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Theo’s Thoughts #23: Has MoP Saved WoW?

The new Mists of Pandaria has been part of many jokes since it was announced. Whether it be the similarity the game shares with Dream Works movie Kung-Fu Panda, or the fact that the new pet battles system is an exact rip-off of Pokemon, both players and non-players found it quite easy to make fun of the new expansion. But all joking aside, has Mists of Pandaria done its task? Has it saved World of Warcraft?

First of all, what do I mean by save? I am not trying to say World of Warcraft was dying. Though it was continually losing subscribers, it still had way more then the next competing MMO. However, it did look like the game was in trouble. Cataclysm was a subpar expansion, and many players were ready to quit if Mists was the same way. One poor expansion and Blizzard could come back, but two terrible expansions would be devastating to the game. Mists of Pandaria needed to be good, for Blizzards sake.

So, has it saved World of Warcraft? Looking strictly at numbers, it seems so. Blizzard announced that after the games launch, subscription numbers rose to over 10 million. This is expected, however, with the launch of a new expansion. Players want to see what is new. The real question is will Blizzard be able to keep these players playing?

In my opinion, yes they will be. Many players quit during Cataclysm because of a lack of new content, but this is the opposite for Mists of Pandaria. With the new Pet Battle System, as well other cool features, players have much more to do outside of the typical raiding and battlegrounds. This is also one of the smoothest expansions World of Warcraft has seen. As is expected there were some problems with balance and gameplay, but Blizzard has been quick on their feet to apply hot fixes to the game. It was also smart on Blizzards part to stagger the release of the raid content. If all of the raids were released on the same day, players would blow through them in a couple of weeks, then have nothing left to do. However, this system allows players to still get new content every couple of weeks, thus making players continue to play longer.

Finally, it seems that Blizzard is not yet satisfied with what players have to do. Patch 5.1 is already up on the Public Test Realms. This is quite the surprise, as the expansion has barely been out a month, but this is also smart on Blizzards part. To the best of my knowledge, their will be no raid in Patch 5.1, but there will be a lot of new content for players to try out. It seems that Blizzard is starting to favor having small patches that come out much quicker. This is a great idea, as it will keep players logging in more, if they know new content is just around the corner. So, long story short, this may not be the greatest expansion ever, but Blizzard definitely seems in control. Mists of Pandaria seems to have saved World of Warcraft without a doubt.

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