BlizzCon 2011: New WoW Expansion, “Mists of Pandaria” Announced
If you’d rather PvP the old-fashioned way, Mists of Pandaria will provide a new arena (the Tol’Vir Proving Grounds), and two new battlegrounds: Stranglethorn Diamond Mines, which requires teams to escort carts full of diamonds to depots to earn points, and the Valley of Power, in which you capture an ancient artifact and hold it to earn points. Holding the artifact damages you, however, so make sure to have a healer handy.
PvE hasn’t been neglected either. The expansion will ship with new instances and three new raids, of course, including Heroic versions of old favorites like Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery. Questing is being tinkered with, along with Factions, which Blizzard wants to make less grind-intensive. New “PvE Scenarios” are designed to resemble battlegrounds, and will presumably involve epic set pieces with multiple phases and moving parts.
There are also rumors of new World Bosses appearing, thanks to solutions to the camping problem, but the most intriguing announcement is undoubtedly the Dungeon Challenge Mode. When pursuing this option, players will be given normalized gear sets and challenged to race through certain dungeons as fast as they possibly can. Achieve certain benchmarks, and you’ll get a Bronze, Silver, or even a Gold Medal, along with special items. Finishing dungeons fast has always been a useful skill in WoW, but now it’s a real competition! Alongside your Challenge medals, you’ll also be able to display new account-based Achievements, some of which will require multiple characters to earn.
More information continues to emerge about changes to WoW’s existing classes. Most striking are the changes to ranged weapons. Only hunters will be able to wield them, with the minimum range requirement revoked. Rogues and Warriors will be able to throw their main weapons to do ranged damage. Mages will be able to strike from range with their wands, but they’ll have to equip them in their main hand slot — non-hunter classes will no longer have a ranged slot.
Warlocks will now have to collect resources for every talent tree. Affliction ‘locks are of course familiar with Soul Shards, but Demonologists will now collect “Demonic Fury” and Destro ‘locks will need to hoard “Infernal Embers.” Collect enough, and those destructive fiends will catch on fire and deal copious conflagration damage.
Shamans have had their buff totems eliminated, leaving them with a collection of utility totems like Earthgrab, Repulsion, and Bulwark. Druids now have four different specs available: Feral (DPS), Bear (Tank), Moonkin (Balance), and Tree of Life (Restoration). Players will no longer have to visit class trainers to learn spells — they’ll simply appear in your spellbook when you level up. On top of all this, Blizzard is planning a sweeping change to the way that talents work, which we detail in a separate Mists of Pandaria New Talent System post.
Check out screencaps below to learn more about the expansion. Head over to the rest of our BlizzCon 2011 coverage for more on the Diablo 3 Collector’s Edition, new StarCraft II units, and the WoW Annual Pass.