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Mists of Pokemon (and DOTA)!

Joseph Sanicky Posted:
Columns All Things Warcraft 0

As you probably all know by now thanks to by Suzie's wonderful liveblog and Bill's prodigious twitter coverage the next era of World of Warcraft was announced at Blizzcon yesterday.  Mists of Pandaria has begun!

The hype train has at least.

Rejoice! Rage!

For anyone wanting an extremely terse summary of the future of WoW, here you go:

  • New Continent (Pandaria) – Leveling zone, Neutral territory, in-world dungeons
  • New Race (Pandarens) – Kung Fu Panda?  Damn right you love it.
  • New Class (Monk) – No auto-attacks, three resources, dps/healer/tank, Pally 2.0?  Perhaps.
  • Increased Level Cap – Level 90 here we come!
  • Talents 2.0 – I hope you don’t like talent points and you do like more meaningful choice
  • PvE Scenarios – Bringing players back into the world
  • Challenge Mode Dungeons – Time triale dungeons with normalized gear.  Leaderboards!
  • Mind Shattering Class Changes – Hunters? No Minimum range!  Druids?  Four specs!
  • Achievements are Account Wide – Something like that, most will be at least…
  • 3 New Raids, 9 New Dungeons – Three of which are remakes of old dungeons for lvl 90 heroics!
  • Raid Finder Implementation – Leaves open normal and heroic raids to be more difficult
  • World Raid Bosses – Prepare to grief the Alliance everyone.
  • Useful and Fun Dailies – They’ll get you out doing things in the world and help with gear.
  • More streamlined elements (main hand wand usage, no ranged slots on melee champs, etc) and a general push towards the feel of vanilla (no flying till max level, more world action, etc).

Cute and cuddly Pandas? Right...

Not to mention the most important change of all, PvP updates!  IN TWO FLAVORS!

!!!!!Pet battle system – Pokemon in your WoW!!!!!

!!!!!DOTA Battleground - MOBA style combat in your WoW!!!!!

Go ahead, get it out of your system now.  Complain how you can already tell this expansion is for the tweens and Asian market (because obviously what brings in the Asian players are environs based on the Orient, right?) and the cute and cuddly feel will be the end of WoW.  Don’t worry you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last, but the sentiment will basically be ignored, but please let it run its course sooner rather than later.  Done? Keyboard broken yet?  Yes?  Perfect.

Now in case you couldn’t tell from my ardent and aggressive use of exclamation points, I’m terribly excited about these PvP announcements.  If I had been lucky enough to be at the convention when the PvP changes were announced I would have howled and cheered with such vigor my voice would squeak like I was thirteen all over again.  Seeing as PvP is essentially the lifeblood of this game anyways (what’s raiding?  Is that where a bunch of people get around to circlejerk to scripted stuff or something?) I have every right to be as excited as a schoolgirl at her first prom (before it actually starts that is). 

I am eight years old again and it is Christmas morning people.

First of all, we will now have Pokemons in our WoW.  Everyone loves pets already, and you’re a liar if you say you don’t.  They are adorable companions who are always there to lend us support and love after we fail miserably or to cheer us up as we farm our daily farm content.  Now they are account-wide and we can send them to their death in mortal combat!  Sure there are only three pets and three abilities, so it is a bit watered down compared to Pokemon, but hot damn if this isn’t the best thing ever to come from this announcement!  Literally everyone and their grandmother has played a Pokemon game of some iteration, and they all love it (even if they won’t admit it, they secretly love it and play it under the covers at night!).  Blizzard had the grace to even copy paste the formula of catchém, levelém, battleém, tradeém.  Not to mention they are so cute your ears will bleed, something even the manliest of men can appreciate similar to the way only a real man can wear pink hot pants and still be the epitome of masculinity.

As if that wasn’t enough there is the second “revolution,” a DOTA battleground.

I see the skepticism in your eyes and in that disgruntled and utterly unbecoming scowl, and I’m right there with ya!  Blizzards history of PvE battlegrounds is less than exemplary.  As much as the bum rush of Alterac Valley is completely boring and unintuitive and not fun in any way, this will be different.  See the word DOTA there?  Familiar with MOBAs at all?  Exactly, when your basis for a battleground is as basic and expounded as that it is literally impossible to fail.  If Blizzard is smart they will make a map that has three lanes, creeps, towers, and a base to kill with some mobs in-between to kill for buffs and such.  It isn’t that difficult, and being a gamer who has easily put in over 1000 hours of playtime in League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth since they launched I couldn’t be more exhilarated!

It’d be even better if they tuned the battleground to actually require all three roles!  Imagine actually needing a warrior to tank that turret, and needing a support (with toned down heals obviously) to clutch heal people in a big fight at a base.  Imagine having the freedom to farm creeps for some goal that isn’t quite clear.  Imagine a PvE/PvP scenario that doesn’t suck!  EXPECTATIONS, MAKE THEM!

Only a small sample of the deadly foes you shall face.

As much as I was expecting to hear about Mists of Pandaria and hate the aesthetics and pandas I have to admit that this is an extremely exciting announcement.  Everywhere on the net utter hate and vitriol is being expelled about this, and it is somewhat depressing.  It seems everyone bashed Cataclysm for being disappointing, not changing things up enough or making it enough like vanilla, etc, and now that Blizzard looks to be making some large changes to the formula the sentiment remains “Oh really?  More of the same, really Blizzard? **** you!” Even if you hate pets, the pet battle system looks to be extremely fleshed out with PvP and PvE choices, seasonal and situational pets and training, trading and statistics. People may end up playing just for this alone, which equates to more legitimate content that everyone complains the game lacks. For once it looks like PvP is actually heading in an interesting direction with a throwback to world interactions (be it world PvP objectives that are actually fun, validly interesting and fun battlegrounds, or the pure bliss of seeing the enemy faction fighting a raid boss and going suicidal trying to gank their healers) and Alliance versus Horde conflict.  Making the Raid Finder the lowest difficulty of raiding means normal and heroics will have better rewards and be harder, so everyone should be happier regarding the raiding scene.  Dungeons will not only be gear-up fests but legitimate challenges via increased difficulty or on a purely competitive time mechanic.  The new class looks to be incredibly unique (no white damage, three resources, melee-based healer) and is applicable to almost every race.  The new continent is on a floating turtle with some beautiful and varied vistas.  PvE content will be more inspired and not require the holy trinity to have fun with friends.  People will leave the cities to go experience content in the world!

In theory.

Any way you look at it, this expansion is promising to diversify and add massive amounts of content and ways to play the game.  Aiming to please everyone is almost always a more alluring in hypothesis form compared to execution, but if anyone can make it happen it has to be Blizzard.

Time to go play some Pokemon Blue and polish up on my skills.


Joseph Sanicky