The big day-one BlizzCon announcement is that Mists of Pandaria is going to be the next World of Warcraft expansion, and we've got some new details on what players can expect from the new content. For starters, Blizzard is once again reworking the talent system, as the studio feels that the current system hasn't aged well and has been plagued with cookie-cutter builds. Instead, each class will have a single talent tree, and every 15 levels players will choose one of three available talents. Talent builds can be changed as easily as glyphs, meaning it's possible to customize your talents mid-instance in order to tune for a specific fight. Outdoor raid bosses are making a return, and Blizzard is aiming to allow players to choose their own paths through the content rather than forcing them onto a set path.
For more details, head on past the cut!
As far as Pandaria itself is concerned, the continent consists of five "really large zones," containing new content for Horde and Alliance alike. A number of new creature types are being introduced, such as the mischevious, monkey-like Hozu (who are allied with the Alliance) and the water-dwelling Jinyu (who take sides with the Horde). Unsurprisingly, Asian themes permeate the new continent. Blizzard has announced that the first zone players end up in is the Jade Forest, where the Horde and Alliance have set up camp on the North and South sides of the zone, respectively. This zone is host to Pandaria's first dungeon, the Temple of the Jade Serpent, where players are tasked with removing the Sha (a manifestation of negative energy) from the temple.
There are also some details on the Pandaren themselves. Pandaren will have access to the Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, and Warrior classes. They will be granted double stat benefits from food due to their Epicurean racial ability, while the Gourmand racial increases their cooking skill by 15. The zen-like Pandaren also possess a strong Inner Peace, which causes rested experience to last twice as long. Rounding out the racials are the Bouncy passive ability, which reduces the Pandaren's falling damage by half, and Quaking Palm, an active ability that puts a target to sleep for three seconds.
The next big piece of news is the introduction of the Monk class. The Monk is not a hero class, and as such will start at level 1 just like everyone else. The class, as you may have surmised, is very much based around martial arts and comes in three flavors: Brewmaster, which is a tank; Mistweaver, a melee healer; and Windwalker, which fills the role of melee DPS. Every race will have access to the Monk class, and they will largely fight with their hands and feet, though finishing attacks will utilize weapons. Players can expect fist weapons and staves to make a comeback in a big way due to the Monk.
Monks will use a new resource known as Chi to power their Jab builder attack. Jabs build light and dark force, which is used to activate the Monk's more powerful abilities. Perhaps the most jarring feature of the Monk is the lack of an auto-attack, requiring Monk players to be constantly active with their abilities.