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Blizzard Announces Next World of Warcraft Expansion—Mists of Pandaria

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Posted on October 21, 2011 AT 02:03pm

THE BUZZ: Blizzard today officially announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft, and we can bear-ly contain our excitement.

On internet message boards and among players of the game, one of the longest-rumored updates to WoW is the addition of the Pandaren race. Are they coming? Would Blizzard add them? Has Blizzard avoided including the Pandaren because of problems it would cause in China? Are they already in the game, hidden somewhere? These humanoid panda have served as one of the greatest urban legends and “a friend of a friend has seen them in the game” stories for years now, but with today’s announcement, all of that fun speculation will come to an end.

Yes, today Blizzard has shown off the first details of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, the next expansion for their much-beloved MMORPG. Here’s a rundown of what will be in the expansion.

  • Pandaren: A new race from the mystical lands of Pandaria that both Horde and Alliance players will be able to choose.
  • Pandaria: A new zone for high-level characters that has an exotic, Eastern feel to it.
  • Level Cap Increase: Players will now be able to raise their characters to level 90.
  • Monk: A new character class based around the martial arts. Monks will main cloth and leather armor; fight with fist weapons, one-handed axes, one-handed maces, one-handed swords, polearms, and staves; and be an available class for the following races: Pandaren, Draenei, Dwarf, Gnome, Human, night Elf, Blood Elf, Orc, Tauren, Troll, and Forsaken.
  • Challenge Modes: A new option for players where you try to complete a dungeon as quickly as possible. The faster your success, the greater the rewards you’re receive.
  • Pet Battle System: For years you’ve collected pets as vanity items to show off with your character. Now, you’ll be able to pit your pets against those of your friends or other players in the game. As well, you’ll now be able to encounter and capture new pets out in the wild.
  • Scenarios: Join forces with your fellow heroes and embark on epic Scenarios that will challenge you like never before
  • Talent Calculator: Customize your character with the new and improved Talent System

 

EGM’s TAKE: As somebody who hasn’t played World of Warcraft in a while—I haven’t even touched the last expansions, Cataclysm, yet—there’s not much here that’ll cause me to need to join the game again anytime soon. Hopefully for long-time players, however, it’ll provide enough new content and experiences to keep fueling their interest in the game. (A game that, let’s be honest, is starting to grow a little long in the tooth by this point.)

Not being a huge fan of Warcraft lore, I don’t really have feelings for the Pandaren either way. I am however curious how they’ll work out being available to both factions. That was how I initially thought Goblins might be introduced as playable characters, but then of course they became a Horde-only race. How will it be explained that a race like the Pandaren would fight amongst themselves?

Oh, and the pet battles are certainly an… interesting addition. Not to say that the idea is intended to mimic a certain other game out there whose name escapes me at the moment, mind you.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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