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Entering the mists

Blizzcon 2011
Blizzcon 2011

World of Warcraft is back with their latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria. Whether you remain a diehard subscriber or have just recently dusted off your gaming mouse, Blizzard has plenty to keep you busy this time around. Mists sports a brand new Asian influenced continent home to a race known as the Pandarens. The Pandarens start off neutral and the player is given the choice to choose which faction they want to join upon reaching level 10. Alongside the new race, Blizzard has also introduced the brand new Monk class. They share gear with Druids and can also heal, tank, or dps which makes them an immensely versatile new addition to the game.

The humanoid race of Pandarens may resemble a cute and cuddly panda, but they are not to be underestimated. They are deftly skilled in several ancient branches of the martial arts and plan to use their combat talents to defend their homeland from the invading war machine of the Horde and Alliance.

Fresh off the defeat of Deathwing, players are presented with the lush and colorful world of Pandaria to help them reach the new level cap of 90. The quests are still basically standard Blizzard fair, but they remain varied and incorporate some of the most fluid storytelling experiences in the game to date. When players hit 90 they are opened up to everything the new expansion has to offer. This time alongside dungeons there is a new game mode called Scenarios. This allows three players to group up and essentially complete a series of objectives for valor and other rewards. A wealth of faction dailies also provides a way to earn valor points for those weary of the normal method of running dungeons and raids to collect it.

Perhaps the unspoken hero of the expansion is the new pet battle system. Blizzard has finally introduced a use for the huge number of pets players have been gathering for years. Nearly all pets in the game can be leveled up using a turn-based style battle system. Players can battle against friends, queue for a challenger, or scour the world in order to find rare pets. This should muster the attention of all the Pokemon fans out there. With subscription numbers once again reaching 10 million, it seems clear that World of Warcraft’s reign at the top is far from over.