Blizzard recently released a panda-sized portion of content for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria, which includes game details, artwork, screenshots and a full map of Pandaria. The new expansion, which incorporates Chinese inspired design, will introduce several new elements to the game, the most anticipated being a new race, the Pandaren, and a new class, the Monk.
As their name suggests, the Pandaren are a race of panda people. They have made appearances throughout various Warcraft works and lore, but have never played a prominent role. Aside from their background in hand-to-hand combat and their passion for brewing ales, not much was known about the adorably rotund race. Mists of Pandaria expands on the culture of the Pandaren and their role in the eternal conflict within the World of Warcraft universe.
The racial traits of the Pandarens reflect their strict discipline in the martial arts and the more traditional traits you'd expect of a panda, like their ability to eat... a lot. They're bringing their skills in unarmed combat, but give players the option to join the alliance or the horde, a World of Warcraft first. The new Monk class appears to be a fun and diverse class that claims to be able to tackle most combat roles, be it damage, defense or healing. Drawing on "chi" energy as power, Monks are able to pull off devastating attacks using a fist, one-handed or stave weapons.
Also released is a partial bestiary with a few of the creatures players will encounter while exploring the new continent, each with an interesting style that reflects the Asian inspired theme of the expansion. Speaking of style, the art direction in Mists of Pandaria feels uniquely different from anything Blizzard has attempted before. With ample color and intricate detail, it's some of the most beautiful work seen in the game to date and a stark contrast to Cataclysm's bleak tones and dark palettes. Be sure to look at the new high-level areas on the world map and check out the page for the Valley of the Four Winds, where fans are treated with a short trailer for the Stormstout Brewery Dungeon.
After taking a gander at the copious amounts of new details available, it's clear that there will be more than enough content and flavor in Mists of Pandaria to satiate the cravings of fans who, at this point, are as hungry as a Pandaren Monk.
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