An expansion for the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft
Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria is the long-awaited fourth expansion to Blizzard's epic massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft. The latest expansion teleports gamers to the ancient continent of Pandaria, home of a race of human-like kung-fu pandas known as Pandarens. The continent's mountain ranges, forests and landmarks have a distinctly Asian design, making Pandaria feel fresh, particularly as compared to the gloomy environments of Cataclysm, the previous World of Warcraft installment. New locations like the awe-inspiring Kun-Lai Summit and the gorgeous Jade Forest make exploration a joy again, injecting a great deal of life into a game that is ten years old.
Questing has been revamped in Mists of Pandaria, making the grind from level 85 to the new cap of 90 feel fun and rewarding. Standard "collect 10 boar hearts" quests are included, but they are complemented by a bevy of more exciting quests. You will save infected magical pools and capture a talking yak during the course of the game. The most impressive thing about Mists of Pandaria's quests are how they help immerse you into the storyline. The characters encountered are memorable and hilarious, making it exciting to accept new quests. The storyline and lore of Pandaria is enriched by the engaging backstories told in optional quests, giving the new continent a personality of its own. A downside of this scripting and focus on story, however, is that most of the content is geared toward single players. While there are some new raids, players hoping for a wide variety of options for multiple players may be disappointed.
As an expansion of a decade-old game, there are certainly some notable issues. World of Warcraft's combat was never incredibly fast-paced and engaging, but it shows its age under the strain of more powerful graphics. Combat is slow, particularly as compared to more exciting MMORPGs on the market nowadays. Some new bosses and dungeons do liven things up a bit, but for the most part, combat hasn't been improved upon much in this expansion. The new pet battling system does add a bit of fresh air into gameplay, but it's mostly a stripped-down version of games like Monster Hunter and Pokémon; even rare pets aren't very difficult to find. Addition of a bit more depth could have made the pet battling more enjoyable. For the most part, however, it's just a way to kill time and earn a few valor points.
Overall, Mists of Pandaria is a worthy expansion to World of Warcraft. The new continent is a joy to explore and the story is the best Blizzard has done so far. There are a great variety of quests and challenges to engage in, as well as the new continent to discover. Gameplay is beginning to feel a bit aged, however, and players who prefer raiding in large groups might feel a bit left out.