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World of Warcraft Column: The Path So Far

By Reza Lackey on August 26, 2013

With the recent announcement of the next Mists of Pandaria patch (5.4 - Siege of Orgrimmar) going live on September 10 and the release of the Hearthstone Beta, there is a lot of renewed interest in World of Warcraft.

Looking through various community sites and their forums, I seem to frequently come across posts by players who are looking to venture into Pandaria for the first time or who may be looking to return after several months away. These players sometimes comment on being overwhelmed with the amount of content that has been released since Mists shipped last September. So, this week on the WoW Factor we are going to take a retrospective look on the Mists of Pandaria expansion - a highlight reel for some of the bigger additions we have seen so far.

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Patch 5.1

Patch 5.1: Landfall was released last November and with it came the Horde and Alliance conflict shoring up on Pandaria. The Krasarang Wilds became the staging grounds for the two factions as they began to dig in and create a strong foothold to launch their campaigns on the mysterious continent. Two new reputations were added, Operation: Shieldwall for the Alliance and the Dominance Offensive for the Horde. Completing new daily quests awarded reputation for these factions and also progressed the story with players working alongside key characters from the story.

5.1 also introduced the Brawlers Guild. This new feature, located in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, is an invite-only instanced location where players can take on solo PvE challenges. To get in, you would need to either purchase a guild invite on the black market auction house or be invited by a player who was already in the guild. Once inside, you are able to queue up for your chance in the ring to fight various PvE encounters. As you conquer these PvE skirmishes, you will earn new ranks and more difficult adversaries to fight. What I love about this feature is that only one player can be fighting at a time and those waiting for their turn will spectate from just outside the ring. It’s a lot of fun to be in the ring with a few friends cheering you on from the sidelines.

Also added was the ability to upgrade your gear a few ilvl’s with PvE and PvP currencies. This was a welcome addition for those who had no more gear upgrades to purchase and also not getting loot from raids. Instead of hoarding these currencies, they could be spent in a meaningful way aiding in player progression. Note that this feature was later removed from the game, but then reintroduced.

Patch 5.2

Patch 5.2: The Thunder King was a massive update to the game. Released in March, this content update added The Isle of Thunder quest hub and the Throne of Thunder raid. Two new world bosses were also added - one of which on a small new land mass called the Isle of Giants off the coast of Kun-Lai Summit.

The Isle of Thunder quest hub introduces two new reputations, the Kirin-Tor Offensive for the Alliance and the Sunreaver Onslaught for the Horde. As players progress through the content they will be able to choose between PvE and PvP quests that will reward Valor or Honor points, respectively. This new zone also offered The Palace of Lei Shen solo scenario. If you’re able to find a special key to the palace, you can enter a solo, timed scenario in which you have five minutes to grab as much loot as possible while avoiding various traps and enemies.

The Throne of Thunder raid brought to the table 13 new boss encounters which are divided over four wings in the Looking For Raid version. Players entering the Thunder Kings keep earn reputation with the Shadow-Pan Assault faction which offers new Valor gear.

Patch 5.3

Patch 5.3: Escalation added variety of new features to the game instead of a giant raid or zone like the previous patch. Chief among them is the new Escalation quest campaign and Battlefield: Barrens. Here Alliance and Horde factions have unique quests to undermine Garrosh’s hold which then lead into the Battlefield: Barrens conflict where players must take out Garrosh’s Kor’Kron militia and cutting off supply chains for their army. Blizzard used this story as the backdrop for a new dynamic quest system in which caravans would randomly spawn in the zone that players could choose to escort to safety to earn the aforementioned supplies and other rewards. Elite enemies also spawn in the area requiring a small group of players to defeat.

One major addition with this patch was the introduction of Heroic Scenarios. These are more difficult versions of existing Scenarios that offer valor rewards and a chance for high-level loot. Additionally, four new Scenarios were added that furthered the story of the Pandaren campaign.

For those interested in PvP, the Deepwind Gorge battleground was added in which players must control nodes while protecting resources in their home base from the enemy team. Speaking of PvP, changes to Resilience were made - Resilience was removed from just about every item and all characters level 85 and above were given a base resilience of 65 percent. Additionally, all gear in Battlegrounds and Arenas will now be scaled down to ilvl 496.

Coming Soon

So this concludes our whirlwind look at some of the bigger additions to Mists of Pandaria since its release almost a year ago. Now looking forward to the next content patch due to go live on September 10, here is the official trailer for Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar:

Do you have any tips or advice for new or returning players? Let me know in the comments below!

This week’s throwback item: Force Reactive Disk

Follow me on Twitter @rezalackey

Reza Lackey / Reza is a giant nerd who loves video games, board games, film and way too many other things. Works in the film industry, on some startups and thinks science is cool. Also launches rockets.

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