I know you guys are going to start asking for Beta access already, but please don’t… It’s all up to Blizzard. But, since Wowjuju has access to MoP Beta servers now, we will try to cover most, if not all, of the new additions and features of the new WoW expansion: Mists of Pandaria.
I’d like to begin with my personal impressions and talk about what I have tested first: The new Pandaren race and the new Monk class. I couldn’t help myself, I had to test the new race and class on day one. I wanted to see everything… What the new area looks like, what the Pandarens feel like and how the monks work. I won’t go into detail too much because we plan to have an article for everything in the upcoming days.
Also, before we start, keep in mind that this ‘review’ is from a very early stage of Beta. There are a lot of bugs and missing elements. We won’t focus on them because they are going to be fixed eventually and those bugs are not what we are interested in.
The Starting Area
Pandarens start their journey on The Wandering Island. The island is actually an enormous sea turtle called Shen-zin Su.
The entire place there reminds me of Chinese architecture and culture. Everything is related to martial arts and you see training grounds all over the place.
The area is pretty linear, but it is quick and has some fast quests. The Temple of Five Dawns is the central element of the island and every time you complete a part of the quest chain you’ll be sent back to the central temple. Those who wonder about phasing, well, is barely noticeable. No more huge phasing events like we were used to from previous expansions.
The area is filled with vegetation and various streams. The wildlife is abundant and most of the models I encountered are new, but some of them were pretty strange. Wild evil rabbits?! C’mon! Yet they are funny little rascals.
While questing I had to bring back some spirits to the central temple and help various Pandarens with their problems. All this time I was observed and my progress was essentially my training.
Pandaren Monks – quick preview
At first I wanted to try out a male Pandaren, but the model I picked had some animation bugs so I switched to a female character. As for the class, I went for the monk of course. I wanted everything to be new.
The best description of the Panderens in my opinion is that they are AWESOME! There, I said it. The new character models feel great and their movements and animations are truly amazing. I really can’t wait for the patch where Blizzard will give all the races new models.
Despite some bugs, Pandaren movements look fluid and somehow natural, if you can call it that when you talk about a puffy panda.
At first the playstyle of the monks felt similar to rogues and cat druids, but once you learn more abilities it becomes more distinct. The Chi globes you generate can be used for other abilities, much like the rogue’s combo points, but they are not linked to a specific target and you do not consume them all at once like combo points. We will write an article where we’ll try to explain everything in detail.
There is one more thing I have to say about monks. While it was announced that they won’t have an auto-attack they have one at the moment. But I can’t say for sure whether that will remain. Like I said, it’s an early Beta version of the game.
Another strange thing that I noticed, not only with monks, but with all the Pandaren players of all classes that I have encountered, is that the low level playing is much more solid than before and you feel a lot safer while leveling. Perhaps the starting area mobs are weaker, I have no idea, but it’s something new.
Skills are learnt automatically, no more trainers. When you level up, and you are able to learn a new skill, it just pops up in your spell book.
The “At level 10 you’ll pick your faction” is also not entirely true. I was level 12 by the time when my quest chain sent me to pick my side. After helping both horde and alliance that crashed on the island, and after they help you healing the island, you’ll be able to pick your side: Horde or Alliance.
The cutscene videos are missing at the moment, but after you pick your side you’ll travel by hot air balloon to Stormwind or Orgrimmar.
Anyhow, these are just my personal first impressions. I’ll come with more details, screenshots and videos pretty soon. Until then check out the images below, and if you have any questions or if you want to add something, leave a reply below.