Usually the announcement of an expansion for World of Warcraft is a huge event, and the announcement for Mists of Pandaria was no different. It was huge. However, it was maybe not big in the way that Blizzard initially planned it.
With an overall look like this, why not Pandaria, it looks awesome!
You see, ever since the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft was announced there has been quite a lot of backlash around the net about it. Many players are saying things like they feel cheated, or feel that the game has sold out, and it is no longer their game as it is becoming too much of a joke.
I am pretty sure you have all seen many comments like this around the net since the announcement, just as I have. One such comment came this last week that caught my eye, it was posted on the Official WoW forums and asked the simple question: "Why MoP? "
The basic argument is that World of Warcraft spawned from Warcraft which was a game with a mature topic. It was all about blood and gore and conquest, or at least in Zubupallys opinion.
You can find the original post here: Why MoP?
I have played all the Warcraft games as they were released and remember them as much more of a RTS game with a sense of humour about itself. I mean honestly Warcraft pretty much defined the RTS genre for most players and while it was about collecting resources and eventually killing your opponent there was a lot of humour in it.
Some of the humour I remember the peons yelling quit poking me after you clicked on one too many times in a row. There was also the sound the baby seals made as you bashed them on the head (ooourk!) which being from Canada and having to listen to the animal rights activists complaining on the news all the time about the seal hunts was just hilarious. The friends that I played it with went out of our way to club the little buggers and being young teens had to imitate the sound as we did it. There were just so many things in the game that made players laugh that for me at least to say its roots are in blood and gore is a huge injustice to the game. In fact to this day years later a friend or I can still make that (ooourk!) sound and we all think back to Warcraft and seals and laugh historically. Maybe you just had to be there
Zarhym from Blizzard offered up a response that can be found here: Why MoP? - Blizzard's Response
To summarize the important parts of what Zarhym says in his response to the question is that Mists of Pandaria is that Its not all Unicorns and Butterflies. He also stats that a lot of what we have seen is the early phases of Pandaria because that is what was ready. However he makes it every clear that there are dark secrets lurking and that the pristine nature of Pandaria will not survive long once the Alliance and Horde roll in.
He also makes it clear that they need to explore new areas and introduce new characters and villains so that they can continue generating new content. After all most of what we have seen in WoW has been based on old Warcraft content and they are quickly running out of that.
Lastly he stated that the very specifically focused on a lighter side since everything had been doom and gloom with Cataclysm, but reminds us that it was made very clear that this expansion will be about Horde vs. Alliance more than ever.
Messiahs thoughts about the whole Why Mists of Pandaria? argument
I have several thoughts about the whole Why MoP? question. Starting with a really quirky one, why not?
For some reason players have gotten it into their heads that walking, talking, fighting, Pandas are just silly and cartoony. Ok, sure there is the whole Kung Fu Panda vibe going on, but that is just one take on a humanoid panda. For an extreme example look how cool some vampires in movies are for instance the classic Bela Lugosi Dracula for a classic vampire, or the Blade or Underworld series for dark style vampires, and then the ridiculous glitter in the sun vampires from the so ludicrous that I can not even name it series of books and movies. All of them are based on the same basic idea, yet some are cool, and some are horrific.
While things look idealic we are told to not expect unicorns and butterflies
I also dont really have a problem with Pandas, as really what is all that different than a Tauren? I have said it before on the site, and it still applies, for some reason players had no issue with cows (Tauren) riding dinosaurs in WoW. That never upset their sensibilities but for some reason pandas do? Huh? Am I the only one that doesnt get why they are different? Players know this is a game right? As long as the Pandaren come in wearing armour, wielding weapons, and kicking ass, whats so wrong with them. Know if they brought them into the game and they were all about rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns, then I might have an issue with that. But a beer swilling, staff wielding, kung fu fighting, drunken master Pandaren? Sign me up!
Next up the World of Warcraft has to expand to survive, we have gone to another dimension already, we have visited elemental plains, and explored pretty much all of the known landmass in the game. Opening up new continent for us to explore is the obvious choice. Personally I thought the star fairing Draenei were a stretch since a space fairing race in a fantasy game is not the normal.
Putting in a whole continent full of races that are based on an Asian background just seems smart to me. After all a ton of Blizzards fan base is Asian, and even those that are not tend to familiar with more Asian culture than most North Americans. I say this because I find that more of us that that play video games also tend to be interested and watch anime and Asian subtitled movies, maybe just my experience, but that is what I have seen.
A whole new area to explore based on brand new races and all having their own history and beliefs makes for interesting story telling opportunities. If it wasnt Pandaria then where would it be? I know many players wanted to see the Emerald Dream next but that seems a bit much for me this soon right after dealing with so much elemental based storylines in Cataclysm. I mean we spent a lot of time either helping the Druids in Hyjal or helping Thrall and the dragon aspects that dealing with the Emerald Dream at this time might just make it blend together to much with the expansion we just completed.
Lastly, I know that I and everyone else out there loves to complain about Blizzards missteps all the time. While they do make mistakes, almost none of them have been surrounding storyline. There is a reason we all keep playing Blizzard games, they get us involved and tell a compelling story. They make us care about what is going on in the game and the world it represents more than almost any other gaming company, I can think of only a very few companies that tell stories as well. This means that even if some of you have reservations about the content, or about the changes that may be coming to the game, one thing I dont believe you should worry about is that the story line with rock. I am almost convinced they could make the expansion about unicorns and butterflies and it would still be interesting. Ok, not totally convinced on that one, but you get the point.
Why don't you chime in with your take on why or why not Mists of Pandaria should be the next expansion and post your comment below. Not that you really have a choice on it, since it will be the next expansion, but hey you can still have a say.