Mists of Pandaria: Female pandaren

From the moment that pandaren were announced as a playable race, the internet had one major concern: "But what will the females look like?" I came out pretty firmly against the way female worgen ended up, and I'm certainly not alone in those thoughts. Blizzard reps told me that they knew it was a high priority to make sure that female pandaren were available and visible as early as possible -- and that they looked great.

We got a good look at the female pandaren model at the press event, and I have to say I'm really just super pleased with it. Unfortunately, we only have the one screenshot, but I'll go into some detail here as to what worked so well with them.

First, before you jump to conclusions based on the image provided, let me tell you about female pandaren customization.

You can choose to be a black and white panda, à la the male pandaren, or you can be a red panda. If you go with red panda, you get a tail! Black and white pandaren females don't get one; only the red pandas do. The tail is animated and looks great (and you get to lord it over the inferior male pandaren).

At the press event, only one face option was available, but reps told me that they would have lots of variation in their faces, just like the males. Players can choose from a large variety (at least two dozen, if I recall correctly) of marking patterns on their faces and bodies, ranging from classic panda spots to ones that look like diagonal scars to just one eye being covered.

The hairstyles are similarly varied, with a lot of short haircuts and Asian-inspired dos. Expect Chun-Li buns, chopsticks in your hair, Ibuki bangs, and more when you load up the character creation screen.

In motion, the model looks great. They're animated just as well as their male counterparts -- that is to say, really well. There's so much expression in their faces when they interact with quest givers, get into combat, emote and more. They're downright Disney in the amount of expression you get while running out in the world. (No, their /dance wasn't hooked up yet.)

If it seems like I'm giving Blizzard lip service here, well, I'm honestly just very happy with this model, especially after female worgen. It looks and plays great and has a lot of customization options, including one the male model just doesn't get at all. Look forward to playing one in the beta!

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.