hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

Preview: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

2:01 AM on 03.19.2012 // Aerox

It's been out for a little over seven years now, but World of Warcraft is still going strong. Last week I was invited over to Blizzard to take a look at Warcraft's upcoming expansion, Mists of Pandaria, and I was able to get some playtime with the game and speak to some of the members of the development team about what's in store when Mists of Pandaria is released later this year.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (PC [previewed], Mac)
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Release: 2012

The events of Cataclysm (World of Warcraft's most recent update) have caused the southern continent of Pandaria to emerge from the fog that has hidden it for the last ten thousand years. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria tells the story of what happens when the Alliance and the Horde discover this new continent, its resources, and the people who live there.

Unlike previous expansions, Mists of Pandaria will not feature a single "big bad boss" at the end of the patch cycle. As Lead Designer Cory Stockton explained, the central story arc of Mists of Pandaria concerns the tensions between the Alliance and the Horde finally coming to a head and erupting into an all-out war. Mists of Pandaria begins with the Horde and Alliance both landing on the continent of Pandaria, and conflict breaks out between the two almost immediately, as each group fights to rally the Pandaren to their side as they prepare for war.

The future patches for Mists of Pandaria will be heavily story-focused, with each update being described as essentially a "story sequel" to the one before it. Instead of just introducing another dungeon that brings you one step closer to defeating the "ultimate boss," the patches will advance the story as the war moves from Pandaria to the mainland, culminating in a full-blown siege on Orgrimmar.

Greg Street, Lead Systems Designer, told me that one of the major priorities for Mists of Pandaria was to provide much more end-game content for players, particularly since the primary focus of Cataclysm was revamping much of the original world and the starting areas. In addition to the seven zones on the Pandarian continent that will take players from level 85 to 90, nine new dungeons and three new raids, and multiple end-game faction quest lines, Mists of Pandaria will also feature a number of new systems designed to appeal to end-game players.

To encourage players to revisit older dungeons and to increase some friendly competition within a player's own server, Mists of Pandaria is introducing a dungeon challenge mode. Essentially a timed dungeon run, the challenge mode will automatically scale players' equipment to the proper item level of the dungeon. Beating dungeons fast enough will earn players a spot on the leaderboard, and will provide cosmetic, visually impressive equipment for players to use in transmogrification.

The pet battle system that was announced at BlizzCon was also shown to us in more detail, although we unfortunately were not able to get hands-on play with the system. The pet battles will be 3 vs 3, and they appear to play out like a typical turn-based fight in an RPG like, say, Pokémon. Battles will be cross-server and simple to jump in and out of, but competitive players may be disappointed -- this system is designed to be low-key and casual. You can't see the name of your opponent, you can't speak to them during the battle, and there are no rewards for winning.

Mists of Pandaria is also introducing a new quest type: scenarios. Street explained that when people end up with a group quest in their quest log, they tend to skip it -- players find it too difficult to get together a proper group just to run and do a short quest. Scenarios aim to solve that problem by replacing standard group quests with short, instanced content designed for three players. Rather than spamming general chat looking for party members, you can queue up just as you would in the dungeon or raid finder. The content is specifically designed to not require the holy trinity of tank-healer-DPS; the idea is that viable groups can form quickly, and people can jump right into the content. While the examples we were shown were all combat scenarios, Cory Stockton suggested that there may be some entirely non-combat story scenarios for players more interested in Warcraft lore.

And, as anyone who has been following Mists of Pandaria knows, this expansion will be introducing a new race -- the eponymous Pandaren -- and a new class, the monk. Mists of Pandaria will also include a complete overhaul of the talent system. Street told us that the original talent tree concept essentially ended up creating cookie-cutter builds, as the community identified an optimized build for each tree. Many of the previous abilities granted by talents have been rolled into the abilities themselves, and talent choices now provide smaller, situational abilities or bonuses, regardless of specialization.

For example, when I made my Paladin, my first choice was choosing between one of the following three talents: a flat 10% movement speed increase in all situations, a moderate movement speed increase that lasted for eight seconds but only triggered when I used Judgement, or a significant movement speed burst that was its own ability on its own cool-down. The idea behind the new system is to make each talent choice viable and to eliminate "must-have" talents that virtually all players end up taking.

There's no specific release date yet, but Blizzard says that five of the seven final zones in Pandaria are content-complete, and that they're trying to get Mists of Pandaria out as fast as possible. This expansion doesn't appear to be fundamentally altering the core of World of Warcraft -- you'll still be doing quests where you kill ten jaguars, and returning players will likely only find minor tweaks to their existing rotations -- but Blizzard is hoping that the expanded focus on end-game content and the looming war between the Horde and Alliance will keep existing players entertained and entice lapsed users to return to Azeroth.

 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why don't we have more games that use filtered 3D models to creat faux-pixel art? It's such a cool, smooth style, but you never see any games using it.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Oh lawd. Next Saturday, Gamestop will have three hour access to Tri-Force Heroes. Nintendo, really wish we could just get normal demos from you more often, please!
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I made this. Want one? [IMG]HTTPS://[/IMG]
JawshButturBawls avatarJawshButturBawls
Star Wars Battlefront is pretty good. Except the beta is basically a demo with nothing in it so that upsets me. but it's still pretty good.
gajknight avatargajknight
Just cleaning up the last of Gotham's Most Wanted before I finish Arkham Knight. Those Riddler trophies...much more fun than Arkham City but my word, stop it Rocksteady. Love the game though, outstanding. In my top 5 this year, fo sho.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
SCIENCE. IS. AWESOME. [youtube][/youtube]
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Looks like my copy of Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash won't be here till Tuesday. What do I pay for Amazon Prime for again? I think I might have to stream me playing it.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I have just heard someone say Uncharted was a "role playing game."
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The glitched walking animation people carrying crates in Novigrad do is hilarious.
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Undecided what to do with my weekend now my fiancée is away. One part of me says I should work my ass off, another says I should go watch The Martian while the last part tells me to be a slob, play games and masturbate to Highschool DXD.. Such a hard lif
Steel Squirrel avatarSteel Squirrel
The 1.10 patch for The Witcher 3 is out. Downloading for PS4. Pretty excited to see the changes, especially since it said the damn swamps in Velen would finally see performance enhancements, along with like a million other areas. So good! Yes?
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
Just got confirmation that a feature I spent way too long writing is going up on Sunday. Not a bad way to start the weekend off, though I wish I had a slot on a weekday.
gajknight avatargajknight
PB&J sandwiches. Saturday morning cartoons. A blanket. Ominous sounds coming from the next room. Blood seeping from the walls. A dark figure standing in the corner, staring, watching. Darkness, everywhere. Such darkness. This is childhood.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Dear Namco, give me a proper localizer Super Robot Wars title. I need it in my viens, especially this
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Cynic without a Cause avatarCynic without a Cause
I just wanna get drunk and listen to J-pop
extatix avatarextatix
Spiel was mightily expensive. Holy shit... Good thing I didn't bring more money with me, too. Saw enough stuff I'd love to own.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
In memory of Lesser Dog of the snow fields. 1 spaghetti = never forgetty
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Trialling PS Now - review to come later - has reminded me of a piece of little-reported PS3 news. Owners of hacked PS3s could turn any PS2 game into a 'Classics' title and run them on a bog-standard PS3 with few issues.
nanashi avatarnanashi
Wanna ask a question for tomorrow's PStoid? You still have time! While you're at it don't forget to ask one for Riobux too!!
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

  Jan 29

Time, well, spent: World of Warcraft crosses 100M users

There are more WoW characters than people in the USA

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -