I got up early to play Mists this morning and begin my exploration of Pandaria. Undergeared and learning the new talents, I ventured forth. I wanted to list out the good and bad on my first impressions today. Also, I plan to continue tonight and work through all of Jade Forest and hopefully try some of the other systems. I will say this, there are very certain game mechanics that have been introduced lately to MMOs that have really impacted my play in WoW. Let’s not even be coy about it, I’m talking about Guild Wars 2, and others like The Secret World, TERA, and even SWTOR.
Let’s start with the good things however. Logging into the game I found myself back in Orgrimmar with a new quest for war. Heading into to see Hellscream the short cut scene was fun to watch. The Alliance found some new island in the mists? Go and destroy them! What a great approach; I am sold! Got on the ship and flew over to Pandaria to discover the Jade Forest and a huge battle with the Alliance going on as we got into view. The quick cannon quest was fun and then it asked you to rappel down from the ship to the temple where the Alliance camps were. Well I fell, who cares, I’m a shaman and can reincarnate. So up I go to check things out.
This is where the not so good begins. I realize I never completed the rappel quest from the ship therefore I cannot unlock any other quests until that one is completed. Hey what about open zones and events? Oh wait… wrong game. Luckily I found a portal up to the ship and was able to rappel down. Suddenly the camp unlocks and my quests appear. Now I have to go and destroy some ammo stores as well as kill Alliance. Up the temple steps I go to find other players destroying ammo and fighting Allies. I run over to start attacking a lion-shirted goody-good and suddenly realize his bar is grey. Someone else had pulled the kill from me and I wasn’t getting XP for the fight. But…but… why can’t we help each other?
These two simple mechanics came to light very quickly for me and I realized I was spoiled. I still had to contend with players for mobs and objectives to do my quests. Also, if I didn’t complete something to the letter, I could not unlock the zone quests further. It all seemed so linear. I began to get disappointed.
I completed the quests and followed the formula, but that was just it. The formula for MMOs has changed. So now I had to be careful and make sure I finished all my quests. I also had to try and find places where players were not in vast numbers to achieve my goals. I soldiered on though and found the quests and storyline pretty interesting. I love the Sha and their Dark Karmic approach. It was cool to have them spawn when you hurt the land of Pandaria. Once I got through the initial quests we went into the storyline more and I was at Honeydew Village picking up more to do.
I have not yet tried the pet battles or any dungeons. I do look forward to exploring more in the open world first. I always like to at least be one level into the expansion before entering any instances. For me, Mists is still World of Warcraft. It is fun and I do love my shaman that I have since day one almost 8 years ago. I switched back to enhancement spec on talents to level and will keep restoration in reserve for instances. The overall experience was a good one, yet it was marred by some of the mechanics that Guild Wars 2 has built into its everyday game play and cannot break free from. The largest was not getting experience for helping other players. I never really thought about how important a feature like that truly is! Mists of Pandaria is definitely fun, and it breathes some life into an aging game, but I’d be willing to bet that Blizzard is watching its competitors and that with a few big patches we might see some changes that definitely would improve a few mechanics. Sorry Azeroth, Tyria has some great stuff to it. You’re just going to have to learn to share the spotlight.