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

Shado-pan Monestary

The second dungeon detailed at Blizzcon 2011 was the Shado-pan Monestary, located at the Kun-Lai Summit on the northern side of the continent, the second zone players will work through. The Shado-pan are like pandaren ninjas, and as a group they exist to protect Pandaria from an “ancient enemy.” They also keep those shadow-monsters, the Sha, caged up in their monastery.

As one might expect, the Sha — perhaps invigorated by all that war you and your Alliance/Horde buddies are bringing to the island — escape from their cages and infest the monastery. The Shado-pan dungeon has you going in and helping eradicate the shadowy threat. This is another dungeon around which much of the expansion’s story is built, so when you finally find your way inside to clear it out, you’ll be fully aware of what the boss’ deal is, and why he must be destroyed.

This is also a large indoor-outdoor dungeon, according to Blizzard, and one they expect you to be able to ride mounts through. Here’s the walkthrough video: download it right here.

Stormstout and Dungeon Remixes

A few details were thrown out about Stormstout Brewery, a staple of pandaren lore. It’s the family brewery of Chen Stormstout, a pandaren character who appeared briefly in WarCraft III and will appear in MoP. The brewery has been overtaken by enemies and needs to be cleared out, and will feature three bosses, Mercer said. See the fly-through below, with the download being right here.

The new expansion will include three new Heroic dungeons, with updates coming to Scholomance and the Scarlet Monastery for Level-90 characters. Both dungeons are kind of like remixes of their original forms, Mercer said during the panel. Scholomance has been reshuffled to make it easier to navigate, with fewer rooms but the coolest rooms remaining. The dungeon has also been updated with a boss fight in one of the front rooms to give a boss that didn’t get a lot of play before more emphasis. “It’s been seven years,” Mercer said, describing the development team’s thinking on reworking the boss fights in the dungeon. “We can do these fights a lot of justice and make them very cool.”

Scarlet Monastery is being reworked into two wings with remixed layouts — one consisting of the chapel and graveyard, the other of the armory and library. The two halves are each separately accessible, helping to keep the dungeons shorter and more manageable. Stockton said that boss encounters in the monastery have been reworked as well, giving them new abilities to use against enemies.

When it comes to dungeons, Stockton and Mercer said the design philosophy has changed in terms of normals and heroics. There won’t be any level-90 normal dungeons, however: instead, there will only be level-90 heroic dungeons. Blizzard is using the revamped Dungeon Finder to take the place of “normal” dungeons, in a way — as Stockton put it, you’ll have leveling dungeons, Dungeon Finder, then heroic dungeons and finally the new Challenge Mode.

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