WoW Expand(a)s Into “Mists of Pandaria”

By Jim Rossignol on October 21st, 2011 at 8:00 pm.

A Panda monk, earlier today.
(Seriously? Pandaria?) Ok: A new race, the Pandaren, a new class, the monk. All that within a new Chinese-styled continent, Pandaria. There will also be a new level cap of 90, new PVE scenarios, a new pet system, and a new talent system. That’s a lot of new! They’re also going to renew the Horde Vs Alliance war somehow, and that will take place on this new continent.

That’s it for now.

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154 Comments »

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  1. Jumwa says:

    It’s so laughable it’s hard to take it serious at all.

    Does anyone but a small minority of outspoken forumites have the slightest interest in playing something like that?

    At least I need never worry about being tempted to re-sub for WoW.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      It does say something when you’ve essentially had to turn an April Fool’s joke into an actual part of your game.

    • Jumwa says:

      I seem to remember them insistently denying rumours before Burning Crusade that the Pandaren would be the new Alliance race, saying that they don’t fit into the game at all and were only ever intended as a joke.

      Crazy the things a drop in subscribers will do to your perception.

    • Nevard says:

      Apparently they WERE originally developed as the TBC Alliance race but pulled at the last second
      That’s why the Draenei lore in TBC seems lacking in comparison to the attention Blood Elves got

    • Jekev says:

      TF2 did this, and it worked out amazingly (and hilariously), with an equally ridiculous idea, I don’t really see the issue.

      For reference in TF2 Jarate was originally an April Fools joke.

    • smallclaws says:

      Edit: misread one of the replies. Still, the Pandaren are perfectly viable, and no weirder than some of the other races. God forbid a cartoony-looking game features a panda. It’s not like they’ve got blue spacemen or cuddly minotaurs.

      Oh, wait.

    • Jet says:

      Haven’t you heard? EVERY single MMO now has to have Panda characters. It’s the law! (or something).

    • thelefteye says:

      Might capture a sizeable Chinese market though……

      Call it T’Rain too.

      (ref REAMDE)

      ;)

    • sqparadox says:

      This, if nothing else, is why I don’t understand comparisons of TOR to WoW. WoW threw its lore out the window years ago. The Draenei were a joke in 2007, but now they’re actually resorting to an april fools joke for real game content? Who can possibly take it at all seriously?

      Not only is their a logic to what you are doing in TOR, but a story. One that matters and makes sense in the grand scheme of an even wider story; a story with history and lore that, for the most part, is far above that of the prequel trilogy. This, if nothing else, makes TOR completely different than WoW ever tried to be. And from what I’ve seen TOR plays more like Dragon Age: Origins without pause than like WoW; but that’s another matter entirely.

      Poor WoW, how the mighty have fallen… assuming this isn’t all a joke, which part of me still believes.

    • qinqinyiwu says:

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    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Who can possibly take it at all seriously?

      Why on earth would you take WoW seriously? Also, Kung-Fu Panadas are awesomes.

    • BoneyD says:

      It’s official: WoW has jumped the shark.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      No no no, it’s “hugged the panda.”

    • Consumatopia says:

      Asiatic Panda-like humanoids are not the most ridiculous thing in WoW.

      I just can’t believe the names. I cannot believe those names. How could people at Blizzard go to work every day knowing they’re working on pandas called Pandarens who live in Pandaria?

    • Jahkaivah says:

      @Jekev

      Actually I recall reading somewhere that Jarate was always intended to be in the game, and Valve was trying to fool people into thinking it was an April Fools joke. They did same thing when introducing the Potato ARG.

      Even if it wasn’t the case, from a gameplay perspective it was none the less one of the best unlocks the game has had. And it genuinely fits into the game thematically (unlike some of the stuff Valve have put in lately). I highly doubt Panderia will prove to be as suitable.

    • Davie says:

      I’m still pissed that the Draenei were somehow retconned from Frozen Throne’s fuck-ugly, raspy-voiced, badass sickle-wielding walrus men to conveniently pretty Slavic goat aliens. It’s a bit naff how casually Blizzard shreds Warcraft’s lore in the name of extra money.

    • mistwolf says:

      I kind of really like it. But, then, I have a lot of friends who are furry and do tend to like good anthro artwork (Not the icky stuff :P ), so the Worgen, Tauren, and the Pandaran (And the Draenei, who we all know are just space goats!) are my favourite races.

      It is really just WoW meets Kung Fu Panda. ;)

    • anduz says:

      @sqparadox
      Hate to burst our bouble, but swtor plays nothing like DAO origins. There is dialog, but it’s tacky at best and whether you chose to kill or save some random people along your way has absolutely no influence on the game world since you’ll never even hear them mentioned again.

      Obviously they are very different games, but when you look at it they’re still both build on the themepark model and Bioware copied more from World of Warcraft than Blizzard did from Everquest (which was pretty much everything) so if you’re tired of that kind of game I don’t see why you’d want to stay in swtor beyond reaching the maximum level. One argument might be experiencing the story of the different classes, but 90% of the quests are shared amongst members of the same faction.

      You’ll see a lot of people boast about how poor World of Warcraft is and how tired they are of it, and all of them are going to be horribly disappointed by SWTOR because the two games follow the same basic recipe. A shame really, but Bioware probably didn’t have the goodwill with EA to be truely innovative.

      It’ll be interesting to see how the two fare against eachother. One being old enough for retirement with a ton of people just fed up, but on the upside far ahead on polish and features… The other being a new kid on the block with a shiny new ringing to it but in some cases extremely dated gameplay concepts and a huge lack of polish and features.

      Honestly I think Guild Wars 2 is going to beat both of them.

      If you can talk about competition in a world where all 3 of them is going to have millions of players regardless.

    • Valvarexart says:

      But I like Pandas :( I’m not a furry or anything, for your information. My friends like pandas. Everyone likes pandas except insecure teenagers and cranky old men. No, I am making assumptions here, but you get where I am going. I might even re-subscribe and play as a panda. Sounds pretty damn fun in my opinion.

      BUT what about a new class? That would be more fun.

  2. Lobotomist says:

    They also announced new DOTA game from Blizzard.

    Can anyone tell me what so amazing about DOTA games. And why everyone and his dog is doing one ?

    • Nevard says:

      It’s actually a SCII scenario, not a standalone game

    • Kryopsis says:

      The StarCraft II scenario has been delayed multiple times and reworked into a separate product, from what I understand.

    • pipman3000 says:

      DOTA games are a means to keep the worst aspects of humanity sealed up in their basements instead of rampaging about the outside world killing and raping as they please.

  3. WhatKateDoes says:

    Will Jack Black be voicing the Kungfupaderians?

  4. Zinic says:

    They finally went there. I know WoW has been on a decline, but this is pretty much the same as jumping the shark.

  5. Premium User Badge

    bglamb says:

    Shit. Time to get back into the old WOW habit…… :-\

    • President Weasel says:

      Point of order – was that a monk pun there?

    • Snuffy the Evil says:

      I had to think about your comment for a second. Then I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.

  6. Nevard says:

    I won’t pretend I wouldn’t have been happier with a different theme I guess I am still going to play it, WoW definitely isn’t for everyone but it definitely is for me.
    As long as the quest zones and raiding content are to the standard they were in Cataclysm I won’t have any problems, a new class should be fun too, although I doubt I’ll be tempted away from my Mage for long.
    At least this gives them an excuse to draw environments that aren’t covered in black rocks and/or fire.

  7. NthDegree256 says:

    I like WoW best when it’s taking itself as un-seriously as possible. This might get me back in for a bit.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Biscuitry says:

    Just to check, it is October, right? About as un-April as you can get? Because I’m pretty sure the Panderans have been a running joke on the WoW forums since the game was new.

    EDIT: Actually, as Hermit points out above, even older than WoW.

  9. Universal Hamster says:

    Raaarrr! Mine is an angry reaction!
    WoW, PC Gaming and the internet are over.

  10. Roaring Panda says:

    I have nothing against WoW but Panderans and Panderia seems a bit silly

  11. Althilor says:

    For once, the RPS comments section will be unable to make a game sound worse than it is.

  12. jlivius says:

    An Asian-themed expansion is usually when you know the well has run dry.

  13. jplayer01 says:

    Wow, April Fool’s already?

  14. DiamondDog says:

    So, they’ve essentially just scraped through the bottom of the barrel and are bringing up dirt.

    • Josh W says:

      It’s worse, they want you to drink the barrel.

      Or to put it another way, now subscriptions are going down, why not focus on your slowly evaporating but increasingly concentrated rabid fans with endless self-reference? If they’re clever they’ll start mining forums for ideas and giving players ways to express themselves that they can build off. To victory! And an eternal small niche for WOW.

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Were I still playing WoW I’d rather see something like, say, the Emerald Dream. But I guess Pandaria is a much more free-standing addition in terms of lore and content so it’s probably easier to crank out. Because, you know, content! With new exciting opportunities for microtransactions!

    -edit- Of course, Pandaria did canonically exist on Azeroth already, since they were introduced in Warcraft 3. Still seems strange to focus an entire expansion on them, though. Would seem to make more sense to make it a part of, say, Cataclysm.

  16. WhatKateDoes says:

    To be fair… the game is now very much appealing to the younger player – tho that in itself is exploitation – I know as my nephew and niece absolutely love it (via the f2p 20 levels incarnation) and it runs well on their rather nerfed machines)

  17. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    I am actually slightly flabbergasted.

    Surely they’re taking the piss?

    Surely?

  18. Azazel says:

    Well, it’s… um… At least no one can say they’re ripping off Warhammer again.

    • Vinraith says:

      Indeed. In the grim darkness of the future, there are no pandas.

    • Burning Man says:

      “Cute and furry, soft and squishy… kinda plush and cuddly” – Wolf on Panda
      “I’ll tell you what’s gonna be yours: my fist in your plush, cuddly, super-soft face” – Wolf to Panda

    • The Tupper says:

      Pawhammer. Sorry.

  19. Dances to Podcasts says:

    They also recently announced they’re expanding into Southeast Asia soon, so I guess this fits the overall strategy.

  20. Scrofa says:

    Ok I know Cataclysm sucked, but this is the last nail in the coffin.

  21. Wizardry says:

    How did they go from the dark and gritty Warcraft 1 to this?

    • tstapp1026 says:

      just add wate… *ahem* cash.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      WarCraft II had plenty of cutesy stuff.

      But there’s a pretty big line between that, and fucking pandas. One is making your world a bit goofy, but still consistent and coherent. The other is a complete joke. I can hardly believe this is real.

    • gabbaell says:

      Well, if its dark and gritty you want, I suppose you could be a panda deathknight.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      They went dark and gritty with Wrath of the Lich King. Result: big mess in China.

    • unlimitedgiants says:

      > Well, if its dark and gritty you want, I suppose you could be a panda deathknight.

      Nope. You can’t be a DK according to the class list for Pandas.

  22. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    lol

  23. SighmanSays says:

    There was once a time when I said “Y’know, I’d totally get on board the WoW bandwagon if only they’d release those panda dudes from The Frozen Throne as a playable race.” I said that back in 2005.

    Thanks for getting around to it, Actiblizzard. But frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn anymore.

  24. ZCAvian says:

    You know what? I’m OK with this.

    I play WoW for fun. This seems fun and funny to me. As someone above said, a lot of the best parts I’ve found in the game are the quests that don’t take themselves seriously.

    Personally, I welcome the chance to roll a Panda. Of course, I’m the kind of person who likes to play ridiculous class-race combos. :P

    • Suilenroc says:

      I see things the other way around, though. They are taking themselves seriously, concerning what was previously a joke.

      That said, there have been significant Pandaren characters since Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and they decided it was more than a joke years ago.

  25. DevilSShadoW says:

    how about they expand those god-awful graphics? Seriously, having a screenshot of anything wow related on your website/blog should be illegal.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      I’ve never played WoW but always liked the look of it. I think it still has more aesthetic appeal than many, if not most realistic games.

      (this was after viewing the trailer btw, not based on above screen)

  26. Joof says:

    I bring… Panda-monium!

    • The_B says:

      Nothing like Panda-ring to the crowd.

    • Grygus says:

      These kinds of posts are unbearable.

    • tstapp1026 says:

      you mean un(panda)BEARable?

      ok, ok I will march myself to the front of the firing squad.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Blizz is getting desperate! They are pandahandling for money now!

    • Kits says:

      I’m utterly bamboozled by this. Really.

      Edit: Aww…and I noticed someone used the same one in another punny comment thread on the next page. I feel cheated.

    • westyfield says:

      Yeah, there are more puns FURther down.

  27. Koozer says:

    I don’t see how this is any more ridiculous than a lot of the other stuff in WoW at this point. If I was still inclined to play I would only use Tauren, Dwarfs and Panderan.

  28. Faceless says:

    It’s Pandaria, not Panderia. Both equally stupid, though.

  29. Matt7895 says:

    Was massive skeptical at first, Pandaren were always the joke race, but actually I think it might be the best step forward. Instead of adding more extra-dimensional stuff, a new continent in the world of Azeroth makes sense. There’s so much they can do.

  30. westyfield says:

    Clearly Blizzard are just pandering to the younger demographic.

  31. Xocrates says:

    Are people really this surprised that they announced a race that’s been around and with a playable unit since Warcraft 3?

    Really?

    Heck, I always thought that half the joke in those April-fools was because of how inevitable it was.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Exactly – anyone else remember battling that gargantuan Panda monstrosity, anyone? Plus Frozen Throne’s neutral hero, Pandaren Brewmaster? Adding them to WoW was honestly just a matter of time.

  32. Zorganist says:

    Watching the preview trailer, everything about the Pandaren seems hopelessly cliched, expecially since everything else in WoW has at least a bit of a unique spin on it. For a company that’s managed to be so imaginative in the past Blizzard really seem to completely run out of creativity with this.

    Also, I don’t think there’s anyone left in a post-Kung-Fu Panda world that can take anthropomorpished pandas seriously anymore.

    • Grygus says:

      Almost everything in WoW is directly derivative or referential. You can say a lot about Blizzard’s ability to design game systems and their art direction, but creativity is not a strong suit there.

    • Arglebargle says:

      WOW’s terribly cliched and poorly patched backgrounds have kept me safely innoculated from wanting to play WoW past my obligatory one week.

      I take my fantasy background pretty seriously. If it doesn’t hold together, with internal consistancy, proper ecology and enviornment, etc, it breaks my immersion and appreciation. And interest in playing. Warcraft always failed that for me. The nyuk-nyuk nudge-nudge humor didn’t help, either.

      The move to SEAsia is interesting. Reminds me of the Brazilian film, Bye Bye Brasil, where has been entertainers continually travel further back into the hinterlands trying to find folks who’ve never seen their schtick. (Some rompin stompin Forro music in that, iirc.) WoW can always try expanding their localizations for markets, to make up for any losses in subs elsewhere.

  33. Hoaxfish says:

    All things considered, actual Pandas are pretty stupid in real life too.

    • tstapp1026 says:

      they really are, being all endangered and stuff!

      derpderp

  34. BatmanBaggins says:

    Ok….. I haven’t even played WoW since shortly after Cataclysm came out, but this made me smile. The idea of a neutral race that chooses between Horde or Alliance is one that I’ve been sort of hoping they’d implement almost since the game was new.

    I mean, I probably still won’t get this expansion (I think my WoW days are really truly over. Not that I didn’t have fun), but It’s still kind of interesting/exciting as an ex-player.

  35. Rii says:

    If the Monk brings anything new in the healing department this could well drag me back in. And yeah, Pandas are cute and China is in. Deal with it.

    But what’s this about a new talent system? Didn’t we just have a new talent system?

    • Grygus says:

      I am of the opinion that the last talent revamp was very detrimental to the system as a whole; requiring 31 points in one tree to open the others just codified cookie-cutter builds and wrested all creativity and nearly all experimentation out of the process.

    • Nevard says:

      The new talent system boils the whole thing down to 6 points, one every 15 levels
      You are given a choice between three different abilities for every point and can only have one of each three at a time
      Blizzard intend this to finally make the talent system meaningful in that everyone won’t be using the same thing

      They are apparently releasing every class’s planned new talent tree later today!

      And yes, monks have a healing spec

  36. Wulf says:

    schadenfreude

    That is all.

  37. Miggel says:

    Seriously? Good question because I had to ask it a few times myself.
    How does this fit into the Warcraft universe, can someone enlighten me on this? Thank you.

    I would have expected something like Emerald Dream as well, but this… no way I ever saw this coming.

    • Joof says:

      A Pandaren helped Kael’thas and Lady Vashj free Illidan from Maiev Shadowsong in Outlands and a different one also helped Rexxar when Thrall was founding Orgrimmar?

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Hang on, there was a Pandaren in the Blood Elves’ campaign? Was he an unlockable bonus character, like the one in Orcs’ campaign?

    • hilltop says:

      I think it was unlockable after the tower defence mission, though I may be wrong.

      Although I don’t play anymore, I’m a little disappointed they didn’t at least allow Brewmaster as the playable option, instead of Monk.

    • Azradesh says:

      The brewmaster is one of the specs for the monk. (The DPS one I believe)

  38. JonathanStrange says:

    I don’t understand it. Used to be a pretty big fan of the Warcraft franchise and tried to follow the story as well as I could when I played WOW, so I know there are dozens of of possibilities they could have gone with that would not only have already been an established part of the setting whos exploration would move the overarching story as a whole forward, but which would be awesome to boot.

    …But instead they decided to go with this? WHY? Is there really some demographic out there that had been holding off on WOW saying ‘It’s not cartoony enough’ and this is supposed to be the bit that brings them around? Really?

    I would have thought they’d be trying to target lapsed subscribers like me with lore-rich locations and enemies that the games before had only hinted at. Guess I was wrong.

    • FCA says:

      Well, maybe some people at Blizzard have a gotten a good job offer at EA/Bioware ;)

    • hilltop says:

      I feel similarly to you Jonathan Strange.

      The thing is, I doubt they will ever successfully appeal to those fans who were interested in the lore. They have spent years exhuming the interesting aspects of lore from the strategy games and shedding everything of interest about them in order to create the next obligatory oversized boss fight.

      At least they seem to be running out of genuinely emotive characters from the strategy games that they can refit into boss encounters.

  39. Turkey says:

    Lazy. Fat. Unable to breed in captivity.

    No it makes sense.

    • theleif says:

      Yeah. Not wanting to raise your offspring in prison is very stupid.

  40. Teddy Leach says:

    Don’t I remember Warcraft 3 having pandas?

  41. pipman3000 says:

    a shame these pandarens are spoiling the serious realistic verisimilitude of the world of warcraft.

    help help i’m being repressed (by blizzard, and pandas)

  42. John Brindle says:

    YES YES YES YES

  43. Joof says:

    My favorite part is the Pokemon battles they are also putting in the game. This is the best thing ever.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Yeah, the trailer looked pretty underwhelming, as WoW trailers tend to do, especially compared to the SC2 one.

      But the minipet pokemon thing is OMG WANT WANT WAAAAAAANT!!!

  44. Baf says:

    Can you play them as Death Knights? If I can’t play a Pandaren Death Knight I won’t be able to take them seriously.

  45. mmorpg games says:

    LMAO! this is hilarious, Blizzard is goin to shit each year. How much money is enough?

    And wth happen with the RPS audience, i only see strange people on this post, its like a GT deja vu.

    OMG Pandaz? How COOL!? Whats Lore? Frack it lol

    Now at least they admit that from 12 mil subs, 70% are from ASIA.

    • Azradesh says:

      The Pandarians have been in Warcraft since the Frozen Throne.

  46. King Toko says:

    Don’t thing this been mentioned but the original post has a spelling mistake “A new race, the Panderan” it should be Pandaren. That is all.

  47. InternetBatman says:

    I’m more disappointed that the war between the Horde and Alliance is restarting. Again. I liked the cold war they had going on way better than active conflict. I was pretty disappointed in all the fighting over Icecrown, Garrosh Hellscream, and Varian “I smoulder with generic rage” Wynne. They need to give the lore a rest or its going to be unusable for a future game for a long, long time. Then again, that’s Activision’s MO.

  48. Oak says:

    After dark, the pandas stalk. Nightmare creatures with black hearts.

  49. reddog says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb now. I know it’s not very fashionable to like WoW in this part of town, but do try to get your proper nouns right, at least. You’re a games journalist. Aren’t you supposed to check things?

    Or … are you trying to make a joke, you silly indie-lord-hipster-gamer you?

    Personally I think Warcraft is one of the most influential games franchises in the world for a reason. These guys have always had and still have a lot of energy and vision, and care immensely for the world they’ve created. If you delve deeper into the mechanics and look what has been done for the betterment of the game over the years, you will see what I mean.

    This may sound corny to you, but WoW contains a lot of love. If you actually play the game and have a heart, you will see it. It’s there.

    If you think they are in the business because they like to “cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses” (dictionary definition of pander), then fine, that’s your opinion. It’s just not a very accurate thing to say.

    It’s love of a slightly kitchy cliche-fantasy variety, but love nevertheless.

    • Nick says:

      who are you talking to?

    • Vinraith says:

      @Nick

      I… I think he’s talking to Jim. I think he thinks Jim made up the name “Panderia” as a pun, not realizing that Blizzard made that little slip all on their own.

    • reddog says:

      Mr. Jim made not one, but two unfortunate misspellings when writing this story:

      Pandaren (the panda people) –> Panderan
      Pandaria –> Panderia

      This on a site riddled, nay, plagued with puns. Benefit of doubt? Sure. Why not.

    • Duffin says:

      Bit touchy?

    • Nick says:

      I only ask as it doesn’t make much sense in context of the article. At least to me..

    • Wulf says:

      I hadn’t even seen that potential pun, haha.

      Though I’m pretty sure Jim didn’t mean it that way. I don’t think their WoW coverage has ever actually been negative, so it was an honest to goodness typo, I imagine.

      Still, funny comment is funny.

    • qrter says:

      So that would make these particular misspellings actually quite fortunate.

      Which must be an insanely rare occurrence!

    • Nick says:

      You.. you actually thought he was having a go by misspelling Pandaria? I think that says more about you than about Jim tbh, especially given the unpleasant way in which you expressed yourself.

  50. lijenstina says:

    Fat Elvis plays WoW now.