With hate running rampant for the newest WoW expansion, can a simple trip into the beta help change the minds of even the worst detractors?

The Pandaren, cute and fuzzy
pandas destined to become the next playable race in World of Warcraft,
and hated more than Deathwing himself. Or at least that is the
impression one would get from reading various forums. The Pandaren have
been part of WoW since time untold. Popping up here and there
throughout the game, players have mostly expressed fond feelings for
this cute and cuddly, yet mysterious race of panda people. That is,
until the Pandren were announced as the new playable race.
That’s when the panda poo really hit the fan. However, with
more and more of these players jumping in and experiencing the beta for
themselves, could these negative opinions change?

Hatred of the Pandaren

I, for one, was never totally
against the idea of the Pandaren. I had always enjoyed the few that
graced us with their presence as we leveled up. The thought of getting
out there and being able to explore their world was more than a little
intriguing to me and while I did think “Kung Fu
Panda” more than once, I was willing to give the Mists of
Pandaria expansion pack a fighting chance. However, based on the forum
chatter, I was amongst the minority in this ideology.

When Mists of Pandaria was
announced players came out in troves, denouncing Mists of Pandaria, the
Pandaren race, and Blizzard itself. The vehemence of this disapproval
stunned me more than a little. Especially considering the positive
reactions the Pandaren had usually garnered from players. However, upon
thinking it over, I realized that Mists of Pandaria, unlike even
Cataclysm, was really tossing us into the unknown.

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While Pandaren’s have
popped up in WoW’s vast lore bank from time to time, they
have been thus far a miniscule blip on the map compared to say;
Kil‘jaden. Hardly mentioned in books, and only making a small
appearance in one of the Warcraft games, the Pandaren are not something
players have had a chance to get comfortable with. Take for example the
introduction of the Death Knight; a new class, that was met with little
resistance, because Death Knights were not new to WoW lore, nor to

With Mists of Pandaria we find
ourselves face with a new race, a new class, and even a whole new world
that no one has really heard much about before, except in vague
references. This is understandably a rather big bomb to be dropping on
unsuspecting players who were perhaps expecting something a little more
predictable; like a showdown with Queen Azshara perhaps?

The strange and unusual has
always brought ire from all around, and Mists of Pandaria is no
exception. It was difficult to imagine the world of Pandaria and the
Padaren civilization as a whole because they were something that we had
never seen before. In many player’s imaginations, Mists of
Pandaria would be nothing more than a child’s cartoon. Sure,
the Pandaren sound a tiny bit ridiculous when you talk about them, but
no more so than giant talking cows, blue space goats, or zombies.

Giving Pandaria a Chance

As I mentioned previously, I
was not totally sold on the idea of Pandaria either. That was until, I
got my beta invite. From the moment I entered the world with my freshly
made Monk I was in gamer love. Pandaria is a vibrant, visually pleasing
world of wonder unlike anything we have ever seen before in the game.
My love of this newest expansion thanks to the beta is mirrored on
blogs and forums across the internets.

In lieu of this I have come to
one conclusion; that in order to change the mind of the
naysayer’s out there, and turn them into panda loving crazies
like myself, they must experience Mists of Pandaria for themselves.
Pictures and second hand accounts simply won’t do; only first
hand experience can really make the world of Pandaria come to life. As
the old saying goes; seeing is believing and it certainly holds true in
Mists of Pandaria.

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As beta invites pour out, more
and more players will have the same chance I did; to explore Pandaria
for themselves. Hopefully this chance will help to redirect the hatred
for the Pandaren into a love for the game and the brand new world
created for us to explore. While the reports thus far look promising, I
am still not sure if the changing opinions of the beta are the norm, or
if perhaps the positive reviews are just outweighing the negative. We
will just have to wait and see.

How did you feel when Mists of
Pandaria was initially announced? Has your opinion of Pandaria and
ultimately the Pandaren changed since then? Has the beta played a
critical role in the changing of your opinion? Share your thoughts with
us in the comments section below!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.