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    dkirschner's World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (PC)

    [December 5, 2012 11:05:27 AM]
    Bought MoP on Cyber Monday, not really because I wanted to, but because it seemed stupid not to. P started a trial, and I figured what the hell, I'll check it out. I played one day and that was cool. Then P bought it and I didn't follow him. Then I opened my WoW account to see how much time I had on the free trial and my 6-month subscription had auto-renewed a few days earlier. Woops. I canceled it already so no more auto-renewing. Then it turns out, on Cyber Monday, that P's purchase didn't go through somehow the week before. I commented that it was half off for Cyber Monday and he bought it immediately. Then I figured, oh well, I might as well cough up $20 since I just accidentally paid for 6 more months. I'll see how Panda-land is, level one character, and PvP at 90 very casually. How is it so far?

    I haven't leveled all the way yet. I'm just into 89. I picked Nachtluz, my paladin, since he's been my general favorite. It took me a little while to remember how to play, even after playing so long before. They completely redid talents, which I think suck now. They stripped away nearly all choice you had in customizing skills. There used to be the typical RPG talent trees. Now, every 15 levels, you pick 1 of three talents. All three on any of the levels are sometimes functionally equivalent so there really is no choice. For example, the level 15 talents for paladins are all movement speed talents. Do you want a very high movement speed bonus for a short time? A medium movement speed bonus for a longer time? Or a slower movement speed bonus permanently? You see what this means? By level 30, you've essentially made 0 choices and your character is the exact same as all others of your class, except for spec. Basically they rolled most of the old talents into the specializations, so you do get several more things from the beginning. But there's nothing *new.* I couldn't imagine my character being static for 30 levels. Actually I'm looking at them now and the talents are just so boring. The level 30 ones are all variants of a stun/slow. The rationale I've read for this from players is that "everyone used cookie-cutter builds anyway." Bullshit. There were many tough decisions to be made and that made it fun. *Now* there are cookie-cutter builds. One build for each spec and PvE/PvP. Because players have no choice otherwise. Glad I only have to go 85-90. On the one hand, I'm happy because I have a spec that works, but on the other I'm annoyed that I can't tweak much.

    Ok so fair enough. Changes. It's more accessible overall, also with the cute panda bears. I thought it was stupid when I first heard about it, and it's still a little silly for me, but they've done an excellent job with the expansion's content. The Pandarens, as they're called, are drawn up from Chinese culture. They are monks, beer-brewers, do martial arts, and the entire of Pandaria looks like Chinese mythology. The quests are more or less the same thing they've always been in terms of what you have to do. There have been a couple amazing stand-outs though. When Mists of Pandaria is telling stories, they are excellent. This is when quests shine, when they are supported by really good storylines. When quests don't shine it's because the killing x enemies / collecting x things overshadows the story. The fighting is basic, dull, easy, repetitive, etc. by this point. So I appreciate the quests that are more story heavy, and there are more of those in this expansion. Unfortunately Mists of Pandaria dropped a lot of the awesome quests, and the best storyline (so far) in the first zone. There was one quest chain where you had to listen to 3 of your allies recount this mission they went on and why one came back nearly dead. So you talk to the first, and as the NPC narrates with voice, the game puts you in that character's shoes to act out the events s/he is narrating. Then the next NPC takes over the story, and the next, and you play this really cool tale of their expedition and learn what happened to them and what dangers are out there. It was *awesome* but it was right near the beginning and the only time there has been anything deviating so much from the typical quests. I feel like they thought it was a risk to innovate their quests and storytelling and probably didn't want to take it too far, but they really should have.

    There are other cool things now with regards to quests and storylines. First of all, there's a good amount of voice acting now, so for main events you get that instead of just text. Quest chains are more organized and interrelated. At the end of chains now there is sometimes a cinematic! Sometimes too there are what I call "raid training" boss fights at the end that are pretty fun. Some of these spread over multiple quests and are much more involved than anything solo in the past. I like these. They are like unexpected rewards.

    The rest of Pandaria is nice enough. The music is excellent. It's all Eastern and sounds great. The architecture is awesome too. All the buildings are all Chinese-flavored. I mean, I live here in Singapore. There are lots of temples and old Chinese-style buildings. Pandaria's buildings look like them. Really good job nailing the style. The lay of the land isn't as exciting. I haven't found any great zones particularly. There's a cool spot here and there. I think again the first zone was my favorite. It had lots of cool trees...

    I played all the dungeons I could so far. They're fun enough. One takes place in a brewery and I thought was really dumb. But they're just dungeons, same as always. More streamlined, but that's this whole expansion. Everything is simpler, streamlined, quicker. Crafting also got a makeover and is super fast. I maxed out mining almost immediately and learned all the blacksmithing recipes I can really quick.

    That's about it I think. I've just been playing out of rest experience every day. I suppose I'll hit 90 in another week and see what the new battlegrounds are like. I've had some good open world PvP battles while questing. I can't imagine anymore playing on a PvE or RP server. I'd be bored out of my mind just questing. I like that horde try to kill me because I usually kick the crap out of anyone who touches me at my level. There was one hunter though who I couldn't touch. But my best grudge matches were with another paladin and with a warlock. Both of them we went at it for like an hour, across multiple zones, while doing quests, camping one another, trying to aggro enemies onto one another. In the end the warlock whispered me from an Alliance character, added me as a friend, and said I made his day. We talked for a little bit.

    Oh, there's this website called that P had been using to do cross-server raids last time he was playing. They're having a fun-run on Monday which we signed up to do. I've never done one before and am excited. Everyone makes a level 1 human on a particular server, and there going to be event organizers there taking names for registration. They'll tell us where we have to run to, and you just have this level 1 human death race to see who can make it to the goal first. I expect to die a lot, but also have this strange notion that I think I can win. New ways to play an old game!
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    dkirschner's World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 17 November, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 2 May, 2013

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Still fun. Looking forward to exploring and taking it easy this time around. -------------- Think I'm tapped out for good. Besides writing about the game.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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