Tag Archives: mists of pandaria

GKick Review: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

It’s been two years since Blizzard announced their previous expansion for World of Warcraft, Cataclysm. The expansion that was eagerly anticipated and highly regarded at the start gradually became one of the most slow-paced and, to many, disappointing expansions ever released. To say that WoW players are approaching Mists of Pandaria with apprehension is an understatement. However, after exploring the land of Pandaria and all of the content currently at my disposal, I can safely say that Mists of Pandaria is off to a far better start.

Mists of Pandaria is the 4th expansion for the World of Warcraft series and invites max level players to tackle a brand new continent of challenges known as “Pandaria”. The expansion also introduces the land’s local species and new playable race, the Pandaren, a species of Asian-inspired humanoid Pandas who serve not only as the majority of NPCs throughout the world but are also playable for both Alliance and Horde, the first time such an option has ever been allowed or introduced.

In addition, players can now choose a new class, the first since Death Knights in Wrath of the Lich King and the first new class to begin at level 1 since the game’s launch in 2004, the Monk. Monks are a hybrid class with the versatility to specialize in melee damage, tanking or healing. All this and features such as Pet Battles, farming, Challenge Mode dungeons, Scenarios, new dungeons and raids and much, much more. These features give players from 1 to 90 a plethora of content to explore and compete in, making Mists of Pandaria one of the most versatile launches in World of Warcraft history.

When I first dove into the new expansion, it was midnight Pacific, the instant the servers went live for the North American realms. At that moment, me and several thousand of my closest friends all tried to turn in the first quest and begin our journey to Pandaria. Things were off to a rough start as the initial quest, which puts you in an on-rails style shooter behind the wheel of a gyrocopter, was clearly shown to have weaknesses as a launch night bottleneck. The quest, which requires you to use the rockets on your copter to kill Horde, destroy machinery and sink two warships was plagued by slow respawns of key destroyable targets and hundreds of players attempting to do those quests at the same time. Even a built-in queue system couldn’t help and it took some players upwards of several hours to complete just this first – and only – quest.

However, once we were past the first quest, I could safely say that I was – and have been – impressed by the flow, quest design, rewards and more of Pandaria. Climbing my way to 90 has been fun and the new continent and race has provided an incredible amount of flavor and color to a world that has needed something beyond “scary dragons and fire” for a few years. Quests are typical fare for WoW – go here, kill X amount of this, find this, discover this, and so on. But the rewards system has been overhauled to a method very similar to modern MMOs, where instead of offering the same variety of gear to every player, the rewards are tied in specifically to your active specialization. While this does make off-spec gearing a bit challenging at lower levels, it’s nice to always get a decent reward – or at least a functional reward – from a quest.

One of my favorite elements of the reward system has been the collection of fun, flavor items. I’ve already earned a handful of items that do playful little things such as paint other players orange or spawn turnip punching bags, rewards that may take up a bit of bank space but still provide something more interesting than a helm or cloak or bracer that I can’t even use. Beyond that, the functional rewards have been great and versatile enough to help build my stats in a specific way.

Blizzard tried something a little different by directing every player into one quest hub at level 85 and only splitting them apart in the next zone, where players can choose from one of two hubs (or do both, if they desire). It seemed to me that, even with the massive amount of players, the only real hiccup was with the starting quest. Most of the other quests were easily manageable due to dynamic respawn timers on quest mobs and item spawns.

Aside from Pandaria, I also experienced the new class and race as I rolled out a new Pandaren Monk. The starting hub for Pandaren is quick with rapid-fire questing, easy levels and a good introduction to your type of Pandaren. The evolution of the starting quest chain leading to your decision to join the Horde or Alliance is well-designed and at least I didn’t get any rotten fruit thrown at me when I travelled to Stormwind to see the King. The new class should be incredibly interesting and fun, and while I still have a lot more to explore with it, I think folks may have a lot of fun with it going forward.

But beyond all that, with all of the Patch 5.0 changes, there’s a whole new game out there to explore. But let’s take a much closer look at the game.

Blizzard Announces Global Launch Events

If you are hotly anticipating the release of the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft, but are either too poor or your friends are too far away to have an awesome party to celebrate, Blizzard is making sure you have a fall back plan.

The North American launch party will be taking place in Irvine, California on September 24 between 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. PST at the Irvine Spectrum Center! Blizzard wants you all to be there, but if you can’t, there will be a live stream available thanks to the people at Machinima.com here.

Besides watching people nerd out over possibly the biggest expansion to World of Warcraft to date, there are a host of cool events going on at the launch:

-A Challenge Mode duel between a team of skilled Blizzard employees and elite Blood Legion guild members! The fastest team wins, and we’ll have Blizzard eSports’ Rob Simpson shoutcasting with World of Warcraft lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas providing design commentary.
-Gamer/actress Felicia Day will make a special guest appearance with an exclusive look at the upcoming sixth season of The Guild.

-Blizzard’s Chief Storyteller Chris Metzen will be fielding questions live on-stage!

-Plenty of loot giveaways! (You can pretend you are getting the loot.)

There will also be launch parties in Paris, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Cologne, and Stockholm… WOW!

If you want the Euro version, check out the stream here.

The Digital Launch Event, scheduled to start at 22:30 Paris time (CEST), will bring all the fun of the live events from around Europe right onto gamers’ screens. Blizzard artists and developers including Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street will be on hand in each city to offer insight into the latest expansion, and the show will also include spectacular entertainment such as a live orchestra playing music from Mists of Pandaria, MANAO – Drums of China and much, much more.

Mists of Pandaria TV Commercials On YouTube

With Mists of Pandaria only two weeks away, there’s no surprise that Blizzard is firing out their ads again this year. Of course, it’s a bit different when you’re introducing pandas in to the game. That said, if you missed the ads during their prime time on TV, you can get a sneak peak at the two new TV shorts below. It’s really nothing new if you’ve seen the rather lengthy cinematic already.


GKick Episode 51: The One With No Talent

On this episode of GKick, we dive into the world of WoW patch 5.0.4 and have a friendly debate on the new talent system and the evolution of WoW into a more and more casual-friendly game. We also premiere a new Greyfoo song and give our thoughts (spoiler-free!) on the new Tears of War book!



Mists of Pandaria TV Spot Airing This Sunday

The MMO giant, Blizzard Entertainment has announced that the first of a series of new TV spots taken from Mists of Pandaria’s thrilling opening cinematic will be airing on Sunday, September 9th. This TV spot will be airing during the Green Bay Packers / San Francisco 49ers NFL match-up on FOX. The kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 pm EDT or 1:25 pm PDT.

Get your DVR’s ready because we’re going to be seeing some epic panda action this weekend.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Launch Events Revealed

Pandas. Yes, that’s the topic surrounding World of Warcraft as of late. There are many who cheer and there are those that are disgusted. Whatever the case, a new World of Warcraft expansion obviously means it’s time to celebrate! Blizzard has just unveiled plans for several different World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria launch events taking place across the globe. If you’re itching the meet the World of Warcraft development team, you’ll be able to find many of them at launch events in the United States, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Mexico and many more countries.

At the Starcraft 2 launch event we saw some really nice Tychus cosplay. That said, I wonder if we’ll be seeing any good cosplay with any relation to the new World of Warcraft race, Pandaren. It’s very likely, but they may even bring in a live panda (that one isn’t likely)! If you’re looking to go to one of these launch events, you can find all the information you need about the game along with party details on Blizzard’s website.

Is anyone excited for the Mists of Pandaria release? Will you be going to one of these launch events?

Mists of Pandaria Prep Pt. 1

It’s that time again where Blizzard is preparing to release is next World of Warcraft expansion and patch 5.0.4 goes live today.  As with any World of Warcraft expansion the method for doing things will be changing for some processes and lots of new features will be added  This is part one of a series looking at these changes for Mists of Pandaria expansion.

Today we look at the new talent and specialization system that went live in patch 5.0.4.  No longer are your talents tied to your specialization.  Also your talents are no longer part of trees.  Looking at specializations these are now used to dictate what skills you have access to when that spec is active.  Talents now carry across your character regardless of what specialization you have active, so you will want to take more time deciding which ones to choose, as you will select 6 total talents over the 90 levels of your character.  Every 15 levels you will have the opportunity to choose from one of 3 talents for that level.  That means that if you want 2 of the talents that they give you at level 15 sorry you have to choose 1 and no you can’t go back and pick it at say level 30.

Blizzard has said they were making these changes as people were still not able to access all of the core functionality of a given spec but still wanted to allow the player control over how their character “grows” as it levels.  While I see the thought process behind this and completely agree with it I’ll be anxious to see what classes become over powered now.  There is no way that you can give all of the skills designed for each spec to a class an not have at least one of them be OP.  I’m also curious as to how much harder the game play will become and how similar characters will become.  That was one nice thing with the old tree system you could have 10 feral druid and in theory have 10 different make ups.  The new system definitely reduces the customization outside of how Blizzard thinks a class should be played.

With 5.0.4 now live I encourage you to check out the new talent calculator on the Blizzard site and start planning since when you log in your talents will have been reset.  You can reach the calculator at http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/mists-of-pandaria/feature/talent-specification

Stay tuned for part 2 where we will look at the new challenge mode and pet battle systems.

World of Warcraft: All Races Available With Patch 5.0.4, Regardless of Expansion

Blizzard announced today that, with the release of their upcoming major Patch 5.0.4, all current races will be available to any and all new players regardless of their current expansion status. This means that even players who only own the original World of Warcraft game will still be able to create new Blood Elves, Draenei, Goblins, Worgen and Pandaren (starting September 25th).

This change does not effect leveling zones or classes, however. That means in order to create Death Knight or Monk characters - or level beyond 70 - you will need the proper associated expansion pack (Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria).

World of Warcraft Patch 5.0.4 is scheduled to launch on Tuesday, August 26th during the regular weekly maintenance cycle. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will be available starting September 25th worldwide.