Updated Thu, Aug 02, 2012 by Mem
With an official release date in site, fans of World of Warcraft are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest expansion; Mists of Pandaria. Not so long ago, the same tingling anticipation was being focused on Cataclysm. Sadly, Cataclysm was rejected by many players and even labeled as one of the worst expansions to date. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Cataclysm was a failure, however, I do believe that there are many lessons to be learned by Blizzard.
Mists of Pandaria is the shining ray of hope that these lessons have been learned and applied into the world we hold so dear. I firmly believe, based on what I have seen in the beta that, always the pragmatist, Blizzard has taken these lessons to heart and Mists of Pandaria will take the game to new heights. Thinking I’m just a delusional dreamer? Here are five reasons to back up my ideals:
Remember Ragnaros as he was in Molten Core? How about Illidan or even Arthas? These evil doers, along with the nefarious Deathwing, are the forces that have driven the flow of the game since the beginning of World of Warcraft. Thanks to this, Alliance and Horde have been forced to band together to defeat these overwhelming obstacles for the greater good. However, Mists of Pandaria will change everything.
In this newest expansion there is no big bad guy lurking in the shadows. Alliance and Horde are left with nothing to do but fight amongst themselves. While I rather enjoy taking on a big baddie, the intrigue and open warfare of this newest expansion promises potential thrills that will take the game to place that it has never been and hopefully will help to rekindle the fires of interest in players everywhere. It is time that we the players actually engaged in some Warcraft.
Raiding is be all and end all for most of the World of Warcraft populace, myself included. There is nothing quite like finally downing a boss encounter after spending days or even weeks working on it. Each piece of loot is a small trophy of your success. In Cataclysm, it took some time and more than a little effort to obtain tier 11. So when tier 12 was introduced raiders everywhere once again gritted their teeth and prepared once again for the thrilling climb.
However, the climb was not to be. Instead we witnessed nerf after nerf, finally allowing even PUG raids to form and easily take on Cataclysm’s dungeons. Similar wholesale nerfs were applied to tier 12 well before tier 13 came out and the content quickly became boring for raiders, and even irrelevant well before its time. With the Looking for Raid feature in place, allowing players to experience content they may not have been able to before, these nerfs were totally unnecessary.
Thankfully, in Mists of Pandaria Blizzard seems to have seen the error of their ways and it seems no more content will die an early death because of nerfs. Those that are more proficient will have raid content that is tuned to their ability, without fearing incessant nerfs, while Looking for Raid will allow those who wish it to see end game content as well. These ideas are of course are just promises made by Blizzard, however, I truly believe that there is reason to be hopeful for raiders in Mists of Pandaria.
Let’s face it, besides Thrall, most of the faction leaders in World of Warcraft have been pushed way into the back of the closet and left to collect dust. Sure we know they are there, but they don’t really do anything to draw our interest. The chance for the leaders to come bravely forward was at its height in Cataclysm as Deathwing ravaged the land.
Despite this, the only action we were allowed to see was through the eyes of Thrall, who had a very exciting place in the story. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Thrall action, but I want to see some other notable characters pushed into the limelight for once. Mists of Pandaria has the potential to do just that. With no arch-villain in sight, the Alliance and Horde will be fighting each other and as the tides of war roll in, hopefully we will see those often overlooked characters come to life. Mists of Pandaria is the perfect time for notable players like Jaina Proudmore, and King Varian to be pushed into action for the universal enjoyment of us all. We already know that surly, yet strangely silent Garrosh will play a major part in this expansion, making it likely that other characters typically regulated to the wings will be thrust onto center stage.
Heroics in Cataclysm were pretty much a requirement to get geared enough for any player to raid. Meant to slow down gear progression, while still providing a challenge, Blizzard hoped players would take the time to master these dungeons. However, in the long run, many players found themselves at a perpetual brick wall, unable to complete the heroics.
In order to appease players heroics were made easier and players were able to get the gear, but with a cost. Nerfed heroics became a grind, monotonous and almost laughably easy. Blizzard saw this and has attempted to correct the problem in Mists of Pandaria. While dungeons will be able to be completed by any competent group, those players looking for more of a thrill will find their prayers answered with Challenge Modes.
Challenge Modes will allow players to take on heroics in a whole new light. Like Stratholme, taking on a dungeon in Challenge Mode will pit your group against an unforgiving timer. Those groups that can complete the challenge and beat the timer will get rewards as well as some added swagger. With Challenge Modes in place players can constantly challenge and recalling themselves to beat their best time and rise to greater excellence in game, dungeons likely will never be boring again.
After defeating the heavily nerfed raids, and doing farming more herbs than I can ever count, I found myself ….well…bored. When it came to Cataclysm there wasn’t much to do other than raid, PvP, or farm. Not that these aren’t interesting, but after awhile most players find themselves wishing for just a little bit more. Mists of Pnadaria promises to bring those wishes to fulfillment. In fact, we may even find ourselves hard pressed to complete all we want to in the game. Pet Battles, Scenarios, Challenge Modes, as well as a potential farm to run will hopefully provide players with more than enough to do and no time for boredom at all.
While many of the above may not actually pan out, I hold out hope that Mists of Pandaria will be an expansion pack to be remembered. In what ways do you think that Mists of Pandaria will top Cataclysm? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!