Mists of Pandaria – Preview

After a short break, we’ll back and to kick things off It’s time to hit up those video games. Let’s hand over to Jamie from some panda goodness.

Back in 2010 I wrote up a story on all the major game changes that Cataclysm brought. Now, I’m telling you about my time with the Mists of Pandaria beta. If anything, this has been a fun reminder that I play too much Warcraft.

The first thing I want to talk about is the Pandarin starting zone. The zone is based off of classical Chinese Dojo’s, making the area look really bright and vibrant. Graphically, it looks slightly better than the WoW-standard, but design-wise this is a gorgeous place.

The quests in the starting zone aren’t so fantastic. It lacks the variety and feeling of being part of a story that Cataclysm brought with it’s revamped starter zones. There is some semblance of a plot that leads your Pandarin around, but the actual quests that take place aren’t as fun or interesting. On top of that, a lot of quest simply don’t work with multiple people in the area.
For example, there’s one quest that has you gathering up reeds from a pond. Fairly simple, except out of the 25 or so spawning points for the reeds, only about 5 currently work. Add 15 people doing the quest at the same time and all of a sudden you’ve got a very frustrating time.

However, despite the rather lacklustre quests, it does have a few standout moments, especially the pretty awesome closing quests that put you out into the full world. It’s also worth noting that this is a popular beta with limited servers, so there’ll likely be less glitches and people in the full release.

The new Monk class is decent. At first it seems like a rather unfocused class, focusing slightly on DPS but doing nothing new. However, once you unlock the talent tree’s, things like maintaining your Chi make the Monk class feel more unique. Speaking of talents, Mists of Pandaria comes with a whole new Talent Tree, which overhauls the old style into a simpler path. Now, rather than unlocking a new talent every two levels, you pick your overall specialization, which decides which abilities you can learn from trainers in the future. On top of this, every 15 levels you gain starting from level 15, you get one of three talents. These talents are less specialised abilities that can be used by each of the Specialisations.

I think the point of this is to split up the Talents and Character Speccing to make it a bit less overwhelming, but to older players this does seem like a step back from the tried and tested system.

As I’ve only just got in the beta, I can’t really comment much on the higher level stuff. Which is a shame, because the majority of the expansion seems to be focused on PVP and end-game. So consider this a “First Impressions” of the expansion. My first impression is a tepid one, but I expect greater things when I hit the level cap. This is one for long-time players.

What do you all think? Leave a comment below.

For more on Mists of Pandaria, check out the website.

Words: Jamie Dickerson
All images belong to their rightful owners and are used under fair use.


One response to “Mists of Pandaria – Preview

  1. I near enough predicted MoP years ago, before Cata was released. I said that they would need to head south, and that there should be a neutral race. From what I’ve seen of it it does look good, but it does not fix my main annoyence from Cata. I love the instanced starting zones, but they really need to do more about the older ones, such as dwarf.

    Still, I’m really looking forward to MoP, and I am in no doubt that I’ll pre-order as soon as I can. :)Great review, can’t wait for your impressions on the end game content!

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