Mists of Pandaria

MMO-Champion has a huge writeup of the next expansion for WoW.  The quick summary.

  • LFR now lets you roll per boss, individually.  If you are in the top 30%, then you have a chance at loot designed for you.  If the boss doesn’t have loot for your class or you lose the roll, you get cash.  Sort of how TOR does it.  Should be in the LFG tool as well…
  • Can now have 11 characters.  Makes sense since they are adding a new class.
  • AoE looting is in game.  Thank god.
  • The proposed item squish of a few months back is out.  I can’t see how this would have been balanced for the 1-70 bracket.  This does mean additional system requirements for MoP due to the huge calculations.
  • Race model updates aren’t in.  You’re still stuck with a 7 year old Dwarf and 5 year old Blood Elf.  This really needs to change…
  • 9 heroics, 3 raids with 14 bosses, 2 world bosses.  This is good.
  • Scenarios are world PvE quests (instanced though) that can work with only DPS.  Sort of how Instant Adventures work in Rift.
  • Challenge modes are timed versions of dungeons with stat caps.  All bronze gives an achievement, all silver gives transmogrification gear, all gold gives a nice mount.
  • Cloud Serpents are the Panda’s mounts.  Everyone can get them through dailies.
  • Farmville is in the game.  Sort of.  You can run your own farm.  Why this is in and not new models is beyond me.
  • Warlocks get big changes and new pets.  They were in dire need.
  • More mounts, less palette swaps.  Kinda tired of seeing the same dragon model everywhere.
  • 7 zones, given the progress path more similar to WotLK.  Less linear.
  • 1 arena, 2 BGs.  Ehh…they need to change the size of the BGs first.
  • Pet battles are casual. Only tracks wins, each pet can use 3 of 6 skills.  100 pets available.
  • Pets are shared across the account.  Not sure if Companions are the same though (I hope!)
  • Everyone but Goblin/Worgen can be a monk.
  • Monks are melee heavy.  Tanks, DPS and Healers need to be in melee range.  This is to counterbalance the 3 roles in one class I guess.  I am going to guess most will tank/dps as a healer in melee range is plain stupid.

There’s some good stuff coming as it seems to be a throwback to the rather open world of Vanilla WoW.  Cataclysm’s focus was split on the 1-60 world and the new stuff, with some pretty crappy side effects.  This time it’s 100% on new content so here’s hoping the actual mechanics of it all works better.

Most interesting to me though are the quality of life improvements.  There is more than the gear grind.  Pet battles, farming, pet acquisition, scenarios, challenges are all new items that should fill in the time gap for the casual-minded player.  AoE looting is a big one for me  too.  Finally, the LFR loot system should be the default group loot system for boss drops.  This will remove the Disenchant option though and therefore increase the price of enchanting as a whole.

On that last item, there’s no news on crafting, which has huge bloat right now.  Assuming the same path as previous expansions, you’ll train to 600 skill and everything from 1-575 will be vendor trash.  That’s one hell of a hurdle for alts/new players.  Maybe add some transmog gear along the road…

All in all though, it’s a decent path.  We’ll see in a few months how it pans out.

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