mists of pandaria

Official Site: Mists of Pandaria
Relevance: The fourth World of Warcraft expansion.
Launch Date: September 25, 2012

See: World of Warcraft

WoW Factor: Why are we going back to factional squabbles after the end of Antorus?

Antorus is out now, and if you want to see the cinematic that ends the very long-running story about the Burning Legion and Sargeras, well, that’s easy to do. It’s kind of spoiler-filled, though, so I’m not going to be talking about it here in any detail beyond mentioning that Azeroth does not exactly end things without a major impact. And needless to say, people have already started asking “why is it that World of Warcraft’s next expansion is going back to factional squabbles when this just happened?”

It’s a question with lots of good answers. So I want to dive into exactly those. In fact, you can neatly divide the answers up into three categories: The anthropic principle, real-life parallels, and the change of flavors. And it’s not that one or the other is the “real” answer or the “right” one; it’s that all three of them combine perfectly to make factional squabbles a perfectly reasonable next destination after the cosmic invasion of the last expansion.

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Global Chat: World of Warcraft BlizzCon reactions

Whether you play it now or not, chances are that your paths have crossed with World of Warcraft in the past. This is true of pretty much every MMO blogger I know, and as such, all of them have emerged over the weekend to offer their thoughts on BlizzCon’s classic server and Battle for Azeroth announcements. So what do they have to say?

On World of Warcraft Classic:

“Meanwhile, a lot of what Blizz said about WoW Classic was set in the future tense.  It sounds like they had a small group do some research and found a viable path forward.  Everything else, however, seemed to couched in ‘we will,’ ‘we’re going to,’ and ‘we want to.'” (The Ancient Gaming Noob)

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WoW Factor: World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth has a weak conflict for a strong focus

The last time I saw this many people asking “why?” about a new World of Warcraft expansion was at the announcement of Mists of Pandaria. I agreed then, too; the idea of bringing in the Pandaren to the game seemed to be slipping into territory that just didn’t feel appealing to me. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea, a fact which is not helped at all by the fact that the very next expansion was so creatively bankrupt the team seems to have thrown every good idea at once into Legion.

Really, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes of Warlords of Draenor development, but that seems like a plausible theory.

So, yes, Battle for Azeroth. That is the actual title of the next expansion, one which feels almost as if it was cobbled together by drawing a few random words that usually get used with the game and hoping they assembled a coherent sentence. It seems, at face value, like a really dumb idea, especially since the very basic premise is one that you know is absolutely not going to be resolved by the end of the expansion.

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World of Warcraft Classic starts hiring for its team

It may be a ways away, but World of Warcraft Classic is on the road to becoming a reality. Blizzard posted at least two job openings for project team members as part of the effort to create the legacy version of the game.

While not revealing any specifics about the older version of the MMO, Blizzard’s listing is still a thrill to read: “Travel back in time to a World of Warcraft before the Mists of Pandaria parted, and before Deathwing broke the world. When Blackrock Mountain, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and the floating citadel of Naxxramas were the most difficult challenges in Azeroth. The World of Warcraft team is working on bringing that world back to our players with Classic WoW, and we need engineers to help us bring the past into the present.”

Blizzard told fans at BlizzCon that WoW Classic would be a massive effort and that the studio was committed to making it happen and keeping it running as long as the main MMO operates.

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Massively Overthinking: Hopes and fears for BlizzCon 2017

Tomorrowday, BlizzCon will be upon us, and this year we’re expecting a full reveal of the new expansion for World of Warcraft, still the most lucrative MMORPG in the world. It’s always a fun angle for our team to cover WoW, since to us, it’s just another MMO among hundreds, albeit an outsized one. Indeed, we have writers who strongly dislike everything about it and consider it directly or indirectly responsible many of the genre’s woes. Even so, there’s no denying that whatever WoW does next is a big deal for the MMO genre, even if you’re not a fan.

For this edition of Massively Overthinking – a bit of a special one for the site, as today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Massively-that-was – I’ve asked the staff to outline their hopes and fears for BlizzCon, for WoW and the studio’s other games, and especially what they want to see in the expansion itself!

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WoW Factor: Speculating about World of Warcraft’s next expansion

It’s really, really weird to me to think that we’re getting an announcement about a new World of Warcraft expansion next week. Admittedly, we haven’t been told the details yet, but let’s be real here: The only conclusion if we don’t get an expansion announcement is that the game is shutting down. Everything has been set up to pull that trigger, everyone’s expecting it, we all know it. And we’ve even seen rumors, datamining, and hoaxes flying about faster than you can say “someone photoshop up a Murloc in Tier 2 Warrior gear.”

Some of the speculation is, of course, complete hogwash. “The next expansion will bring back talent trees!” “The next expansion is about Jaina as a dreadlord!” “The next expansion will have Blue Mage!” But some of it is, at least, stuff that’s been hinted at. So with a week or so to go, let’s take a look at what we know is on the table as being possible, being plausible, and being reasonable.

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Perfect Ten: Why no one should recommend World of Warcraft ever

Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.

One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.

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World of Warcraft shakes up PvP battlegrounds with bi-weekly events

To keep things interesting in World of Warcraft’s PvP battlegrounds, the team recently implemented bi-weekly events that add interesting new twists in these familiar places.

From now through May 23rd, the Deepwind Dunk turns Pandaria’s battleground into a basketball-style contest. Grab the ball and go in for a dunk back at your home base to win it for your team. After that, the Tarren Mill vs. Southshore event is returning on May 30th, followed by a crazy 15v15 arena battle event on June 13th.

Looking ahead to Patch 7.2.5, a new solo challenge will task players with guarding the time-traveling dragon Chromie from being assassinated. Do so well, and all sorts of transmogs will be yours! Check out what the instance looks like after the break.

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #12-7

It’s starting to get serious now.

As we well know, people are highly opinionated about everything, but when it comes to music, there seems to be a (pardon the pun) higher pitch to the passion of those arguments. I’ve been doing an MMO music podcast for over three years now, and believe me when I say that there have been countless times when myself and my cohosts were aghast when someone hated a tune we liked and vice-versa, even though we shouldn’t have been surprised.

So as we head into the top 10 of the best MMO theme songs, as voted on by the Massively OP community, expect a lot of opinions and controversies. You may not like the picks, the order, or the comments, but hopefully one or two of these will make you happy (and there’s always room to be pleasantly surprised by a track you never heard before!). Suck it up and jump with me!

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The Daily Grind: How should MMOs repurpose older content?

Recently World of Warcraft introduced Mists of Pandaria timewalking dungeons, which allowed me (believe it or not) to experience these dungeons for the very first time. What can I say? I wasn’t there for this era.

I actually think that the whole timewalking concept is pretty neat because it always bugs me that MMOs seem to abandon older content when they keep adding new zones, new dungeons, and new expansions. There’s so much potential to reuse areas and systems, and one would think that such repurposing would be cost-effective for the dev team as well.

What do you think? How should MMOs repurpose older content? What would you like to see happen with the long-neglected areas in your game?

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World of Warcraft tests dino madness, has its very first Mists of Pandaria timewalking event

Do you believe in coincidences? How about meticulously planned cross-media marketing synergies? Either way, prepare to have your mind oh-so-slightly blown as World of Warcraft tests its Un’Goro Madness event just a week after Blizzard revealed the upcoming Un’Goro-themed expansion for Hearthstone!

The micro-holiday, which isn’t scheduled to arrive in WoW until this August, will populate Un’Goro crater with giant elite dinosaurs from all over the game. During the event, players are supposed to hunt down and kill these majestic beasts for their “adaptations.” These adaptations give players strange temporary abilities, such as being unstuck in time and secreting toxins.

It should also be noted that today marks the very first run of the brand-new Mists of Pandaria timewalking dungeon events. Players can use the unique timewalking system to level scale to old dungeons and enjoy appropriate rewards.

If you don’t mind spoilers, you can get an early preview of the Un’Goro event after the jump!

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WoW Factor: Where do we go after WoW Legion?

So at the risk of being dinged for spoiling the current World of Warcraft expansion, let me say this: Azeroth is not going to be destroyed or completely overtaken by the Burning Legion. That’s a given. The threat certainly feels real, and I hope more than anything that when our victory comes it feels like a natural outgrowth of the story rather than an arbitrary “well, the story says you win right now so the Burning Legion just got dumb,” but it’s pretty much a given that we’re going to win out in the end. The basic premise of the game doesn’t work otherwise.

The question, of course, is where we go next.

A lot of people have been speculating whether Legion is meant to be the final expansion for the game for precisely that reason, and while I think that’s obviously wrong on the face of it (it’d be silly to turn down that money, after all), the point stands that from a narrative perspective, this is it. This is the big confrontation that has been built up since Warcraft III, and if you have no doubt that there will be a next expansion, it still raises the question of “where does it go?”

Let’s explore the possibilities.

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World of Warcraft devs on droughts, team size, and lessons learned

Gamespot has a new interview out with four members of the “300 strong” World of Warcraft live team this week, and while the quartet bring up micro-holidays — kind of a lot — there’s also a bit of insight on what the team has learned over the years. Unsurprisingly, they don’t like the word “drought.”

“We know and remember well the narrative or the sentiment from Warlords, where people were very happy at the start and then after that, there were the concerns we heard, that you described, about droughts,” Class Designer Jay Gill says. Senior Designer Paul Kubit explained that the team is trying to address those criticisms with content.

“When working on WoW, we constantly learned from the past expansions–we learned things from Cataclysm going into Pandaria, Pandaria into Warlords, and so on. The big one that we learned from Warlords is we just need to do more patches. We need to keep the game vibrant with content, and the way we do that is by making sure, every couple months or so, we have something new to do. And that’s the point of these .5 patches–it’s to have, even if it’s not the giant raid tier and outdoor farming zone, something new that you can play.”

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