BlizzCon 2011: New WoW Expansion, “Mists of Pandaria” Announced

Pandaren have always been a controversial part of the Warcraft universe. Ever since they appeared in Warcraft III, they have been subject to speculation and rumor. The Chinese government, for example, were said to object to their inclusion in WoW — they take pandas pretty seriously in China, and they buy a lot of WoW subscriptions to boot.

Blizzard, it seems, has the power to placate the Democratic Republic, because Pandaren are here. Introduced by Chris Metzen during his BlizzCon opening speech, they are the stars of the show in the forthcoming WoW expansion, “Mists of Pandaria.”

Pandaria is a single continent, with a central questing hub and an auction house. Flying mounts will not be allowed until players have reached the level cap. The Pandaren starting area is called the Wandering Isle — it’s located on the back of a gigantic sea turtle. Their racial abilities are as follows:

  • Increased stat benefit from food by 100%
  • Cooking +15
  • Rest XP lasts twice as long
  • Bouncy – 50% less falling damage
  • Racial Ability: Quaking Palm – touch an enemy on a pressure point, put it to sleep for 3 sec.
    • The BlizzCon trailer started by showing off the Pandarian architecture, clearly derived from Far Eastern designs. This real-world influence permeates Pandaren culture, and the expansion’s new Monk class clearly incorporates the themes and tropes of Asian martial arts. Every race except for Worgens and Goblins will be allowed to roll Monks, which appear to be a hybrid between tanking (the Brewmaster talent tree), healing (the Mistweaver tree), and melee DPS (the Windwalker tree). Three guesses as to which build will be the most popular.

      Monks use “Chi Energy” to power Jab and Roll attacks, and deploy Jab to generate “Light” and “Dark Force,” which are then spent to power other abilities. Monks cannot auto-attack, strangely enough. Overall, the WoW Monk sounds pretty similar to the Diablo 3 Monk, right down to its use of leather armor, staves, and fist weapons. However, according to the BlizzCon panel, Monks can also employ a suspiciously Street Fighter II-like hurricane kick! Take that, Diablo!

      In keeping with their Kung Fu trappings, Pandarens will need Zen-like calm and dogged adherence to duty, because for the first time, a race will be available to both factions — the burly black-and-white bears will fight for both Alliance and Horde, only choosing their faction when they reach level 10. Other new Mist of Pandaria features include a level cap increase (to 90), a revamped talent system, and a new “Pet Battle System,” which is sure to pique interest, especially among Pokemon fans. Pets can be collected, named, leveled, augmented with abilities, traded, sold, and, of course, pitted against each other for fun and glory. Our Pet Battle System round-up has more details.

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9 Comments on BlizzCon 2011: New WoW Expansion, “Mists of Pandaria” Announced

Red Menace

On October 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Anyway to make a buck.

Heru

On October 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I’m not at all a WoW player or fan but, Kung-Fu Panda’s? Seriously…? I’ll bet Ninja Turtles are next.

justin R Billings

On October 22, 2011 at 9:16 am

umm.. WoW had pandas way before that movie.

joe mello

On October 25, 2011 at 4:54 am

Wow really pandas come on….

Pandaren

On October 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

The race Pandaren appeared in Warcraft 3 and the only reason they haven’t appeared in an older expansion is because of complications with china. It’s forbidden to portray the death of a panda in that country and with pandaren being a playable race that’s quite hard to avoid. I guess Blizzard got desperate enough to bring them in anyway.

Kulalaknit

On October 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm

@Heru

So let me understand it clearer, Walking Cows, Space goats or walking dogs are okay… but pandas? Man blizzard must be nuts putting something so unrealistic as a panda into the game.

kebin

On October 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

@Heuru

Get informed or get lost

Disappointed

On November 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

Does anyone else see WoW losing their roots and going for the quick buck from the younger population of gamers?

Zelfarion

On December 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Disappointed: No they do not go for the quick bucks. They have done what they have been doing with ALL there games. You try to make a game this succesful and make 4 expansions. Somewhere along the lines its going to get really hard to please your whole audience. So dont come with that bull before you research ok?