Black, White And Free All Over: Mists Of Pandaria

Preparations for the Warlords of Draenor expansion to World of Warcraft continues. Yesterday brought The Iron Tide, the traditional pre-expansion patch with all its many changes. Now Blizzard have done the other now-traditional thing and folded the last expansion’s content into the base World of Warcraft game. That means subscribers who never bought Mists of Pandaria no longer need to, as its landmass and quests are available to all.

If you’ve never bought World of Warcraft at all, it means you can get the base game plus all previous expansions – Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm and those aforementioned Pandarens – for $20.

Of course, you’ll still need to pay a monthly subscription to reach beyond the first 20 levels included in the free ‘starter edition’ version of the game, and when the Warlords of Draenor arrive on November 13th, it’ll be $50 to access the added content. That is $10 more than previous expansions, with the cost being partly attributed to the pack coming with a ‘free’ level 90 character. Which is necessary to play that content, and therefore the only way players beyond the existing subscriber base were ever going to buy it. Hmm.

Thanks, PC Gamer.


  1. Tei says:

    This night I will check the WoW forums.
    The schaurenfrade is killing me.

    Some friends have already emailed me some gnome “before” and “after” and is hilarious. From people that play the game It seems they have done a good work 99% of the time. But I live for these other 1% forum posts. Delicious tears.

    • c-Row says:

      “schaurenfrade”? Pretty sure you mean “schadenfreude”.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        It’s Tei. He’s called Tei so he won’t misspell his own name. ;)

      • daver4470 says:

        I think he meant “taurenfraide”, which is the feeling you get when you land fear a cow druid in PvP.

  2. Keiggo says:

    Is that correct? When you buy base WoW, you get all of the previous expansions for free? The thing that’s put me off trying it was the cost of buying them all! I feel like a right one now.

    • Bury The Hammer says:

      I think that’s been the case for a couple of expansions now. I believe when they launched Cataclysm they folded Burning Crusade into the base content. And then when they released Pandaland they folded Wrath of the Lich King AND Cataclysm into it. It’s pretty good – you only need to buy the base game and an expansion now.

      Speaking as a regular WoW player, I’d say Mists of Pandaria was a very underrated expansion. The zones are beautiful, the raids have some really great encounters, raid finder has come into its own and made raiding more accessible (even if it is a cesspit of idiocy towards the end of the week), and the new style of legendary questline is a great idea – a series of quests lasting over the entire expansion.

      The sad thing is, with the new expansion patch out now, a lot of this content is now redundant. It’s one of the interesting aspects of MMOs – it really is a living world, once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can never play Mists of Pandaria the way it was intended from this date forwards.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        They also have the whole crossrealm zone thing now so at least it’ll still be relatively populated. Moreso than before, at least.

      • Moraven says:

        My realm recently got merged. It added a lot of new people.

        Patch 6.0 is rather big, like all pre-expansion patches, and changed, removed and added lots of good stuff. Things like recently looted items glowing in your inventory, auto bag sort, mouseover causing faint glow around hover target. Sure some of things are in mods, but it is just convenient when it is wrapped into the basic UI.

        MoP was so much better than Catacylsm. Lots of good changes and content were added. And based on feedback they changed the worst of it over a couple patches.

  3. morbiusnl says:

    oh wow, you can only access the added content through that “free” level 90 character? that sounds pretty bad to me.

    • tumbleworld says:

      … or any other Level 90. It’s the L90 that’s the requirement, not the free char.

      • Bury The Hammer says:

        Yep. Though obviously, getting to level 90 is a hell of a lot of effort, especially for someone new to WoW.

        It’s functionally the equivalent of completing a few other games before you can complete the game you actually purchased.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          And that’s why they give you a free one. It’s not so much pay to win as a raw necessity at this point.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Honestly though, I’d argue, as someone that levelled up in TBC, it’s still LESS work to reach level 90 now than it was to reach level 60 back then. The questing was harder, no dungeon finder, battlegrounds gave no levels and the XP curve was much steeper from level to level.

          • Asherie says:

            I joined in TBC and I second this. 1-60 took months, n 60-70 was insane, I made the mistake of making 2 alts that I played with friends (one got to 30~, the other ~40 at the time my main reached 70). I finally reached lvl 70 on that first character after a frickin year of playing 8+ hours a week.

          • Bury The Hammer says:

            I started playing late TBC, and I remember even then how happy I was even to get to Outland. These days the XP requirement is lower, the quests more sanely designed (and let’s face it – a lot better in general), and the amount of XP boosts you can get from heirlooms/guilds is huge. As well as being able to break it up more by jumping into dungeons regularly.

            If there’s anyone playing WoW who’s never done so before (or not for a very long time) I would strongly encourage them to start with a level 1 – you don’t get a sense for the enormity of the world without starting from the beginning. It’s a dizzying, intoxicating feeling playing for the first time. I remember trying to get from Darnassus to Stormwind for the first time with a level 15 night elf, it was literally a 30-40 minute hike through one of the continents.

          • skalpadda says:

            I remember my first character taking me 21 days /played to get to 60 in vanilla. That’s 21 days as in 21×24=504 hours spent playing the game. I don’t know how long it’d take to get a fresh character up to 90 these days but I managed 1-80 in a little over a week playing just in the evenings before Cataclysm bored me enough to quit.

          • bmanula says:

            Maybe I’m reading into the comments here too much, but I never understand why people complain about leveling time in an MMO. Leveling is playing the game! You are progressing through game content, doing quests, unlocking skills, finding loot, discovering zones, etc, etc. If that doesn’t engage you, then why should the end game engage you? It is still the same game mechanics and you can challenge yourself at any level if you actually want a challenge. Its not like following the dance script you read from some website to get through a raid with an LFR group is some great challenge either.

            No one complains about this kind of thing in a single player game. Quite the opposite, if a game is too short then everyone complains about the lack of content. If a single player RPG were available with this much content people would be drooling over it.

            From my perspective, joining the herd rushing to the endgame is doing it wrong. You are running past the majority of the game.

          • Bury The Hammer says:


            I’ve heard this complaint a lot, but the problem with this is that WoW style MMOs function a bit weirdly. They’re a mesh of both a single player-ish RPG whilst levelling and then a more competitive, balanced game once you hit max level. Essentially, they’re two different styles of games, and the former doesn’t appeal to a lot of long time players any more.

            For example, dungeons when levelling are pretty trivial and poorly designed. The bosses take about a minute each and usually have one or two interesting (but often trivial) abilities. Whereas raids.. well, here’s a sample of one of my faves, the encounter with the Lich King. The tankspot guide is 18 minutes just to *describe*, to an experienced player, the strategy of how to approach the fight. Most guilds spent countless nights trying to crack it. link to

          • bmanula says:

            Yes, but most people don’t play the endgame that way either. Most are just face rolling their way through LFR raids doing shitty DPS or fighting between nodes in AB, etc. Challenge is not what most people want and does not seem to be why they rush to the endgame.

            The leveling you describe is today’s version and is the product of years of complaining which lead to fast XP gains (quickly outleveling the content), class buffing without content rebalancing, and, most of all, heirlooms and enchants. There is no reason it has to be like this. Low level instances used to be much more challenging (not saying they were ever ‘hard’ like a raid can be, just harder than now), and then people complained that they took too long and there was too much wiping. There used to be difficult elite monster areas (Jintha’Alor in the Hinterlands, for example) in the world where you needed a group to get through. And that, in turn, led to the possibility of running into another group from the other faction for some organic PvP encounters. That is the kind of world building that lets a game bridge the gap between the ‘sandbox/theme park’ dichotomy.

          • Bury The Hammer says:

            I agree the majority don’t play the endgame that way – though many people I play with do. They’re looking for something difficult to sink their teeth into, and it’s pretty much all endgame stuff.

            I don’t really understand why someone who played endgame casually would rush through levelling, especially given Cataclysm refurbished all the old areas. There’s loads to do. I spent a lot of time when first levelling randomly trying to get to outdated areas just because I found them interesting – AQ especially.

  4. Bodylotion says:

    They should’ve sold World Of Warcraft + All addons including the new one for 20 dollars. I must admit I don’t know all the details and what will be added in this Addon but the price of Warlords of Draenor is very expensive in my opinion. Although i had quite some fun playing WoW for like 1,5 years I can’t see myself getting into that game anymore. At one point you’ve seen it all and although a lot of things may have been added over the years it’s pretty much more of the same. Some regions/cities have almost no players walking around.

    I can understand for some people WoW is like a second life but at one point you would think enough is enough.

    • Damien Stark says:

      That would just be a failure of market segmentation. Yes, of course there’s a bunch of people who would by the new expansion at $20 rather than $50, but there’s literally MILLIONS of people willing to buy it at $50. So first they get the money from those fans, who are in turn rewarded with earlier access and bragging rights in exchange for their extra $30.

      Somewhere down the road, they’ll roll this expansion into the whole big $20 pile like they’ve done with all the past ones at this point, and the rest of the people who waited can pay then.

  5. davethejuggler says:

    They’re also upping the subscription cost when the expansion comes out. I think from £8.99 to £9.99 a month.

    I’m kinda looking forward to this anyway. Recently got back into wow and playing it casually rather than fanatically is fun. It’s more of a switch off and listen to podcasts game for me though after a long week at work. I still feel more connected to the world around me in WoW than any other mmo i’ve tried. Can never quite put my finger on why that is.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That’s only for the UK. Currencies fluctuate and experience inflation, but subscription prices have stayed the same since 2004. This is a correction to that.

      • fish99 says:

        …but the pound has gone *up* versus the dollar in recent years hasn’t it? So my £9 gets them even more dollars than it used to, so why put only the UK price up, other than because they can and they’re greedy?

        • bleeters says:

          Not to mention that, as far as I understand it, the average amount of disposable income availible to UK residents has been at a pretty consistent low since the early 2000s.

          £12 extra a year isn’t going to break my bank, but it’s not exactly making me want to play the game again.

  6. rustybroomhandle says:

    Sounds like they are pandaren to their fanbase.

    • apocraphyn says:

      Even so, everything about the coming expansion seems a bit orc-ward.

      • Bury The Hammer says:

        I think you guys have just been Horde-ing these puns.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          This expansion doesn’t seem as Outlandish as the previous one and subscriber numbers have gone up, like they always do ahead of an expansion, so WoW is hardly going down the Draen(or).

  7. Distec says:

    I feel a little guilty that I went ahead and pre-ordered the expansion, but then I realize that’s stupid and there’s nothing to feel guilty about. I think I got MoP for, like, five bucks at that point. I don’t mind paying a sub for a little comfort food while I put EVE on hold for a bit.

    Yesterday’s patch had me pretty tickled, actually. I haven’t actually tried any of the “content”, but things like increasing the item stack sizes and the Toy Box collection were small changes that made me really happy, if only because I’ve picked up a large reserve of knick-knacks and garbage since Vanilla. My bank can breathe again.

  8. Moraven says:

    Also of note Blizzard released some subscriber numbers outside the quarterly financials. Subscribers (active accounts) are up 600k from Q2 2014, settling at 7.4m.

    Cataclysm saw 900k rise in subscribers. Draenor may hit the same or better by the time next month when the expansion hits.

    link to

  9. Deano2099 says:

    Article is slightly wrong/confusing.

    The ‘starter edition’ is an entirely free download, capped at level 20, you can play as long as you want.

    If you buy the base game, you get all the content except the new expansion for $20, and a month’s subscription included. After that you have to pay $15 a month for the ongoing subscription.

    So the upfront cost now, if you’re happy to ignore the new expansion content (that you need to be level 90 for anyway) is $5. I don’t know why they don’t just make it free and charge just a sub and premium expansion price but still.