Mists of Pandaria - review of the fourth expansion pack for World of WarCraft

Date: 2012-10-16 12:37:00
The review was based on the PC version.

Last year's announcement of the expansion pack for World of Warcraft was met with a very diverse response from fans of this popular MMO. On the one hand, there were people who liked Blizzard's idea for the next stage in the history of the world of Azeroth, on the other hand, the addition of pandaren and the lack of "the evil one threatens the world" caused an avalanche of criticism and declarations that subscribers will leave the game. So there is no terrifying demon, no ruler of the undead, or no mad dragon. So what is Mists of Pandaria ? What does it have to offer? Let's take a look at the essentials of Mists of Pandaria and see if it's worth giving Azeroth another chance .

Unlike Cataclysma, Mists of Pandaria does not introduce many changes and new features for characters below level 85 and focuses mainly on the content available to visitors to the new continent on their way to the maximum level. Just before the release of the game, a system of cross-server zones was introduced , thanks to which the old locations have come alive a bit and we can see more characters in them, which makes us feel like we are playing an MMO again, no matter what level we are at. Of course, this reduces the efficiency of collecting resources for the profession, and increases the chances of fighting with members of the opposite faction (if we play on a PvP server), but from the very beginning it was an inseparable element of World of Warcraft - maybe some people just forgot about it and hence complaining about this solution?

Introducing pandaren as a playable race in Mists of Pandaria is a great opportunity to start playing with a new character - especially since it is the first neutral nation that can choose its faction. Its starting location is a perfectly designed place, matching the high level of workmanship and detail to the continent of Pandaria - a lot of dubbing, interesting tasks and cinematic inserts help to better understand the history of the Shen-zin Su pandaren. The biggest problem, however, is that after hitting about twelve levels, we have to enter the old zones, which, despite the Cataclysm fixes, are significantly different from our initial experience - especially in terms of the appearance of models (we are still waiting for an update to the appearance of playable races!).

The Monk is an interesting addition to the character classes available in the game. It can perform all three roles in a group, which is why it is an attractive choice for everyone. Unlike the death knight added in Wrath of the Lich King , the monk begins his adventure on the first level , therefore, in order to enjoy the content of the new expansion, you need to break through all the expansions of the game with this character. The path to the maximum level should be facilitated by the class tasks for monks, which increase the experience received by the character for a while. An interesting trick is that a monk with a healing specialization can support his allies by hand-to-hand combat (and not just casting spells from a safe distance), which is quite an unusual solution.

Pandaria is beautiful! What Blizzard can do with the graphics engine that has been with us for so many years is truly admirable. You can see that the artists working on World of Warcraft have mastered the tools at their disposal . Each location is different from the others, and the fact that they are all worked out down to the smallest detail often makes us stop unconsciously to look at the great views. A very good decision in the case of Mists of Pandaria was to force players to use ground mounts all the time they level up on a new continent, which gives us the opportunity to appreciate the work put into creating Pandaria. In addition to the visual impressions, it is also worth praising the music, which, as always in the case of Blizzard games, is at an extremely high level.

Upon arriving at Pandaria, you can quickly see that the authors of World of Warcraft put a lot of emphasis on the strong narrative and interesting quests that make the journey to the maximum level much more enjoyable and interesting than previous additions. There are many more cinematics and great dubbing, which is a very good form of presenting the plot in the game.

All zones at the players' disposal are unique both visually and in terms of story. Of course, some threads repeat (for example the fight against Mogu), but each location has a lot to offer. If you've never paid close attention to the content of a quest before, Mists of Pandaria is a good time to give World of Warcraft's story one more chance.

The creators assured that in the latest expansion, the clashes between the Horde and the Alliance will gain importance, as can be seen from the very beginning, when the scout groups of both factions fight on a mysterious continent, which leads to the materialization of negative energy in the form of beings known as Sha. This thread, however, recedes quite quickly, compared to the rest of the problems of the inhabitants of Pandaria. Blizzard announces that with patch 5.1 (it is already on the test servers), the armies of both factions will land on a new continent and start a regular war . Honestly, the files extracted from the latest update point to a lot of interesting plot twists, but I won't reveal them.

Leveling up may be slightly diversified by the instances available at level 85 and 87, but the problem is that there are only four of them. Despite the great design, they get bored quite quickly, and for real adventures in a group of five, unfortunately, we have to wait until the maximum level, at which heroic zones are unlocked. It's a pity, it would be nice if at least one location was also unlocked on 89.

It is a lot of fun to fight against elite opponents that can be found in all locations of the new continent. Due to the race they represent, they have specific skills, which should be borne in mind when trying to defeat a given miniboss. In addition to standard loot, such as armor, they also drop unique items that affect our character in an interesting way - they change her appearance for a certain period of time, increase the speed of swimming, give the opportunity to breathe underwater, etc. There is also an achievement that requires you to defeat all of them. these opponents. The problem is that there are over fifty of them!

As always with World of Warcraft, the fun begins when we reach the maximum level . This is where we can perform daily quests that increase our reputation with different factions, test a completely new element such as scenarios, visit heroic and raid zones, and demonstrate skills in the challenge mode. Who will find time for all this? One thing is certain - you can't complain about boredom .

Earning a reputation in World of Warcraft took many forms, but in Mists of Pandaria its main source is daily quests that we can carry out for many factions, which seems a more reasonable solution than constantly making heroic zones with the appropriate tabard on yourself. It was a great idea for them to change every day, but after a while we realize that if we decide to complete orders from all available groups, we have to spend a lot of time on it. Of course, you can gain reputation a bit slower and not rush to help all factions at the same time, but if we want to optimize our character and gain access to the appropriate rewards as soon as possible, we will not do without spending several dozen minutes a day on it - just such a small job in the land Azeroth. The additional reward for completing daily tasks also affects the receipt of items from raid bosses.

One cannot but mention the raid zones that have always been a strong point of World of Warcraft . In the case of Mists of Pandaria , there are six bosses in Mogu'shan Vaults at the very beginning, but at the end of the month there will be more in Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring. Of course, in view of the fact that the clashes were tested on servers beta, many guilds already can boast the completion of the raid, also available as heroic, but it is impossible not to admit that from the point of view of mechanics skirmishes are, as always, interesting, and once another emphasize the mastery of the creators in this aspect .

Perhaps the least convincing element in Mists of Pandaria at the moment is the Looking For Raid mode, Blizzard's premise was that groups that may not be very eager to communicate with each other, or those in which they find themselves, would have a chance to succeed. Weaker players, so the LFR difficulty level is very low - in some cases you can even ignore most boss mechanics. On the one hand, it's nice to be able to see clashes in the raid zone and get a few items, but you should probably expect a bit more from players - maybe that will be the case of Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring?

Bosses that are available in open locations (and not only in raid zones) have also returned to Pandaria. It's nice to once again see groups of 40 gathering this time in the Valley of the Four Winds and Kun-Lai Summit to fight Galleon or Sha of Anger - defeating them is an opportunity to obtain an epic item. In order to encourage players to create the largest possible groups, after defeating the boss, each character draws a possible prize separately, so there is no chance that representatives of the same class will fight for loot.