Dark or Light

From BlizzCon to Landfall

Reza Lackey Posted:
Columns All Things Warcraft 0

Hi, I’m Reza. I have been a long time World of Warcraft player, starting during its original beta and playing ever since. I’m the guy who has always enjoyed the game and appreciated the way it has evolved over the years. It has been a wonderful adventure and continues to impress me even after all this time. I have delved into other MMO’s from time to time as well, but none of them have the pull that World of Warcraft has. It’s immersive, rewarding and its solid mechanics, in my opinion, outperform the competition. With the release of Mists of Pandaria, there are now so many things to do in the game making it appealing to many types of gamers, a task the industry is still struggling with, especially in this genre. I have friends of all skill types who enjoy World of Warcraft in different ways and that’s just damn cool.

Another reason I love this game so much is because of the story it embodies. I have been playing around in the Warcraft universe ever since WarCraft II and through all of the subsequent RTS games. I have really enjoyed seeing the story of this universe grow through World of Warcraft and the latest expansion has really turned the story telling up a few notches, several even.

At BlizzCon 2011, Chris Metzen took the stage and announced World of Warcraft's fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

When the trailer concluded and the lights came back up, there was a lot of chatter. A lot of mixed feelings. With no clear, dark threat to be seen, many wondered if our beloved World of Warcraft was about to take a radical left turn. But before that trailer rolled, Chris Metzen emphasized that this expansion is essentially the calm before a mighty storm - a storm of Red versus Blue. This is how great stories are told - we must learn what, and in some cases who, the stakes are. What and who will we be fighting for? In place of a large central threat to the world like Deathwing or the Lich King, the antagonist is mystery its self - the unknown qualities of this new place - and the looming threat of war and how it will reshape an ancient, untouched land. Blizzard has made World of Warcraft once again about exploration and discovery - learning about this mysterious new land and it’s inhabitants. An innocent, established race of beings cut off from the rest of the world are about to be thrown into the midst of an age old war. These Pandaren aren’t just a new playable race and series of NPC’s either, they are an incredibly crafted civilization with a deep history that is very hard not to care about. This I feel, is the make up of a violent tempest. A storm not seen since long ago in WarCraft II, where it all started for me. The Mists of Pandaria expansion has provided a well constructed set up for future patches that will continue to pave the road towards the aforementioned storm. And man, they’re coming quick. It seems to me that Blizzard has enacted Operation: Pandaren Express (I had to). 

The Storm Approaches 

In Patch 5.1: Landfall, the Pandaren campaign has begun and the threat of war is barreling towards the shores of Pandaria. Agendas are becoming clear as the might of both factions descend upon the sacred land on a violent collision course. With a new set of daily quests, the Alliance and Horde must help their landing forces, Operation: Sheildwall and the Dominance Offensive respectively, secure a foothold on the southern shores of Pandaria in the Krasarang Wilds. With these new daily quests now introducing PvP elements with various control points, it is clear that tensions are rising and that players will feel it. As you defeat members of the opposing faction - Player’s or NPC’s - you’ll earn special commissions that can be spent on buffs for your faction and also hire guards for the graveyard and tower control points. Beyond the spreading of Red and Blue on Pandaria, we also learn a few other interesting story tidbits as the quest lines play out including what the Mogu have been up to and the continuation of the Wrathion quest line.

With Patch 5.1 deploying this soon after the retail package of Mists of Pandaria shipped, it’s clear that Blizzard is really working hard to keep the content flowing and the story progressing. Many players seemed to be very happy with the story and quest lines that brought them from level 85 to 90 but once they hit the level cap, some have skipped the daily quests in favor of all the other things there are to do. It’s important to realize that these daily quests progress the story in addition to paying out Valor Points and Lesser Charms. I found myself wanting to hit up the dailies not just for the gear they offered but to learn more about these factions and their role in the world. The sense of discovery as it pertains to the races and their background I find so fascinating - who are these people, how do they relate to one another and what is it that they are trying to achieve? 

For those with dailies not on their list of things to do, I highly recommend giving the new Landfall daily quests a try especially if you enjoy dipping into PvP on any level. Landfall takes the daily quest system and adds a bit more. Not only is there a sort of competitive PvP nature to them - securing graveyards and towers that provide buffs for your faction such as increased health and a bump in attack speed - but as you complete these dailies, you are periodically given special quests that are not part of the daily quest rotation. These quests involve important characters that help progress the story making your character significant and near central to key events. It’s clear that Blizzard wants to tell a strong story and this blend of dailies with story advancing quests gives a sense of scale to the conflict at hand. I really hope players give them a shot because there is some really good content here. Logging in every day not knowing what quests you’ll be given or what events will play out is a wonderful surprise.  

If Patch 5.1 is any indication of where things are heading, it’s safe to say that we may have the ingredients for a perfect storm that we’ll all have to weather during this expansion cycle. The winds are picking up - Alliance and Horde, prepare to tie down and brace - surviving this is only the beginning. As the Black Prince reminds us, there is an uncertain future beyond this dark skyline. 

“Azeroth’s limits, have yet, to be revealed.” 

What are your thoughts on the Mists of Pandaria story and how it’s being told so far? Let us know in the comments below.

Twitter: @rezalackey


Reza Lackey