WoW’s Mists Of Pandaria Out 25th September

By John Walker on July 25th, 2012 at 2:30 pm.

It was their choice.

World Of Warcraft’s surelyitreallycan’tbereal update, Mists Of Pandaria – the April Fool’s joke writ large – has a release date at long last. It’ll be in the shops (shops?) on the 25th September. It’s going to cost a bloody enormous £30 in a box, but of course the digital version, not requiring a significant cut go to the store, price of packaging, shipping, etc, will be… wait, £30. Er. There is of course a Collector’s Edition at twice the price, and a Digital Deluxe containing the non-physical bonuses for £40. And you can now pre-order.

Perhaps what makes this expansion most interesting is that it can’t be built on any pre-established lore or long-planned intent, since the entire thing is based on a joke made a couple of years ago. Also, pandas.

Bizarrely, the further information on the digital deluxe version is displaying a 404 at the time of writing, but presumably you’ll be able to find out the goodies here in a bit. However, I can tell you that alongside the game you’ll get the Imperial Quilen flying mount, a Lucky Quilen Cub for a pet, StarCraft II Battle.net portraits (weeee), and a Diablo III banner sigil and accent. Huh.

The store-bought box will have an hours-long behind-the-scenes DVD documentary, a soundtrack CD (I cannot think of the last time I used a CD), the obligatory art book, and in a shock collector’s edition move, a mousemat. For £30 extra. Oh boy.

So, less than two months to go before we can see just how much this latest expansion can turn around the MMO’s slow decline, especially in the face of the oncoming Guild Wars 2.

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80 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    Blizzard pandaring to the casuals again no doubt.

  2. alexsanchez508 says:

    I really thought they were going to rush it out before GW2, but September does seem more reasonable. Side note, I can’t wait to see the internet rip this apart for being as silly as it is.

    • Wreckdum says:

      ALL HAIL THE NEW KING GW2!

      Finally people like me have something good to play after having to settle for the last 6-7 years because all our friends were playing WoW.

      WoW to me is just like Dragonball Z. It’s an angsty teenage boy’s game. The plot follows the same terrible twists and turns. Don’t get me wrong. I watched DBZ in my angsty teenage days. But trying to watch it as an adult…? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAq9Y-m8_uk

      • KDR_11k says:

        I think people who wanted MMO-style PVP just went to the MOBAs.

    • Spinks says:

      I expect the pre-expansion patch will hit at about the same time as the GW2 launch.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      In the same time Guild Wars sold its 6.5 million copies WoW ramped up to 12 million active players. They’re two different numbers but the fact they went up simultaneously suggests that they don’t tend to impact each other very much.

      • Chris D says:

        It will be interesting to see what happens once GW2 is actually playable; Whether people are intending to play both simultaneously or whether they’re only intending to play WoW until GW2 is ready.

        • Malk_Content says:

          Honestly I think there is going to be an initial surge and then alot of people will hit level 80 and begin complaining, then leave for WoW when the expansion comes out. Lots of people seem to thing GW2 is trying to replace WoW and that it is trying to offer the same things. This is going to lead to alot of disappointment from the gear progression end game crowd who want to have something to constantly strive for, whereas GW2 approach seems to be “oh you’ve reached level 80, well done, now keep playing and having fun like you have been for the last 150 hours.”

          • CarrotyMrTaters says:

            Considering there’s no sub fee, they don’t have to cater for any end-game content past the wait for expansions.

          • Malk_Content says:

            Oh absolutely! It is their own game and they have no obligation (lack of subs) to make it some kind of infinite experience. I’m entirely pro their decision in that regards. I just think, going by comments in various places, that people haven’t read their design blogs, or looked at any of the philosophy behind the game design and are just look for the next thing like WoW, but not too like WoW, even as the profess to want something entirely different.

            No doubt they will generate a huge amounts of loyal fans that will grab every expansion, especially as they have promised to have a live team developing and adding/changing content anyway. Still there will be those who rush to lvl 80 in less than a week to try and find the “True Game” and be disappointed and vocal about it, regardless of how much they enjoyed, or ignored, the content that came beforehand.

    • Premium User Badge

      Smashbox says:

      I could have sworn this already came out…

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        From all the advertising Blizzard is milking for the expansion, it’s only reasonable you would think that.

  3. Sian says:

    The high price on the Blizzard store doesn’t really surprise me. That’s kind of their thing, from what I’ve seen so far.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Does it come with a pet shark you can jump over?

  5. quaunaut says:

    You know, this I think is the first time a WoW expansion is coming that I’m not horribly excited for.

    WoW was a feat of its day- taking the gameplay of many MMOs of the time, polishing it to an incredible sheen, and giving it an engine that could’ve fit into many action games, if not for the targetting. Combine that with a fantastic world and a big dependency on a quest system, it was, definitively, a pretty big deal.

    I was one of the people who helped figure out the big equations for WoW. The total damage equation, hit table mechanics, etc. I honestly regret it however, as Blizzard stopped looking at us like the fringe, and started treating us like the core. And that sorta killed the fun, when balance for PvE became more important than fun factor. I’ll never forget the butchery of Enhancement Shaman, when Cataclysm came out. When balancing for the hardcore DPSers to match even in bad circumstances(such as one having different/more complex ‘rotations’ than the next) trumped interesting design ideas, that’s when we should’ve backed off.

    Our relative DPS to other classes went up- okay, good I suppose, not sure we needed it(competent Shamans could keep up with the best Rogues/Warlocks/Fury Warriors- it just was harder for us), but our gameplay was murdered. From complex and interesting mechanics almost entirely based off of procs(So, try to increase how often you’re hitting the enemy as much as possible), to almost no complexity whatsoever- hit whatever button lights up first, move on. The only people who got a more interesting game out of Cataclysm were healers, but everything was tuned to be so punishing for them that it didn’t help.

    Now, with Guild Wars 2 coming out a full month before Mists, I really wonder if it’ll reach the sales heights Cataclysm did. The hype train for it is massive, and it’s going to capture not just MMO players, but pretty much anyone who would like that kind of game- it could very easily be the ‘new’ Skyrim of sorts, something everyone partakes in, regardless of genre preference. And with Mists making things even simpler than they were before, I can’t help but wonder if they’re driving away anyone who wanted depth.

    All the same? I wish them luck. WoW changed my life in a lot of ways, helped me meet wonderful people and helped me grow up a lot. Without it, I wouldn’t have discovered that I actually love math, to the point that I’m now doing Data Science as a hobby. I still love the world and the characters I made in it, I just wish I enjoyed it a little more. Godspeed on this one, Blizz.

    • deke913 says:

      Here, Here. Well said sir. I agree as I had many wonderful adventures in that world and made some good friends. Time to move on? Yeah, but no hard feelings toward Blizz.

    • theleif says:

      Nice read.
      I only played WOW for a couple of months on release, but my first time in that game was magical. The trip from the night elf starting area to Ironforge is still one of my most memorable gaming experiences. It took me almost a day to get there, just so my warrior could use 2-handed weapons. Another time, while exploring, I managed to fall of the world and got stuck in some kind of white limbo. Good times.
      I stopped when people refused me to join instances just because I didn’t have a tank build. Something that at level 20-40 should not have been that big of a deal I thought.

      • luckystriker says:

        That was also one of the most magical gaming experiences for me as well. I had a kind soul escort me through the wetlands and I remember feeling like such a country bumpkin as I ran into Ironforge (omg, so many ppl!). My first MMO, and even if I haven’t played the game since the Outlands expac, it will always be one of the best games I’ve ever played.

  6. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    All three previous wow expansions have managed to draw me back into the game after my subscriptions lapsed, I increasingly suspect that won’t happen this time, especially if it’s £30 (!).

    Actually when I think about it, I know next to nothing about this expansion apart from Pandas. Is there a ‘big bad’ like Deathwing or Arthas, or any narrative at all?

    • djbriandamage says:

      PC Gamer (USA)’s Josh Augustine had a fantastic interview with Chris Metzen about the story of Mists, how Cataclysm introduced many new characters who will come to fruition in this next expansion, and how hard it is to appease fans. It’s hard not to both admire and sympathize with Metzen who loves what he does but anticipates criticism no matter which direction he chooses for the lore.

      http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/03/30/chris-metzen-on-mists-of-pandarias-story-and-why-the-players-are-the-real-villains/

      Chris Metzen is one of my favourite interviewees to read.

      Oh, and one of the big bads, if not THE big bad, is Garrosh Hellscream who is the reviled new warchief of the horde. Metzen has great comments on how much the community hated Hellscream when he was introduced, yet how much they are now complaining that he is being dethroned.

    • Obc says:

      There isn’t a big bad in the beginning. the story is about the escalating war between Alliance and Horde. In the beginning of MoP the players and factions discover the island and establish their forts and seek out help of the people their. While some people form each factions want to explore the new Island others want to use its resources and mysteries to use them against the other faction. The War escaltes on the Island. Both Factions bring chaos unto and rupture more and more till it totally escalates.

      The final Boss of the expansion is Garrosh, the horde Warchief who has will do some horrible thing in the story later on in one of the Patches. Varian will have to go through Trials to prove himself and other Alliance Chiefs that he is not a warmongerer but has something of a righteous King in him. The Final Raid will be Orgrimmar itself.

      (also there are Sha’s, shadow being driven stronger by the negative feelings brought by both factions onto the island, there are the Treasures and Mysteries of the Mogu Empire who had something to do with the Titans, and Mantids who are driven by the Shas. Also Wrathion that last real Blackdragon wants to prepare the World for the coming doom possibly by the Burning Legion by stopping the War)

      • Premium User Badge

        AmateurScience says:

        It worries me how much of that I understood despite stopping playing quite a while ago. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve always really dug the Warcraft lore and storylines, even the laterally maligned stuff.

  7. fish99 says:

    Still trying to work out why Diablo 3 is £45 on the blizz store (vs £30 in a box). Anyone?

    • Milky1985 says:

      Well the box copies are more expensive cause you have to pay the middle men and the distributors and stuff so when you don’t have to pay them and can sell directly to the customer they can get a better deal because we can pass the savings on to you and still make more ourselves!

      Oh wait the DIGITAL version is the cheaper one?

      …. ignore what i just said before none of it is true it was made up by the pirates who are evil right.

      Its more expensive for server costs, yeah thats right, server costs and distribution over the peer to peer, i mean in house specially built network!

    • adonf says:

      “Because they can” seems like a valid explanation.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Apparently they don’t want to undercut their own vendors, so the company store will always have the highest price.

  8. Jenks says:

    Those panda people are so silly, I can’t believe Blizzard is adding them to the game. Excuse me while I go log in to play my bull man, WoW is srs bsns.

    Pandarens went from joke to lore in the WC3:TFT orc campaign almost 10 years ago.

    • Brun says:

      This really. They might have started as an Easter Egg but they were “canonized” as lore figures long before this expansion or even WoW existed. People complaining about pandas either:

      A) Don’t know the lore.

      B) Don’t care about the lore, but hate them because they aren’t ZOMG CODDUDEBRO GRIMDARK FANTASY characters.

      • DeathHamsterDude says:

        Just because something is canon doesn’t meant it’s not stupid.

        FUCKING PANDAS! Really? It’s ridiculous. Mists of Pandoria? Come on, the whole thing reeks of satire, except that it’s not.

        • Premium User Badge

          Joshua says:

          Oh come on. Discworld has stuff way worse then this – and its awesome.

          • Vorphalack says:

            Discworld was written as a parody of high fantasy and contemporary human experience from the start. It is knowingly tongue in cheek. Pandaria has none of that subtlety. It’s crude and stupid, and unlike a book which might last a couple of days, players will be stuck with this abomination for a couple of years. Jokes rarely keep people laughing that long.

          • Chris D says:

            Well, yes and no. Discworld certainly started out as a parody but it’s definitely become more than that now. I was actually having a hard time thinking what the “stuff worse than this” might actually be. It might be because Pratchett gives even the most outlandish concepts enough depth or it might just be that, after twenty years, I’ve just got used to how things are, but I think of Discworld as a coherent setting and not just a joke.

            Whether or not Pandaria can achieve that as well is up for debate but I don’t think it’s intrinsically impossible that it can.

        • Brun says:

          You sir, appear to be Category B.

          It’s no less stupid than werewolves, who weren’t even part of the original RTS series. The only thing they have over Pandas is Grimdark Factor.

        • Premium User Badge

          Durkonkell says:

          But worgen are fine because GRR WEREWOLVES.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Anthropomorphic races are something that WoW always had going for it over, say, Guild Wars. And even Guild Wars is following them now. Let’s face it, they simply provide more colour and variety to a game.

          • Brun says:

            This, but remember, it’s the era of modern gaming. Anything that isn’t dark, brooding, and full of violence and death is automatically labeled “gay.” Happiness and bright color schemes are not allowed!

        • Jenks says:

          “FUCKING PANDAS! Really? It’s ridiculous.”

          The very idea that panda people are ridiculous, in a world where cow people are accepted without hesitation, is ridiculous to me.

        • Arglebargle says:

          The Pandas are deliberatly aimed at the 8 mil subscribers in Asia. WoW is expanding into other parts of Asia as well, trying to keep subs up by hitting the previously unintiated.

          The movie Bye Bye Brazil had a great take on this, as outmoded entertainment purveyors had to push further and further into the Amazon jungle to find customers for whom their products were new and interesting.

          The tumult over this is amusing, as I never liked the whole dang WoW thing anyway. Found the gameplay, story, and humor to be …. lacking.

  9. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    While you may be surprised that the price is set to be the same, let me oust your surprise by telling you that games are cheaper in shops than they are in digital only form here in ol’ Denmark, and that’s with our 25% VAT not being put on the digital products. Sooooooooooooooo?

    • f1x says:

      In spain is the other way around for most cases

      which is quite silly, Books for example,
      Paper books are considered reduced VAT article as culture article, Digital books are considered a service/luxury

      Mind you, as much as I love paper books I would rather have digital ones to be cheaper even if its only to mark the difference in envirnomental impact

  10. Obc says:

    seriously john, about every MoP article you say that whole expansion is based on an April Joke. Sorry but i can’t read that anymore. its really not true and not funny anymore. Pandas are established in the lore. Their Design and also a bit of their Culture can already be read about in RPG Books. Also Chen Stormstout is a fun Protagonist in WC3. I have wished for the Pandaren since release or atleast a cameo by Chen. (there are even some vanilla items hinting at pandaran).

    so please don’t call this a aprils fool joke gone serious or else i’ll be a sad panda :(

    anyway, i was going to buy GW2 and MoP both but after playing GW2 Beta this last Weekend i will shelf MoP for a while. Though i have played a lot of MoP Beta and i enjoyed it very much it didn’t give me the mesmerizing sense of adventure GW2 did. the same sense of astonishing wish to explore that i had the first time i logged into WoW.

    So MoP is fun but GW2 is so fresh that MoP can wait.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “seriously john, about every MoP article you say that whole expansion is based on an April Joke. Sorry but i can’t read that anymore. its really not true and not funny anymore. Pandas are established in the lore. ”

      Hes refering to the aprils fools joke they did a few years back, saying that the panderians are going to be a new playable race.

      So yes they have taken something that they put as an april fools joke (saying that pandarians will be added) and adding them into the game, i think we can start to extract the michael out of them for this.

      Before you whine and shril i probably will play this expansion (i have a year of wow cause of the years deal thing a while back) so i might as well get it, doesn’t mean i can’t see it as the absolute piss take it is :P

      I may be playing a Certain bit of music while i play the pet battles mode however!

      • Obc says:

        oh please, by all means shit on the game as much you like ;) the only thing bothering me is that some people think pandas are nothing more than a april fools joke and that joke is where they originated and because they were once an april fooks joke the whole expansion is invalid.

        i mean yeah piss on the expansion all you want but don’t say what i stated above (or at least do not say it repeatedly).

        • Milky1985 says:

          I know they are in the lore and have been since TFT, however i do think that becasue they once made the joke about them adding them thinking it was haha funny, that they have kinda dug this hole for themselves.

          Along with all the other holes they have been digging recently :p

      • Moraven says:

        They thought about adding them as an alliance race in the first (Buring Crusade) expansion.

        • PopeJamal says:

          Indeed. But hey, why should they let facts stand in the way of a good joke?

          “Pandas!!! Hur Hur! And in the game!? Panda-monium! Hur! Hur! Hur!”

          • Fincher says:

            The fact of the matter is that the Pandaren have been a joke. I don’t care if it’s written into the lore. Blizzard have flipped and flopped on the idea of Pandaren in the game and people have lost interest. Any attempt to defend the Pandaren position in WoW’s lore is laughable, because not even the writers know what they’re doing or where things place in it.

            Before you start throwing the old “b-b-but tauren! Cows!”, remember that the Tauren were never treated as a joke.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Journalism is supposed to be about debunking myths, not propagating them. This article once again proves why games journalism is one of the lowest forms of journalism. No wonder Kieron doesn’t want to mention you-know-what anymore. It’s become embarrassing.

    • afarrell says:

      I suspect John is just trolling us at this point, rather than actually incompetent.

  11. aliksy says:

    People still play WoW? I’m so sorry.

  12. Shooop says:

    I’m sorry I can’t hear them over the sound of Guild Wars 2 coming August 28 and Borderlands 2 arriving September 19.

  13. Lewis Denby says:

    Staring eyes.

  14. Koozer says:

    I would’ve played the hell out of this, if it came before Wrath of the Blue Skellie Monster. Undead are rubbish. I’m done with WoW now.

  15. Nevard says:

    I’m happy it’s out a month after GW2, I can play that for a month and then when my hype has worn down I can play both concurrently

  16. Enef says:

    Pandarens have been a race in WC lore for years, check WC3 and Dota for it. It’s not JUST an April Fools joke they took too far.

  17. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    How does this article not have a PANDAFACE tag?