Mists of Pandaria

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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Angel Tarragon » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:33 pm

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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:12 pm

Big Mac wrote:
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?

That was only for PVP servers, and the restriction was removed a long time ago. (It was put in during beta to keep PVP "spying" down -- an issue only when the community was fairly small.). Similarly, they removed the restriction on transferring characters to PVP servers after leveling on a PVE server.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:14 pm

Bonetti wrote:That was only for PVP servers, and the restriction was removed a long time ago. (It was put in during beta to keep PVP "spying" down -- an issue only when the community was fairly small.). Similarly, they removed the restriction on transferring characters to PVP servers after leveling on a PVE server.


With the massive power disparity between level 20 and level 85 characters, I couldn't imagine trying to level on a PvP server without a babysitter.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:52 am

It was bad when the cap was 60. I was trying it, and had just entered Ashenvale. A gnome riding the other way Fire Blasted me (which dismounted him), since entering the zone flagged me. He proceeded to camp my corpse.

I logged out a few minutes later, and went back to my nice, cozy PVE server :-)
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:25 pm

Bonetti wrote:It was bad when the cap was 60. I was trying it, and had just entered Ashenvale. A gnome riding the other way Fire Blasted me (which dismounted him), since entering the zone flagged me. He proceeded to camp my corpse.

I logged out a few minutes later, and went back to my nice, cozy PVE server :-)


The only way to level on PvP servers requires an 85th level babysitter, maybe two or more. They should just abandon the whole concept of levelling quests on PvP servers and have them be solely PvP. The only way in is to transfer a max-level character from a PvE levelling server.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:57 pm

night_druid wrote:
Bonetti wrote:It was bad when the cap was 60. I was trying it, and had just entered Ashenvale. A gnome riding the other way Fire Blasted me (which dismounted him), since entering the zone flagged me. He proceeded to camp my corpse.

I logged out a few minutes later, and went back to my nice, cozy PVE server :-)


The only way to level on PvP servers requires an 85th level babysitter, maybe two or more. They should just abandon the whole concept of levelling quests on PvP servers and have them be solely PvP. The only way in is to transfer a max-level character from a PvE levelling server.

No longer the case these days.

First, world PvP is nearly dead. You'll occasionally have a guild go camp one town and shut it down for a while, but there are too many other outlets. Yeah, lone players will still camp out in leveling zones, but they're so empty now that it's a target poor environment :-)

(Note: this may not apply on the handful of servers where the factions are ridiculously out of balance, e.g. the one with something like a 10:1 tilt, with no endgame anything (raids, rated battlegrounds) on the faction that's suppressed. In this case, the overrepresented faction is probably sitting in the capital cities, bored.)

Second, you can fly at 60, and in Azeroth. That removes most of the "I got killed while traveling", since it's difficult to kill someone mid-air -- there's a good bet you've killed yourself, too (unless you have an escape (in which case you end up halfway across the zone if your target was fairly high up) or are a druid (due to instant-cast flight form)).

Third, and most importantly, leveling via PvP is possible now. You get xp in battlegrounds, and they're in 5 level increments so you don't feel quite so wretched. It helps to have an 80 or 85 already on the server for heirloom gear, but it's not required (it just speeds things up). Yeah, it means an awful lot of WSG and AB, and not all classes are balanced at all levels, but it's possible to sit in a city and level via battlegrounds. As a bonus, you can spend your honor as you go, picking up lower-level PvP gear along the way.

Fourth, leveling in instances is practical with LFD (my officemate is doing this with a druid right now). Again, camp in the cities, queue for random instances, level pretty darn fast -- with even faster queues if you come in as tank or heals.

Fifth, if you're feeling slow and it's a totally casual toon, the cooking/fishing dailies will eventually level you and they're completely in uncontested zones. Mind you, it'll take a couple years, but for a tertiary character it's not a bad way to go. Plus you get faction rep along the way.

In addition, it's pretty easy to get a base level of PvP gear once you hit the cap. You'll get last season's arena armor and last season's weaker weapon, but that's not all bad. (Note: the first patch of the expansion, you get blue armor and, I think, no weapon.) It doesn't take a lot of PvP armor to not be very squishy anymore.

The game's too big for the purity of PvP servers to mean much anymore -- most PvP has been instanced anyway (which is a big complaint of the Gank and Camp crowd.)
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:07 pm

Gameplay trailer Link

You get to see briefly the map to Pandara, which has the overall shape of a turtle. Looks like kung fu pandas start at the "head" of the turtle, and probably start at level 85 (my guess).
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:05 am

night_druid wrote:You get to see briefly the map to Pandara, which has the overall shape of a turtle. Looks like kung fu pandas start at the "head" of the turtle, and probably start at level 85 (my guess).

Monks are not a hero class (they start at 1, like everything else other than a Death Knight), according to the news from Blizzcon. The player Pandaren are apparently on the back of a giant turtle, as part of a "go out and explore the world" group which has been separated from the actual continent (read about their Wanderlust, and here's the turtle, Shen-zin Su).

In related news, they hosted a developer Q&A recently, focused on Mists of Pandaria. The transcript is at the end of this post at MMO-Champion (and probably elsewhere, but I couldn't find it in the official forums). They had alluded to Pandaria being "magically hidden" for some period of time, which would explain why it wasn't on earlier maps. It also fixes the location of the continent:

Blizzard wrote:Q: Where exactly is Pandaria located on Azeroth? many speculate that it is in the south, but I have always assumed it was to the west of Kalimdor.
A: Pandaria is located on the south side of Azeroth. Think the exact opposite of Northrend. Come to think of it, we should have named it Southrend.


That ties into an earlier discussion about Tanaris/Stranglethorn feeling equatorial/tropical -- if this is the "balancing" continent in the southern hemisphere, the overall geography makes more sense.

More on the turtle:
Blizzard wrote:Q: The island of Pandaria is set to be located on the back of a giant turtle, will this turtle go under water?
A: The starting zone for new Pandaren is located on The Wandering Isle (the turtle). The continent of Pandaria itself is not a turtle, its a piece of land.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:21 pm

Side note, also related to the expansion (but not Pandaria itself): The Great Item Squish (or not) of Pandaria

This is much more MMO than tabletop (by a long shot), since it is affected by computer word-size (how large of numbers can be efficiently calculated), but it's an interesting dilemma. As a quick orientation to the non-WoW players, items have two levels: a required level (must be this level to use), and an item level (an internal number which, when combined with rarity, dictates stat values). At the beginning of the game, these values are comparable, but even as early as 60 one is seeing level 60 gear with an item level of 90. (At a character level of 85, the non-starter gear is in the high 300s, item-level-wise.)

In order to keep the power curve going as they add new levels, and for the values to feel meaningful, there's been an exponential growth. We've already gone from 2k health at 60 to 10k health at 70 to 25k health at 80, and now 120k+ at 85 (for a base-line, pre-raid geared tank -- add 50% or more for a fully-geared tank at each level cap). The damage curve is crazy.

However, just squishing it back down will feel very underpowering -- sort of a game-wide version of the healer complaints in Cataclysm ("Whaddya mean our health pools increased 6 times, but our heals only doubled? WE GOT NERFED!").

The closest mechanic to this I've seen in a tabletop game to date is 4e, which has attached levels (in a power sense) to its items. This is a nice exposure of a mechanic, so one can know what the numbers are balanced around -- but it's also an unwelcome CRPG import into a pen & paper game (and those who feel uncomfortable breaking written rules probably consider it a straitjacket).

One of the things I've enjoyed about following WoW's development is watching them make these decisions. Not because I care one way or the other about the outcome, but because they have to deal with all sorts of balance issues and number-crunching while balancing it with fun and ensuring too much inequality doesn't stay long enough to really tick people off. It's a game design and balance problem on a scale unimaginable for the average tabletop game, but the insight into the problems is still fascinating.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:36 pm

Not surrprising, really. The game has long been just an endless treadmill of grinding for the latest item, so its not surprising they've reached "critical mass" of item balance problems. Kinda surprised they've gone this long without having to effectively reset everything to 0.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Big Mac » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:28 pm

Squishing things down for tabletop play, probably won't spoil the game, as the tabletop players will never have had the items being uber-powered.

But one thing that might help (at least in 3e terms) is to make some of the "bind on equip" items into intellegent items or epic intellegent items.

This could allow a GM to give an overpowered item out to PCs and have it only work for them.

If you wanted to reproduce the sort of "pick up new gear" but "hand in old gear" feel that the MMO has, then perhaps the intellegent/epic intelligent items could be designed specifically to assist PCs of a specific type* at specific experience levels**.

* = Going by the game, you could do stuff like find a MMO magic item that only works for paladins and convert that into an intellegent item that refuses to be used by anyone except a paladin.

** = I'm not sure we have worked out a MMO-to-RPG conversion process worked out yet, but if a person creating a magic item chose to assist paladins of the "heroic tier", the item may attach itself to any paladin of a level below 10th level, but then demand to be passed on, when the paladin reached the "paragon tier". They could then pick up another item that is designed to be useful for paladins of the "paragon tier". (I'm not sure the 4e tiers of 1-10, 11-20 and 21-30 is enough for a World of Warcraft tabletop game, but it is a starting point. (Items may well be attuned to half of a tier, or may be designed specifically to "convert" heroic paladins into paragon paladins and sit between the two ranges.)

Perhaps this item power concept should be split off into a new thread, as it goes beyond Mists of Pandaria.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:42 pm

So, the press tour is done (oodles of reports and report roundups out there, e.g. WowInsider, or MMO Champion), and the beta is open to some subset of current (annual pass) subscribers. Information is likely to start flooding out about game and world changes.

The big thing is that they're adding huge amounts of lore, a new class, and an entire, new continent (with an explanation of why it's been "hidden" so far). Based on early reports, they're also going to be doing some serious Alliance/Horde shakeups, including the sacking of Theramore and a massive event to take down Garrosh.

(Hints are that Garrosh has been corrupted somehow, and will be the expansion's final boss. Once slain, it looks like Vol'jin will probably return as the new Warchief -- Thrall's off doing other things, and no one else with that sort of stature is currently left.)

Once again, the story could easily be adapted into a campaign-length adventure, either as some of the people discovering Pandaria, or as some of the Pandaran on the Wandering Isle. However, unlike Cataclysm, this isn't remaking the face of Azeroth, it's adding a new area (a la Burning Crusade's Outland, or Wrath's Northrend).

So, work done in a game to accommodate Cataclysm would carry over -- but is not necessary. Except for Garrosh's storyline (which is distinct enough to be imported without Deathwing's return), the rest of the story of Cataclysm could be ignored and Mists of Pandaria patched straight onto Azeroth as written up in the RPG books.

Incidentally, as a side note, this is the first time in WoW that you can choose your faction (Alliance or Horde) after character creation.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby night_druid » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:31 pm

Interesting. No surprise they're not doing too many major changes to Azeroth/Kalemdor; they already "fixed" the problems in the 1-60 zones in Cataclysm (to varying degrees of success). No need to redo that again; the only real problems that would need to be addressed would be the handling of quest gear into tiered sets so you don't have wildly variant levels for your gear. <shrug>

No surprise in Garrosh; they've sorta turned him into Mr. Unpopular for Alliance and Horde alike. The only fight between Alliance and Horde would be to see who gets the kill Garrosh first. ;)

Sounds like they might dampen down on the horde/alliance feud a bit; Vol'jin doesn't strike me as the warmonger type, and if both sides allow in any race, that seems to indicate that the underlying racial hostilities are cooling off. I imagine that if King Varian is allowing horde races into the Alliance, then his hatred of orcs has lessened a great deal (he was on a pretty heavy "kill all orcs" kick there for a while). Probably Jania overthrew him and took charge. ;)
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Bonetti » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:37 pm

Well, a lot of the vanilla endgame was with neutral factions (cenarion circle, argent dawn, etc.), Burning Crusade pushed that further (a shared neutral central city!), Wrath even more so... I think the Wrathgate event's primary purpose was to lay the seeds for a path back from World of Peacecraft to World of Warcraft :-) That, and the Variann storyline.

I'm pretty sure at least one of the designers is on the record that part of the Mists design is to ensure the "War" of "Warcraft" is not forgotten -- and that a lot of the new zone stories are bringing that war forward into this new continent.

FWIW, Outland really needs rework. I'm kind of sorry they didn't make the Azeroth revamp cover 1-70, so you went 1-70 in EK or Kalimdor, 70-80 in Northrend, 80-85 in the Cataclysm zones, then 85-90 in Pandaria. Stepping back into Outland around 60 just feels weird now. (I understand the technical and logistical reasons why they didn't.) It's nice to know that one can actually simply skip that in a tabletop game, or go in a completely different direction, even if one imports the MMO storylines into the RPG.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Telenil » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:15 am

If I had to describe my feelings about "peacecraft" arguments, I'm not sure I would be constructive. That's really something that never made any sense to me: Warcraft 3 is the darkest of the saga by a fair bit, with its story being praised specifically. The entire Frozen Throne took place with Jaina and Thrall as their respective faction's leaders, yet only someone who never played it could refer to it as "peacecraft" - even excluding Rexxar's storyline. If anything, a good Horde was what made Warcraft unique, how can people imply the truce and trust between Thrall and Jaina is not Warcraft?

Needless to say, I feel Hellscream's head being ripped off his shoulders is long overdue. Varian was a good character as a warmonger, he had an impulsive nature and was blinded by his past, but he had good reasons to be and didn't want war for the sake of it. Jaina as leader of Theramore also allowed for a wide range of attitudes towards the Horde.
Garrosh, on the other hand, is a plain bad guy. He is a mildly incompetent leader with psychopathic tendencies, and launched total wars against the night elves and the humans under for no real reason, save what he calls "glory". He lets Sylvanas raising undead while she doesn't even deny she's creating her own Scourge, recruits the Dragonmaw and burns Ashenvale while most of its defenders are fighting Deathwing.
Neutral but "good-aligned" factions like the Cenarion Circle or the Argent Crusade could hardly remain neutral if not for gameplay constraints. Even Horde members would have solid reasons to depose him.
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Re: Mists of Pandaria

Postby Big Mac » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:58 pm

I've not really got anything to add to this discussion, but welcome to The Piazza, Telenil. :mrgreen:
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