Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Mists of Pandaria Beta: New dailies spark ongoing story

Anne Stickney

Of all the things I enjoy in Warcraft, it's the little things that please me the most. In particular, I like getting mail. Mail from my friends is all well and good, but it's the mail from NPCs that really tickles me. For some reason, I just really like the thought that there's an NPC out there jotting down a note and sending it my way via post, whether it's a congratulatory letter or simply a note to say hello.

Hitting level 90 in Mists of Pandaria opens up a whole host of new dailies and a ton of new factions to gain reputation with. Now, before you roll your eyes and groan about yet more reputation grinds, the new dailies introduce some fascinating bits of player/NPC interaction. When I hit level 90, I immediately headed to an island of the southern coast of Krasarang Wilds called the Cradle of Chi-Ji, the crane also known as the Southern Celestial in Pandaria.

Why did I head there, of all places? Because the island is swarming with beautiful, delicate cranes, and I cannot express how badly I want to toss a saddle on one and ride it around. I'm a mount collector. Sue me. But what I found in the Cradle of Chi-Ji was far more interesting than a simple daily grind.

Mists of Pandaria beta New dailies spark rivalries ANY
A persistent new contact

The Cradle of Chi-Ji holds dailies that will give you reputation with the August Celestials. Whether or not this will net you a crane mount, I couldn't tell you. But what I can tell you is that the isle is swarming with fellow students of Chi-Ji who are there to train, and if you start the quests in this area, you will be placed into training as well.

There are three fairly repetitive dailies, but these probably change as your reputation level grows. After completing the three, you are given a fourth -- and what I found on my first day there was that I had been assigned to duel a new student just like myself. Her name was Ellia Ravenmane, and I totally kicked her butt. And after kicking her butt, she proclaimed that we were now rivals, which I found interesting but shrugged off as just another bit of flavor conversation.

Mists of Pandaria beta New dailies spark rivalries ANYAfter turning in my quest, I took off to see what else there was to do at level 90, and let me tell you: There is a lot. There is so much to do that even though I've been 90 for several days now, I am still discovering things I haven't done yet, quests I haven't completed, new dailies to explore. And this is without Pet Battles or instances -- I haven't touched a heroic instance yet. After completing another set of dailies, just before calling it for the night, I noticed something: I had mail. And it was from Ellia Ravenmane.

Ellia wrote me just to let me know that we were still rivals and I hadn't heard the last from her. There was nothing else -- no attachments, no quests. Delighted with the mail, I went on my merry way. The next day, I did a series of quests, thinking I'd see Ellia again at the conclusion of them all. Only I didn't -- instead, I was assigned to kick the butt of a level 2 student, which I happily did. Once I turned in the quest, I went back about my business, thinking that now I'd get a bit of mail from this student. Except ... I didn't.

Instead, I got another piece of mail from Ellia, who mentioned that she heard I'd beaten the second student and that she was still waiting for a rematch. In fact, she'd set one up with Thelonius, the trainer that apparently sets students up to kick each other's butts. Yes, Thelonius the monk, you can go ahead and groan now. So I headed back to the island, did another set of three dailies, and found myself facing Ellia again. I promptly kicked her butt, and she walked off in disgust. I waited with baited breath for her mail -- but instead, I got a mail from Thelonius, who spoke of Ellia's defeat and gave me a lesson for the day.

An ongoing story

This is about the point where I realized this really wasn't just any set of dailies. Yes, there is repetition involved, but woven into that repetition is an ongoing story, and I'm sort of dying to know what happens next. Will I see Ellia again? Will she send me another letter? Will I get another missive from Thelonius? What lesson is he going to teach me next?

I could be wrong, but I think Blizzard just did a dandy job of suckering me into caring about dailies. It's gone from repetitive daily quests to an actual quest chain and bit of story overlaid into the dailies, and it's absolutely fantastic to play through. I don't think I've ever been this fascinated with a set of dailies before, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

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