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WoW Beta: Mists of Pandaria - Top 10 New Features

Updated on May 15, 2012
Mists of Pandaria Screenshot
Mists of Pandaria Screenshot

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)

Black Market Auction House - Note Contents
Black Market Auction House - Note Contents

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!

Pet Battle
Pet Battle

Pets and Pet Battles

500 Pets
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.

Pet Battles
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.

Quest Helping

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.

Scenarios

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.

Pandaria Screenshot
Pandaria Screenshot

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.

Dungeon Upgrades

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

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.

Druid Talent Tree
Druid Talent Tree

Simplification

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.

Sha of Anger World Boss
Sha of Anger World Boss

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

Further WoW Articles:
World of Warcraft: Why This Coming Expansion is Fly or Die for the Series
The 20 Current Best Addons for World of Warcraft

Looking forward to Pandaria?

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    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Thanks for this article, I can't wait to see all these features! The Black Market AH looks particularly interesting, and I agree with you on the "why the pet battle hate?".

      Voted up, useful, funny, awesome and interesting ^^

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I think mainly people like complaining and criticizing, and because it is so easy to say pet battles are Pokemon, and Pokemon is a "kids game" (I see people 20-30 playing too), I think it is both the outlet of least resistance and ignorance which cause it to be targeted.

      Black Market AH is to die for. Been wanting Ashes of Alar for years now and they never drop, its too hard to get the people, and then there is infighting.

    • William157 profile image

      William157 5 years ago from Southern California

      I had never heard of the Black Market AH, and pet battles alone are sure to attract millions of players. Great article, Daniel!

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thank you. :)

      The black market AH hasn't been formally announced, and its not available anymore (taken down after an hour, they probably messed up and released the test early) so a lot of people don't know it exists yet.

    • Keith Engel profile image

      Keith Engel 5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Good piece, I have been avoiding really following much about Mists since it was announced. The Black AH sounds like a nice touch. The PVE Scenarios are similar to Skirmishes in LOTRO for sure, I wonder if they will let you do them solo though like they do in LOTRO?

      As far as the pet battle system, hey at least it made into the game. The same can't be said for the Dance Studio, Wrath, and the Path of the Titans, the biggest mistake I think Blizzard made by scrapping that as it made archeology a completely useless secondary skill except for leveling.

      The whole thing with the servers sound similar to certain things that Anet is doing with GW 2, as are adding in Open World Boss fights again.

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      The scenarios scale with level, so I don't think you would ever be able to solo one unless you get really overpowered raiding gear later in the expansion. They had world bosses in Cataclysm but they were really hidden and not really worth it as they dropped blues.

    • Keith Engel profile image

      Keith Engel 5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      As I said similar to LOTRO's skirmishes, but not quite. With LOTRO skirmishes it is possible to set group size from 1, 2,3 6, 12. Thus, you can run them anyway you want. I know that these are supposed to be able to be duoed, but as you will see with my next hub, Blizzard is still in some cases ignoring the casual solo player.

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