Posted by Raine Hutchens on Oct 5, 2012

Mists of Pandaria – My Experience So Far

Mists of Pandaria has been out for little over a week now, and while we’re not review-ready yet I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts so far on the new expansion. About a month ago I had gotten to a point where I almost despised WoW. I felt like I was doing nothing but catching up to my friends, and especially my wife since she was able to play a lot more than I could. Everything was becoming boring and stale. I got to the point where I was ready to walk away. Like a lot of other players I felt like Cataclysm, while adding the new races, didn’t offer too much more to the gameplay. I became frustrated and wanted to just put everything down.

Then everything changed.

A new patch released for the game that added tons of new features and a completely revised talent system. I was reluctant at first, but I gave the new patch a shot and it was the best thing I could have done. Almost instantly I found the love for the game I once had and plunged back into the deep. It felt like each character received some sort of resurrection that made them playable and fun in their own brand new light.

So I was once again hooked. I didn’t feel the urge to push each of my characters to cap. I was able to enjoy each of my characters on their own. All these new abilities and features really gave me a lot to work with. Not to mention, I was able to become more fluid in my playstyle. I picked things back up and ran with them, leveling my lower characters and having a lot of fun.

Then all of a sudden the time was upon me and Mists of Pandaria had released. I was shuffling things back and forth and managed to get my wife a copy for an early birthday present. I then promised myself I wouldn’t play any until I got my own copy. Well, that backfired on me in a big way. Everyone I knew was talking about how amazing the expansion was, and a lot of players were actually returning to the game. Now while many may think that the Pandaren are just a gimmick, I think they’re a great addition to the game. I think they bring a lot of lore and style to the game that we’ve been missing for a long time.

Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and I broke down. I went to my local game store and managed to pick up a copy of the Collector’s Edition of Mists, and it was the last one they had. It’s a pretty cool edition – it comes with an art book, soundtrack, copy of the game, and a really cool DVD of some behind-the-scenes footage. You also get a new in-game mount and pet to add to your collection. I slapped the code into my Battle.net account and was ready to journey into Pandaria myself, finally.

Just like any other able-minded player I immediately rolled a Pandaren Monk. Heading into Pandaria was a huge deep breath of fresh air.After all of the destruction and sorrow that was brought on by Deathwing in the Cataclysm it was breathtaking to see such a lush, beautiful place vibrant with life. I found myself just stopping to stare at the landscapes and denizens of this new land. I mean, I played in the beta and saw most of this already, but this time around it just felt different in a very good way. Each of the Pandaren I encountered had their own personality and style. Even the enemies received their own flair. It was a brand new experience that made me feel almost like I was in a brand new game.

So far I love the Monk class. I knew from the moment Blizzard announced it that I would be a Brewmaster. I’m not the biggest fan of tanking, but if there’s a class that will get me to do it, the Monk will. I’ve just recently hit the level at which I can choose my spec, so I’m still fairly in the beginning stages. I chose to go Horde, because it’s my home faction, but something about the Pandaren being in the Horde doesn’t sit right with me. They feel like a more peaceful race, and spoilers aside, Garrosh is just a complete jerk. I feel that if they find any sort of guidance under his reign that they’ll become changed for the worse. But I digress, we’ll soon find out what happens in the end.

The Monk class is such a versatile choice. You can choose to be a DPS spec, healer spec, or a tank, but in the end they can all roll as one. Often times do I switch into the tank stance and pull enemies, just to switch back to the damage stance and kill them all. The Monk is full of furious attacks with great animation and style. To put it simply, the class is just a lot of fun.

As for returning to Pandaria in the later levels, I’m still feeling it out a bit. I’ve done a lot of questing so far, but I haven’t stepped into a Pandaria dungeon yet. I’ll be doing that soon enough so I can get some BOA for my Monk. Just as an FYI by the way, the Monk uses the Stained Shadowcraft set that the Rogue uses, if you’re in the market. So far the questing has been heavily story-based which I really like. It feels like you’re actually doing something when you quest. At the part I’m in I’m recruiting the Hozen, a race of feral monkeys, to help the Horde in the battle against the Alliance on Pandaria. In one way it sucks because when I think about it, the Horde are helping to tear the island apart, but on the other hand the Alliance are keeping prisoners and trying to take over the land.

The more I play I find things that I really like, and I can’t wait to get further to chime in on a review. It’ll take a little bit longer due to me wanting to find out as much as possible, and I still need to try out the pet battle system. What I can say is that so far I love what Blizzard has done with bringing players to this brand new land. I look forward to seeing what’s coming in the future for Pandaria, and we’ll have our review up soon!

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