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Pandaria is a visually stunning zone, full of Asian-inspired architecture and flora. The zones are bright and full of life, and even in the places where the Sha begin to encroach, the effects are outstanding. There are plenty of “scarred” areas of the land where black and white wisps of ghost-like energy peel up from the ground, leaving a glowing scar below it. As far as the character models go, the detail put into the Pandaren is impressive and many folks can’t wait for the older models to get the visual overhaul they desperately need.
Mists of Pandaria has a tremendous soundtrack that accompanies you along your way questing or raiding or dungeoning or even engaging in Pet Battles. The music is, once again, Asian-inspired to fit the obvious theme of the game, but covers the broad scope of World of Warcraft elegantly. Voiceovers, sound effects, and other miscellaneous sounds all throughout the game are ideally placed and mesh well with the rest of the world. There’s little to nothing that sounds out of place.
I can safely say that Mists of Pandaria literally offers players of any ilk something to do. Whether you want to quest and explore new zones, create new classes, new races, tackle dungeons (even competitively), explore new Scenario content, unlock new gear, participate in new Battlegrounds, battle your non-combat pets, farm crops, do daily quests… The list goes on. You will, absolutely, find something fun to do in Mists of Pandaria.
It goes without saying that replay is at the heart of an MMO and Mists of Pandaria does everything it can to bring you back for more. Even after you hit max level, the volume of repeatable daily quests, dungeons, challenge modes, scenarios, and more are all there to provide you with something to do at max level, an area that fell very short in the previous expansion. Of course, all of the aforementioned options in the previous paragraph will provide you with other things you can do to return more and more to Pandaria.
The core of the game hasn’t changed too much. Some things, such as the talent system and some abilities, were all altered with the most recent major content patch. Beyond that, the way you play the game remains the same and Blizzard has definitely done what they could to mix in a few unique quests and experiences along the way. The brand new aforementioned elements to the game are wholly unique, but you won’t really deviate too far from the norm.
When it comes down to it, Mists of Pandaria has had one of the smoothest and well-designed launches of a WoW expansion I’ve seen in almost 8 years of play. Server stability, latency, quest item and creature spawns, and every other element that goes into a successful launch was done about as well as it can be this time around. While the first quest is definitely a bad choice as a bottleneck for a launch-day surge of new players, overall it just delivers to a T and should be a tremendous “Welcome Back” to past players or even players who may have been disenfranchised by the Cataclysm experience.