I’m writing this blog post whilst waiting to connect to play a bit of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Although the game has been out for several weeks, a combination of a lack of spare time and the server being full (as shown in the screenshot) with queue times exceeding an hour, has meant that my main character is only level 86. That said, I’ve managed to get around 12 hours of playtime in the new expansion, and, generally, I like it.
As you will know, if you’re a long-term reader, I’ve been a World of Warcraft player since June 2006, although I’ve not played as much since 2009 when I quit regular raiding and decided to just become a casual player. I’ve therefore played every expansion, and also the classic pre-expansion game as well.
Prior to Mists of Pandaria, the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, was my favourite. It built on the improvements of the first expansion, The Burning Crusade, but had a much better story, and some great quests – the Wrathgate and ensuing Battle for Undercity being especially memorable. The third expansion, Cataclysm, wasn’t quite so good; there wasn’t much to it in terms of max-level content (the release of the expansion coincided with a complete rework of the original game content, so resources would have been split), and it felt disjointed as the new zones were spread out without a strong consistent story between them.
I’m therefore glad that Blizzard has reverted to its classic expansion formula for Mists of Pandaria, where there is plenty of new content, on one new continent. And there certainly seems to be plenty of content – I’m about 39% of the way to level 90 and I’ve only managed to finish the first zone and a bit of the second; there are seven new zones in all. And the quests in that first zone, although less strictly linear than before, all led to one big plot moment at the end which was great. Like with the first two expansions, you can’t use flying mounts until late on in the new content, which also helps to provide the immersive experience that Cataclysm lacked. Although I’m a long way away from level 90, I also gather that there’s a lot more to do when I get there.
…And now I’m connected. It took 20 minutes rather than 15. The screenshot lies.