Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: [Reviewed: PC], OS X
Release date: September 25, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, MMORPG
Rating: ESRB: T
The Fourth expansion to the popular MMO World of Warcraft, a game which – arguably – catapulted the MMO into mainstream gaming, Mists of Pandaria released last week to a mixed opinion. As an ex –World of Warcraft player who hasn’t played since before the last expansion, Cataclysm, dropped, for this particular review I sequestered the help of a friend and current WoW player to help me wrap my head around what this expansion changes. Enter Spaztic.
For those who want the tl;dr of this review here’s the basic concept: Pandas.
Now, the game mechanics are still very much the same, though a few things have been moved around such as item slots and a revamping to the skill system, but generally speaking this game is pretty much the same as the last time I played it. Only this time, it feels more like a version of Kung Fu Panda than World of Warcraft. Mists of Pandaria keeps to the storyline and mythology of the World of Warcraft games, but it doesn’t seem to keep up with the atmosphere or general direction of the game, leaving many to wonder if the game itself is coming to an end. But let’s not rely solely on my thoughts, let’s talk to Spaztic, who has been playing World of Warcraft since its beta.
Doc :So what do you think of Mists of Pandaria?
Spaztic: It’s hard to tell. Some specs are new but most are re-tooled old things.
Doc: You said they have taken skills that were previously passive and made them something you have to put points into, and vice versa, right?
Spaztic: Yeah, kinda. Skills have been moved around to try to mix things up, but nothing really has changed about the game. Instead of typical talents, where you had points where you put them into a system, every 3 levels you choose one of three. Its cool, it’s nice to have something new, but the original system was so much better because you had options.
It’s hard to really give Mists of Pandaria a fair chance. The latest expansion to World of warcraft, there isn’t much of a mechanic change to warrant a different review than the first World of Warcraft, despite one obvious difference.
Spaztic: I don’t trust blizzard to make innovative games anymore. I’ve been playing this game since launch. I played the beta. Blizzard LOVED this game. They put a lot into this game, but they’ve given up. Blizzard can no longer do anything with it. So they add new features like the pet battle system , or the time dungeon system, but we know they’ve reached the event horizon with this game.
Is WoW coming to an end? The game that changed MMO’s seems to be dying a hard death, and with a new Blizzard game, code-named Titan, on the horizon, the future of WoW looks grim.
Titan, is a new property, meaning it isn’t part of a series but is a whole new game. It is, as Spaztic so eloquently put it, “Blizzard’s MMO killer.”
Doc: So what would you say to Blizzard if you could?
Spaztic: Stop giving us crap and give us what we want. Mists of Pandaria should have been the Emerald Dream. It should have been the final chapter where we get to go into the emerald dream and explore the background, the thing that started it all.
It should have been, the world is going to change again and here is your new threat…and also pandas. It seems like the whole game is about pandas when pandas are a small part of the lore.
I think Titan will hit in 2013 and WoW will go free to play a couple of months before that, it should at least, they’ve been working on it for years. There haven’t been any real indicators, but ive been playing since before launch and I kind of seeing it coming. I love the game, when it goes free to play im going to play it again, and I hate that this is what it’s become.
I get the new places, the new zones are lush and beautiful but they are still based on the same engine. Nothing has changed, this game is still entirely mud based. Nothing has changed. They are selling you an idea and that’s it.
The pet battle thing, kinda cool, I love Pokemon so im going to try it out, but I feel like they are putting out more content to fund titan and as soon as its ready, WoW will go free to play.
So, it’s really hard to judge Mists of pandaria as a separate entity than a game that vastly overshadows it as an expansion. The UI’s, while different, are essentially the same. As is gameplay, graphics and sound. The environments look very much the same with the exception that this game no longer feels like World of Warcraft. It feels more like a Kung Fu Panda interpretation of the game than something that belongs in the expansion list of a game as enigmatic as World of Warcraft.
As it is an expansion it does offer the normal things that expansions offer. The level cap has been moved up, there are new quests, instances, dungeons and areas to explore. New and stronger enemies, and of course a new playable race. It’s essentially the same stuff that’s been going on in the past expansions, but this time it’s very clear Blizzard is runnin out of ideas. Once you get out of the starting area in Mists of Pandaria, it looks like normal WoW. You can visit all the other towns and complete all of those quests but really there is nothing much to change with this expansion.
So I guess the jury is out. Mists of Pandaria is a very weak addition to the game, but for those who play Wow religiously, the new features and new quests might be enough to keep them hanging on until Titan drops. Maybe even after. If WoW went free to play, would you try it out?
The following rating is based solely off the expansion and not World of Warcraft individually. The scores are a reflection of the quality of changes in the game:
Overall Rating: 2/5