What Everyone Thinks Of Mists Of Pandaria – The Weekend Edition

Shallow coat of paint on an old game, or Blizzard’s greatest success yet? What’s the verdict on MoP?

The reactions to Mists of Pandaria have been fascinating – but overall, the consensus seems to be coming in that as far as early impressions go, it’s a huge success. But how? And why? And what about the storytelling, the factions, the crafting, the accessibility?

Here’s our roundup of posts from around the blogosphere discussing all those issues and more!

General Impressions

  • Spinks covers a number of interesting bases in her MoP roundup, from the difficulty to the way the story plays out“There are thrilling set pieces where your character helps to defend a village from bandits, in classic wuxia style, or takes part in larger battle scenes, and these offer much better actual gameplay than previous set pieces such as Wrathgate (however cool it was).”
  • Neurotic Girl Gamer gives us a series of bite-sized points on Pet Battles, Panda seriousness and more“I think having cross-realm areas is a fantastic idea. I really like seeing other players when I’m out and about questing. However…It would have been nice if that had been turned off for the first few weeks after the expansion release.”
  • Gordon at We Fly Spitfires writes a thorough review of his experience of Pandaria so far“I have to say that Blizzard do make exceptionally good use of their game engine. Traversing through zones (if I can call them that), watching how the environment and landscape changes is incredibly immersive and occasionally breathtaking with some wondrous and beautiful sights to see. “
  • Alas covers questing as a group, dungeons, the scenery of Pandaria and Alchemy“I like the balance I’ve seen so far between interesting and engaging mechanics and straightforward AoE-festing. It seems like there’s a good mix of the swiftness one could achieve back in Wrath 5-mans with some areas that are a bit more challenging.”
  • Anafielle writes from the point of view of a comparatively hardcore player in a really interesting overview of the expansion and Cross-Realm tech“As awesome as it was to level with Theck, some of the technology behind CRZ concerns me. It’s just a bit too easy. Part of me wonders how large of an impact CRZ had on the race to realm first. “

Specific Aspects

  • Windsoar looks at the way that storytelling works in MoP“Just because there isn’t a label on the back of the box saying “EVIL BOSS #2438 SHALL DESTROY THE WORLD UNLESS YOU BECOME AN EPIC HERO AND SAVE US ALL” doesn’t mean that Blizzard doesn’t have the end-game in mind. “
  • Tobold considers how MoP has changed the crafting game“With an estimated drop rate of around 10%, and 10 motes needed per spirit, you only get a Spirit of Harmony for every 100 mobs you kill, and it’s not clear whether all mobs even drop them.”
  • Altclysmic also looks at crafting – and drinking – in a post about concerns with Mists of Pandaria“The World of Warcraft is full of alcholic drinks, they now have 2 races that are dependant on the consumpution of alcohol (Dwarfs and Pandaren) and even have a holiday (Brewfest) about the drinking of copious amounts of beer. “
  • Firespirit talks about the strange feeling of disconnect from coming back to the game after a long break“I started looking around, and browsing the forums. All the old names were gone. The top three (maybe even four?) guilds transferred out. “
  • WoW In The Details notes a tiny little thing – the Mists of Pandaria takeout service“At the Dawn’s Blossom settlement in Jade Forest, this lovely Pandaren is enjoying a quick lunch from a pretty familiar container. Notice the dragon logo and the gold border at the top and bottom. “
  • Fari waxes lyrical about the Lorewalker faction and the stories you get to hear“. If nothing else makes this whole trek worth it, it’s this. Loremaster Cho takes 2-3 minutes to tell you a story, and it’s more than telling! I’ll let you wait and check it out in order to see exactly how cool the storytelling is, but between his voice and the epic way that he goes about storytelling, the half hour I spent listening to stories made this totally worth it! “
  • And Misha talks about a number of MoP subjects, but most notably the rather alarming tenor of the Horde storyline“It’s a little rough, coming in with a Manifest Destiny attitude to an obviously well developed and lived in land (did we not see those ANCIENT RUINS and this VILLAGE WITH PANDA PEOPLE IN IT?) when throughout the rest of the game we have been Heroes of the Horde.”

It’s been a week now – still loving MoP? Or having a problem with it?

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Factions in Mists of Pandaria – the Tillers, the Lorewalkers, the Brewmasters, Golden Lotus, the Shado-Pan, the Anglers and more.

Yes, with Mists of Pandaria come a whole host of new factions for us to grind up reputation with. But with this expansion, Blizzard have really let their imaginations go, and there’s some very cool stuff headed to your Reputation window. The Tillers let us farm in a more literal sense, the Anglers will delight fisherpeople everywhere, the Lorewalkers promise to make Archaeology interesting, the Brewmasters let us finally return their damn keg, the Shado-Pan let you get your Shaolin on, the order of the Cloud Serpent let you grow your own mount from an egg, the Klaxxi let you ally with cannibalistic insects, and the August Celestials and the Golden Lotus – well, just feel really damn Oriental. Plus, of course, there’s Wrathion, the Black Prince and Hander-Out Of Legendaries.

Here’s everything we know so far about the people you’re going to be kung fu questing for.

Updated September 17th 2012

Tillers

Never let it be said that Blizzard don’t learn from other games. In this case, Farmville.

Yes, by going down to Halfhill in the Valley of the Four Winds, you’ll be able to start up the idyllic agrarian lifestyle for yourself. Starting with the quest chain Lore and Grow, you’ll acquire an instanced farm of your very own. You can do the first chain at level 85, which will teach you the basics of WoW farming – the earth-based version, that is – but after that you’ll need to be level 90 to get your farmin’ on.

Every day, two farmers will come into the Market with a variety of problems. You’ll fix their problems for them – which will apparently involve less monsters and more ploughing than we’re used to – and plant crops, which you can harvest the next day. You’ll also care for your farm, deal with pests on the vegetables, and presumably shout at young Pandaren to “GET ORF MOI LAAAAND!”

Apparently there will be quite a bit of customisation available for your farm too. The details are still a bit thin, but Blizzard mentioned being able to grow an apple orchard, breed pigs and maybe even plant herbalism ingredients. You can even grow a pet there.

Is it me, or does this sound like Blizzard sidling into player housing through the back door, as it were?

Lorewalkers

The Lorewalkers ask you to collect books from around Pandaria, as well as Archaeology items, to build reputation with them. They’re meant to be an optional faction, although currently a couple of profession items require Lorewalker rep.

The books that you collect can be found all over Pandaria. Some of them appear to be quest items, wheras others can be found out in the world.

The Lorewalkers will be great fun for anyone who enjoys WoW’s stories. You can build a historical library with them, and bring back items from all across Pandaria to their base in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Apparently they’ll sometimes give you a spontaneous historical presentation on items you bring back. I can see that being a bit of a love it / hate it feature – I know the serious lore people will love it, but I’m rather seeing Open University Azeroth here…

Brewmasters

No longer in the current build of MoP – they appear to have been scrapped in development.

Shado-Pan

And now we’ve got the straight-up kung-fu warriors. Created by the Pandaren Emperor to protect aganst the Sha (the forces of “bad” emotion in Pandaria), they’re found in Shado-Pan Monastery in the Kun-Lai Summit area.

You’ll need to have some reputation with the Golden Lotus to start doing Shado-Pan quests. They have several huge questlines, plus daily quests to protect Pandaria.

Once you’re training with them, each set of dailies will take you to a different corner of Pandaria, where you’ll fight various enemies of the Pandaren. You’ll also get the opportunity to defeat other members of the Shado-Pan in an arena – after which time you can recruit them to join you on your Shado-Pan dailies!

The Shado-Pan are one of the four factions in MoP which offer epic armour as rep rewards, so you’ll probably end up grinding reputation with them at some point.

Finally, and interestingly, the Shado-Pan appear to include a number of references to another force of guardian warriors in fantasy fiction – the Night’s Watch from George R R Martin’s “Game Of Thrones”. Notably, several of their common emotes seem to reference Game of Thrones!

The Anglers

Yes, in Mop, Fishing has a posse.

The Anglers are a fishing-centric faction, with whom you gain rep from fishing-based dailies, and from whom you can buy, well, fishing-based items. But some of those items are very cool – new fishing poles, yes, but also a new mount and even a fishing-specific mount, the Water Walker, which we believe we’ll be able to fish from!

And in a touch WoW lore lovers will appreciate, you’ll recognise their quartermaster – one Nat Pagle, who was apparently ahead of the curve when it came to getting shipwrecked on mysterious islands…

The Klaaxi

Rebel mantids working to free their queen from the influence of the Sha, you’ll encounter them whilst fighting the Mantids. Subsequently, they have several long questlines and a lot of quests, involving freeing their leaders amongst other things.

The Klaxxi are one of the four factions in MoP which will give rep-based epic armour and weapons (along with a neat scorpion mount), so you’ll probably be getting quite familiar with them throughout Mists…

The August Celestials

Followers of the four guardian creatures of Pandaria, Yu’lon the Jade Serpent, Xuen the White Tiger, Chi Ji the Red Crane, and Niuzao the Black Ox, the August Celestials are a dailies-only faction. You’ll need to be Revered with the Golden Lotus before you can even start questing with them.

Every day, you’ll be directed to one of the four temples of the Celestials, where you’ll get 5 quests to help Pandaria.

The Celestials are the second faction in MoP which will offer rep-based armour, so you’ll probably be doing those 5 daily quests a lot to get your gear up to LFD/LFR standards. They also offer a couple of unique Cloud Serpents and some enchanting recipes.

The Golden Lotus

And here’s the last rep-based armour faction! They open up both the August Celestials and the Shado-Pan factions, so they’re pretty much going to be a must-grind for most players.

Lore-wise, they’re a mysterious society focussed on defeating the Mogu, the brutish creatures found in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. You’ll start their questline around level 87.

Other Factions

  • The Order of the Cloud Serpent are really cool – they’re the faction that let you breed and train your own mount. We’ve got an entire article about Cloud Serpents and the Order – go read!
  • The Forest Hozen and the Pearlfin Jinyu are the two factions at war in the Jade Forest, the opening area for MoP. The Hozen are a crude race of monkey-people, whereas the Jinyu are reserved fish-creatures. No word yet on their rep rewards.
  • Wrathion, the Black Prince, has come to Pandaria too. Information on his questline and rep is very vague, but it’ll be raid-level and connected with the many Legendaries that MoP offers us.
  • Shang Xi’s Academy is the starting faction for Pandaren, training Pandaren heroes. It doesn’t have much impact outside the Pandaren starter zones.

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