Mists of Pandaria Review

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Mists of Pandaria Review

World of Warcraft's best expansion to date.

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Uggghhh, this looks sooo fun.

Why... Did it have to be so fun looking. Oh well, take my money Blizzard, take all of it.

MrMixelPixel:
Uggghhh, this looks sooo fun.

Why... Did it have to be so fun looking. Oh well, take my money Blizzard, take all of it.

It is very fun. So much better than the last Expac (which IMHO was the worst to date).

I'm having a lot of fun with this expansion so far. The new Pandaren areas are certainly interesting, and the new Pokemon Pet battle system is something new!

I bought this expansion and, while I find parts of it fun, I'm kind of frustrated with some of the design choices as they relate to my server. Essentially, except for a few quests scattered throughout the zones, Alliance and Horde share the exact same quests and quest-givers in Pandaria.

Now, for you PvE people, this really doesn't matter. However, I play Horde on Sargeras. It's PvP and the percentage of Alliance on our server is 90%. I have seen Horde players unable to continue questing because there are groups of Alliance that simply pounce on whatever Horde are around. Not because it's a group of people who are intentionally griefing Horde zones, but because when one Alliance decides that he's going to jump on Horde for a little PvP fun, 4 other Alliance are around and more than happy to gang up to get a free Honor Kill.

I play a rogue so, thankfully, I'm usually able to sneak around getting things done "behind enemy lines". I couldn't begin to fathom trying to level up my mage in the same areas, though. They really didn't seem to take PvP and server balance into consideration when they developed the new content.

Capitano Segnaposto:

MrMixelPixel:
Uggghhh, this looks sooo fun.

Why... Did it have to be so fun looking. Oh well, take my money Blizzard, take all of it.

It is very fun. So much better than the last Expac (which IMHO was the worst to date).

This. I'm having a ball, I'm clearing up the raid(s) (still more to be released over the next few weeks) now and the fights are all great fun.

There are the usual downsides but nothing that's giving off horrible alarm bells like Cataclysm, it feels more like Wrath again. Which I think is the right avenue to take.

Anyway Mists > Cataclysm. If you feel like delving back into Azeroth after Cataclysm let you down it might be worth another go if you've got free time and money.

The music and scenery though... urgh. WoW has always had good scenery porn but dayum some of the areas are just beautiful. That shimmering waterfall in the Valley is one of my favorite THINGS.

Wonderful review - yeah, you're definitely missing the heart of the game if you rocket to max level and hop into heroics and raids. I've only gotten one of my three characters to 90, and I'm in no hurry.

Be aware, though, that most Valor gear and some of the more interesting daily zones are gated behind reputation via dailies. It's far from ideal - you'll spend almost two weeks doing dailies in the central zone before you unlock the guardian spirit and panda ninja factions.

Also note that if you've been following Blizz's marketing, you might be expecting the daily quest hubs to be just jaw-hit-floor awesome. They're not. They're almost painfully mediocre, especially in the central zone, where the amazing "dynamic" system will often give you nearly identical dailies for a solid week.

And while the diversity of daily hubs and the rewards for getting rep with the various factions are very cool, daily quests have simply not changed. If you didn't like them before, you'll hate them now, because there's a billion of them and they're basically essential to progression.

Previous comments about Alliance/Horde having the same quest experience are not exaggerated, either. They're like 90& identical. There's nothing like Vashj'ir where you have an entire zone dedicated to fighting for your faction. You have 1/3 of Jade Forest and 1/6 of Kun-Lai. That's it. Literally. All of it.

Ultimately it's a fun, progressive expansion, but, as always, throw marketing hype out the window. It's still WoW.

I know i'm just a killjoy but... mists of panderia, kind of racist?

Whispering Death:
I know i'm just a killjoy but... mists of panderia, kind of racist?

Wait, what?

I don't

understand...

OT:
Yeah, it looks like fun.

God damn it.

Whatever Blizzard. WHATEVER. I'LL GET IT LATER. I WILL
JERKS WITH YOUR FUN VIDEO GAMES AND JERKS.

Beware!, the pandas are coming!

I have to say that this xpac brings a lot of heart and soul to the game. Cataclysm followed a really strict guideline - do the linear zone quest chains, run heroics to gain rep, then do raids. This time around the quests are far more freeflowing. Moreover, the game is overflowing with tiny little things to surprise you. Lots of randomly spawning rare objects, lore points, and interesting monsters to fight.

Best example: WowInsider found an amazing hidden quest in the game recently. On certain days, you can access a terrace with a lore tablet that obscurely mentions a king waiting for the earth to lay before him and the sun to kneel. Nearby are a green and a red circle. Kneel in the red circle while someone else lays in the green, and you get to kill a mob that drops a quest-starting item. That's it - no other indication in the game this quest even exists. They put a lot of work into giving the game depth and hidden mystery again, which is very very impressive in an age where the game is fully datamined before it even is released.

Posting this as an outsider looking in, reading meticulously every change that they have made with the patches leading up to Panederia, but one of the things that I loved the most about World of Warcraft was its talent trees, and how they made every character class feel unique and special.

With Panderia, this feature seems all but removed. You just pick your role, and it assigns your talents for you; giving you access to abilities without much choice or speciality to speak of... with the exception of a few small choices like "increased run speed" every 15 levels.

Why would they do something like this? I mean, it's one of the biggest criticisms that World of Warcraft gets in the MMO Space: that being its extreme simplicity. Why would the developers say "Let's make it easier!" knowing this.

Or am I wrong?

Honest responses please. I could very well be mistaken, but this is how everything seems to read, and it's holding me back from getting Panderia.

Definitely enjoying it - This xpac doesn't feel as rushed as Cataclysm felt in terms of it's questing/experience curve (I'm loving that it takes time to make it through this expansion). I was surprised at the diversity and how interesting the boss mechanics were in the first two dungeons though.

It's definitely worth a look if you're interested, even if you're just doing it for the 85-90 questing experience.

Nocturnus:

Honest responses please. I could very well be mistaken, but this is how everything seems to read, and it's holding me back from getting Panderia.

To be honest the talent system feels a lot more free-form than it has since, I don't know, maybe TBC. Other than 1-4 talent points talent trees haven't been "customization" since Vanilla. You had the mandatory talents you needed to have to make the spec functional. Now those are all wrapped up into your "specialization." Which, frankly is nice, because it allows the developers to balance you more around your specialization (dps, tank, healer, Rdps) rather than your talent choices, and thereby giving you fun choices in the talents. Basically by giving you a known "specialization," with the dmg/hps/functionality/procs all wrapped up into it it's made it easier for things to be balanced (you don't have people theory-crafting, coming up with a broken spec, and having to wait for Blue to nerf it back into line...sure that might have been fun if you had that class, but it made things a nightmare to balance if you follow me).

Now you actually have a choice (sure it might be a smaller one, but at least it is one...before you didn't really have choices just a mandatory talent spec you had to copy & paste) - at least I have found that on my druid I can realistically spec into most 'talents' and be able to use them...that definitely hasn't been true for a long while (I had more-or-less the same talent spec since TBC as feral...that was lame...)

Here's the new talent calc if you want to muck around with it:
http://www.wowdb.com/talent-calculator

I absolutely love this expansion so far. The landscapes are amazing, and the music is top notch, as usual.

Also, there is just so much stuff to do at level 90.. I have a legion of other characters, all there sitting in the dust because I just have so much to do! No time for alts!

Love it! play it at your own risk of time vanishing mysteriously :)

Whispering Death:
I know i'm just a killjoy but... mists of panderia, kind of racist?

Absolutely. At least, most of the voice acting is. Almost every main villain sounds like everyone's impression of an angry Japanese man (including the occasional "L"/"R" switch-up).

I don't think that there's any real harm intended, but you can't deny that it's stereotypes a-plenty.

PVE is wonderful, loved the questing and all the stuff you can do. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming with how much there is to do. However PvP.... wow. I'm pvp gear(mix of honor and conquest) except a belt and weapon, and certain classes are just beyond OP at the moment. I'm still trying to figure out how to stop a BM hunter. Warlocks chaos bolt can hit you for over 200k, arm warriors are raping ppl at the moment, mages can spellsteal all day long.

Its kind of ruining my fun with the game knowing I'll have to reroll or stay in pve land.
maybe it gets better in full malevolent gear but so far its brutally unbalanced.

Everything I've heard about this says that it's the best expansion to date. God, I want to get it with my wife so bad. Now I just gotta find people from our old server to use Scroll of Resurrection on us because that free 80 is too tasty to pass up. XD

themechanic:
PVE is wonderful, loved the questing and all the stuff you can do. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming with how much there is to do. However PvP.... wow. I'm pvp gear(mix of honor and conquest) except a belt and weapon, and certain classes are just beyond OP at the moment. I'm still trying to figure out how to stop a BM hunter. Warlocks chaos bolt can hit you for over 200k, arm warriors are raping ppl at the moment, mages can spellsteal all day long.

Its kind of ruining my fun with the game knowing I'll have to reroll or stay in pve land.
maybe it gets better in full malevolent gear but so far its brutally unbalanced.

When I get MoP and resub, I'll use WoW for my PvE fix and Guild Wars 2 for my PvP fix. WoW has always been bad at PvP balance while GW2 has knocked it out of the park.

el_kabong:

Whispering Death:
I know i'm just a killjoy but... mists of panderia, kind of racist?

Absolutely. At least, most of the voice acting is. Almost every main villain sounds like everyone's impression of an angry Japanese man (including the occasional "L"/"R" switch-up).

I don't think that there's any real harm intended, but you can't deny that it's stereotypes a-plenty.

Yeah, that's kinda how it strikes me.

Over-the-top asian accents, faux confuscionist phrases, traditional garb, pandas, kung fu

If you had similar stereotypes for a "black" world or a "jewish" world i'm not so sure it wouldn't raise a few eyebrows but if you stereotype asians somehow that kinda flies under the radar.

I'm not asian and i don't play wow so i don't really have a dog in the fight but it just seemed a little off to me is all.

Pokemon: WoW Edition...?

So whose side are the Pandaran on? Or are they neutral? Can you play as them?

Okay. Looks kind of fun, I guess, but I'm not going to start playing MMOs again now of all times.

Skeleon:
Pokemon: WoW Edition...?

So whose side are the Pandaran on? Or are they neutral? Can you play as them?

Okay. Looks kind of fun, I guess, but I'm not going to start playing MMOs again now of all times.

The Panda's are playable, but they start neutral until level 10(?) when you get to/have to pick a faction.

I have to admit that when I first heard of Mists I kinda facedesked and asked what Blizzard was smoking. Now that it's actually out.. well. It really is the best expansion to date. It rekindled my love for WoW and now I find myself enjoying almost everything, hell, even the dailies are fun and they change every day, with the exception of the Golden Lotus which has more or less dailies in the same area, even if some of them change. The only horrid thing for me was levelling 1-85 on my monk and getting his proffessions up to 600. (Which included Leatherworking, the horror, the horror.) Looking forward to trying the raids, because the dungeons and heroics certainly don't disappoint.

All in all, it deserves it's max rating. Woooh.

Nocturnus:
Posting this as an outsider looking in, reading meticulously every change that they have made with the patches leading up to Panederia, but one of the things that I loved the most about World of Warcraft was its talent trees, and how they made every character class feel unique and special.

With Panderia, this feature seems all but removed. You just pick your role, and it assigns your talents for you; giving you access to abilities without much choice or speciality to speak of... with the exception of a few small choices like "increased run speed" every 15 levels.

Why would they do something like this? I mean, it's one of the biggest criticisms that World of Warcraft gets in the MMO Space: that being its extreme simplicity. Why would the developers say "Let's make it easier!" knowing this.

Or am I wrong?

Honest responses please. I could very well be mistaken, but this is how everything seems to read, and it's holding me back from getting Panderia.

This is the endless debate of "loads of choices that slightly matter" vs "a few choices that truly matter". I prefer the latter, while (as you clearly state) you prefer the former.

The current talent tree is one of the best Ive seen in games for years, where every choice totally changes your playing style:

As a rogue, your last talent is a choice between getting a ranged attack that is quick and cheap, getting so that you can switch targets and keep your "combo points", or getting 10 combo points instead of 5. Doesnt look that special, but by choosing the first, you get a playstyle where you run in and spend all cooldowns before running away and keeping range, all while spamming ranged attacks untill you get your CDs back and can go again. The second choice gives you the ability to effectively jump between targets without any dmg loss, making it easy in pvp to suddenly switch targets. The third and last gives you the chance to suddenly burst much harder than before, at the cost of greater buildup time.

This was one talent choice. You get 6.

When you got deep into endgame in TBC, WotLK and ESPECIALLY Cata, you saw that it was only one or two specs that worked per class, with max 2-3 talents that were optional. That is why I prefer MoP's system over 1000 choices where it all boils down to "dmg vs defense" or "more dmg vs less dmg".

Also, a quick rundown for "too few choices": 6 choices with 3 talents to between, gives 729 diffent combinations per class. That takes time to test out!

So to sum up: Youre not totally wrong, but I dissagree with you on every point :D

Let's just be honest here you all bought it because it's the next Pokemon game.

And I love the fact each and every WoW expansion is accompanied by two groups claiming "best/worst expansion to date", but they all still buy and grind it till the next one comes.

I have two problems with MoP. First, there are no massive epic "wow" moments or zones during leveling. It's all pretty and well presented, but no places that just leave you with your mouth open (like the first time entering Dragonblight in Wrath). It all feels a little too familiar. Second, holy shit, it is unexpectedly hardcore. Now, that's not all bad. The "good" kind of hardcore, is that all the 25 man bosses I've done so far in the first raid, are very well thought out and have a surprising amount of tactics for an entry level raid of a new expansion, and will no doubt be even harder on heroic mode. The "bad" part, the multitude of daily quests that you pretty much need to do every single day if you want your professions to mean anything or to get any valor loot. So, if you want to raid in this game semi-seriously, you need to play daily, and several hours. I'd say 3 or 4 minimum. Add to those the raid times, and you've got a pretty heavy schedule. Of course, you can always just do LFR and talk to noone, but you're better off not playing if you're gonna do that. So... it's silly, it's pretty, it's challenging, it's at times exhausting.

"Slow down and savor the expansion."

Maybe if the game didn't cost $15 a month, I'd be inclined to agree. However, "it'll still be there when you get back" is relatively little reassurance when I'm still paying for the game regardless of how often I play it. Plus, as a potential new customer to the series, the buy-in costs to get MoP and everything that came before it are too high for my tastes. Sorry, it may be the "best expansion to date" (which people keep saying about every new expansion at first, and then after time has passed everyone talks about how awful the last expansion was), but it costs more than GW2, a game which I know won't be pulling money out of my wallet when I'm not playing it. More power to you if you're cool with paying for a game you're not playing, but personally, if I were playing a subscription game, I'd be more inclined to rush than to follow your advice and "slow down" since the slower I go, the more money it's costing me before I've even reached endgame.

Whispering Death:
I know i'm just a killjoy but... mists of panderia, kind of racist?

I know, right! It portrays every race but Pandaren as expansionist douchebags , wtf!

Nocturnus:
Posting this as an outsider looking in, reading meticulously every change that they have made with the patches leading up to Panederia, but one of the things that I loved the most about World of Warcraft was its talent trees, and how they made every character class feel unique and special.

With Panderia, this feature seems all but removed. You just pick your role, and it assigns your talents for you; giving you access to abilities without much choice or speciality to speak of... with the exception of a few small choices like "increased run speed" every 15 levels.

Why would they do something like this? I mean, it's one of the biggest criticisms that World of Warcraft gets in the MMO Space: that being its extreme simplicity. Why would the developers say "Let's make it easier!" knowing this.

Or am I wrong?

Honest responses please. I could very well be mistaken, but this is how everything seems to read, and it's holding me back from getting Panderia.

Because it didn't actually make anyone feel unique or special.

Okay, let's take a look at the previous arcane mage talent tree as an example. Now, you would spend 31 talent points here, and it sounds on the surface that you're making 31 decisions.

The reality was you are not.

Okay, let's see, this is a haste buff, gotta grab that... this is the talent that makes arcane missiles fire off two extra missiles, that's mandatory... and that talent gives flat damage boost for doing what I always do...

...what ended up happening is after buying the talents you needed to do your job of pewpewing things, you ended up with 4 points left, to be divided amongst three talents with two points each.

In other words, your '31 decisions' is actually only one: Which of the three talents do you not take.

That's not choice, that's the illusion of choice.

Now look at what happens instead.

That missiles talent? You get it automaticly. Who cares, you were gonna take it instead. That damage buff? Already in your abilities.

INSTEAD:

You can choose 6 talents out of 6 tiers, and each talent is different to each other. So let's look at one of those 'small choices', this time from the monk class's level 15 tier.

You can either:
Roll an extra time and have it come up faster
Get a sprint after rolling
Have a buff that increases someone's run speed

That's not actually a small choice. What if you're a tank who likes to chain pull, do you like having that speed boost after you roll so you can get into Keg Smash range faster? Are you more of a support character, and like to give speed boosts to someone so they can escape Atramedes' fire breath from above? Do you just really like rolling around and find doing so more often to be fun?

These are not small choices by any stretch. The mage bomb talent tier and the level 90 evocation tier define your playstyle.

Glyphs offer further customization and really allow you to define who and how you want to play---and all because they got rid of the idea of having 31 meaningless choices, and replacing it with 9 meaningful ones (and 3 minor glyphs for the lulz)

I feel the new lorewalkers faction deserves a mention here, as I quite enjoyed flying around finding and reading the different scrolls, and Lorewalker Chos storytelling after completing a story was pretty entertaining.

I don't have time to go into detail regarding all the things I like and dislike and why, I will however say that with the daily quest cap removed and the difficulty on normal content what it is, the game is now more casual friendly than ever before. Then I'd quickly like to add.

New talent system is good, raid content looks good, scenarios are useless for gearing and will therefore be skipped by most serious players, hc's are mind-numbingly easy, reputation constraints on justice point gear makes the points useless for a lot of players, I hate farming while farming, whoever came up with the name for the Mantid race should be fired for making the pronunciation exactly the same as "man tit".

ahh I feel better now.

I am absolutely loving the new expansion, glad that there are some critics who don't automatically write this expansion off before they even begin the review. The questing is easily the best Blizzard has ever done, the biggest improvement for me from Cataclysm is the quests are more broken up with choices on which quest hubs to do and the focus on lore throughout makes leveling in Pandaria way more interesting and immersive then past expansions.

CriticKitten:
"Slow down and savor the expansion."

Maybe if the game didn't cost $15 a month, I'd be inclined to agree. However, "it'll still be there when you get back" is relatively little reassurance when I'm still paying for the game regardless of how often I play it. Plus, as a potential new customer to the series, the buy-in costs to get MoP and everything that came before it are too high for my tastes. Sorry, it may be the "best expansion to date" (which people keep saying about every new expansion at first, and then after time has passed everyone talks about how awful the last expansion was), but it costs more than GW2, a game which I know won't be pulling money out of my wallet when I'm not playing it. More power to you if you're cool with paying for a game you're not playing, but personally, if I were playing a subscription game, I'd be more inclined to rush than to follow your advice and "slow down" since the slower I go, the more money it's costing me before I've even reached endgame.

They constantly have sales where you can buy all the previous games and MoP itself for the price of a single new game. It isn't expensive at all.

Carnagath:
I have two problems with MoP. First, there are no massive epic "wow" moments or zones during leveling. It's all pretty and well presented, but no places that just leave you with your mouth open (like the first time entering Dragonblight in Wrath). It all feels a little too familiar. Second, holy shit, it is unexpectedly hardcore. Now, that's not all bad. The "good" kind of hardcore, is that all the 25 man bosses I've done so far in the first raid, are very well thought out and have a surprising amount of tactics for an entry level raid of a new expansion, and will no doubt be even harder on heroic mode. The "bad" part, the multitude of daily quests that you pretty much need to do every single day if you want your professions to mean anything or to get any valor loot. So, if you want to raid in this game semi-seriously, you need to play daily, and several hours. I'd say 3 or 4 minimum. Add to those the raid times, and you've got a pretty heavy schedule. Of course, you can always just do LFR and talk to noone, but you're better off not playing if you're gonna do that. So... it's silly, it's pretty, it's challenging, it's at times exhausting.

Hm? What are you on about?

I have played and completed all available (Normal) raid boss encounters and I have not touched a single daily? I am also in a "Semi-Serious Progression Guild". You can earn Valour in many other ways other than Dailies (and honestly, it doesn't matter much if you know what your doing or how you play your class). Sure I go oom every now and again, but I just pop my cooldowns, Mana goes back to full and I continue on.

Nocturnus:
Posting this as an outsider looking in, reading meticulously every change that they have made with the patches leading up to Panederia, but one of the things that I loved the most about World of Warcraft was its talent trees, and how they made every character class feel unique and special.

With Panderia, this feature seems all but removed. You just pick your role, and it assigns your talents for you; giving you access to abilities without much choice or speciality to speak of... with the exception of a few small choices like "increased run speed" every 15 levels.

Why would they do something like this? I mean, it's one of the biggest criticisms that World of Warcraft gets in the MMO Space: that being its extreme simplicity. Why would the developers say "Let's make it easier!" knowing this.

Because that makes money. Blizzard realized long ago that the biggest market isn't the gamers who are looking for a challenge.

I think Blizzard screwed up the marketing for this one a bit. Too much focus on the Padaren's, they should have done more about setting and the beauty etc. They had a chance to create the idea that sometimes things don't have to get more epic and more serious, but there's a chance to sit back and create something more subtle and gentle, with appropriate touches of epic.

I think people could have bitten into that idea, instead we've got the idea of 'lol Kung-Fu Panda' which doesn't do the expansion justice.

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