Breaking News – Yes, the fourth WoW expansion is indeed Mists of Pandaria. We’re told that the expansion will focus on the battle between Alliance and Horde “in a place that has been lost in time to close to ten thousands years. It is a land of balance, harmony, and hope — that is, until we arrived.”
New features in Mists of Pandaria
- Pandaren race for both Alliance AND Horde.
- New Monk class
- Level cap raised to 90
- Dungeon Challenge system with normalised iLevels and time challenges.
- “Scenario” instances for small numbers of people, replacing group quests.
- Entire new Asian-inspired continent with 5 areas, each larger than Twilight Highlands (allegedly).
- Pandaren start on the back of a giant turtle. Really.
- Pet battle system – it’s Pokemon in WOW!
- 5 new zones – to quote the official site, “Explore the lush Jade Forest, treacherous Kun-Lai Summit, and other exotic areas of Pandaria designed for high-level characters, and uncover the mystery of the Wandering Isle.”
- Completely redesigned talent system – one talent every 15 levels, choice of three per “tier”.
- 9 dungeons and 3 raids on launch, including Heroic Scholomance and Heroic Scarlet Monastery (split into two dungeons).
- Ranged slots have been removed. Hunters now use ranged weapons as their main weapon. Casters use wands.
- 4 new PvP battlegrounds with a variety of new formats.
- Passive buff totems for Shamans have been removed.
- Stats will be normalised to reverse the “stat inflation” of previous expansions.
- No flying in the new zones until you reach level cap.
- Many Achievements will now be account-wide.
- The graphics engine of WoW is getting some significant tweaks.
- Resilience is now becoming a base stat, which will increase as you level.
- Druids now have 4 specs: Bear is being separated out into “Guardian”.
- Spells now automatically learned. Trainers are just for changing talent spec.
Main Expansion Trailer:
“B-roll” zone trailer:
Original article follows:
The discovery of a patent filed by Blizzard for something called Mists Of Pandaria has caused a virtual mexican wave of excited speculation around the blogosphere. But just how much Mists of Pandaria information is there out there? Some, but not that much. Much of what we think we know is speculation.
The most popular theory, of course, is that Mists Of Pandaria will be the name of the next World Of Warcraft Expansion, but at this stage it remains just that: a theory.
What we know
Blizzard have indeed filed a trademark, as you can see from the original post on MMO Champion which kicked off the fuss. Many people are saying that Blizzard could be doing this for all sorts of reasons, including just to put people off the trail. That seems unlikely – an international trademark costs several thousand dollars including legal fees, and even Blizzard doesn’t throw thousands of dollars around on a whim. However, that doesn’t mean it is the name of the next expansion. Trademarks are registered for all sorts of reasons, and sometimes don’t end up being used for anything.
Similar trademarks were filed for previous World Of Warcraft expansions, so if Mists Of Pandaria were to be the next expansion, this trademark application would certainly fit. Either way, if Blizzard follows the pattern they’ve established for previous expansions, we won’t hear anything concrete until Blizzcon in October, at the very earliest. If this leaked Blizzard product slate is anything to go by, the next WoW expansion will be released in Q2 of 2012.
Of course, that’s not going to stop the community from speculating wildly. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular theories (as well as some of the most preposterous).
Playable pandas – the Pandaren race
It’s a safe bet that an expansion called Mists Of Pandaria will feature the Pandaren in some way. These cuddly, ale-loving, ninja pandas have been a part of Warcraft lore for years, but have never featured heavily in World Of Warcraft. Whether the Pandaren become a new playable race, as some commentators are hoping (others dreading), or whether the Pandaren are merely an important faction to the new expansion’s storyline, this would be a major deal.
It’d be an extrordinary journey for the Pandaren – a race which was originally born as an April Fool’s joke! Players responded so positively to the idea of a race of ninja pandas that they became incorporated into the game lore.
Azshara and the Naga
Early rumors and speculation for the Cataclysm expansion hinted that a major player would be the Naga Queen, Azshara. That never really came to pass (although Cataclysm does expand significantly on the Naga, particularly through some of the questlines in Vashj’ir) but it may be that the Queen Azshara content was merely deferred. An expansion set in the southern Pandaran islands would be the perfect setting for a final confrontation with Azshara, and the idea of the Naga queen as an end-of-expansion boss has got a lot of people excited.
Kvaldir in the mists
The ‘Pandaria’ aspect of the thing-that-might-just-possibly-be-an-expansion is firing the most gossip, of course, but the ‘Mists’ aspect is potentially interesting, too. Mist is very closely associated with the race of giants known as the Vrykul, particularly the seafaring Vrykul known as the Kvaldir.
Their storyline opened up as part of Wrath Of The Lich King, but we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg so far. Everything we know about the Vrykul has only led to more questions. Were they created directly by the Titans? Are they the progenitors of the human race on Azeroth? What exactly is the relationship between the Kvaldir and the Naga?
What do you think? Do you have more hard information? Let us know below!