World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria confirmed

We knew that something big was coming from BlizzCon, after the official store started selling placeholder t-shirts as part of its preview sale. And the company did not disappoint.

In front of the 26,000 people in the audience, Blizzard‘s Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development Chris Metzen announced the next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

Originally trademarked back in August, Mists of Pandaria was oft-rumoured to be the Next Big Thing. Turns out, we were right.

“War is coming, and it’s not going to be pretty… unless you’re playing Blood Elf, whatever.”

Pandaria is a land of balance, beauty and hope – “until we arrive,” and bring hate, violence and “unending factional conflict”.

Past expansion sets have been predicated by a “big new villain”, says Metzen, explaining that people have been focussing on bosses, or that little thing that saw Deathwing destroying Azeroth. This time around though, “The real enemy,” says Metzen, “Is going to be war itself.” (By that, he means we’re returning to “the heady days” of WarCraft II, which is nice.)

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

Don't call him a panda!

Details are going to be revealed over the next little while, but we do have some tidbits right now.

  • New Playable Race — Pandaren: Adventure through Azeroth as World of Warcraft’s first neutral race and decide whether to side with the Alliance or the Horde.
  • New Playable Class — Monk: Unlock the secrets of pandaren martial arts and do battle as a damage dealer, healer, or tank.
  • Level Cap Increased to 90: Learn potent new spells and abilities while exploring uncharted zones and taking on challenging new content.
  • New Zones: Explore the lush Jade Forest, treacherous Kun-Lai Summit, and other exotic areas of Pandaria designed for high-level characters, and uncover the mystery of the Wandering Isle.
  • Scenarios: Join up with some friends to achieve a common goal, such as mounting a defense against invading monsters, in a flexible new type of PvE challenge.
  • Dungeon “Challenge” Modes: Master the ultimate five-player time trial to earn prestige rewards in a new dungeon mode that will put your resolve and coordination to the test.
  • Pet Battles: Challenge other players’ companion pets with your own collection in a new tactical mini-game, and find out who’s king or queen of the pint-sized battlefield.
  • New Talent System: Customize your character to suit your play style with the newly overhauled and improved talent system.

In case you were wondering, yes, the “pandas” really are part of World of Warcraft official canon. They were actually scheduled to be the Alliance race for The Burning Crusade, but were scrapped in favour of the Draenei. “They’re a very different kind of flavour,” says Metzen.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

So zen...

But while they were originally planned to be Alliance, today there’s been another major revelation about the fuzzy critters: They are officially the first multi-faction race for World of Warcraft, with gamers able to play through several early levels of the game (starting on the back of a giant turtle) without choosing between either Alliance or Horde.

…I don’t have to tell you that there is absolutely no information on any potential release dates at this stage, right? When it’s done.

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