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World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria. © Blizzard Entertainment

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, the fourth expansion set in the franchise. It was developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment and the game hit the stores on September 25, 2012. The game continues the narrative in Cataclysm and raises the level to 90, up from 85, while also introducing a new character class and new game modes.

Key facts about World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria

  • World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria is the fourth expansion in the Warcraft series, after World of Warcraft Cataclysm and before World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor.
  • The level cap is increased from 85 to 90, and the monk is revealed as the new character class.
  • World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria adds hundreds of new quests, instances and dungeons that players can complete for better loot.
  • The vanity pet battle system is improved, with new features being added on top of the ones revealed in the previous expansion.
  • World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria introduces Scenarios and the Challenge Modes, while replacing the usual talent tree with tiered talents.

The World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria games

In World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria players start by choosing a character belonging to one of the two factions, the Alliance and the Horde. The first 20 levels can be played for free, but after that players need to pay for a subscription to continue their adventure in Azeroth. New subscribers are invited to choose the server which goes by the name of realm and select a class for their characters.

Most of the World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria games are played on PVP servers, where players can attack their peers from opposing factions. Except for the handful of restricted areas, combat is possible across all high level maps, for a more authentic gaming experience. PVP role-playing servers are virtually identical with the distinction that players need to abide by certain rules specific to RP games.

A PVE realm appeals to those who prefer to dwell only on questing, completing instances and later on raids. The emphasis is on prevailing in high difficulty dungeons by working together with teammates from the same guild. Equally challenging, PVE servers also come in the RP flavor and those who choose these versions will have to role-play their characters.

What is World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria is the fourth expansion in the World of Warcraft series and takes players to the ancient realm of Pandaria. The MMORPG increases the level, introduces new skills and a new character class, while inviting players to complete hundreds of new quests. The Alliance and Horde are on the brink of conflict when they both send expeditionary forces to the new continent in search for answers. A new evil lurks on its mysterious shores, but the answers await adventurers who are not frightened by the mists.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria. © Blizzard Entertainment

Gameplay of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria

The World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria gameplay doesn’t stray too far from the game mechanics that made the previous installment popular. However, the introduction of monks as a new class presents the fans with new combat options and adds a new layer of complexity to PVP. The new class has three specializations, which go by the name of Brewmaster, Windwalker and Mistweaver. The first is used for tanking, the second corresponds to me damage and the third is for healers, making it an all-round class.

Monks use leather equipment and players can choose any race except for worgen and goblins to play this class. The vast majority of players choose the default versions of the Pandaren, the newly introduced race, a neutral one that works with both the Horde and the Alliance. These characters will remain faction-less for a significant chunk of the campaign, until they eventually have to choose one of the groups.

Massive content expansion

The gameplay of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria also benefits from the introduction of new dungeons and instances. The most popular ones were the Temple of the Jade Serpent, Stormstout Brewery and Shado-Pan Monastery which can be completed on normal and heroic difficulty. As for the raids, they can be played in heroic, normal and the looking for raid version, which was introduced to simplify the mission of those seeking a party.

The introduction of Challenge Modes requires players to finish dungeons as fast as possible to unlock rewards and medals. Scenarios can also be played on both normal and heroic difficulty and unlike dungeons, they are short stories that present successful players with loot. It is not necessary to queue for a role when signing up for scenarios, therefore the waiting time has been greatly reduced. Flexible Raids were introduced in patch 5.4 and they allow players to form parties of less than 10 or 25 players, with scalable difficulty. They are more difficult than Raid Finders but easier than Normal or Heroic modes.

The pet battle system was also revamped and for the first time in the World of Warcraft series, players can use noncombat vanity pets in fights. The winners capture the pets of the vanquished and add them to their collection, up to a maximum of 25. There are a total of 10 possible pet classes, with unique strengths and weaknesses and all the details can be found in the in the Pet Journal.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria. © Blizzard Entertainment

Plot of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria

After the demise of Deathwing Warchief Garrosh Hellscream returned to his initial plans of destroying the Alliance and the war is reignited. In the wake of a violent naval skirmish, the surviving troops of both factions wash ashore the lost continent of Pandaria. The Alliance and Horde set their bases of operations here and start searching for an ancient mogu artifact that goes by the name of Divine Bell.

Warchief Garrosh Hellscream claim it, but heroes of the alliance managed to destroy it in the end to level the playing field. Meanwhile, tensions erupt within the Horde, as the Darkspear trolls and the blood elves fail to maintain their important role within the faction. As the mortal armies fight each other, the Thunder King rises and tries to restore his dominion over the entire continent. With the aid of the local Shado-pan, the combined armies of the Alliance and Horde manage to defeat the ancient god.

Garrosh Hellscream’s ambitions don’t falter and he doesn’t hesitate to execute all the dissidents within the horde. Thrall and Chieftain Vol'jin team up with the Alliance and together they start the Siege of Orgrimmar, trying to destroy the bloodthirsty Warchief once and for all. After a string of bloody fights, they eventually succeed, Vol'jin becomes the new warchief of the Horde and the conflict between the warring factions is temporarily suspended.

Development of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria was rumored in July 2011 and officially announced a few months later. The game had a collector’s edition and players who chose to subscribe also received in-game portraits for Diablo III and StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. The game was made available for beta testing one year later and the opening cinematic was presented to the media in August 2012.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria. © Blizzard Entertainment

Where can I download World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria?

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria can be downloaded from Blizzard Entertainment by those who have the previous installments. Whether you are the proud owner of World of Warcraft, Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King or Cataclysm, you can upgrade your product. In-game portraits are no longer available as they were only offered to those who purchased the game back in 2012.

What are others saying about World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria?

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria was celebrated as a slight improvement compared to Cataclysm and for introducing new features. Nearly 3,000,000 copies were sold and more copies were sold in digital format and in retail, while the number of subscription also increased. The introduction of Scenarios, Challenge Modes and Flexible Raids were appreciated by both players and reviewers. The somehow repetitive quests and predictable narrative were bashed by some reviewers.

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria tournaments

The game didn’t change much in the PVP system and failed to prevent the shrinking interest for Arena competitions. World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria tournaments were largely played at Blizzcon, with two, three or five players competing against similar teams. Meanwhile, other Blizzard games such as StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm thrived.

My rating of World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria reminded me of the luxurious jungles of Strangleton Valley and its diverse fauna and flora. The quests are pretty exciting and developers extracted an astonishing amount from this expansion’s plot. The scenario and challenge modes are a great addition, but I’m not a big fan of oversimplifying the raids and reducing human interaction. Overall, the game feels like another small step forward for the franchise without being the giant leap forward expected by many fans, including myself. It deserves a solid review score of 9 out of 10.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Score
9
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