Mists of Pandaria

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Mists of Pandaria

Postby Ivellius » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:37 pm

So...Blizzard's trademarked the title Mists of Pandaria for use with something to do with computer games.

If this is the new expansion, what can we expect from it?

The KYL articles continue to fascinate me, so I'll post Anne Stickney's reaction first:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/08/07/know-your-lore-tinfoil-hat-edition-the-mists-of-pandaria/

The pandaren could easily be disturbed by the Cataclysm and seek out ties with the other races. With the world in ruins, a civilization that practices geomancy and shamanism would notice.

I'm in agreement that this would seem to be a "South Seas" kind of expansion. You can find good reasons for the major races/factions to visit a bunch of marine territories, and most of these were mentioned in the Stickney post.

For the Alliance, we have some good hooks:
Kul Tiras - Obvious interest by Stormwind and even Gilneas to cement old ties; Jaina could help re-establish it as a power. If they get the old fleets back, the Alliance would see an increased interest in all kinds of naval activities.
Crestfall - Hey, doesn't Kul Tiras own this?
Zul'dare - May have something to do with trolls, and Gilneas supposedly owns it.

For the Horde:
Zandalar - If they're resurgent, the Darkspear might take the fight here. I'm a strong Alliance player, but Vol'jin has turned awesome since the Cataclysm, and we've already seen him convince Horde and Alliance to help him out. If Zul'dare has a troll connection, the worgen might find themselves wanting to come here. Because I'm trying to think of a good Forsaken hook, I'll put it here: the trolls have been magic users forever, and necromancers definitely aren't unknown. (I'd argue that the trolls seem more associated with death than any non-Forsaken faction.) What if they know a way to cure undeath through their rituals and potions? What if Sylvanas sees that as a threat?
Undermine - Yep, the goblins wouldn't mind going back, if for no other reason than profit. Surely there are a bunch of useful resources down there. In fact, there might be another opportunity for that old gnome/goblin rivalry, if some of the gnomes could get a foothold there.

Farther afield for both factions:
Pandaria - The dwarves supposedly get along famously with pandaren; it'd make a lot of sense for dwarven explorers/shaman to seek out ties with this group. They may have allied with the Alliance under Garithos against the blood elves, too. On the other side, Chen sided with the Horde, and they seem a lot like the tauren in personality.

The Broken Isles - The night elves might like to seek these out. With Azshara falling to the goblins, it'd be one of a handful of places with ancient artifacts and ruins that aren't contested. The draenei, too, might wish to see the Tomb of Sargeras (they need more to do). The blood elves could want the ruins for similar reasons, and should the Horde's warlocks see a resurgence this might be a plot point. Or warlocks of either faction, for that matter.

Tel Abim - You never know what would come up. Maybe it has connections to the Titans (gnome/dwarf hooks), ancient kaldorei/troll ruins, or a banana empire.

Plunder Isle - Pirates! Again, you could find reasons for just about anyone to come here.

What would make sense for new races/classes? Most of them are already in discussion out there, but I'll go over a few.

Races:
First, why would Blizzard include new races? The pattern so far has been races, class, races, so the fourth expansion is due for a new class, right? Well, unique classes are hard to develop, especially with only three roles (tank, DPS, and healer), and it might be easier to include new faces to fight than a whole new character paradigm. Also, people apparently think Blizzard is getting desperate over their subscriber losses, so two new races might pull people in. Especially if they're long-awaited fan-favorites. Right?

Pandaren - Obviously, with a title like that, they'd be in the running. I'm sad because the lore doesn't seem to provide a good reason for them to fight the Alliance or Horde, but I hate that the blood and high elves are so violently at odds, too, so there you go. As a "nature" society, they'd get along with either the orc/tauren/troll Horde or the night elf/draenei/wildhammer dwarf axis of the Alliance. Death knights...oh, man, that's going to be a problem. The other classes they'd bring would be shaman, possibly druids, and warriors and hunters. Racial abilities..? Well, drunken brawling, a meditative stance (better regen rates), one-handed weapon expertise. I dunno, just throwing stuff out there.

Furbolgs - I'm not sure how much I've posted about them, but I'm a huge furbolg fan and strongly believe they need to join the Alliance. Cataclysm Ashenvale quests have been setting this up, too--I'm sure of it. I'm pretty sure this would get me to resubscribe, and they bring more druids and shaman to the Alliance. Death knights aren't a huge problem for them, considering furbolg are native to Northrend. Including them in an expansion with pandaren would be odd, however--two new bear races? At least you couldn't say that one side was favored more over another. I'm not sure how well they'd fit in with the storyline, however, so I think adding some ancient furbolg ruins on an island or tying in the Emerald Dream to the furbolg druids would be a good idea. Or maybe they're related to pandaren? With the addition of phased starting zones for the goblin and worgen races, you could have a phased underground furbolg city.

Ogres - Well, if the pandaren need to remain neutral, these seem like the best choice for a new Horde playable race (considering some are already part of the Horde). Phasing could have them begin in Dustwallow Marsh or even in the Eastern Kingdoms. You could even pull something like what the Zandalar are trying to do but with the Stonemaul clan, calling for remaining ogres to join the Horde and build a better society.

Classes:
This is a bit harder, as we need to figure out things that A) fit with the expansion and B) are unique. Let's look at our contenders:

Necromancer: Other than Forsaken and some renegade humans, I have trouble figuring out how they'd fit in the greater society of Alliance and Horde. They're also gonna be similar to warlocks. This is also a base class and probably not a contender for hero class, especially with death knights already around. Next.

Demon Hunter: A rogue-mage hybrid, this is something I could see possible--if they can fit it into the story. A phased starting zone in Outland would be a neat way to revisit that continent. Incorporating an evasion system could even let them be a leather-wearing tank. Storyline issues as well as which races can take it are the biggest problems with this. Would people be okay with a hero class that only elves can join? How do they fit with the seas? Some lore twinking is in order.

Runemaster: Monk-like! Pandaren have them! They're already in the lore! Runemasters could fit as a hero class, though I think I'd rather them be a base class. Even better, almost any race could take it. Humans, dwarves, and gnomes have their titanic heritage going, night elves, furbolgs, pandaren, and tauren occasionally practice this older form of the arcane, and orcs and trolls might presumably be interested in learning it from their allies (it's kinda nature-y). Handwave in blood elves, Forsaken, goblins, and draenei and we've got something for everyone. This class could, with the right runes, tank, DPS, or heal, so that's another thing going for it. It's also different enough from other classes and would probably be a melee unarmed cloth-wearer (wouldn't that be something?).

Brewmaster: Again something the Pandaren have, and I forgot to include them earlier. They might be tanky with a drunken brawling tree. Self-healing may also be an option with imbibing brews, but I have trouble thinking they'd fill a healing role for other characters. They'd be easy enough to include for the Alliance and Horde--Brewfest is well-loved on both sides.

Big Bad:
So who's gonna headline these threats? Azshara would be a good choice if she doesn't show up before Cataclysm ends. The corpse of Sargeras would bring demons back to Azeroth and give the draenei more to do. One final thought: if the infinite dragonflight is trying to keep the Burning Legion away, what if Nozdormu ends up being involved somehow? What if he knew he would die at the Tomb of Sargeras and fights against his destiny?

Okay, that's pretty tinfoil-hatty, but I'm just trying to examine the possibilities for the new expansion. What's everyone else think?
Last edited by Ivellius on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:07 pm

I think Pandarians would have to be neutral, or split such to allow them in both Horde and Alliance. Otherwise, you can forget any pretense towards balance since better than half the servers will be nothing but Pandarians. ;)

I imagine they'll have to open up a whole new continent for Pandara. What would be interesting is how they'd handle leveling, especially with Pandarian PCs. Would they have a starting zone, and then migrate to Azeroth, and then return to Pandara at 85, with the rest of Pandara being 85-90 zones? Or will they get a full set of leveling zones, from 1 to 90? Or would they start somewhere in Azeroth?
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:34 pm

I suspect that if there really are issues with China and the depiction of pandas and violence, cultural sensitivity at least will leave them out of the fighting. (In other words -- not a playable race.) As noted, giving them to one faction would also really affect player balance. I could easily see it as a new hero class (Brewmaster, of course) with a custom starting area and oodles of Pandaran -- but you can only roll the existing races.

I've been wondering when they'd hit the south seas. They've had hooks for a while, from the old Steamwheedle Port dock to the hints at Undermine, etc. Plus, of course, Kul Tiras does need to be explored at some point. Oddly, they've done a fair amount with the under sea areas and the Maelstrom with Vash'jir, but there has not been the exploration of Azshara and the fate of the Highborne who followed her into the sea that I expected. That is still fertile territory for expansion lore.

However, since we're talking about utterly unknown lands (previously unmapped), they could very well have an entirely new set of continents populated by anything the devs want.

I'd still really like to see more with the Burning Legion, especially taking advantage of the remaining gates in Outland. I doubt that would fit into an expansion like this.

I'm itching with curiosity, and I'm hoping that this will be the WoW portion of BlizzCon this year :-)
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Ivellius » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:07 am

I forgot about the Brewmaster and added a brief mention. It could also work as a tanky or DPS type, I'd think.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:15 am

It also begs the question...will they split out "brewing" from cooking? ;)
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:41 pm

Well, there was Chen's Empty Keg. Sadly, while the keg may have survived the Cataclysm, the creatures it required for drops didn't. (Based on the current data, it appears the keg itself has also, finally, been removed from the game.) I remember when that was the only way to grind Orgrimmar rep...

In the lead-up to Burning Crusade, I was told (in an unreliable fashion, so take it in a grain of salt) that the unannounced Alliance race was going to be the Pandaren but ran into legal issues for some reason. I don't believe it, because Blizzard was a little better at secrecy at the time, and they seemed to do some active disinformation :-)

I really do hope, however, that this is the expansion -- their culture and history have warranted exploration for quite some time, and an expansion built around their part of the world would add a great deal to the background available for tabletop games.

If adapting existing rules, I'd be inclined to do something similar to the drunken master prestige class (3.x) or reskinning the Monk (4e) with alcohol-based flavor text to get there while we wait.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Ivellius » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:33 am

Er, there is a Brewmaster prestige class in Dark Factions, if that's what you're meaning. It's not too far off thematically from my hazy memories of D&D's 3e Drunken Master (it has a Flurry of Blows ability and gets boosts based on booze).

I'm not sure if I think they actually would introduce a playable race this expansion, and for some reason I have trouble seeing them make pandaren as a Horde- or Alliance-only race--I can't figure out why, though. Furbolgs seem like an okay compromise to me--add a "bear" race to each faction and you can develop the furbolg lore as them being offshoots of Pandaria, or even vice versa. The pandaren left the main furbolg tribes in Grizzly Hills and set up their own empire, maybe. That'd also give furbolgs a reason to be involved in a marine expansion. They're not exactly known for their sailing skills.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:38 pm

Ivellius wrote:I'm not sure if I think they actually would introduce a playable race this expansion, and for some reason I have trouble seeing them make pandaren as a Horde- or Alliance-only race--I can't figure out why, though.


I'd say its because the Pandaren don't have a dog in the horde/alliance fight. They have no particular reason to join either faction. The sum of contact between the two factions and the Pandaren amounts to a single character hanging out with some half-ogre for a while. Beyond that, they'll have to really work to craft a story as to explain them joining either faction. Or neither faction.

Furbolgs seem like an okay compromise to me--add a "bear" race to each faction and you can develop the furbolg lore as them being offshoots of Pandaria, or even vice versa. The pandaren left the main furbolg tribes in Grizzly Hills and set up their own empire, maybe. That'd also give furbolgs a reason to be involved in a marine expansion. They're not exactly known for their sailing skills.


Heh, in a way, Furbolg make more sense than the draenari (ok, just about every other race makes more sense then THEM), and even the wogan. I think the primary problem with furbolg (and ogres) is one of size and modeling equipment for them, along with the whole "no sexy female versions". :P
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:55 pm

Dark Factions was after I stopped collecting the books :-)

I've been assuming Furbolgs would eventually be playable, given that they received a faction (Timbermaw) in the MMO.

There was some really interesting speculation pre-BC that the Furbolg would be the Alliance race, with some nice stories tied to the Timbermaw, opening up of some tunnels in that area as a starting zone, and a return to Mount Hyjal. Obviously, that's not the way it went, but it could have served quite nicely as a campaign idea.

You're probably right, the Furbolg/Pandaran are probably related. (Do you have a source that states that already?)

As for the sexification of the WoW female character models, I miss the original troll female model. It was much, much more trollish than the current one :-(
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby nils » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:01 pm

Bonetti wrote:I suspect that if there really are issues with China and the depiction of pandas and violence, cultural sensitivity at least will leave them out of the fighting.


A little bit of googling will reveal that as an urban legend.

But: Pandaren would have to be either alliance or horde, and players of the other side would then feel pissed off. Personally, there is NO WAY IN HELL I'd play a panda but I understand I am pretty much alone with that sentiment.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Big Mac » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:40 pm

nils wrote:Personally, there is NO WAY IN HELL I'd play a panda but I understand I am pretty much alone with that sentiment.


I'd rather be a panda than a giant hamster. :|
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:28 pm

Big Mac wrote:
nils wrote:Personally, there is NO WAY IN HELL I'd play a panda but I understand I am pretty much alone with that sentiment.


I'd rather be a panda than a giant hamster. :|


OK, we'll compromise: A Giant Space Panda-Hamster.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Big Mac » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:56 pm

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
nils wrote:Personally, there is NO WAY IN HELL I'd play a panda but I understand I am pretty much alone with that sentiment.


I'd rather be a panda than a giant hamster. :|


OK, we'll compromise: A Giant Space Panda-Hamster.


Pandaria Space Hamster says: This thread is off topic
Image

Meanwhile look at this (unofficial) Mists of Pandaria logo:
Image
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:05 am

Big Mac wrote:Pandaria Space Hamster says: This thread is off topic
Image


BM's new Avatar!!! :)

Meanwhile look at this (unofficial) Mists of Pandaria logo


<shrug> Um, ok. I'd be more interested in maps and concept art than logos ;)

What I really want to know is if this will be the official theme music to the Mists of Pandaria.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Big Mac » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:32 am

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Pandaria Space Hamster says: This thread is off topic
Image


BM's new Avatar!!! :)


Nooooooooo! :o

Aw, alright then. But only on Facebook.

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Meanwhile look at this (unofficial) Mists of Pandaria logo


<shrug> Um, ok. I'd be more interested in maps and concept art than logos ;)

What I really want to know is if this will be the official theme music to the Mists of Pandaria.


You linked to the wrong video. You should have done this one:
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:31 pm

Big Mac wrote:
night_druid wrote:BM's new Avatar!!! :)


Nooooooooo! :o

Aw, alright then. But only on Facebook.


Can't complain, you walked right smack dab into that one ;)

You linked to the wrong video. You should have done this one:
Image


If I could have found that video I would have ;) Although that might be an interesting idea...kung-fu in Warcraft. That might be interesting to see... :mrgreen:
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Big Mac » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:45 pm

Kung-fu could be done in a tabletop game.

Maybe one of the undiscovered lands of Azeroth could be the setting's answer to Kara-Tur.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:40 pm

Kung-Fu has been done in tabletop gaming before (HKAT comes to mind, among others) :-)

Edit: Official site for the new expansion: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/mists-of-pandaria/

They formally announced the expansion at BlizzCon today. While information is still coming out, the Big Features have been named. (In all likelihood, other than the new lore, the rest of the announcements will be more MMO-centric.)

The new race is Pandaren, who will be available to both factions. A questline in the starting area will decide which faction you join.

A new hero class, Monk, is available. Minimal details at this point, no idea if it'll be open to all races or not. I suspect it will be. It will likely, like Death Knights, start at a higher level and require you to already have a different character of equal or higher level. This could be treated as either a class or a prestige class -- or both -- in a tabletop game (i.e. the class is more complete, but if you take it as a prestige class you get some of the features).

Edit: Not an epic class, available to everyone but goblins/worgen (i.e. the Cataclysm new races). Can spec as tank, healer, or DPS. Not quite like the usual tabletop monk (DPS) in that sense :-) Sounds like the Paladin or Druid model -- can take any of the three MMO roles.

Edit 2: Healer is a melee healer. Interesting. Blizzard may have solved the "No Martial Leader (Healer)" issue that D&D 4e's "role/power" grid was missing.

The storyline will not feature a single, expansion-wide villain (a la Illidan, Arthas, and Deathwing from the last three) but instead will focus on war between the factions -- and the impact that importing the Alliance vs. Horde conflict to Pandaria will have. There's probably a major campaign possibility right there, which would cast BOTH the alliance and Horde as the villains of the piece (or of the peace, even). That would probably make a very cool inversion of the norms -- all the "normal" player races are the Bad Guys :-)

...and in one of the things I didn't expect, they're working on some sort of pet combat system (i.e. Pokemon for WoW). Then again, they added Plants vs. Zombies in Cataclysm...

Lots to chew over...
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:46 pm

What's interesting is that supposedly the Lich King was supposedly was the one who kept the factions at war. And you'd think that with the big baddies being dead, war should start simmer down.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:42 pm

Cataclysm explicitly exploded that model, using lore set up in Wrath.

Blizzard felt that Burning Crusade was too cooperative and lost the War half of Warcraft. So, they used the Varian Wrynn storyline to put a strong and orc-hating leader in charge of the Alliance. Meanwhile, they put a warmongering orc plagued by feelings of adequacy and delusions of grandeur immediately under Thrall (in Wrath), then pushed Thrall aside and elevated him to Warchief, thus ensuring the Horde wants war as badly as the Alliance does.

This fractured the Horde (Vol'jin ousted, Caine slain, Sylvanas running amok, the blood elves almost leaderless, and the goblins seeking refuge) and united the Alliance, littering most of the world with battlefields.

This change in direction was explicitly pointed out as part of the design for Cataclysm last Blizzcon (or the Blizzcon before last, whichever one announced Cataclysm) -- bring the War back to Warcraft.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:46 am

They're adding "PVE Scenarios", which are (sort of) like battlegrounds for PVE content. They seem to be short, multi-step adventures with specific goals: http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/10/21/blizz ... scenarios/

Those could likely be mined for (already WoW lore friendly) side quest/one-nighter adventures.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:54 pm

Wow, have to say, they'll be lucky if Dreamworks doesn't sue 'em over ripping off Kung-Fu Panda. :P
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Ivellius » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:25 pm

Eh, Pandaren have been around for a while before that. Dreamworks would be luckier if they weren't sued (unless that movie had been in production in 2003).

But yep, after people saying that monks didn't fit the setting, they went and made monks. (I'm not really surprised.) I wonder what was wrong with the Runemaster, though. It might've had a good flavor to it.

The Pokemon thing was the most surprising to me, but...I guess it's fine? I don't know. Seems odd to me.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:04 pm

Looking at the racials on the Pandaren, its pretty obvious they're meant to be Kung-fu pandas (food-related bonuses along with bounciness ;) ). Can't accuse Blizzard of originality...;)

Ah well, to be honest, not especially looking forward to this next expansion. Probably going to close out my account and call it a quits here soon.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:56 pm

Bonetti wrote:Kung-Fu has been done in tabletop gaming before (HKAT comes to mind, among others) :-)

Edit: Official site for the new expansion: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/mists-of-pandaria/

They formally announced the expansion at BlizzCon today. While information is still coming out, the Big Features have been named. (In all likelihood, other than the new lore, the rest of the announcements will be more MMO-centric.)


Well, that makes Pandaren's official (from Blizzard's point of view) and means that the MMO will create new raidable content for RPG gamers.

(Given that Blizzard have decided to de-canonise Warcraft: The RPG WoW: The RPG, I think I'll mostly go with the continuity of the RPG and treat MMO elements as optional extras. If Blizzard decide to do a "Bobby Ewing" on half the tabletop canon, I'll just ignore them. I think that is the only way to build up a tabletop game that won't come crashing down with a Blizzard MMO patch.)

Bonetti wrote:The new race is Pandaren, who will be available to both factions. A questline in the starting area will decide which faction you join.


Hmm. How is that going to work? Last time I played the MMO, you could only choose one faction on a single server. That would seem to imply that if you already choose a faction, your Pandaren character would only be able to go that way. So does this mean that you need to make a Pandaren your first PC on a server, to get the full choice from this quest?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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