershard Mines, as well as one new arena (the Tol'vir Proving Grounds). The expansion also debuted new elements such as a player-run farm, and the Black Market auction-house.
Subsequent patches introduced the Brawler's Guild, as well as Heroic scenarios. Several additional raids, dungeons and scenarios, a new battleground, Deepwind Gorge, and a new arena, The Tiger's Peak, were also added.
Plot and setting
The game is set after the events of Deathwing and the Cataclysm. The major setting is the titular land of Pandaria, one of the continents of the world of Azeroth. Discovery of Pandaria is made after a naval battle between the Horde and the Alliance. It had previously been hidden by magic since The Sundering, only to reappear for unknown reasons.
Pandaria is a new continent located to the south of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Several zones have been added, including the Jade Forest, Valley of the Four Winds, Vale of Eternal Blossoms, Townlong Steppes, Kun-Lai Summit, Krasarang Wilds, the Timeless Isle, and the Dread Wastes. The Jade Forest is the first zone, and the entry point for the Alliance and Horde. It features lush rainforest and stone spires, and introduces the player to the Hozen and Jinyu races. It contains the Temple of the Jade Serpent, one of the new dungeons, and introduces the Sha enemy. The Valley of the Four Winds includes Pandaren farm lands, with a coastal jungle. The Stormstout Brewery, another new dungeon, is located in the valley. There are auction houses scattered across the five zones of Pandaria. Along with these normal auction houses, a "black market" auction house is located in an area north of the Valley of the Four Winds called the Veiled Stair. Unlike the player controlled auction house, this auction house is controlled by NPCs who post items, usually of rare status or those that have been removed from the game in previous expansions. Both Horde and Alliance can use the black market auction house.
The Wandering Isle
The Wandering Isle is a roaming giant turtle named Shen-zin Su, where Pandaren player characters begin their adventure, which they leave after choosing a faction. Historically, the Pandaren explorer Lui Lang was overcome with a rare trait in the Pandaren of that time, Wanderlust. It is because of this he departed Pandaria around 10,000 years ago on the back of the turtle, Shen-zin Su. Lui Lang had returned to his homeland a few times, and each time the turtle had become progressively bigger.
Creatures and enemies
Pandaria plays host to several new races that the players will encounter. Besides the pandaren there are the jinyu, a wise, fish-like race, the passionate, monkey-like hozen, the yaungol, fierce descendants of the tauren, the virmen, a pesky rabbit-like race, the grummels, a friendly race related to troggs, and the mantids, a fearsome insectoid race. Players will also encounter the mogu, who were the first to inhabit and conquer Pandaria, and lastly, the Sha, who are "the manifestation of negative energy on Pandaria".
Players are not able to fly in Pandaria until they have reached the maximum level and bought the "Wisdom of the Four Winds" from a riding trainer.
Monks use an energy source to power basic abilities like Jab. The basic Jab attack is used to generate a resource called "Chi", which are then used for more advanced attacks. The monk class was originally announced with not being able to utilize an auto-attack like the other classes, however, the developers chose to forgo this idea and they have been given an auto-attack. The monk class has three specializations: Brewmaster (tanking), Windwalker (melee damage), and Mistweaver (healing). Monks' healing specialization is capable of healing allies through dealing damage to enemies, as well as through "proximity" based heals, and by dropping statues, similar to a shaman totem, that pulse healing as they perform attacks on the enemy target. Choosing the healing specialization will give the monk a mana bar like other healers while the tank and DPS spec will use an energy bar. Monks make use of leather armor, and every race except goblins and worgen can play as a monk.
The pandaren - a race of anthropomorphic giant pandas initially created by veteran Blizzard artist Samwise Didier - were introduced to the Warcraft canon in the bonus Horde campaign of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Unlike previous races in World of Warcraft, which are tied to either the Horde or Alliance in-game factions, pandaren are faction-neutral for the early levels of the game. Until the end of the principal quest line on the Wandering Isle, the pandaren player character is faction-less; at the end of their starting experience, the player chooses to align with either the Horde or the Alliance. The pandaren speak both the Pandaren language (though the factional language barrier will still remain between Horde and Alliance pandaren) and the main languages of their faction, which are Common (Alliance) and Orcish (Horde). (In an interview with Kat Hunter, Chris Metzen jokingly said the languages had not yet been chosen but Pig Latin was a strong candidate.) The classes available to pandaren characters are Hunter, Monk, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Shaman and Warrior.
In 2011 it was revealed that the new instances would include Temple of the Jade Serpent, Stormstout Brewery and Shado-Pan Monastery. It was later revealed that the 4 parts of Scarlet Monastery – Library, Graveyard, Armory and Cathedral – would be merged into two heroics in Mists of Pandaria. A heroic version of Scholomance was also announced. During the Mists of Pandaria press release, it was announced that there would be nine level 90 heroics for players as well as three raids with 16 raid bosses. All of the raids have three difficulties (Heroic, Normal, and Looking for Raid).
Mists of Pandaria introduced Challenge Modes, a gameplay option where a dungeon group is challenged to finish a dungeon of increased difficulty as quickly as possible. All players' gear is normalized, allowing for fair ranking. Depending on how quickly the group clears the dungeon, the group will earn one of three possible medals. The higher the medal quality, the higher the prize for achieving that medal.
Pet Battle System
Introduced with the expansion, the pet battle system allows non-combat vanity pets to be pitted in battle against each other in a turn-based combat system, either against other players for fun or against critter-like pets in the wild. Defeating wild pets allows players to capture them, adding to their collection and their pet journal. Pets can be trained up to a maximum level of 25, with new abilities and enhanced stats granted as they progress. Players are able to seek out master pet trainers and battle their pets, with various rewards on offer if the player is able to defeat them. All information regarding pet levels, abilities, and battles is tracked in a new Pet Journal.
There are 10 possible pet classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Mists of Pandaria also included a new 3 player instance mode, called Scenarios. Playable on either normal or heroic difficulty, they are short stories players can play through and earn rewards at the end. The stories are mostly relevant to the Horde and Alliance storylines in Pandaria. Scenarios have different stages, and the players receive different tasks for each stage. During a heroic scenario, the players can attempt to complete a timed objective for an extra reward. The scenario mode doesn't require anyone to queue as a role, and it's up to the group what composition they want to run with.
In patch 5.4, a new raid setting was introduced with the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, called Flexible. In it, players would assemble a premade group of 10 to 25 players, and the difficulty of the raid would automatically scale accordingly. This setting is intended to be more challenging than the Raid Finder setting, but not as difficult as the Normal or Heroic modes, and groups can be formed across realms.
Announcement and development
MMO-Champion reported the possibility of Mists of Pandaria being the new expansion title based on a trademark application by Blizzard submitted on July 28, 2011 and approved August 2, 2011 trademarking the title "Mists of Pandaria". Blizzard announced also that in this expansion Garrosh Hellscream will become increasingly unstable and the two factions will ultimately team up to take him down in The Siege of Orgrimmar.
Mists of Pandaria is the first version of World of Warcraft or its expansions to have a digital deluxe edition (DDE), which essentially provides the in-game rewards of a collector's edition at a somewhat reduced cost and without the extra materials, such as the artbook and the soundtrack. Like the collector's edition of Cataclysm, both the DDE and the standard Mists of Pandaria collector's edition provide special in-game portraits for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, and also unlocks special icons for the player's banner in Diablo III.
On October 21, 2011 Chris Metzen announced Mists of Pandaria during the opening ceremonies.
On March 21, 2012, Blizzard released the Mists of Pandaria beta for testing.
On July 20, 2012, the PTR for Mists of Pandaria was opened, which will be the final testing space before the release of the expansion.
On August 16, 2012, Blizzard unveiled the Mists of Pandaria opening cinematic.
The expansion received generally positive reviews (See table at right).
On the October 4, 2012, Blizzard had announced that 2.7 million copies of Mists of Pandaria had been sold within the first week of its release (Cataclysm sold 3.3 million copies within the first 24 hours of its release), with the global subscriber base passing 10 million subscribers. As estimated by Carol Pinchefsky from Forbes.com, digital sales of the game outnumbered the retail sales by nearly 4:1 in the first week of sales.
Subsequent comments of reviewers have acknowledged the sales of nearly 3 million in the first week would be desirable and an indicator of success for any other company in the gaming industry, but, they say, these numbers "still aren't looking good for the long-term future of Blizzard's wildly successful MMORPG" and "likely left some of the team at Activision Blizzard wondering where they went wrong". Pandaria's start has been described as slower than any other WoW expansion, including both The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, and way behind Cataclysm, which sold 4.7 million copies in the first month.
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- "World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Revealed at BlizzCon 2011". Blizzard Entertainment. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2011-10-28.
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- Announcement at Blizzcon 14:39 October 21, 2011
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- Cory Stockton during World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria presentation at Blizzcon October 21, 2011 15:00 CST
- Cory Stockton explanation at Blizzcon on October 21, 2011
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- Chris Metzen during interview with Kat Hunter at Blizzcon October 21, 2011 14:14 CST
- "Heroic Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance". 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-3-22.
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- Craft, Scott (September 30, 2012). "World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Release Date Sales Predictions Are In -- And They Aren't Looking Good". International Digital Times.
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- "Mists of Pandaria Digital Sales Outnumber Retail by Nearly 4:1". Forbes. 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- "World Of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Release Week Numbers Are In, Officially Down From Cataclysm". Idigitaltimes.com. 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- "Mists of Pandaria Digital Sales Outnumber Retail by Nearly 4:1". Forbes.com. 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2013-05-16.