Perhaps the reason I think about this as much as I do is because, for me, transmogrification is
content. I change my look often
. I run older raids, dungeons, even craft long forgotten items purely for a look I'll abandon in the next few days. My endgame choices consist of dailies to advance and unlock various stories (I do the ones I'm most interested in seeing, which is why Dominance Offensive is my current grind), raiding because that's where I have the most fun in pure PvE content, and transmogrification. Every week I run every old raid up to ICC, looking for gear for a new outfit idea. This is what I
do, while other people are doing their Tillers farms or fishing with the Anglers or doing Challenge Modes, because it's what I enjoy
doing. And I cannot ignore that transmogrification was a late-Cataclysm
Expansion aren't developed in isolation from each other. The people who made Cataclysm
made the game you're currently playing -- the hallmarks of daily quest hubs like the Shado-Pan in Townlong or the variety of quest hubs for the August Celestials can be felt in the Molten Front offensive's gradual unlocking and the Argent Crusade both before and then after the Argent Coliseum was introduced. The real change this year was in fact somewhat of a regression combined with what was learned in Cataclysm
- Pandaria goes back to the new, continuous place to explore with new zones all physically connected pioneered in Burning Crusade
and Wrath of the Lich King
. Meanwhile, without the burden of an incredibly expansive redesign for the entire world, Pandaria could focus its efforts on enough questing content to get you from 85 to 90 and then blow the doors off with content for
90, instead of spending so much of its time on complete revamps. Some of the questing content in Cata
was the best questing content ever designed, but it was content that not many people would see, aimed at levels players do everything in their power to skip over.
In the end, Mists
solves this problem by simply not having
to solve it. The previous expansion already did all that heavy lifting, updating the game and its world for the next few years. Mists
was in effect carried to the top of the hill by Cataclysm
and gets to rocket down the slope benefiting from that hard work. But it also definitely puts all of its effort into being expansive, both in terms of how it feels to explore and experience the world (which you can simply do) and in terms of all the new systems there are to experience. Pet battles don't just involve flinging the contents of your pet tab at each other, there's systems to interest you in exploring the world and seeking out new pets, even in old familiar places. Challenge modes remove the gear equation, forcing players to focus on doing their absolute best. Even the positioning of the PvP and PvE vendors forces players to get out and see what they're playing in.
Will this solve the kinds of doldrums we saw as we waited for Cataclysm
to end? It could be said that from February to September, players were mostly waiting and waiting for Mists
instead of really playing the game they had. If Mists
can continue to deliver patches with the speed it did 5.1, it's hard to imagine entering that sort of dead zone again, but 2012 shows the danger. We not only need a wide variety of content, and we not only need it focused at the max level player, but we need it fairly frequently.
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.