While at Blizzard HQ in Irvine, California we talked to Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street about all the new features coming to Mists of Pandaria and what World of Warcraft players can expect in this new expansion.
- New class, the Monk, needed to be in Pandaria because they've wanted to do it for a while and the expansion thematically fits.
- Brew Master was one idea too, but ended up fitting into the Monk as the tank spec.
- Tanks with avoidance, not just soaking up damage, but avoiding it.
- Healing is a mix of traditional heals and channeled spells. Melee damage translates to healing too, but lesser heals. High levels, statue of Crane will do an AOE heal for a fraction of their damage output.
- Pet System is "something else" for these pets to do. But didn't want to go route of "player power". So they made a dueling system. Optional, much like achievements, but not at all tied into progression.
- This expansion's theme is "give players lots to do".
- No tools to start for the Pet System to set up tournaments, but if it's popular, they definitely will. Testing the waters.
- Pet Max Level is around 20 or so, with six abilities on each. Switchable.
- Theme is to bring back exploration, will they reward exploring? Absolutely. May even disable raids on day one (maybe), but they have a lot of designed "nooks and crannies" with things to find at the end. Treasure chests, and achievements. Reasons to go off the beaten path of quests.
- Also earn Elder Tokens and "Craftsman Tokens" through factions. Craftsman tokens can offer you Charms of Good Fortune which will give you your own additional reward off of a boss, like a slot machine.
- Things to do = the big theme. Scenarios are just one more thing to do, and while they won't be as rewarding as dungeons, they're fun, they reward valor, and they're for groups of 3. No class requirements. May even do a 25 person casual "raid" via the Scenario system.
- The Farm you get in the Valley of the Four Winds, uses "Personal Invisibility", so you see what you plant and others see what they plant, but you can't see each other's stuff. Sense of progression, less about fighting, more about "flavor". Possibly even plant pets for the Pet Battles.
- Talent System reminiscent of the Diablo 3 system, and Starcraft 2's single-player system. Key to making decisions is exclusivity. Pulling away from the math of talents. Players are not losing anything. You now focus on the spec spells, not the percents. You can choose between the major skills of all three trees, and mix and match. It becomes a lot more versatile.
- Avoid cookie-cutter nature, and stems from talents that give you the most damage or so on. But those sorts of talents are gone. You instead have talents that give you powers and utilities, and it'll be very hard to figure which is "best" this way, and instead is more about what the player likes.
- Is the "more to do" going to scare away the hardcore raiders and PVP players? Not at all. Two new BGs, 3 new raids, with 6-8 bosses each. Plenty of progression for them too.
- The open world AvH War, when will we hear more about how this will come back? Patch 5.1 will really be the return, Horde and Alliance realize Pandaria is ripe for plunder and they start to go at it. PVP quests, PVE quests that help one's faction, fight for resources, etc. It'll all be about the Horde vs. Alliance. Even talked about Alliance/Horde dungeon that is basically "go attack the other faction", in a sort of mirrored dungeon that has you pitted against the other faction.
- How to sell Pandaria to those who have gone away from WoW? Simply put: more content and things to do than any other expansion. Adding so much to WoW, so much more than questing and dailies and dungeons, that the team feels this is their most well-rounded expansion.