BlizzCon 2011: Blizzard Details Dungeons, Raids and Challenge Mode in Mists of Pandaria

There will be nine new dungeons to play in the fourth World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, and along with them, Blizzard is throwing in a whole lot of new content.

Much of what will be available in terms of dungeons and raids was detailed in one of Friday’s panels at Blizzcon 2011, aptly titled “Dungeons and Raids.” Primarily, Blizzard devs detailed how a few of those dungeons are going to play out, spoke about some aesthetic changes to how dungeons are presented in the world, and detailed a few new features for players looking for additional content beyond questing.

The panel, headed by Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton and Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer, discussed several dungeons to be found on Pandaria, the content included in the expansion. One of the big changes from many of the dungeons of WoW’s past is that Pandaria’s will be visible in the outside world in 1:1 scale — meaning you’ll approach each one from the outside and see it standing before you, then explore it. It also opens a lot of options for questing.

According to Stockton, Blizzard is putting in a lot of questing opportunities around and even inside dungeons, so each of the Pandaria dungeons is going to include quite a bit of surrounding story. That means that when you finally enter one to clear it out and destroy its bosses, you’ll have a reason why you’re killing the things you’re killing, and what the goal to clearing those dungeons out will be.

Temple of the Jade Serpent

In the first zone of Pandaria is known as the Jade Forest and includes a dungeon called the Temple of the Jade Serpent. The story surrounding the dungeon finds Alliance and Horde forces clashing in the zone after washing up on two distant shores after a vicious naval battle. The two factions meet — and do battle — in the center of the zone, and the explosion of negative energy contributes to the release of the Sha.

One of the major story points being hammered away for Pandaria is that the land is, in a way, cursed. Negative emotions and energy, like those driven by the war between the factions, gives rise to physical shadow monsters known as Sha. These monsters are basically the major plight of Pandaria and the player will spend a lot of time dealing with it. After Sha inhabit the Temple of the Jade Serpent in the first zone, players will need to cleanse the dungeon and basically fix the screw-up they have wrought on the area. Embedded below is the video flythrough of the dungeon Blizzard presented at Blizzcon (which you can download here).

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