Welcome to another edition of the Game Ranter Banter. Five of our writers take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to give their opinions on some of the most compelling and controversial recent news stories of the game industry. This week, the Game Rant team discusses the new World of Warcraft expansion, Bethesda’s comments on the pricing of video games, the new EA Sports service, the public opinion of Resistance 3, and the addition of multiplayer in the Mass Effect 3.

Our readers are as knowledgeable and opinionated as our own writers, so here is the place for all of you to discuss these stories as well as any others that may have piqued your interest throughout the week.

Mark Sherman

Misty-eyed from Cuteness Overload

So, Blizzard went and trademarked the name ‘Mists of Pandaria,’ leading many of us to believe that they are laying the ground work for the next expansion. While there is already lore in place, my fear is that Blizzard might take the cute, cuddly pandas, and go all cutesy for players. However, after the last two expansions, maybe it is time to lighten things up a bit. Let’s face it, both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm were both very dark in their lore and content. Perhaps Blizzard is going to use this opportunity to lighten things up a bit and give the game a chance to breath some clean air.

Here is what I hope happens: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria gives us players new islands to explore and, not so much conquer, but establish footholds on them. As well, if after the Shattering, the Pandera are forced to associate more freely with the over inhabitants of Azeroth, it would open the door for a new class, one based on martial arts and hand-to-hand combat (imagine a rogue without the weapons as much). The starting zone would be with the Pandaren, similar to what Blizzard did with the Death Knights, but closer to a Bruce Lee dojo. Think of it this way, too: there would be no common foe, it would be back to war between the two factions over land and resources.

My only hope is that if Blizzard does revolve the next expansion around Pandaria, it is not in such a way that is for the Disney crowd.

Trung Bui

Are Games Too Expensive? Yes.

When the current generation of consoles launched, the price margin for creating video games to match the experience generated increased. As a result, games have been $60. With Bethesda‘s Todd Howard taking the stance that games are too expensive, will his statement resonate with others in the industry?

While the man excluded himself and his company from the equation, it isn’t unfair to think that if I’m paying $60 for a video game, I want a pretty good experience. Yet still, we see non-AAA title games that have the same price tag, requiring gamers to shell out the same amount of their hard earned money for. I understand that profits must be made – that’s not the debate here – but companies should start being a bit more observant of what they’re giving to the public and match the price accordingly. In fact, that might even help with their sales.

Unfortunately, this might never be the case.

Anthony Taormina

Changing of the Seasons

Electronic ArtsSeason Ticket is a service that might appeal to some gamers, but is sure to cause a serious uproar amongst the sports gaming population at large. Offering, essentially, an expanded demo service for titles like Madden and FIFA for a yearly fee, Season Ticket has some enticing qualities, but feels like an attempt to make a genre that is going stale stay relevant.

As sports games have moved closer and closer to a certain standard of polish, it becomes very difficult for a publisher to convince their fan base to pick up this year’s new title. Yes, new features and roster updates will convince those hardcore sports fans to pick the game up, but that’s about it. Season Ticket now makes it abundantly clear that sports games are moving further away from revamps and closer to new business models to generate some yearly revenue. It’s a risky proposition and one that might not pay off.

Anthony Mole

Fanning the Flames

As the Resistance 3 beta transitions into open beta, I decided to go to the game’s offical forums to discuss it with my fellow Resistance fans, and sadly, all I could see was the obligatory complaints from the series purists who were heartbroken that Resistance 3 isn’t Fall of Man.  Personally, I couldn’t care less, and you know why?  I already played RFOM.  Insomniac already made RFOM.  I’d be pretty dissapointed if they just re-released it with a new color pallette.  While many gamers choose to mock Call of Duty for just rehashing itself year after a year (a belief I don’t subscribe to) it’s annoying to see these same people clamor for it in the Resistance franchise, even after complaining that killstreaks and perks ruin the game. When I read this complaint, all I hear is “I hate Call of Duty because it’s popular and now Resistance is ‘copying’ it.”

I own RFOM, the Resistance 2 Collector’s Edition and I bought a PSP just for Resistance Retribution. I also own both Resistance novels, the Resistance comic books and graphic novel.  I consider RFOM to be the greatest shooter of all time and I spent a whole month of my summer vacation acquiring the Resistance 2 Platinum Trophy.  And personally, I’m glad Resistance 3 isn’t RFOM.  The franchise needs to evolve as the genre does; the game mechanics in RFOM wouldn’t work in 2011 like they did in 2006.  If you want to complain about something, complain about the actual problems like the overpowered cloak ability and not “the game has killstreaks which means it’s Call of Duty derp.”  Just like how the Chimeran conversion process evolved from Carriers to Spinners, so to must the Resistance franchise evolve if it plans to thrive in the crowded FPS genre.

Riley Little

Mass Effecting My Single-Player

It seems that OXM has officially revealed that Mass Effect 3 will indeed include multiplayer, and forums everywhere have gone into a tizzy about whether or not multiplayer in Mass Effect is a good thing. Many fans of the series believe that multiplayer will take away from the length of the story, because any multiplayer modes would have taken away from BioWare’s focus on the single-player campaign — not to mention that there is now less space on the disc.

A Multiplayer Mass Effect 3 mode has still yet to even be confirmed by BioWare, and if it is coming, then nobody knows what form it may take. One thing that is certain is that the addition of multiplayer is a very good move by the company, and one that should help with Mass Effect 3‘s overall appeal to those outside of its core audience. One thing that Mass Effect has always been missing is an option to go on a co-op adventure with friends, or anything that involved interacting with another player, period.

We can’t say that attention to the campaign and single-player story will be lessened a little bit if multiplayer is added to ME3BioWare did hire additional staff for this – but we can say that it’s still going to play out exactly like BioWare has always planned. Besides, it’s pretty obvious that there will be more content made available post-launch, so there won’t be any shortage in the story department.

What are your thoughts on the news this week? Share with us in the comments, on Twitter @GameRant and Facebook.com/GameRant.