This post is a discussion.
So a very popular game that I’ve been playing a lot recently has been subject to pretty fucking grim levels of hate. You’ve probably heard of it, and if you haven’t.. well either you don’t really play video games, or you’re just a plain idiot. But I fail to see what isn’t so attractive about rolling around as a panda in the beautifully crafted new worlds with so many new features so explore. That’s right, if you haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. This is where you stop reading if this doesn’t interest, as with everything else on my blog – you don’t really know what I’m going to talk about next, so enjoy what you can. Well before we get started, you should scroll down the bottom of this post and set playing the soundtrack, it might help develop some new views on the game. :P
Onto the main topic. Why hate pandas so much? Or more specifically, what is it that puts people off the game so much? I can understand if MMORPGs aren’t your thing, or you have another popular game that you dedicate your time to, but overall what is the big deal?
What is World of Warcraft?
World of Warcraft is on online role playing game, where you create and play a character of your chosen race and class. Your class is something that defines what abilities you have. For example, the warrior uses heavy armour and weapon based abilities. Mages use magic spells and tricks. When you join the game, you start at level one, and as you play and complete missions, more content becomes available to you. At level 20, you can have your first mount, which is a ridable companion that allows you to cross distances at a greater speed (such as a horse, or a giant turtle) and as you progress through the game, venturing through beautifully designed areas that are very diverse – you can start attempting more difficult challenges which require good co-operation with multiple other players.
What is the most recent expansion, Mists of Pandaria?
Overall, World of Warcraft can be a very fun game, but the recent expansion has received a lot of hate. In the expansion, Mists of Pandaria, a lot of new content has been added to the game. This includes the new playable race, the Pandaren.
They are short folk, roughly 4-5 foot in height and resemble pandas (funnily enough). Along with the new playable race, a new playable class has been added that ties in nicely with the panda race, that being the Monk. Now you’re probably already starting to jump on the bandwagon by thinking, this sounds too much like Kung-Fu Panda.
Apart from the race/class additions, many other changes have also been made, and tons more new features added. Players can now venture through an entirely new content called “Pandaria”, which allows them to complete cleverly arranged mission chains to get to the newly raised level 90. Many new dungeons have been added (5-player encounters), and raids (10-25 player encounters) have also been added, along with 2 new battlegrounds (player versus player gameplay). Not only that, players can now pass the time by doing something different, this is the new Pet Battle feature. Much like Pokémon, you can capture various pets throughout the world, and train them to fight in mini-game like battles with other players in the world, and other wild pets, there are over 300 different vanity pets in the game, each with unique abilities.
All of these nice updates make the game a much more joyous experience, and being a player that has been on and off with WoW for nearly 7 years, I find the most recent expansion to be quite the addition. Yet there is so much hate and dislike towards this expansion and I’d like to explain why.
Why is there so much hate?
It has been known for a long time before the release that a large majority of players criticised the game for ‘copying’ the motion picture, Kung-Fu Panda. This is due to the resemblance in character design in game, and in the movie. It is perhaps true that the expansion was to some extent inspired by Kung-Fu panda, but the game by no means copied the ideas. The Warcraft series has been around since the early nineties, and the pandaren race is so exception. They had a different appearance in Warcraft III, but were included in the game (released long before Kung-Fu panda) and lore involving the Pandaren have been in the book series for a long while aswell. So this argument doesn’t hold much footing. The below image is taken from Warcraft 3, it shows a Pandaren brewmaster in play, Brewmaster is one of three specializations you can choose when you play the Monk class in Mists of Pandaria.
Apart from the criticism involving Kung-Fu panda, the expansion has also had bad reception due to the whole idea being considered ‘childish’ and ‘moronic’. First of all, that’s just an opinion – whilst to some it could be a valid argument, some would also say that it doesn’t hold much power as it’s a video game.
Finally, another argument was, the changes in World of Warcraft have made the game undesirable, too easy and ultimately boring compared to other similar games out there such as Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republci and The Secret World (which failed miserably IMHO). The game has been around for nearing on 8 years since it’s release in the dawn of 2005, changes are to be expected since the game needs to progress to keep people interested. Some of the changes might be undesirable, the talent reworking (again) might make people too tired to adjust. Perhaps the zones aren’t your style or you don’t want to work to be on top again. They are poor excuses for not giving it a go.
So I decided at the very least to point out a few reasons why I love the Mists of Pandaria expansion, and why you should too!
Why Mists of Pandaria is awesome.
In Mists of Pandaria, 8 new zones have been added to the game. The Pandaren Isles (85-90 zones), and the Wandering Isles (Pandaren starting zone). The zones are visually stunning and have a very unique feel about them. The music that plays in the zones is spectacular and you can easily lose track of time when journeying through them. The below image is a map of the Pandaren Isles located in the southern sea of Azeroth (the World of Warcraft world). The Isles used to be concealed in Mists to protect themselves from the dangers of the outside world, but with the fall of their land becoming increasingly likely, they have begun to rely on the Alliance and the Horde to keep their faction and lands strong and prominent.
The Monk Class
I absolutely adore the new class, it’s one of the most fun classes I’ve played yet in World of Warcraft. The mechanics of the class are exciting and different to what we’re used to seeing, it feels like a mix between a rogue and paladin, with very fun magical elements available in the different specialization trees. The class itself is also very aesthetically pleasing to play. When you play a monk, you gain an ability at level 5 which allows you to roll forwards, gaining a sizeable distance in a few moments. Below is a screenshot of a low level Monk I was playing, questing in the Wandering Isles. You can see the detail in the zone quite well.
The new pet battles feature is fun and exciting and proves a valuable experience when not questing or fighting. With this new feature, you can capture small pets that can fight in pet duels, where each participant uses three captured pets to fight until all of your opponents pets have been reduced to zero hit points. The pet battle system reminds a lot of Pokémon, but these pets can be caged and sold on the auction house, so it proves helpful and ties in nicely with the world, and gives you something to do with those previously useless vanity pets that you accumulated for the sake of it. Below is a screenshot of a pet battle in action.
This is a part of the game you don’t usually see mentioned in many reviews, especially World of Warcraft. But I have to say the music in Mists of Pandaria is absolutely beautiful. It might be a little biased of me to say that, because it has a very oriental feel to it (why not, it’s an asian themed race) and really does suit the game nicely. As I have been levelling throughout the various zones in the game, I have found the background music to be hypnotizing to say the least, the arrangement is stunning and it deserves more attention than it gets. But don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself.
I know this has been a very long post, but the game deserves every moment I’ve spent writing about it. I hope if you didn’t like Mists of Pandaria, that you’d at least give the new Pandaren race a try, you can play for free up to level 20. Apart from that, thanks for reading yet another one of my blog posts and I hope that you continue to be the beautiful person that you are for coming here! :P