Well, it's official. After the past few months have seen most of the news surrounding Blizzard focus on waning subscriptions, a mysterious new project in the works, and the impending release of Diablo 3, we've finally got some big news concerning World of Warcraft. At Blizzcon today, the company's creative director Chris Metzen finally announced that the next expansion for the genre-topping MMO would indeed be World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.
Aside from the addition of a new continent populated with walking, talking, and 'brewing' pandas (or Pandaren as they're known in the game's universe) the new expansion will be taking a somewhat different approach from previous launches.
The official announcement may be coming somewhat late, as Blizzard trademarked the Mists of Pandaria name months ago, immediately leading to fans coming to this conclusion on their own. And while Blizzard may have hinted that this new expansion will be the largest since Cataclysm, now we have an idea of exactly what that will entail.
At Blizzcon, Metzen detailed the new story points surrounding the introduction of the new continent of Pandaria, and its neutral race of beings. Where previous expansions generally came with a new dose of warfare, and a new enemy to overcome, the Pandaren will instead be introduced into a world that is being rent asunder by both Alliance and Horde. Instead of Alliance and Horde uniting against a new enemy, Mists will position the enemy as "war itself," with the players set to bear witness to the impact it will have on this peaceful land:
"To give you a sense of what the next couple of years are going to do for WOW, at this time, the true villain is going to be war itself... Red and blue are about to get it on with a level of ferocity that hasn't been seen since Warcraft II. War is coming, and it's not going to be pretty, unless of course you're playing a blood elf.
"This next expansion set is set in a place that has been lost to time for close to 10,000 years. It is a land of balance, and harmony and hope…that is, until we arrive, with all of our hate, violence, and factional conflict."
This new approach is one worth noting, since the resulting story could be much richer as a result. The expansion will also introduce the Pandaren 'Monk' Class and raise the level cap to 90, although further details aren't being given just yet. World of Warcraft certainly doesn't have its back against the wall by any stretch, but in the lead-up to The Old Republic, it' nice to know they're still willing to try something new.
How happy are you to hear about the new expansion introducing the Pandaren as a playable class? Do you wish there was another race being added as well? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
The next expansion for WoW, Mists of Pandaria has yet to be given a release date.
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