BlizzCon 2011: Mists of Pandaria

Since I have failed to go back to bed, I figured I’d go ahead and watch the “World of Warcraft Preview” session on the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket Stream. Presumably, this is more information on the upcoming Mists of Pandaria (MoP) expansion.

Hah! MoP! I have amused myself.

I’m going to handle this as a live blog again, largely because I am too sleepy to organize my thoughts.

By the way, I’ve been using US Pacific times in order to match the BlizzCon schedule. It’s actually three hours later where I am.

12:30pm: They want to get people back into the world and out of the queues in Orgrimmar and Stormwind. They want to give more ways to advance your character through various activities; the example on the screen is a daily quest that gives Valor Points. They want people to be able to ‘geek out’ with character builds. (I’m reading this as ‘We simplified too much in Cataclysm.’)

12:40pm: There will be five new zones in Pandaria, all on one unified continent – like Northrend, not like the new zones in Cataclysm. Four of the five zones look to be roughly the same size as Twilight Highlands (based on the comparison map on the screen).

Pandaria will also host an auction house (presumably in the capital city) so you can more reasonably base your characters there. Flying on Pandaria will be restricted until max level. (That would be level 90 by the way.)

Aside: This man whose name I have forgotten already mentioned that the WoW team has been working on this expansion for awhile so they can show us fly-throughs of all the zones.

The new starting zone for Pandarens is a giant turtle that has left their home planet. Can we say the Great A’tuin? The Pandaren starting zone is fully complete and playable at BlizzCon.

Pandarens are the first neutral race: you start out together and then choose Horde or Alliance at level 10.

12:50pm: Cory Stockton is going over various new NPC races on Pandaria. Some neat stuff, but since these are sentient creatures we won’t be taming any of them.

Now he introduces the Jade Forest, the first zone that high level characters will enter. Horde and Alliance will both come here, but to different landing points. The first dungeon (85-86) is called the Temple of the Jade Serpent. Let’s hope that means jade serpents to tame!

Video! The Jade Forest reminds me a bit of Sholazar crossed with Nagrand. Ooh, and there’s a hunched black spotted cat! That may be a placeholder … or not. No way to tell yet.

Next is the Valley of the Four Winds.The jungle part of the zone reminds me more of Sholazar Basin but the farmlands feel pretty unique. And OMG, those bunnies are adorable! I bet they are critters and not beasts, though. I see some big flappy birds in the distance, but they might be NPC mounts.

1:00pm: Ghostcrawler is talking about the Pandaren race. They do not have the female model done yet – just male Pandarens with a bow in their hair. Argh.

YES! Pandarens can be hunters! (Plus mage, priest, rogue, shaman, warrior, and of course monk.)

The racials: Increased stat benefits from food and +15 cooking. Rested XP lasts twice as long. (Sweet!) They take 50% less falling damage – which the crowd completely loves. And they have a nerve pinch crowd control move.

Hey, this is neat: Monks are not Pandaren only! Only Worgen and Goblins cannot be monks.

1:10pm: On to Talents 2.0! They liked the level 10 thing with talents in Cataclysm and they were happy to remove the junk, but there aren’t enough choices and not enough room for players to experiment.

This is called Talents 2.0 because it is so different from the previous system. I’m not going to try to sum everything up because it’s really very, very different. Argh. In the next panel they will be going over all the talents for all the classes. I feel compelled to see that.

1:20pm: Scenarios. I think a lot of people will like this questy small group PvE content.Blizzard says they might even replace group quests. Unfortunately this is more content I won’t be seeing since I don’t like to group at all … which is fine – not everything needs to be doable by me … but I’d hate to lose the ability to complete group quests by myself. I don’t care if I have to be 5 levels higher to do the content – I just want to do the bloody quests.

Challenge mode dungeons are essentially timed runs.

1:30pm: The Pet Battle System … is for companion pets (mini-pets). You fight and level up your mini-pets. You can customize your mini-pets with a name and abilities. You can battle ‘wild pets’ and add them to your mini-pet journal. You can trade the pet – with its levels and abilities and everything – on the auction house. The pets are account-wide.

Bugger … New website!

1:40pm: Account-wide achievements. Thank the gods!

Hunter changes: no more minimum range on our ranged weapons, and we no longer use melee weapons. Says Ghostcrawler: “From everything is a hunter weapon to nothing is a hunter weapon.” The ranged slot is gone from other classes, which means no more relics and wands have become main hand weapons.

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