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WoW Beta: Mists of Pandaria - Top 10 New Features
There have been a lot of people wondering what is going to be featured in Pandaria that we have not seen before. Some are quite skeptical that Blizzard can innovate or make World of Warcraft interesting again. Playing the Pandaria Beta I have found I enjoy a lot of the features and am having more fun than I have in quite a while.
So then, lets get down to looking at the best features Pandaria has to offer us.
Black Market Auction House
This is exciting. The Black Market Auction House will have a variety of rare pets, mounts, armor, patterns, and other things that are really hard to find. These auctions are set up by NPCs and are bid auctions, but the rare things you can find are Ashes of A'lar (the Pheonix Mount from TK), Blazing Drake (Dragon Soul), Hyppogryph Hatchling, and more.
Location: The Veiled Stair - Tavern of the Mists
(Stairs start in Valley of Four Winds, Top Right Corner)
Low Population Servers Fix - Cross Realm Zones
Being in a zone with no one else can be depressing and lonely. In fact, it can be negative for your game play - the game is supposed to have a lot of people playing it, its how it was designed. So, what did Blizzard do? They decided to mix phasing technology with queue technology, so people will phase across servers seamlessly without knowing. This will also work for Real ID friends to be able to play together!
Pets and Pet Battles
As a pet collector, imagine my surprise when I logged in and it said I only had 134/500 pets. 500 is an insane number. You can get them from pet battles, achievements, vendors, and more. Surprising though that it is such a high number.
There are many people who hear about pet battles and run of screaming about Pokemon. Sure, it has similarities but this kind of game has been around for quite a while in Japan, Pokemon is not unique. The Pet Battle system in WoW is far more complex and you get to learn a lot more attacks than you do in Pokemon. Like Pokemon you can challenge wild critters or characters who pet battle, and you can capture critters you attack.
I honestly don't see why people are so down on this, since it is a nice thing to do rather than wait around in a city doing nothing while waiting for a queue.
Ability to Sell Pets
You can cage any pet you have, and put it on the AH. I am assuming that you are able to put trained pets up on the AH to be able to trade elite pets back and forth, or not have to work and just buy your way to achievements.
Ever use the addon Quest Helper? Well, the game added features that are similar. You can see quests marked on the map if you have spoken to the quest giver or not, even if you just arrive to the zone. This makes it quite easy to see where you need to go for the next set of quests to get you through the zone without searching. This added to the current in game quest helping allows you to have all the advantages of Quest Helper without the addon - all except for the nice arrow that points directions to things.
Its easier to think of these as small mini dungeons that are for a few players. This will replace open world group quests, but pretty much be the same thing. However, these will be a lot more epic - imagine something like Battle for Undercity - and scale with player level so you can go play them whenever you want to. The slight problem may be that there are no role requirements, but we shall see how that goes. However, we do know they will be short and you can do one while you are waiting for a dungeon or battle ground to come up.
Challenge Mode Dungeons
Challenge Dungeons are going to be time trials that you speed through. Your gear will all be scaled to a standardized level so there is no gear advantage, and Blizzard will set up a leader board so you can see who is the best on the server, friendslist, or guild in each dungeon. There are many achievements, Valor Points, and Challenge Dungeon Gear that looks amazing to let you transmogrify your armor sets to show off to everyone.
As Cataclysm did before, Pandaria does again. Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance are up for a redo. At first, I was quite unhappy because they had been touched up for Cataclysm and I dislike change to old content most of the time. However, I was wrong. The changes made are making Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance look better than ever, and play that way too.
Achievements are what I love about World of Warcraft. I have all of the hardest ones I can find, but have been depressed about both how easy achievements are getting, and how few there really are. That said, Pandaria surprised me again with a plethora of achievements for me to go after with Scenarios, Challenge Modes, Battle Pets, PvP, PvE, Exploration, and more. They added fun and meaty achievements that will keep me occupied for quite some time.
Simplification is usually a swear word in WoW because a lot of people compare it to making the game too easy, childish, etc. However, I would like to change the meaning of the word to crisp, clear, and clean. GONE are the obnoxious talent points that ask you if you want .002985% random stat or .003857% obnoxious stat. Gone are the boring cookie cutter shapes that you have to look up to make sure you did not spend something wrong. And gone are the worries about having to be afraid someone in your group didn't look up what to choose.
Talents are crisp, clean, and clear. Choose one out of 3 per 15 levels, they are all similar effects but you choose which spell you prefer. You automatically learn the things removed from the talent trees that you would want anyways, so don't worry about those.
And a few others...
Okay, so I said top 10 so I'll condense this down into an honorable mention for each feature and it will count as one... PvP features to blacklist maps you are tired of being in, who knows if this works they may extend to PvE. New Mounts that look awesome. Netherdrake like quest area. Gear models, in my humble opinion, look a heck of a lot better. Subtle graphics engine changes that upgrade the environment - Pandaria is beautiful, and I would say better than Cataclysm by far. Lastly, world bosses are back in a big way. Literally, some of them are huge.
More To Come
I am continuously playing the beta, and will be writing more articles to help people explore the it if they aren't a part of it. If there is anything you would like to see, leave a comment and I will take a look at it.
Here are a few related articles which look at the beta:
World of Warcraft Beta: The Pandaria Warlock - Demon and Spell Overhauls
World of Warcraft Beta: The Pandaria Shaman - Ascendance and Spell Overhauls