‘World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria’ Beta Preview, Part 2: Talent Trees & Enemies

World of Warcraft Wisdom

This last week I took two of my 85s to the Jade Forest in Mists of Pandaria. My first, as I noted last week is Sedagive, my Death Knight.

Once I had her set up and running around, I decided to pull Abbysomeone, my Priest over. She is my first love, and I felt I had to get her over there.

The talent trees have been changed quite bit. The first is a vital shock, gone are the vertical trees, now we have horizontal bars. In each bar a player is given three choices that have to do with the chosen specialization. Once one item is selected, that bar is closed. My first reaction was one of discomfort, but, then once playing around with it, it really is not so bad.

Sedagive's options provided some nice selections, what these seem to do is open the selections a bit. While Blood is the tank spec for us Death Knights, it seems there are some options in there to give her some good DPS qualities, too. This will be nice, I figure, for battle grounds.I haven't gotten a chance yet to test Sedagive out in a dungeon or battle ground (it has been one of those weeks), so I can't give a full run down on how she performs with this new talent system, but once I do, I will be back with a more detailed report.

Another aspect of the game which is receiving a face lift are the merchants. Each has a "vendor filter" with a default for the class which you are playing at the time. When you open the merchant pane, regardless of the vendor, your first option is for your character's class. In order to get at, in this case, some food or water, you have to select the pull down tab and go to "All" to get all of the available items that vendor might have. Regardless, within the filter are the different talent trees available for your class.

It's unclear why Blizzard has made this change. Let's face it, when we go to a vendor, it certainly is not to buy gear or items specific to a character. Most of us go to vendors for items needed for either professions or food and the like. The gear sold by vendors is generic at best. Regardless, if Blizzard is going to keep this set up, perhaps changing the default from a class to "All" might be nice. Perhaps, though, Blizzard has prepared some updates, which I have not seen, for the merchants. Time will tell.

World of Warcraft: Boxing Panda

Last week I noted that Blizzard borrowed much from Japanese martial arts films and Asian culture (albeit with various Westernized clichés and stereotypes) when they put Mists of Pandaria together. This is clearly seen in how the Pandaren conduct themselves and live. There is a respect for gardening and a desire to live in balance with the land. There is an equal respect for the monastic life in Pandaria.

In following this cultural perspective, the flight mounts to get from here to there are giant kites. Players fly around on these in the same manner as any mount: sitting on top.

When I arrived in the Jade Forest, I knew that I was in a different world. If there is anything we can compliment Blizzard on it is their ability to make each world unique. The difference with each new environment is staggering, from geography to fauna, each world stands entirely on its own. In this case, it seems that Blizzard took pains to make sure that Pandaria offers an entirely new culture as well. Each quest, when players first enter the new world, is intended to introduce the player to the culture of Pandaria.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Map

Does this mean that people who play to save the world will be disappointed with the expansion? I am not sure. Many of us play to fight the big fight. With each expansion, there has been a singular enemy - however, there is no central antagonist in Mists of Pandaria. But, based on what we've seen thus far in the beta, there is still plenty of enjoyment to be had. Our world views outside of the game are changing right now, and as such, the game will change with it. When World of Warcraft first came about, it presented a version of the cold war mentality; today that mentality isn't as prevalent, our national focus is more in tune with exploration, our national defense has its eye on intelligence and understanding other cultures with which we interact. It is this model that Pandaria appears to be following.

Perhaps long time players will be a bit disappointed but, with the latest expansion, new players coming to the game for the first time will certainly be presented with a more thorough understanding of what is happening in the World of Warfcraft.

Does the lack of a focused enemy deter you from playing Mist of Pandaria? Are you looking forward to the new talent system?


Follow me on Twitter @wow_wisdom.

Mists of Pandaria is set for release in 2012.

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