Mists of Pandaria to be Packed Full of Max-Level Content
When World of Warcraft players find their way to the Mists of Pandaria expansion, they’ll discover a lot of new content Blizzard is adding to the game. Not just story content, a huge new world to explore, and patches that will take them to Orgrimmar to take down Warchief Garrosh — but content that will keep them busy even when they’re finished with the rest of the expansion.
During a trip last week to the Blizzard campus in Irvine, California, we got a chance to see some of the big new features World of Warcraft will sport when Mists of Pandaria hits shelves. The WoW team at Blizzard is working off a mandate of bringing lots of different kinds of content that will appeal to a wide range of players, from the casual WoW-heads to the most hardcore dungeon runners.
The new pet battle system, the closest analog of which is probably Pokemon or similar games, are meant to rework WoW’s entire pet system to provide casual content for players that can be engaging without requiring tons of skill.
“We’re trying to eliminate the shame of defeat,” said Lead Designer Tom Chilton. “The idea is that you do not feel s–tty when you lose.”
To that end, Mists of Pandaria’s pet battle system will operate more as WoW’s first minigame than as a larger part of the game. Pet battles will include a turn-based system gameplay system — not unlike older games in the Final Fantasy series — and will allow players to challenge NPCs as well as other players.
The system won’t track losses, only wins, and will operate mostly anonymously. Players won’t have the ability to trash talk during pet battles, either, in order to maintain the fun air of a distraction.
“We see pet battles as adding a lot of fun,” Lead Game Producer John Lagrave said. “It’s something you can do while you’re waiting for a raid or waiting for a dungeon, you can just start a pet battle with someone. It’s something that you can engage in and it takes no effort.”
But that doesn’t mean the system won’t be robust. As was detailed at BlizzCon 2011, the pet battle system will allow users to seek out and capture pets throughout the world, as well as trade em with other players, level them up through battle, and sell them on the auction house. Each pet gets the ability to use up to three abilities in battle, but each pet will have access to six abilities. That’ll require a level of strategic thinking on the part of the player.
Pets found in the world will have random qualities, as well, Lagrave said. They’ll be character-specific, though: you won’t be able to share pets across all the characters on a single account.
Blizzard is working on a fully reworked pet user interface to support the system, which will include a “pet journal” that will detail all the pets you can get in the game, and more important, where to find them. The journal will also be the interface for prepping your pets for battle.