Mists of Pandaria: Much Love (and Some Tears)

The day that many of us were waiting for finally arrived not too long ago — Mists of Pandaria was released with a relatively pain-free launch, something that’s rather new for Blizzard. It was rather nice to not have to deal with a throng of angry posts on dear_gnome asking about why we can’t log in (you know, the question that, after nearly ten years, you would think people would tire of asking after an expansion launch or major content patch).

This expansion introduced the Pandaren as a playable race, brought Chen Stormstout back into the picture, gave us access to the new Monk class, and even opened up a new continent for the 85-90 run.  Pet Battles have given us yet another distraction — in-game Pokémon! — along with farms to tend and more fishing to do than ever before.

It has also introduced a few moments of misty eyes for this lady, I tell you what.

First off, as a wee Pandaren wandering the aptly-named Wandering Isle (which is a giant turtle named Shen-zin Su), I found myself sniffling during the chat with the massive creature whose very life the Panda-people rely upon.  Damn it, Mat, you are not supposed to want to cry over a virtual turtle, no matter how cool he is.

Okay, fine, with the sniffles aside I continued the zone to completion and then the decision on whether to go Horde or Alliance snuck up on me.  Naturally I went Horde, because this is all on Thorium Brotherhood (I haven’t even bothered with Wyrmrest Accord) and I’m slowly re-building the mass of 85s I had there.  I thought, “Oh wow, this’ gonna be cool — but how exactly are they going to work this bit?  Teleportation?  SUDDENLY!HORDE?”

Nope, the cinematic showed my character flying off in a balloon in yet another tear-jerking farewell to that massive turtle — oh cripes I’m doing it again — and it faded to black, then caught back up to my character standing in front of Orgrimmar.  The Pandaren introduction to the Horde really demonstrates the rather dangerous atmosphere that this faction has at the moment, but Garrosh’s dickheadedness will be covered in another post. ;)

I haven’t had the time to delve too deeply into Pandaria itself.  My warrior is still in The Jade Forest, as is my rogue, but I’m enjoying the quests when I do get a chance to prod at them.  Pandaria is fun, it’s gorgeous, and I look forward to playing there when I get a chance.  I haven’t played Guild Wars 2 in a few weeks (then again, it’ll wait because it’s not subscription-based).  I’m looking forward to progressing in the story and eventually doing the whole thing on my Alliance paladin, too, if I manage to keep him on that faction.

Also?  I really, really like the Pandaren.

Pandaren are essentially fuzzy, balanced Dwarves.  They love good food, good brew, and helping others; they are just generally good people and are such a refreshing change from how things generally are in World of Warcraft.  The women use a body type that is similar to mine and I am quite happy to play that.  Their emotes are adorable… and I already have a handful of the little fuzzballs: my 85 rogue, a hunter, and a mage.

Krensythe Manashaper is now Lin-Si Wyrmclaw, purveyor of magical artifacts and knowledge. Sssssh.

I will be rolling a Pandaren Shaman eventually.  :P

Don’t get me started on Pet Battles.  That may wind up being a post of its own.

In summary, though:  so far, so good.  Mists of Pandaria is shaping up to be a decent expansion, better than what I was expecting, and I’m quite happy to have the chance to prod at it.