With Blizzcon now firmly in sight, and a new World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, almost certain to be announced, it’s time to look back on our memories of Mists of Pandaria. Some are fond memories, yes, but there are also many not-so-fond. Feel free to add your reflections on Mists in the comments section below as we take you through our five fondest and five most forgettable memories from Mists of Pandaria.
Fond memory #5: World bosses
What’s not to love about getting as many people as possible (remember those 120-man Oondasta groups?) to take on a big baddy? Epic fights with an epically huge group. This is what World of Warcraft needs more of.
Forgettable memory #5: World bosses
Have you ever tried to do these things on anything other than the first day after a reset? Even on the highly populated realms I play on, it’s almost impossible to find a Celestials group towards the end of the week. A cross-realm group finding service helps, but there are only third party options at the moment. There has to be a better way: hourly (or less often) spawns, scaling health, dual faction tag?
Fond memory #4: Mini games
Make all the jokes you like about WoW-kemon, it’s a verified hit. Pet battles are an insanely popular diversion and I hope the new expansion builds upon them, maybe even with its own storyline. It’s not just Pet Battles that impressed in Mists: we also had the farm. While not technically a mini-game, this one did have its own storyline, and is infinitely more useful than pet battles to the average player. Gathering professions are an essential part of WoW, but it is in desperate need of an overhaul, and the farm was a good way to start. Finally, the noodle cart mini game surprised me with how much I don’t hate doing that every day. While the UI does seem a little buggy, it’s generally pretty fun and fits with the theme, but most importantly doesn’t take itself too seriously. Hopefully we’ll see something new in the next expansion. Here’s my suggestion: WoW football. Think about it.
Forgettable memory #4: PvP
I don’t PvP a whole lot, but the experiences I have had are mostly ones of frustration, or of people running around pylons while they line up their cooldowns to burst somebody down. CC is rampant, and there are supposedly measures being taken to combat this, but I’ll believe them when I see them. I expect we’ll be at the same point at the end of the next expansion because CC has been added in slowly as people complain about certain classes having more CC than others, even if they don’t. It’s possible to have some genuinely fun moments in PvP, and it’s much more casual friendly, but it seems like the systems are being too easily cheesed.
Fond memory #3: The new raiding paradigm
Flex raiding, bonus rolls, LFR: all these things have created a new experience for World of Warcraft’s endgame. Despite the social difficulties, LFR is slowly becoming the true casual’s choice, while Flex has opened up as something the normal and heroic raiders will do instead of running LFR. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see more changes in the next expansion, such as LFR’s difficulty becoming even less relevant, and Flex raiding becoming the most popular raiding experience. It makes casual raiding much more sociable, but isn’t unnecessarily taxing in the difficulty department so it’s still easy to have a good time. Meanwhile, bonus rolls have become a staple for most raiders as a way to reward those who do engage in non-raiding activities. Some weeks you’ll get nothing, other weeks you’ll get three pieces of loot you wouldn’t have usually had. I think they’ve hit the nail on the head with the effort to reward ratio with them. Some of my raid bothers to collect them, others don’t.
Forgettable memory #3: Patch 5.1
Seriously, does anybody even remember this patch happened? It’s main problem was you’d seen almost the entire patch in the first 30 minutes of logging on. Brawler’s Guild was a little bit neither here nor there, and scenarios aren’t exactly the floor-fillers they were made out to be. It did bring us the first incarnation of item upgrades, though.
Fond memory #2: Pandaria
It may have the least imaginative name, but the continent is anything but. A deep history and rich tradition with well designed areas was the perfect antidote to the Cataclysm, where the new zones were less than impressive. Not that we spent much time out in them anyway. From the lush Jade Forests to the eerie Dread Wastes, Pandaria was a joy to explore visually as well as practically. Levelling carried on from Cata’s improvements and took a step up with more thoughtful storylines and an encompassing sense that everything we did mattered in some way. Phasing was more subtle, as it should be, and instances felt like they were key parts of the storyline, rather than just tacked on.
Forgettable memory #2: Secrets of the Empire, and such
Whatever your opinion on the Legendary capes are, I don’t think there’s anybody out there who enjoys those gating quests that were part of the chain, from the Sigils to the Secrets and on to the Runestones. More an exercise in persistence and frustration than anything requiring skill, these quests seem completely pointless to me. If the idea is that you want to slow down access to the capes, just use a timer. If you really want to encourage people to raid, make them drop from specific bosses, or looted from chests. There’s nothing like getting 5 Runestones in one week, then being stuck getting one a week for the next 5 due to RNG. I understand that randomness is part of the game, but surely there’s a more interesting way?
Fond memory #1: Laying siege to Orgrimmar
I’ve played both factions throughout my WoW career, but nothing pleased me more than riding into Orgrimmar as part of the Alliance to lay the smackdown on the Warchief himself, Garrosh Hellscream. That the Alliance and Horde worked together to overthrow him, too, is a nice memory, but really this was about the Alliance exerting its will. The final cutscene reveals Varian’s feelings on the matter: that the Alliance is now above the Horde in the pecking order, and it’s up to him to enforce and ensure the Horde remains peaceful. As a raid instance it’s pretty sweet, too. While the section from Galakras to General Nazgrim is forgettable, at least in terms of boss encounters and that trash clear, the second half of the instance has some great encounters, and not the least of which is Garrosh himself, who was a good change-up from the less than exciting “tentacle fight” at the end of Cataclysm.
Forgettable memory #1: Dat rep grind
Upon its release, people hailed the extensive reputation system because it meant there was going to be lots to do at level 90. Then we realised we would be doing up to 2 hours of daily quests per day, with minimal variance, and we’d need to do it week on week, just to access the lowest tier raid gear. There were no commendations at that point, so if you wanted to play more than one character, you were doing the whole grind again. I’d bet most people play WoW because they want to feel like a hero, and daily quests are just busy work. That doesn’t seem to fit in with what us heroes of the Horde and Alliance should be doing. And why am I trying to earn reputation with factions? I’m a hero. Factions should be wanting to earn reputation with me!