World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
On September 25th, Blizzard released the fourth expansion for their hit MMORPG, World of Warcraft. This expansion, titled Mists of Pandaria, takes players on an epic journey to venture into the mysterious continent of Pandaria. Quite honestly, I was quite hesitant about buying this new expansion. I am a huge fan of the Warcraft franchise, but I did not enjoy the previous expansion, Cataclysm, and was worried that this expansion would make me fall out of love with this franchise. Surprisingly, enough the new expansion turned out quite terrific.
This review is coming out a while after the game released, and to be completely honest it is because Blizzard has added so many new features into the game that it was impossible to try it all out at once. Of course, the level cap was raised to 90 and players were able to level through amazing zones, and eventually group up to go through dungeons, raids and battlegrounds that were equally as amazing. This was only the tip of the iceberg, however. Also added to the game was a new Scenario feature, which allows players to run three man instances, which allow Blizzard to tell stories that are not able to be told in five-man content. Also added to the game was a new Pet Battle System. Though it is exactly the same thing as Pokemon, it has definitely been a huge hit with players, giving them something to do with the multitudes of pets that they have collected over the years. One of the big things Blizzard said about this game is that they wanted to achieve was allowing players to play how they wanted, and with so many new features, they have definitely reached that goal.
Blizzard has also out done themselves this time with involving players with the story of this expansion. Unlike Cataclysm, this expansion gave players an entire continent to explore and learn the story of. They have also made it easier for players to understand what is going on, with quests that help tell a more enriching story. Another big part of the story telling is also the new scenario feature. Though they do not offer powerful rewards, players who are interested in story driven instances will certainly love these. One of the biggest reasons people still play this ancient MMO is because of the story behind it, and Blizzard has definitely improved upon their story telling this expansion.
Though this expansion seems to already be becoming a favorite of many players, it is still not perfect. Where the expansion falls short is both the graphics and the combat. Their has been a lot of talk about updating how the game looks, in specific the character models, but it has yet to become a reality. Similarly, it was suggested that the new class, the Monk, would not have an auto-attack feature. This idea was very exciting because many who tested it said that it makes the combat feel better, but was difficult to balance around, so the idea was scratched. World of Warcraft is an old game, and it is starting to show through how it looks and feels, however, this did not stop Blizzard from making Mists of Pandaria an excellent expansion with plenty to do and an awesome story.