Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

3 reasons for casual players to be excited about Mists of Pandaria

While this column is nominally titled WoW Rookie, if you'll pardon the redundancy, it actually tends to serve as a cross-section of content for new, casual, and (as I like to call them) play-a-little players. It's for folks who don't really have hours on hours each week to devote to the hobby. After all, when baby's gotta eat, baby's gotta eat; can't nurse three hours later just so you can do the hard mode first.

With that in mind, Mists of Pandaria brings a lot to recommend it to our crowd. While it's tempting to give in to scuttlebutt and think this expansion is mostly for the hardcore crowd, I promise that Blizzard hasn't forgotten about its loyal, beloved casual playerbase -- because boy, oh boy, is there a lot for us to love!

This topic comes up this week from reader Angela, who wrote:

I've been reading in forums about how MoP is mostly for the raider and hardcore crowd, that Blizzard isn't catering to 'casubads' anymore. Is there any reason for a full-time worker and mom to care about MoP?

I promise, Angela, there are reasons to care. Let's talk about them.

Pandas and monks, oh my!

The big ticket item for MoP is the addition of pandaren themselves and their iconic character class, the monk. The pandaren themselves look to be a unique, brand new addition to the world with all new lore, interesting stories, and incredible animations. Pandaren have actually been in Azeroth's history for several years, but all of these quests and stories are new additions to WoW. Monks are leather-wearing, butt-kicking, stout-drinking fighters.

The addition of a new class and a new race gives everyone a chance to level up all over again without feeling like you're just grinding through the slog one more time. The achievement counter is reset, the pet counter is reset, and we can spend a month working through our new character. Since it's a brand new race and a brand new class, hopefully the combination will help keep things fresh.

A whole new world

The new world is amazing. Look at the pictures of Mists of Pandaria. Other games are on the market right now with fancy new graphics, but they're just not anywhere near as pretty. The combination of gorgeous, rich colors and imaginative landscapes makes MoP a wonder to behold. Sure, the game engine is a little old, but the artists have created a breathtaking universe with that engine.

I can't wait to get into MoP and start exploring the new world. The temples look inspiring to me. I'd love to plop some of that architecture down in my back yard. Look at it! This world looks lived in and absolutely incredible. More that anything else, I think this new look and feel to the world will make it feel almost like a brand new game.

Zones and questing

When it comes to the depth of content and questing, MoP looks like it will bring abundant new experiences. Your intrepid WoW Insider staff recently attended a press event and had an unparallelled opportunity to talk to the developers. One quote in particular has really stuck with me.

Dave "Fargo" Kosak, WoW's lead quest designer, said, "We didn't just split up zones. We added a ton of terrain. We were developing these little subzones and thought that they really deserved to be their own experience, so we added a lot of terrain to support a robust quest experience, new stories, new characters -- the whole deal."

What that quote means to me is there's a whole new depth of content for us to enjoy and explore, even if we never form up into a raid.

Check it out yourself

Don't just take my word for it, though. Check out this roundup of our Mists of Pandaria coverage. With the new beta beginning, we'll have a lot more for you to explore. MoP is going to be awesome, both for hardcore players and those of us with limited schedules. Stay tuned -- it's going to be amazing.

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!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr