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In Defense of Pandora…er Pandarea

Posted by admin on Wednesday Oct 26, 2011.
10.26.11

I’m gonna warn you: that this blog post will contain terribly crafted (yet clever) puns. If you hate these, please read on.

 

At Blizzcon, Blizzard announced their latest WoW expansion: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Nearly everyone in the WoW community was surprised by the decision to pursue this direction with the Lore, causing pandemonium in trade chat realms everywhere!

 

The Pandaren Empire started as an April Fool’s day joke in Warcraft III in 2002 with Blizzard creating an entire lore storyline complete with artwork and lore surrounding the Empire, “Blizzard is pleased to announce the latest addition to the Warcraft universe: the mighty Pandaren Empire. The pandaren, driven from their tranquil lands by the marauding centaurs, fight ceaselessly to find a new homeland amongst the warring civilizations of southern Kalimdor.”

 

In 2009, Blizzard released the Pandaren pet Monk to mark the 5th Anniversary of World of Warcraft with 50% of the proceeds going to the Make-a-Wish foundation. Players pandered to Blizzard’s charity efforts by raising over 1 million dollars for Make-a-Wish; little did players know that they were buying the future race of World of Warcraft in pet form.

 

What shocked me, is the reception on sites like Youtube. At the time of this post, the video has 2.4 million views with 18k likes and 16k dislikes! There is no question that this expansion marks a departure from the previous expansions with a clearly defined antagonist. When Wrath of the Lich King was launched, the launch event was a pandemic that spread through Azeroth turning players into Zombies.

 

 

For reference, the Cata trailer has 47k likes and 3k dislikes – and, Wrath having 3k likes and 58 dislikes.

 

There has been much discussion as to whether or not this expansion is a good direction for World of Warcraft. Many players cite the lack of lore surrounding the Panarians. Others cite their inclusion as a joke. I am undecided whether this is a good decision or bad one. I can see it going both ways.

 


Thus far, there hasn’t been an expansion for WoW that focuses the Horde vs Alliance Relationship. There also has been little to no advancement on the Emerald Dream. In previous expansions, there has always been an imminent threat to life on Azeroth, but Mists of Pandarea seems to focus more on interracial lore as opposed to some external force that will destroy life as we know it.

 

World PVP is dead being relegated to ganking only. The dungeon finder was a good addition, but I honestly miss the days of finding a group and traveling to the summoning stone (which is a relic of the past now).

 

So my question to WoW fans is: Isn’t there room in the WoW lore for advancement of a race, and for that to be the focus?  Invariably, when an expansion is opened, everyone flocks to the new areas, leaving older ones empty. Mists will probably open a lot of new areas, but I suspect that this expansion will be more about introducing Pandareans to Azeroth, rather than introducing the residents of Azeroth to Pandarea.

 

World of Warcraft is showing its age, with subscriber numbers steadily decreasing. From my point of view, it will be interesting to see what they do with the lore. There isn’t a clear and present danger to Azeroth, so I suspect they will focus on refining the excellent content they have so far – because the game has TONS of areas and quests.

 

Pandaren Xpress anyone?

Posted in the categories: Epic Games, Gaming Industry, Gaming Publishers, MMORPG, News

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