The reaction to the Mists of Pandaria announcement was mixed, which had me fairly confused. Much of the gripe seemed to be coming from the fact that pandaren were going to become a playable race. I found this a little odd, especially given that a Know Your Lore I'd written a little over a year before had plenty of people pondering the idea of pandaren in game with delight -- maybe not as playable, but it certainly seemed like people wanted to see them. So ... what gives?
The reticence to the announcement is, I suppose, a little understandable given what we're dealing with. The Burning Crusade dealt with several of the major villains of Warcraft III. Wrath of the Lich King had us address the one villain that was left over. Cataclysm involved a villain who by and large was never really in the Warcraft games at all; his major appearances were all in novels that players may or may not have ever read. Sure, he was a character in Warcraft II, but the focus in Warcraft II was more clearly on the humans and the orcs rather than Deathwing's plans, in terms of the story.
With Pandaria, we have a continent and an entire civilization that we've barely heard about in vague references and stories. Chen was a playable character in a bonus campaign in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and he was a pretty cool ally to have around. But Chen's origins weren't really spoken of, and the island of Pandaria wasn't really something players learned anything about.
I was glad to see that Elfi liked the beta so far, barring the obvious struggles of trying to level with hundreds of thousands of other beta testers. But I'm curious if Elfi's alone, or if others have played the beta, seen Pandaria, gotten a chance to wander around and experience the scenery, atmosphere, and quests, and had their minds changed as well. Don't think about the bugs -- the game isn't finished yet. Just think about what you've seen and who you've spoken to. What do you think of Mists? Is it shaping up to be something you'll enjoy?
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!