WoW: Cognitive Dissonance

Like many of you, I’ve been catching up on the Mists of Pandaria updates that have been coming out today with varying emotions. It’s kind of like running into an ex-lover and going through the awkward “yeah, so how ya been?” conversation. You remember the good times, the bad times and the last times, and all the conflicted emotions that go along with that. That’s pretty much what I’ve been feeling this morning. The last time I played WoW for a length of time was right after Cataclysm came out – that lasted a few weeks I think, until I became fed up with their new design philosophy.

By the way, can I just say “I TOLD YOU SO!”

*ahem* I apologize, I don’t know what came over me there. Moving on.

I went back oh-so-briefly when transmogrification was released, but that system seemed so unnecessarily complicated that I didn’t even bother with it. So for the most part, I’ve sat out the entire Cataclysm expansion, and with other games like Wurm and LotRO, it hasn’t even been on my radar until today.

Overall, I’m still kind of neutral on Mists of Pandaria, which is the same way I felt about it when it was announced last year. I love the female Pandaren model, it’s the same silhouette as the female dwarf so it feels right to me. Round & plump but still curvy and distinctly feminine – I do like it, and I really like the red panda option with the swishy tail.

I’m not really feeling the actual continent of Pandaria right now. I think going back to an expansion continent is the right move for Blizzard, but from what I’ve seen so far, it just doesn’t feel Warcrafty to me. There are a lot of things about this expansion I’m kind of “eh” on: pet battles, challenge mode dungeons, scenarios… and yes, even monks.

What’s caught my eye are a few other things:

Garrosh will be the final boss of Mists: That is a gamechanger. Will Thrall return? Will somebody else take over the Horde? And how will the Alliance fare through all of this. I like the return to war, Blizzard has been emphatically shouting from the rooftops that things are about to get completely crazy. Will they be able to follow through?

Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance Heroics: Two of my all-time favorite instances are getting a facelift – I really like this.

The Tiller faction: Players have to raise their reputation with the Tillers by doing daily farming quests. No, not farming as in farming items. Farming as in shovels, rakes, and plants. Supposedly you’ll be able to raise reputation as well as grow cooking ingredients, herbs for herbalism, NPC gifts, and pets. Finally, they’re getting creative with factions! It sounds very Harvest Moonish… but then I like Harvest Moon.

AoE Looting has been added: I hope they send a nice Thank You letter to Trion.

Proving Grounds – Lore-heavy solo instances: This is interesting. Haven’t heard a lot about it, except that you’ll be able to chase achievements and work out your rotations there. I’m trying to think of other games that give you solo instances, other than LotRO’s solo skirmishes… has this been done elsewhere?

Given Blizzard’s past history, I can’t help but wonder just how much of what they are announcing will actually make it into the game. We know that zones, raids, and features have been cut shortly before release in the past, and while I don’t fault them for cutting features that don’t fit or are half-finished, I’m also trying to be realistic. Some things just don’t make it in. And no, I haven’t yet forgotten the revamped Scroll of Resurrection with it’s insta-80 feature, which still rubs (the admittedly curmudgeonly) me the wrong way. Still, I’m hoping that some of the new features will be fun enough to give at least a month or two of entertainment – hopefully before Guild Wars 2 releases.


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