I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on this blog before, but I was an avid WoW player for many years. I’ve been in the casual guilds, the hardcore raiding scene (ran a few of them myself), dabbled in competitive PVP and dropped countless hours in to leveling alts on both factions across 7 or 8 different servers.
When the previous expansion, Cataclysm, released in 2010, I was beyond stoked to level my Warlock (my class of choice since vanilla – that’s the old, original WoW prior to expansions) through the new zones and jump in to raiding at 85. Unfortunately I found Cataclysm to be a very lackluster experience and threw in the towel a little over a year ago in July of 2011.
It had been over a year since I last logged in and in a weird twist of fate I saw the trailer for Mists of Pandaria at the Borderlands 2 midnight release party. My girlfriend and I looked at each other and faked a scoff, but later that night we talked about the lack of co-op options currently available and wanted more than Borderlands 2 to sit around and play together. It’s not secret and I’ve said it a hundred times – We live in the absolute middle of nowhere. We both missed that social interaction with other like-minded human beings and still had friends that played the game. We had a conversation about possibly giving WoW another shot just to have something to do in our spare time and the next day we were both online leveling new characters on a new server.
Fast forward a week to today, the official launch of Mists of Pandaria. I have since leveled a Troll Druid to 85 and jumped in to the expansion in an attempt to at least hit 86, but that wasn’t happening. With the cross-realm zones it was a complete clusterfuck (for lack of a better term) and nearly impossible to complete many of the quests without feeling like I had to rush from one quest to another just to get out of the Jade Forest as fast as possible. My girlfriend’s laptop doesn’t run as fast as my gaming PC so rather than deal with the crowd, the lag and the frustration that comes with WoW expansion launch days, I logged off of my Moonkin and created the dreaded cliche – a Pandaren Monk.
Cataclysm introduced two new races to WoW – the Goblins for the Horde and the Worgen for the Alliance – and after playing through both scenarios I can honestly say that I hate them both. The Goblin starting zone, while interesting, takes an eternity to play through. In the amount of time it took to complete the introductory quest chain, ending up around level 11, I could have been at least level 25. The Worgen zone looked fantastic, but I found the quest chain to be quite boring. It also didn’t help that their casting animations make them look like furry drowning victims.
With that being said, I had very low expectations of the new Pandaren race. Pandaren are interesting in the sense that you start off completely neutral with the Horde and Alliance. This means that you cannot join a guild or whisper other players who aren’t neutral Pandaren until you completely finish the opening scenario. It took about 3 1/2 hours to finish it up, choose Horde and complete the final 3 or 4 quests in Orgimmar, but I wasn’t really impressed. Maybe I’m hard to please since I have a lot of experience and attachment to WoW, but the storyline for the Pandaren was such a slow burn that I kept having to talk myself in to finishing it up instead of logging back over to my Moonkin. Talk to this spirit, do a fetch and kill quest, talk to that spirit, repeat.. this went on for over three hours.
The leveling zone looked great and the Pandaren themselves are easily the most visually impressive race that you can choose from. Hell, I’m even intrigued by the Monk class as a new hybrid to choose from instead of a Pally or Druid. But the beauty of the new zone was completely drowned out by the lack of creativity in the entire quest chain. Starting a Pandaren was just as boring as the Goblin, but I’m glad I finished it up because I can’t wait to see how the Brewmaster spec tanks at higher levels.
After about 6 or 7 hours of playing around with Mists of Pandaria, my girlfriend and I took a break so she could farm the new ore and make entirely too much gold on the auction house and I hopped off so I could write this blog post about my first impressions with the expansion. The Jade Forest has cleared out a bit as far as traffic goes, so it’s much easier to sit back and enjoy the game with my Moonkin. Once I get a little more time with the Brewmaster Monk I’m sure I’ll have another MoP Journal.
Anyone out there a WoW player? What do you think of Mists so far?