As I had suggested yesterday, I was going to take some time to read up on Mists of Pandaria to try and get a better feel for what the World of Warcraft expansion would be bringing down the pipeline. I gave my trailer reaction yesterday and I can comment today with more knowledge in the barrel, so to speak.
First off is the Pandaren themselves. Having a race that is neutral for ten levels and then makes you choose Horde or Alliance is a nice touch. It’s unique, and I think it will work out well for the most part. How it effects PvP is a question I would love to ask. I suppose only the “evil” Pandas will be targetable.
The Monk class, as I said, is a class that makes sense. We’ve faced them in the Scarlet Monastery and seen Monk-like classes elsewhere in the game. That the class does not have an auto-attack is as unique as the Pandaren themselves are. They do have what sounds like a combo-like attack system. While I’m not sure about Street Fighter gameplay in WoW, I approve in concept and it will be interesting to see if this becomes a standard class or if you can only roll one if you buy the expansion (like a Death Knight requires WotLK).
When I read about the pet combat system, quite frankly the last thing I thought of was non-combat pets. The short of it is Blizzard is turning your pets into Pokemon. The crazy part is that you can build up their awesomeness in level and skill points and then sell them on the auction house. I’ll elaborate more on this in a future Monday Money Making column but the day the expansion hits the pet portion of the auction house is going to go crazy. But at least now the pets will apparently be account bound. So all your toons will have access to the same pets you’ve acquired and levelled…so long as someone has the pet.
Speaking of account bound, raid achievements are apparently going to be account bound as well. So, your fresh level capped Death Knight can get into raids that you’ve cleared with your Mage without people questioning whether you’ve been there. That’s a feature I definitely approve of.
Weapons. For starters, Hunter folk are losing their melee weapons. The good news to go with that is that there will no longer be a range minimum on your crossbow/bow/gun. All a Hunter will have is their range weapon. This is a feature the class should have had from the get go (and I’ve actually got a Dwarf Hunter I play that way anyway). To tie-in with that, the other classes are losing their ranged weapons, or relic slots. Oh, and Wands are becoming Main Hand. Honestly not sure what I think about that. Hopefully caster stats boost their effectiveness.
PvE scenarios. The example they gave was basically a reminder of the old days of Alterac Valley, where it was more than just zerg everything. You’ll instance with a few other players (but not require healer/tank/dps) and have goals to accomplish. In the one described, you’d take out a certain number of enemy soldiers before moving on to some of their artillery and then eventually having to take down the general himself.
PvP specific gear will be no more. Resilience will be an innate ability and will increase as your character levels. I have mixed opinions on this. I really liked the idea that PvP folk had their own armor sets and that the environment required a different set of stats, but at the same time this royally nerfs the people who would acquire PvP gear just to meet a raid’s ilevel requirement and then be utterly useless in said raid.
Challenge Mode Dungeons is something people are going to like, or hate. I’m in the latter because as I have stated before I am not keen on this “run through everything as fast as we can” way of combat. The unique gear skins that sound like they are the reward for succeeding in certain time frames is a solid idea, but likely won’t be enough for me to want to do it. Time may change that once I see the actual mechanic, as sometimes I can’t get the concept past my brain.
There’s more than what I’ve mentioned here and it will be interesting to see what comes of the opening news for the expansion. But what I think will be the biggest impact on players, is talents. How can I put this simply…ah, yes. The trees are gone. That’s the plain and simple of it. Under Mists, characters will gain a new talent every 15 levels, for a total of six. Each level you’ll pick from three possible talents. For example, the first one for Paladins is Speed of Light, Long Arm of the Law, and Pursuit of Justice. Not sure what each one does, but again you’ll pick one and continue doing so every 15 levels. This is…I will really need to see this “in effect” to have an accurate opinion but I’m really not sure initially.
If I could sum up reaction on the internet, it seems to be a great deal of “is it April 1st or something? No, really, is it?” I’m not sure if I fall into that category entirely, but I am somewhat underwhelmed and dumbfounded at the same time. Based on everything I’ve seen and read, Mists may or may not be the end for me. There are some things I like (Hunter changes, Monk class, more account-wide variables), there are a few things that don’t impact me (Pandaren, Poke-WoW), but the biggest concern I have is the gameplay. The changes they’re talking about are intriguing but concerning as well. As it stands I probably won’t buy the expansion. That’s still my thoughts after getting more info than the trailer. But my other thoughts are more concerns about some of the changes I’ve outlined. The talents would be the biggest one, and it might not be concerns as much as a fear of the unknown. I’ll most certainly give things a thorough chance when the time comes and I’ll do so with an open mind, but after reviewing all the news from yesterday I do think this will be a turning point for World of Warcraft one way or another for me, and many other players too.