Update #3 - Updated World Map of Pandaria
Update #2 - Don't forget to check the Mists of Pandaria Achievements and Mists of Pandaria Press Tour FAQ in the forums!
Update - Let's get the updates rolling! Blizzard just posted 3 more screenshots/art of the Pandaren Female: Screenshot #1 / Screenshot #2 / Artwork
Mists of Pandaria Press Tour
The NDA on the press tour is finally lifted and we have tons of information for you, literally tons. The news post is split in 3 parts depending on how much time you have, enjoy! I would like to thank chaud and molster @ Diablofans for helping processing a lot of the information and making everything pretty. Special thanks to Elysia for actually attending the press tour with our video team and taking a ridiculous amount of notes.
The news post is pretty big, if you want to discuss Mists of Pandaria and the Monk I suggest you do it on the dedicated forums:
The Mists of Pandaria Press Tour in 5 Minutes
If you only have a few minutes to read about the Mists of Pandaria press tour, we have summarized the major points below. If you have time later you should really go back and read the whole thing!
- The final patch of Mists of Pandaria will be the Siege of Orgrimmar! Both factions lay siege to the city to bring Garrosh down and end his reign of Warchief.
- The new LFR loot system will allow everyone to roll individually. The highest few rolls will win an item from the boss. Upon winning a roll, if the boss has an item that you can use, you will win it. If not, you will get some amount of gold. It will only be in LFR to begin with, but can be added to other parts of the game later.
- An 11th character slot has been added.
- AoE Looting has been added.
- There will not be an item squish in Mist of Pandaria.
- No new race models are ready to be added yet.
- There will be nine level 90 heroics for players as well as three raids with 14 raid bosses and three difficulties. There will be an additional two world bosses.
- Scenarios will take place at level 90, in an instance, and reward reputation and Valor points. They don't need a healer, tank, and DPS, just DPS is fine. Each will take 10 to 30 minutes to complete and five or more will be available for launch.
- In Challenge Modes, the vast majority of players will most likely earn a bronze medal even if they are a relatively unskilled player. After a player earns all the medals at the Bronze level, they will be rewarded with an achievement and title. Completing all of the Silver medals will earn a set of spectacular gear for transmogrification, and completing all of the gold will earn a unique epic flying mount. Challenge modes will be available for the six new dungeons at launch.
- Cloud Serpents are the Pandaren's mount of choice. You can raise your own by doing 20 days of daily quests.
- The Tillers faction will let you run your own farm! The farmer's market will provide daily quest to improve your farm every day, you will be able to clear plots of land and plant things like cooking ingredients, herbalism nodes, gifts for NPCs to build your reputation... etc.
- Warlocks got the most class changes in MoP, along with new pets.
- There will be more mounts and less color swaps for different rewards.
- They are adding armor to creatures to give them varied appearances, something other than just simple color changes.
- There are now seven zones, up from five. This was done to add more content to the game and give players a less linear progression path so that leveling for a second or third time isn’t the exact same.
- There will be one new arena and two new battlegrounds at launch.
- PvP pet battles are going to be fun and causal, only tracking the number of wins and not the number of losses. When fighting another player, you cannot see the other players name or communicate with them.
- Currently, every race except Goblin and Worgen can learn the ways of the monk.
- The Pre Mists of Pandaria Patch will be roughly two weeks before launch and bring simple rewards. It might involve a scenario with Theramore and the Alliance vs Horde theme. Chen Stormstout might also come to the local cities and get players excited about what is coming.
The Mists of Pandaria Press Tour in 60 Minutes
This part is for people who don't want to read the original versions of interviews and presentation, but still want to know everything. Yes, the 300 lines below are just the short version.
Media Presentation - General
- The final patch of Mists of Pandaria will be the Siege of Orgrimmar! Both factions lay siege to the city to bring Garrosh down and end his reign of Warchief.
- There's a huge Horde vs. Alliance storyline. The war between the Alliance and Horde heats up as they roll into Pandaria, and it will serve as a major battleground, but things get so gnarly and out of control, and war crimes are committed by one side, it begins to spiral into crazyville.
- The Mists of Pandaria storyline is split into two. The whole Pandaren arc where you will discover their continent, help solve problems, figure out what happened for the past 10,000 years and why. The second part of the storyline is obviously the war between the Horde and the Alliance.
- In some ways, Mists of Pandaria is more of a spiritual successor to classic WoW, with the call to adventure. It wasn't about a giant world boss or big overarching problem, it was just about exploring. Experience this faction, see the world, engage the cultures, have an adventure, that was the spirit of the first game. In many ways Mists of Pandaria gets back into that.
- The patches for Mists were conceptualized almost as a sequel to the box product, meaning that after you’ve helped the Pandaren save their land, the story kicks into a different gear. All of the heavy armor and wrath of these two great factions begin to collide, and the story really starts going from there.
- This expansion is not a joke. It is not light and fluffy, although the Pandaren are fun and super zen. The conflict between Alliance and Horde is gearing up to hit a fevered pitch unlike any we have ever seen.
- Why this and why now? This expansion will be a nice vacation that feels like an adventure before things ramp up in future patches.
- Just because Pandaren were debuted as an April Fool’s Joke a few years back, that does not mean they are viewed as a silly and comedic idea. They have always loved Pandaren and wanted to put them into the game. Pandaren were in serious consideration for the Alliance race in Burning Crusade.
- They are adding armor to creatures to give them varied appearances, something other than just simple color changes.
Media Presentation - The Pandarens
- Aysa Cloudsinger is a follower of the path of Tushui, which believes in living a venerable life through meditation, rigorous training, and moral conviction. She has attained impeccable form and a refined intellect through diligent practice. To Aysa, to follow the way of Tushui is to defend what is right above all else. She believes that success in any endeavor never justifies dishonorable deeds. While the Alliance contains a diverse mix of cultures, Aysa is attracted to the high ideals and values that cement the Alliance together.
- Ji Firepaw, a follower of the more direct Houjin philosophy, is adamant that inaction is the greatest injustice. He holds that it’s honorable to defend home and family no matter the cost. Outgoing, passionate, and not one for deep thought, he is always the first into the fray. Ji finds himself attracted to the scrappy practicality that defines the Horde. Although it will cost him dearly, he will decide to carry the Horde banner when he leaves the Wandering Isle.
- Chen Stormstout
- Warcraft III players may recall his chance meeting with Rexxar in the game’s bonus missions, where he worked together with Thrall to found the new orcish homeland in Durotar.
- Later, he accompanied heroes such as Vol’jin and Jaina Proudmoore to liberate Theramore and protect the fledgling Horde from annihilation.
Media Presentation - Zones
- The Wandering Isle
- The isle will not appear on the map of Pandaria.
- Those who follow the path of the Houjin are impulsive, quick to action, and practical. Houjin disciples feel that the ends can justify the means, and they may find like-minded compatriots in the Horde.
- The followers of the path of the Tushui are more contemplative, focused on abstract ideals of justice and morality. Students of Tushui believe that a principled life is the only one worth living, and may find that the stalwart Alliance aligns more closely with their beliefs.
- There are now seven zones, up from five. This was done to add more content to the game and give players a less linear progression path so that leveling for a second or third time isn’t the exact same.
- The Sha
- In Pandaria, negative emotions like fear, hatred, and anger take on a physical presence or dark energy called the Sha.
- Unwary mortals can also become possessed by negative Sha energy, becoming embodiments of pure anger or fear.
- Jade Forest
- The Temple of the Jade Serpent is located here and is the first dungeon.
- This temple marks a special place in Pandaren history, because this is where the last emperor defeated the Sha of Doubt and imprisoned it in the ground.
- This temple is going to be completely overwhelmed by this dark energy, so you are going to have to go in and clear it.
- There are four ancestor spirits that guard over Pandaria. The Jade Serpent has the temple dedicated to her, as well as a statue in the zone.
- The Alliance and Horde enter from the North and the South with a small force of survivors from a shipwreck.
- There will eventually be a large battle in the middle of the zone.
- The Jinyu
- They are a fish-man race that is found throughout Pandaria.
- They are an elder and wise race, looked up to by the Pandaren.
- The water speakers are an upper caste that uses the river to listen to the future
- The Jinyu are recruited by the Alliance to go to escalate their war with the Hozen. The Jinyu have always been at war with the Hozen.
- The Hozen
- They act like a group of 14 year old boys running around together in the jungle, equipped with machine guns and weapons from the Horde.
- They are also found all over Pandaria, even in one of the dungeons.
- There are Jungle Hozen and Mountain Hozen, the heartier kind.
- The Horde are going to work with the Hozen here and recruit this tribe to help fight their war.
- We are going to give the monkeys machine guns and rocket launchers. This is a good plan; nothing could go wrong with this plan.
- Cloud Serpents
- They are the Pandaren's mount of choice.
- You can raise your own over the course of roughly 20 days.
- You first will pick an egg and color to gain a tiny pet that will follow you.
- After doing daily quests with this pet, it will become a full size dragon that you can ride.
- Once you can ride the dragon you must do more quests to train it, such as racing through stone pillars as the Pandaren in the stands cheer you on.
- The Temple of the Jade Serpent is located here and is the first dungeon.
- Valley of the Four Winds
- It is the heartland of Pandaria, where the Pandaren farm their crops.
- They grow extremely large vegetables here because there are waters that have been flowing down from Vale of Eternal Blossoms for millenia.
- This is the farmer's market here, which is the social hub of the Valley of the Four Winds.
- Every day farmers will come to the market with different problems, providing daily quests.
- You will help Farmer Yun fix up his overgrown farm, which will show your progression with the faction.
- You can clear plots of land and plant things like cooking ingredients, herbalism nodes, gifts for the different NPCs to build your reputation. You then come back the next day to harvest what has grown.
- You will be able to decorate the farm as you gain reputation. For example, you can add some pigs and slop, some other animals, and grow an apple orchard.
- Stormstout Brewery
- The dungeon is in the world at full size, meaning it can be used for questing as well.
- Things are not going well inside, so you have to clean house with Chen Stormstout.
- Krasarang Wilds
- This used to be a subzone of Valley of the Four Winds.
- It is a coastal rainforest with a lot of story in it.
- The Mogu
- They are the original rulers of Pandaria, ruling the land 10,000 years ago.
- During that time they built temples all across the world, which are now ruins that you will find while questing.
- Now they want their land back and are another threat that you will be dealing with the entire time.
- You will come across them in both raids and dungeons.
- If they get their empire back it would be bad news for the Pandaren, which is why they are such a big threat.
- They are flesh-shapers and can create other creatures.
- The Saurok
- They are a race of lizard-men created by the Mogu.
- They were designed to be smart enough to use weapons and fight for the Mogu, but over the years some escaped.
- They will be found across Pandaria and in dungeons.
- In one of the patches, the Alliance and Horde will roll up onto the beach along with their fleet, armor, tanks, and build a fortress on the island. Both King Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will make an appearance.
- Sometime in the wake of the Cataclysm, the mists abruptly vanished. The world will change over the course of the patches, especially this area.
- In Patch 5.1 the beach on Krasarang Wilds will erupt into a battlezone.
- Turtle Beach is another important historical part of Pandaria, as it is where Liu Lang, the first Pandarian explorer decided to see what was beyond the mists. He set off on the back of a giant turtle, which grew to become the Wandering Isle.
- There are little historical points of interest all around the world and you will be able to visit all of them to collect the story. One of these points is the statue of Liu Lang on Turtle Beach.
- Kun-Lai Summit
- The zone is broken up into two separate areas, the lowland planes and the highest mountains in Azeroth.
- The Yaungol
- Their situation is similar to the Taunka in Northrend, as they got separated when Pandaria broke off from the main continents.
- They have been forced out of their homeland by the Mantid in Townlong Steppes.
- They are aggressive here because they are looking for a new place to set up their homes.
- The Grummles
- They were also created by the Mogu as a slave race to haul things around.
- They make good guides and can carry many times their own weight.
- They have a trade route that stretches across the zone called the Burlap Trail, which they will need your help with as this is very dangerous area.
- The Shado-pan
- The Shado-pan are the most elite warriors of the Pandaren society and they understand the threat of the Sha.
- You have to earn the trust of the Shado-pan and work your way up through the ranks.
- Shado-pan Monastery is located here in the outdoor world.
- Vale of Eternal Blossoms
- It is the original seat of the Mogu empire.
- There are a set of sacred pools here that the Mogu used to build their empire.
- Everyone that is here in Pandaria is fighting over the pools to take control of the power again.
- Both Alliance and Horde will have their own player hub here, which will include an auction house, bank, and general vendors.
- The zone will be under siege by the Mogu, who want to take their land back.
- Golden Lotus
- They were chosen by the Celestials to be the guardians of this zone.
- There are not enough of them to fight the Mogu, so they need your help.
- They don't trust you at first, so you will have to earn their trust. A different part of the valley will be under attack by the Mogu every day. When you first start working with them you will do some exploration and discovery. As you earn the trust of the Golden Lotus, they will send you to the front lines.
- As you progress with them more of the doors open to a vault
- As you collect the stories from the historical points of interest around the world you can bring them back to the Vale to the Lore Walkers.
- The Lore Walkers are responsible for holding all the lore of Pandaria, so you can bring back the things you find and ask them about it, and they will walk up on stage and give a presentation.
- This faction is scattered across the world looking for rare ingredients to mix into their brews.
- When you find the Brewmasters you will unlock a scenario. Doing these will give you reputation with the Brewmasters.
- Kun-Lai Summit, Jade Forest, Krasarang Wilds, and Valley of the Four Winds are all filled with content and ready. Townlong Steppes and Vale of Eternal Blossoms are mostly complete.
Media Presentation - PvP
- There will be one new arena at launch.
- The Temple of ?? Mogu
- Located in ancient Mogu temple that located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
- You will have a damage buff while holding the artifact. You will also be gaining points for your team as well.
- The artifact has a curse that damages you over time. The longer that you hold it, the less healing that you can take.
- It is going to be difficult for one person to keep the artifact for the whole time.
- There will be three point zones, with the middle one giving 3 points and the outer one giving 1 point.
- Gameplay is very fast paced, very different from other battlegrounds.
- Silver Shard Mine
- It takes place underneath Stranglethorn Vale in an Adventure Company goblin mine.
- Both the Alliance and Horde are trying to get a hold of the mineral rich resources.
- There are minecarts that take off from the center of the map and head to three different supply chains. As they are on the way to the depot, you can capture them in the same way you capture points in Eye of the Storm.
- Both factions try to capture the cart before it reaches the end of the line, but there are checkpoints along the line that can be channeled to switch the direction the cart will go from left to right, giving your faction time to reclaim it.
- The Temple of ?? Mogu
Media Presentation - Talent System and Monk
- Talent System
- The idea behind the talents was adding a way for players to differentiate themselves and customize their abilities and utilities.
- If you came back to the game you would go to a website and find the right build for your spec, take that, and never interact with the talent system again.
- Most of the new talents don't add player power directly, but instead give you a benifit that is very difficult to weight mathematically.
- In the case where the talents do provide power, they are on a tier with two other talents that provide an equal amount of power. It might be different ways of measuring the power, maybe it is a random proc versus something you can press on demand.
- You shouldn't feel like you have to take a certain talent if you are a healer. You can take any of the three talents and have fun with those.
- The Tome of the Clear Mind is the new consumable used for changing glyphs and talents, and only costs a little bit of gold.
- There are a ton of new animations for the Monk and a lot of spell effects that are in place now. Almost every ability has a unique animation. If you are in healing mode, you will be using slightly different animations than if you are in melee DPS mode.
- Currently, every race except goblin and worgen can learn the ways of the monk.
- The way it works now is, if you are in melee or tank mode, you have an energy bar, but there are only a few abilities that use energy.
- There are a couple of attacks that use energy, which builds up a second resource, which are the white spheres there, called Chi.
- They are really trying to capture the feel of a button masher fighting game where you might chain combos together.
- They don't want it to feel like our existing warrior class, so they don't have a Charge, but they do have a Roll that works more like a Blink. There is another ability lets you fly until you hit the button again and then you come down.
- Spinning Crane Kick is the big AoE spell.
- Fists of Fury is one of your big three combo point attacks.
- Windwalker is the melee DPS spec, Brewmaster is the tanking spec, and Mistweaver is the healing spec.
- If you become a Mistweaver, your energy bar is replaced with a mana bar, and you can cast heals much like our other healers, but you stand toe-to-toe and do some melee damage still.
Media Presentation - Dungeons
- Stormstout Brewery
- The Hozan have invaded and Chen Stormstout has tasked you with clearing them out.
- They are having knife fights, seeing things, and sleeping because they got into the beer. You run around on barrels trying to break up the party.
- And after you defeat enough of them, Ook-ook, the boss that is up on the ledge, will come down and the first boss encounter here will start.
- The second section has the Virmen, which are evil, crazy bunnies that will eat anything.
- The biggest Virmen of them all is Hoptallus, the next boss. He has a furlwind attack and carrot breath that you have to avoid.
- The third section has old beer that has gone bad and come alive. It has Stormbrew Alementals and spirits.
- The final boss is Yan-Zhu the Uncasked a beer elemental.
- The artists have added a lot of new art throughout the dungeon, including new undead models.
- New lighting and particle effects have been added as well.
- Jandice Barov still uses a lot of illusions to try and attack you, but they have been able to really punch up that encounter a lot.
- Lillian Voss is now in the room full of skeletons being raised. She is here for revenge against Darkmaster Gandling, who is taunting her.
- The old classroom had benches added and creepy paintings on the wall that are always watching you.
- Darkmaster Gandling is the final boss, who still sends you into his rooms with undead that you must fight your way out of.
- There will be nine level 90 heroics for players as well as three raids with 14 raid bosses. All of the raids are all going to have three difficulties.
- In Cataclysm so much of the mindshare went into the revamp of the level 1-60 zones and the creation of the content itself, that they didn't really have an opportunity to create a lot of those new types of gameplay elements.
Media Presentation - Scenarios
- To enter a scenario, you'll queue up for it a lot like you would a dungeon. Each scenario is designed to take roughly 10 to 30 minutes to complete.
- Most are some slice of the world that has been carved out, to give you things to do as a group that you normally wouldn't be able to do while questing.
- People were not doing group quests because they couldn’t find people in the past, so now group quests are something you can queue for.
- The instancing provides the ability to make that there aren't different groups competing for the objectives and causing problems for each other.
- The UI will present a number of objectives once you enter the scenario.
- For example, you can help the Brewmaster create her Lightning Lager that can only be brewed while it's raining and in the middle of a thunderstorm. This is done by defending the brewery from the saurok while putting out fires.
- Scenarios don't use the traditional tank/healer/dps set up, which would be slower. Combat is more similar to questing than dungeons.
- There should be at least five ready for launch, but there may be more.
- Scenarios will reward Valor points.
Media Presentation - Pet Battle System
- For years blizzard has wanted to have mini games in World of Warcraft. They have also always wanted something more for pets but they didn't not want them to be mandatory. The pet battle system allows a perfect solution for both, and gives players something to do after dungeons, raids, challenges, scenarios, and battlegrounds.
- The pet UI has been fully updated. On the left you will see a list of all the pets you have, and the ones you don’t as well as where to find those pets. When you click on a pet, you have, it will pull up a pet card with all the information on the pet
- Pets will have health, levels, attack, defense, and movement speed (which is an initiative type of value) . Pets will also have 6 abilities, of which they can choose three of. It will work just like the players talent system. Two per row, can only pick one per row. You will be able to change these outside of battle. You unlock more abilities by leveling the pet up
- You can name all your pets, and they will be shared across all characters.
- When you enter a battle, you will see both players along with that player’s pets lined up in front of them.
- You will be able to switch your pets between the ones you have selected mid fight. They also now run up to the enemy pet to attack it!
- When you challenge another player in the world, it'll just kind of smoothly zoom in to this view. When you finish, it'll just pull right back on out to your normal gameplay view.
- There will also be random critters and NPCs out in the world you can fight to level up your pets. As well as a queuing system to queue and fight other players.
- There are roughly 100 wild pets across Azeroth to collect.
- PvP pet battles are going to be a fun and causal. They do not want losing to feel like a big deal because that's really what drives a lot of people out of it. They will only track the number of wins and not the number of loses. You will also not see the other players name, and the players can not talk to one another. It should feel like your playing against another NPC (that just happens to be very smart).
Media Presentation - Challenge Modes
- Challenge modes will be a new kind of activity for max level players that enjoy dungeons and raids. They will introduce a new form of competitive PvE for the first time, a new way to compete against your friends without that feeling of direct PvP confrontation. The point of challenge modes will be prestige, and not character power.
- The challenge mode UI will display what dungeons you have completed challenge modes in ex: "You have completed another dungeon and earned a bronze medal in that". When you click on an instance, it will show you the different times you need to hit to earn each medal. While playing, on the right you will have a clock showing you have much time is left before you move to the next medal bracket.
- You will always start off with a gold medal, if you take to much time, it will drop to a silver, and then from there to a bronze. The vast majority of players will most likely earn a bronze medal even if they are a relatively unskilled player.
- Collecting all of the medal types for all the dungeons will give different rewards to players:
- Collecting all the bronze medals will earn an achievement with a title.
- Collecting all the silver medals will earn you visually spectacular gear that can be used for transmogrification. All of these sets have been built completely custom for each class and are unlike any other armor set that we have in the game. In addition, something that we are doing with these armor sets that we have never done before is giving them all unique effects that trigger off of something you do with your character class.
- Collecting all the gold medals will reward the player with a unique epic mount called the flying Kwai-Lan, which will not be rewarded any other way. It is similar to one of those Chinese dog statues with a Mogu like head.
- You will be able to look through the leaderboard at all the times on your realm as well as being able to compare them to friends and guild mates. The times will be tracked down to the milliseconds. The current plan is to save the time to 7 places.
- Challenge modes will be available for the six new dungeons at launch.
Interview with Tom Chilton
- No new race models yet, but they're working on it. At best, dwarves might have been ready for the MoP release.
- An 11th character slot has been added.
- Higher resolution textures and less texture stretching on shear surfaces has been added.
- Account-wide pets have been confirmed. The rest is still unconfirmed but the next thing on the list is account-wide achievements.
- AoE Looting has been added! When you loot one creature, the loot from all the other creatures in lootable range will be included in the same loot window!
- Guild Perks
- New guild perks are coming, if only to replace the ones that didn’t work out so well.
- "Have Group, Will Travel" will be replaced for example, because the goal in MoP is to emphasize on going out into the world to do stuff.
- Scaling down your level/power to play with friends who aren't level at the level cap is a feature they still want to include. It might be there for the launch of MoP.
- We are excited to get players into the beta very soon, because that is going to be the true test of whether or not it is awesome.
Interview with Greg Street
- There will not be an item squish in Mist of Pandaria, but it is possible that we may see it in 6.0 or 7.0 if players want it.
- Monks now have a simplified/modified resource system. The Monk’s main resource will now be orbs of energy called Chi. The Tank and Dps specs of the Monk use energy so that most of their abilities do not need cooldowns, as well as Chi.
- They feel the Monk’s abilities are very unique, you get to choose how you wish to combo the spells together (via spending a 3 force, 2 force, or a 1 force ability) giving them the Street Fighter button mashing feel.
- Monks have some amazing animations.
- The warlock currently has had the most changes
- Destruction Warlocks now build up a fiery force, as their whole body catches on fire
- Demonology Warlocks now have a bar that fills up, allowing them to control when and how long they can stay in Demon Form.
- Female Voidwalkers will have a bow on their head (not really) The idea of Female Warlock pets is still on the table, however its on a rather long list. We may still see them in 5.0 or 5.1 (or a later patch)
- There will be new Warlock pets in Mists. If you choose the right talent combinations, you can get a Shivan (The big six armed demons from Burning Crusade), A Wrath Guard, and a few others, such as a “Beholder” (The big orbs with eyes)
- Paladins are in a very good place, they fixed some of the RNG in their rotations and added more reliable Holy Power.
- Challenge Modes
- Challenge modes will not have world rankings at first. They will have region rankings on their website.
- You will be able to view times of friends and guildies while in-game.
- The rankings for challenge mode will be metals: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. They may have some more beyond that at some point.
- Challenge modes are meant to be a little harder than heroics
- They feel only a few percent of players on each realm will ever get gold, and they like that.
- They will be tracking times down to the milliseconds, as if you’re doing the 50 yard dash.
- With the introduction of gear scaling, using this system for evenly matched PvP is something on their mind. However, gear is one of the main rewards in the game. If they did something like this, it would be a side thing.
- Balancing the battleground teams is something on their mind, but they have to balance it with the increased wait time that would be a result.
- They have always wanted minor glyphs to be ‘fun’ glyphs. We will be seeing a lot of new minor glyphs that do fun things such as a minor glyph that makes the Mage “Teleport: Dalaran” send you to the Dalaran crater instead of Dalaran in Northrend. A Warrior could have one that fears critters when they use Battle Shout or Commanding Shout.
- They are also changing major glyphs in a way they think will surprise and amaze players.
Interview with Cory Stockton
- The Gate of the Setting Sun is a dungeon that takes place at the Great Pandarian Wall with the Mantid attempting to break it down and the Shado-pan defending.
- Mogu'Shan Palace is now a dungeon in Vale of Eternal Blossoms with the Mogu and Saurok.
- The unnamed Mantid dungeon has them attacking the Ox Temple.
- There will be three raids with 14 bosses at launch.
- There will be two world bosses at launch.
- Mogu’shan Vaults is a Mogu raid where you fight the ghosts of the Mogu.
- There is a Mantid raid where you fight the local Mantid empress.
- There is a Sha raid where you fight local creatures who have been made Sha and a Sha final boss.
- Scenarios will take place at level 90 and be instanced.
- They are a replacement for group quests that no one really took part in.
- They will reward reputation or later on profession related skill or items.
- New Talent System
- The choices that you make should actually matter, make your character feel unique, and add customization.
- The talents that add player power will now be easier to balance.
- You might not want to swap for every boss, but you are able to if you want to.
- Pre Mists of Pandaria Patch
- We might add a scenario that involves Theramore and the Alliance vs Horde theme.
- We might have Chen Stormstout come to the local cities and get players excited about what is coming.
- The patch will be roughly two weeks before launch and bring simple rewards.
- Gear Scaling Tech
- If Challenge Mode dungeons go well, the tech could be used with older dungeons.
- The tech could also be used in Scenarios that you could play while leveling or at the level cap.
- The gameplay is now much better, especially Jandice’s room.
- Deadmines and Shadowfang are similar but there was less freedom to upgrade the art or change the layout.
- There will be less sharing of colors. For example, the raid and heroic dungeon completion mounts will not just be different in color, they will be different mounts.
- There will still be some places where mounts differ only in color, but they will be rewarded in different ways.
- Armor can also be added to make them feel different in a way that isn’t a changed color.
- There will be some unique mounts, so that when you see someone with it you will recognize that they have really accomplished something.
- There are already more new mounts than there were in Cataclysm.
- LFR Loot System
- Everyone rolls on the items from a boss individually.
- If you win the roll by being one of the highest few rollers, the system checks the boss’s loot table and if there is an item for you, you win it. If not, you win some gold.
- This way other people cannot impact what you win, only the roll you get can.
- You aren’t always guaranteed something. If the boss doesn’t have an item you can use then you won’t win anything.
- It could be added to more parts of the game in the future, but LFR is a good place to start.
Mists of Pandaria Press Tour - Media Presentation Transcript
Originally Posted by MMO-ChampionWe announced this expansion at Blizzcon and there was some degree of shock. Everyone wanted to know where the global villain and global threat were. Mists of Pandaria has a different tone than any expansion we have tried so far. In some ways it is more of a spiritual successor to classic WoW, with the call to adventure. It wasn't about a giant world boss or big overarching problem, it was just about exploring. Experience this faction, see the world, engage the cultures, have an adventure, that was the spirit of the first game. In many ways Mists of Pandaria gets back into that. There was some level of shock at Blizzcon because it was such a different idea and not what people were expecting. In many ways this expansion isn't predicated on a new world boss or global threat. The global threat that is coming to define the next few years of WoW's gameplay is war itself. The idea that the Alliance and Horde are going to be going at it in a way that we haven't seen in a very long time. Battlegrounds are great, but this is gearing up to be something that we all believe that players have been wanting for a very long time.
In a way, we have been thinking of the Pandaria expansion set being made of two parts. There is the box product, which is a contained adventure. You go to Pandaria, both factions arrive in very small numbers, almost like commando teams that air drop into Pandaria. We meet its cultures, see its indigenous creatures and races, help solve problems, and we are following a very specific storyline. That storyline will resolve at the end of Pandaria. There is an innate mystery about what has been brewing here for 10,000 years. The realization of this story happens at the end of the box product. We tried to do something different with the patches this time. When you buy the Wrath of the Lich King box, you know that you will ultimately face the Lich King. It might take X numbers of patches to do so, but you are pretty confident you are going to run into the Lich King at some point. The patches typically have helped to flush out the storyline and realize the higher end dungeons. What is interesting about Mists of Pandaria is that we conceptualized the patches for this game almost as a squeal to the box product, meaning the story kicks into a different gear. As the box product wraps up and you have helped the Pandarens save their land and discover the nature of the mystery that is playing out, that is epic in and of itself, you get on the phone and say "We are fine here, this place is great, no need to show up, we are fine.". "Sorry Lieutenant, we are already here" and then the tanks roll up onto the beach. That is the end of the box product, everything kicking into second gear. All of the heavy armor and wrath of these two great factions begin to collide, and the story really starts going from there.
We had said before that this expansion isn't defined by having a huge villain, but the box product has a huge central storyline. The villain comes into play with the patches. The final patch of this expansion does not occur in Pandaria. The war between the Alliance and Horde heats up as they roll into Pandaria, and it will serve as a major battleground, but things get so gnarly and out of control, and war crimes are committed by one side, it begins to spiral into crazyville. The final patch of Mists of Pandaria will be the Siege of Orgrimmar! Both factions, for various reasons, lay siege to the city to bring Garrosh down and end his reign of Warchief. We are leveraging a lot of our main characters and we haven't had this much fun building a Warcraft story in many years. We are really pushing the factions forward and showing what happens when you are a big jerk as a Warchief. We are really really excited about where this expansion goes and we wanted to tell you that so you understand that this expansion is not a joke. It is not light and fluffy, although the Pandaren are fun and super zen. A lot of people at Blizzcon thought that the expansion seemed light and silly to some degree after things like Wrath of the Lich King, Burning Crusade, and Cataclysm. We want to be very clear that the conflict between Alliance and Horde is gearing up to hit a fevered pitch unlike any we have ever seen. We were very dedicated to bringing the Alliance and Horde war back. If anything, the lightness and serenity of Pandaria and the Pandaren specifically were meant to be a wonderful contrast against the warfare to come. It will feel tragic and super heroic by the time it is done. Both the Alliance and Horde are going to have some really really epic and heroic stuff to do by the end.
Why this and why now? In many ways, we believe that this is the perfect expansion set at this time. We are always working on what comes next, what is after this, what is after that, and we are always seeing where this world is going to go. Even after this game the concepts we are thinking about are fairly heavy. It is called World of Warcraft, not World of Peacecraft, so at some level you have to keep driving hard hitting ideas. In a way, this expansion is throttle off chapter. The box product is a fun and rich adventure with some dark components. It is transportive and filled with imagination in a way, we are off this linear track of supervillains, and it feels like it opens up again. In light of what comes down the road over the coming years, we are going to want a vacation like this, a chapter that feels like adventure before things ramp up.
We have a lot of people wondering about "Pandarens, really? They are so cuddly!", almost innately silly. Pandarens are an idea that we have been thinking about for many, many years, something like twelve years. Initially they were drawn by Sam Didier, who loves these characters. We hooked a few of these characters into the Frozen Throne in Warcraft III and have always been in love with the idea. We got to debut Pandaren as an April Fool's joke many years ago and people feel that it is innately comedic based on that. No, April Fools was just a fun opportunity to show the idea. Many of you may not know that Pandaren were in serious consideration for the Alliance race in Burning Crusade, that is how serious we are about the idea. We have always loved Pandaren, we have always wanted to put them in the game, and for a number of reasons now is the time. It is not a throwaway idea in any way. In many ways they are the perfect race to include right now, as things start to ramp up. As the factional hate and societal rage rises to sweep the world up into war once again, the Pandaren will distinguish themselves on both sides and hedge the bet that against total calamity. They have a very distinct role to play, both culturally and factionally, so it is perfect that they dropped at this time.
We have a new player model you might dig, the Female Pandaren.
I'm Dave Kosak, the lead quest designer for World of Warcraft. I'm Cory Stockton, the lead content designer for WoW. We are going to log in here and show you live game footage running on the server right now. Let's open our map. We are going to tag team this to give you a whirlwind tour of everything we can show you in Pandaria. This is the continent map and The Wandering Isle is not shown, it is off wandering the oceans somewhere. This map has changed quite a bit since Blizzcon. Back when showed this at Blizzcon we had five zones on the continent of Pandaria and the main thing you will notice now is that we have seven. We have added two more zones to the continent. There are a few reasons for that; we wanted to get more content into the game, as we felt like there were a lot of stories we can tell and there are a lot of things to do here. Secondly, it gives us a less linear progression for players when they are coming through for a second or third time with another player. They don't really have to go the same path that they took before.
We are going to start off with a look at the Jade Forest. We didn't just split the zones up, we actually added a lot of terrain. Valley of the Four Winds was a whole zone but we were building an area that felt like a subzone, so we decided to break it off and make it into a zone. By doing that we had to add a lot of new area to support all of the quests and characters to make it feel like a full fledged zone. The Temple of the Jade Serpent is here. There is a concept that I want to talk about called the Sha. In Pandaria, negative emotions like fear, hatred, and anger take on a physical presence or dark energy called the Sha. The Sha is going to cause a lot of problems in Pandaria. This temple marks a special place in Pandaren history, because this is where the last emperor defeated the Sha of Doubt and imprisoned it in the ground. This temple was built to commemorate that. This temple is also our first dungeon. When the Alliance and Horde come on to Pandaria and they bring their war with them, it is going to cause the Sha to erupt all over Pandaria. This temple is going to be completely overwhelmed by this dark energy, so you are going to have to go in and clear it. The first dungeon in any expansion takes on a new importance for us as it sets the tone for the expansion, so as you can see we went all out with this one. It is just as beautiful inside as it is outside. The Jade Forest has a lot of bamboo jungles and stone structures. There are four ancestor spirits that guard over Pandaria, this is a statue dedicated to one of them, the Jade Serpent, with the temple also dedicated to her.
The Alliance and Horde are coming into the Jade Forest from the North and South and you aren't coming in with a giant army, just the survivors from a shipwreck. You are going to try and make war with whatever you have, getting together with the natives and recruit them into a proxy war. This all comes to a head in the middle of the zone with a huge battle around the statues with terrible consequences from that battle. One of the first races you come across is the Jinyu. They are an aquatic fish-man race that lives near fresh water across all of Pandaria. They are looked up to as an elder and wise race, even by Pandaren. This group in the village is recruited by the Alliance to go into battle against the Horde and Hozen. There is an upper caste of the Jinyu called the water speakers, which are the spiritual leaders of the Jinyu. They can take their staffs and place them into the river water to listen to what the rivers are saying and hear the future. They have always been fighting with the Hozen, who are more like a group of 14 year old boys running around together in the jungle, equipped with machine guns and weapons from the Horde. They are an offset to the Jinyu in this zone. They are all over the world, even in a dungeon that we will show you a little later. These are the jungle Hozen; the mountain Hozen are a little bit different, a heartier race. We have a new component on our creatures now that lets us dress them up in a lot of armor. These guys are very lightly armed, but you will see a lot of other Hozen later on in the expansion. The Horde are going to work with the Hozen here and recruit this tribe to help fight their war. We are going to give the monkeys machine guns and rocket launchers. This is a good plan; nothing could go wrong with this plan.
We really want to give players a lot of things they can do with their character, especially at max level, regardless of what type of player you are. The Pandaren have trained and raised these cloud serpents as mounts. Would you like one of your own? Of course you would! You can work with these guys over the course of 20 days or so to raise your own cloud serpent. You find an egg, choose what color of cloud serpent you want, then you will get a tiny pet cloud serpent with you for a while. You will have to do daily quests with it to train and raise him until you get a full size dragon that you can ride, then you have to train your cloud serpent by doing some more quests until you have finally trained your cloud serpent which you can ride around all of Pandaria. One of the things you will have to do is race through stone pillars. There will be Pandaren in the stands, cheering you on as you come roaring across the finish line. That is just one of the things you can do at max level. We are really trying to have a lot of things that you can do with your character in this world. It is a really rich environment where you can do all kinds of things.
After the Alliance and Horde make a mess of Jade Forest, you have to win over the Pandaren again in the Valley of Four Winds to the west. It is a different feel than Jade Forest, as it is the heartland of Pandaria. This is where they farm and harvest food to feed their culture. What's neat here is you get to see Pandaren in their own world. You just went through a big conflict in Jade Forest and then you can come here and see how they live on a day to day basis. They grow extremely large vegetables here because there are waters flowing down from Vale of Eternal Blossoms. That zone is full of sacred waters that have been flowing into this valley for millenia. The Pandaren are chill as a culture but don't do anything halfway.
This is the farmer's market here, which is the social hub of the Valley of the Four Windows. We have a faction called the Tillers and every day different farmers will come by the farmer's market with different problems, providing different daily quests that you can do for the Tillers at max level. We want to make factions more than a bar that grows across the bottom of your screen, with a story that you can be engaged with while learning about the people. This is Farmer Yun on the Songsong Ranch and he needs your help, as he isn't a very good farmer. His fields are overgrown and covered in rocks. This will become your personal farm and show your progression with the Tiller faction. You will help Farmer Yun by clearing out these plots of land and planting things. You can plant your own crops and come back the next day and harvest the crops. You will be able to plant cooking ingredients, herbalism nodes, gifts for the different NPCs to build your reputation, as well as a pet that you can grow. You will be able to decorate the farm as you go with some pigs and slop, some other animals, grow an apple orchard there, and it really shows your progression with this faction.
Across the valley you will find the Stormstout Brewery and Chen Stormstout is delighted to find it when he comes back to Pandaria. You will be adventuring with Chen here in the Valley of the Four Winds. This is another one of the dungeons and it is at full size out in the world so that you can see just how big it is. Things are not going well in the Stormstout Brewery and you will have to clean house with Chen. We can use the dungeons that are full scale in the world for questing content as well, it doesn't just have to be a dungeon for five players. This will give you a better idea of what is going on.
Moving on to Krasarang Wilds, we find a new zone that used to be a subzone of Valley of Four Winds. It is a coastal rainforest that had a lot of story in it, so we thought we should add a significant amount of space here to make it into a zone. One of the reasons there is so much culture here is the Mogu. The Mogu are the original rulers of Pandaria, ruling the land 10,000 years ago and actually brought it all together into an empire. During that time they built temples all across the world, which are now ruins that you will find while questing. They want their land back and this is another threat that you will be dealing with the entire time. We wanted an aggressive and big race that would be fun to fight and you will see them all across the world. You will see them in raids and dungeons as well, which is why we tried to make so many unique looks for them. We are doing a lot of armor sets across the creatures so that you are not just seeing the same creature with a different texture, but a whole different silhouette and different look, similar to what players have. The Mogu united the empire 12,000 years ago by fighting, enslaving, and capturing everyone else to build their empire through force. You can see some of their grand architecture still remains, but they are a nasty race. If they get their empire back it would be bad news for the Pandaren, which is why they are such a big threat.
The Saurok are a race of lizard men that were created by the Mogu. The Mogu themselves are flesh-shapers and can create other creatures. When they made them, the Mogu just wanted them to be smart enough to use weapons and fight for them, but over the years a number escaped and formed groups of bandits and thieves that are causing trouble across the entire continent. The Saurok will also appear in dungeons throughout the game. In one of the patches, the Alliance and Horde will roll up onto the beach along with their fleet, armor, tanks, and this is where the Horde will build a fortress on the island. The world will change over the course of the patches, especially this area. In Patch 5.1 the beach on Krasarang Wilds will erupt into a battlezone. You will see Pandaria evolve a little bit as the story evolves. The Horde and Alliance will assault different parts of the beach and there will be awesome fighting. Turtle Beach is another important historical part of Pandaria. We have 14,000 years of history that we want to show off and talk about as players go through Pandaria. We are trying to build it into the land and into the game. This is where Liu Lang, the first Pandarian explorer decided to see what was beyond the mists, so he set off on the back of a giant turtle. This turtle eventually grew into a giant, becoming the Wandering Isle zone. The Pandaren have commemorated this with a statue of Liu Lang. There are little historical points of interest all around the world and you will be able to visit all of them to collect the story.
Moving north we have Kun-Lai Summit, which the coldest climate in Pandaria. The zone is broken up into two separate areas, the lowland planes and the highest mountains in Azeroth. The Yaungol are another new race here, descendents of the Tauren. Their situation is similar to the Taunka in Northrend, as they got separated when Pandaria broke off from the main continents. They have been forced out of their homeland by the Mantid in Townlong Steppes. They are aggressive here because they are looking for a new place to set up their homes. Part of the problem solving here in Kun-Lai is the Yaungol threat, a nomadic warrior race that is very dangerous which is storming across the wall in great numbers. You go through several pieces of terrain as you cross through the zone. As you climb the slopes you will encounter another race, the Grummles. They were also created by the Mogu as a slave race to haul things around. They make good guides and can carry many times their own weight. They have a trade route that stretches across the zone called the Burlap Trail. They will need your help with their trade route as this is very dangerous area. Their route leads up to a faction called the Shado-pan and the Shado-pan Monastery. The Shado-pan are the most elite warriors of the Pandaren society and they understand the threat of the Sha. We describe them as the Sha police. They have to keep their emotions in check to keep the Sha out of their mind. The entire dungeon is in the outdoor world. You have to earn the trust of the Shado-pan and work your way up through the ranks.
Moving south we have Vale of Eternal Blossoms, which is the real heart of Pandaria of a whole. It is the original seat of the Mogu empire, which you can see with all of the original architecture and statues that are still here. There are a set of sacred pools here that the Mogu used to build their empire. Everyone that is here in Pandaria is fighting over the pools to take control of the power again. Both Alliance and Horde will have their own player hub here, which will include an auction house, bank, and general vendors. However, there won't be any of the ethereal vendors or class trainers. The Vale of Eternal Blossoms will be under siege by the Mogu, who want to take their land back. We are trying an experiment with this zone, which is a level 90 zone. It is based around the Golden Lotus faction, who were chosen by the Celestials to be the guardians of this zone. There are not enough of them to fight the Mogu, so they need your help. They don't trust you at first, so you will have to earn their trust. A different part of the valley will be under attack by the Mogu every day. When you first start working with the Golden Lotus they won't send you to the front lines, instead you will do some exploration and discovery. One of the ways we show progression is with the huge Mogu vault which is sealed at first. As you progress with the faction more of the doors open and you can score more and more of the vault.
The Mantid will try and storm the great wall, which will be defended by you in one of the dungeons. As you earn the trust of the Golden Lotus, they will send you to the front lines. As you collect the stories from the historical points of interest around the world you can bring them back to the Vale to the Lore Walkers. The Lore Walkers are responsible for holding all the lore of Pandaria, so you can bring back the things you find and ask them about it, and they will walk up on stage and give a presentation about the Mogu. We have so much story and history of Pandaria that we wanted to put into the game, so this is one of the ways we did it. All of the factions have scenarios associated with them. We are experimenting with the Brewmaster faction. You will find them scattered across the world looking for rare ingredients to mix into their brews. When you find the Brewmasters you will unlock a scenario. Doing these scenarios will give you faction with the Brewmasters.
We aren't talking about release dates yet, but I will tell you that Kun-Lai Summit, Jade Forest, Krasarang Wilds, and Valley of the Four Winds are all filled with content and ready. Townlong Steppes and Vale of Eternal Blossoms are mostly complete. I can't tell you a release date, but we are dedicated to getting this into player's hands as soon as possible. We are really excited about this content, there is so much to explore here and so much to do, and we are really trying to make it happen. You can see we made a lot of progress since Blizzcon.
We are really excited to show these two new battlegrounds off. If you remember Blizzcon, we talked about three different ideas we had for battlegrounds. We ended up picking two and moving forward with those, so those are the two we are going to take a look at today. The first one is called The Temple of ??? and it is a completely new ruleset, something that we have never done in WoW before. We are in an ancient Mogu temple that located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms; you can see it has the same art style as the Vale. That was an important piece we wanted to make sure that fit and make it feel like part of the world. There is an ancient artifact here and whoever has the artifact has great power. The way that translates into the game is that you will have a damage buff while holding the artifact. You will also be gaining points for your team. If you can pick up the artifact and keep it, you will earn points for your team. The artifact has a curse as well, damaging you over time. The longer that you hold it, the less healing that you can take. It is going to be difficult for one person to keep the artifact for the whole time. We also wanted to really use the space in here and really get a good vibe for the sense of the area. This inside area, right in the middle, will be worth the most points when you are holding the artifact. This patio outside with tiles will be worth a smaller number of points, say 3 points. If you are in the outside area, all of the terrain is playable as well, if you hold the artifact out here you will earn one point. Essentially, the Horde and Alliance are going at it to try and gain the artifact to gain power for their side. Whichever team can hold the artifact long enough to earn the points will end up winning the game. We have done a good amount of internal testing on this and it is a really awesome, fast paced gameplay. It feels very different than our other battlegrounds, so we are excited to get into player's hands for the beta and get feedback.
The next battleground that we are going to take a look at is called the Silver Shard mines. This battleground takes place underneath Stranglethorn Vale in an Adventure Company goblin mine. It has a completely new ruleset. Something we were trying to get with these new battlegrounds is new gameplay for the players. We have obviously had success taking some of our old battlegrounds, creating a new area, and using the same ruleset. Here we wanted to try something different. The concept here is essentially we are in a mine that is full of mineral rich resources. Both the Alliance and Horde are trying to get a hold of these. In the center of the map we have a depot that minecarts take off from. They head to the three different supply chains at the end of each rail line. Imagine these individual mine carts as capture points. As they are on the way to the depot, you can capture them in the same way you capture points in Eye of the Storm, except it is moving. Alliance and Horde will have to claim it before it gets to the depot. The carts follow the rails and there is a little bit of a twist. Along the the rails we have splits, where the cart can actually be sent left or right. We have checkpoints that switch the rails and send the cart the other direction. Imagine the Horde has a cart and is getting close to one of their depots, but the Alliance can channel on the switch long enough, it will switch the course and send the cart the other way on a longer path. This would give the Horde time to reclaim it. We have it in internal testing and have played it a number of times and we are still playing with the ruleset a little bit. It is another one that really feels fresh and completely different; another one that we are hyped to get in to player's hands and get feedback on.
We are trying to inundate you with information so that you go back to your editors and say 1,000 words is not enough, I need more! We have so much content here to talk about. The talent system we are going to show off is essentially what we showed off at Blizzcon, it hasn't gone under any major renovations. I want to talk about our philosophy here. If you think back to the original World of Warcraft, it was in the beta before the game launched that we added a talent system. The idea behind the talents was adding a way for players to differentiate themselves. Once players got to level 60 they felt like "Hey, I'm a warrior and I look like this warrior next to me, we are doing the same things in combat, and neither of us have any abilities different from the other guy." We added the talent system to allow players to customize their abilities and utilities. Unfortunately, the expansions kept growing the talent trees so that they wouldn't even fit on one page anymore, you would have to scroll down. If you came back to the game you would have to relearn where everything is and the experience that we all had is going to a website and find the right build for your spec. You would just copy the build down, take that, and never interact with the talent system again. This is really unfortunate, as it is the thing that is supposed to add so much customization to your character.
We are trying to fix that now, in a couple of ways. First of all a lot of the new talents don't add player power directly. They might give you a new tool, crowd control, a spot ability button???, or a way to move faster, that are very difficult to solve mathematically. You can't say this is a 5.4% DPS increase. In the case where the talents do provide power, they are on a tier with two other talents that provide an equal amount of power. It might be different ways of measuring the power, maybe it is a random proc versus something you can press on demand, but they will play into player's different playstyles. You shouldn't feel like you have to take a certain talent if you are a healer. You can take any of the three talents and have fun with those. At absolute worst, some of these may have situational value. If you are fighting a boss where there is no AE necessary, then AE talent's won't be super sexy for that moment, but it might be for the next boss. We will see players switch their talents out between different fights. You can see here Scott has been dropping talents and picking up new ones. The Tome of the Clear Mind is the new consumable used for changing glyphs and talents. It costs a little bit of gold, because we don't want players to feel like they have to switch talents constantly, but if you get to a situation where you want a big AE snare you can switch pretty reasonably. In addition to letting players min-max the situation, we hope this allows them to change up their playstyle if they get tired of the current one.
We will start with a video that shows the Monk in action with a lot of the abilities. We have a ton of new animations for the Monk and a lot of spell effects that are in place now. As a reminder, you can be almost any of the existing races and be a monk. You will be fighting a lot of Mogu. You will be fighting a lot of porcupines, huge porcupines. Breath of Fire was a classic Monk move from the RTS. We really wanted the Monk to look and feel differently when you are playing them. A lot of our existing classes have to share animations, but this time we have pulled out all the stops and the artists delivered a lot of new animations for the Monks. Almost every ability has a unique animation. This is true not just of the Pandaren, but the older races as well. If you are in healing mode, you will be using slightly different animations than if you are in melee DPS mode.
I'll talk about the resource bar a little bit, you can see it up in the upper left hand corner. We have revised it a little bit since Blizzcon. The way it works now is, if you are in melee or tank mode, you have an energy bar, much like a rogue or feral druid. There are only a few abilities that use energy. We basically like energy as a resource because it stops us from having to add cooldowns on everything. There are a couple of attacks that use energy, which builds up a second resource, which are the white spheres there, called Chi. Unlike a rogue, who wants to get as many combo points as possible before using them, the monk has abilities that cost one, two, or three Chi. We are really trying to capture the feel of a button masher fighting game where you might chain combos together. You will do a three sphere, then a one sphere, then a two sphere, then another three sphere, then three one spheres in a row, and get that hyperreactive, push a button and see something happen combat. Monks also have a lot of movement abilities, as we felt it was iconic for a martial arts warrior. We don't want it to feel like our existing warrior class, so they don't have a Charge, but they do have a Roll that works more like a Blink.
This other ability that Scott has been using to get around the battlefield lets you fly until you hit the button again and then you come down. You can control how far you move across the battlefield. This is our Spinning Crane Kick, their big AE damage spell, which is why there are so many white feathers there. One of the artists calls it Poultry Slaughter. That is Fists of Fury, one of your big three combo point attacks. As a reminder, there are three specs to the monk. Windwalker is the melee DPS spec, Brewmaster is the tanking spec, and Mistweaver is the healing spec. If you become a Mistweaver, your energy bar is replaced with a mana bar, and you can cast heals much like our other healers. We also like this idea that healing monks stand toe-to-toe and do some melee damage. If you are familiar with how Atonement priests heal in Cataclysm, there is a little bit of that. The Monk can be doing a little bit of damage that translates into healing. That is our reintroduction to the Monk class. Now I'll hand it off to Scott and let him fly through some of our new dungeons.
Thanks, Craig. So, Mists of Pandaria is going to have a pretty amazing set of dungeons and raids awaiting players. We're gonna have 9 level 90 heroics for players as well as 3 raids with 14 raid bosses. And the raids are all going to have 3 difficulties. Normal, heroic, and all of them are going to have the Looking for Raid system that we debuted with Dragon Soul. That feature has been a real huge game changer for us. We've seen a lot of people that had given up on raiding, didn't have the time for raiding, had schedule conflicts that are now able to raid and really experience how much fun it is.
So, what you're seeing here is one of the two dungeons I'll show off today. This is the Stormstout Brewery. You saw it from the outside. As we mentioned, everything's gone wrong. The Stormstout Brewery is not working as normal. The Hozan have invaded. You're told by Chen Stormstout, "go in, and basically break up whatever the Hozan are doing, get them out of here." So, you see the Hozan are around.. various spirits are also messing with the Hozan. Then you run into here and there are Hozan sleeping.. I wonder why they're so tired.. what could cause such strange things to happen. And as you continue on, you can kinda see all the crazy stuff that the Hozan are doing. They're having knife fights, because, well.. monkey knife fights are amazing. What you are really seeing here is that is the Hozan have gotten into the beer. So of course they're having a huge party. You run around on barrels trying to break up the party. That's really what you're here to do. You run them into other Hozan. There will be ways for you to go behind, tap the kegs, and blow out some brew that messes with the monkeys. And after you defeat enough of them, Ook-ook, the boss that is up on the ledge, will come down and the first boss encounter here will start. Yeah, if you look closely, you might see like Hozan party hats and other crazy things. They're just having a good time. And of course, what would be a party without a couple bouncers, so we've got these Hozan bouncers at the end.
So now we'll go through to the second area which here you'll see another creature for the first time. This is the Virmen. The Virmen are, the best way to say this is that they're evil, crazy bunnies. But they're actually a real problem for the Pandaren because they'll eat anything. And because they've been eating so much here in the brewery, you can see there's endless numbers of them, they just keep coming, so players will fight their way through this. Some of the vermen actually have exploding barrels. Some also have this hammer that if you beat one with the hammer, you can pick up the hammer and then start hammering away the Virmen which is a real blast. So, Scott's gonna like run through here. We'll cheat a little bit more so the Virmen stop attacking us for now. This is something where players will actually work there way through all this to get to the next boss. So, you'll get to the next area, and if you kill the vermin here, we can get the boss to appear. This is vicious death here that we're inflicting upon these Virmen, but they deserve it. Oh, here he comes, there he is. The biggest Virmen of them all, Hoptallus. So, this is actually a placeholder model for now, but we're something we're having a lot of fun with. Hoptallus has a couple of different attacks. One of them is not just a whirldwind, but a furlwind. The other thing he'll do is, 'cause the Virmen are all about eating vegetables, that's their huge nuisance, he has this huge carrot breath, you have to avoid that. So to move this along, Scott kill him viciously. And we go on to the third section.
So the third section of the Stormstout Brewery, we've dealt with the Hozan, we've dealt with the Virmen, and in this section, the beer which has gone bad has come to life. And here we have a Stormbrew Alemental. We love our puns, we really do. So the alementals have essentially come to life and started attacking you. And spirits that help guide the brewmasters here are sort of like "ehhhhhh" , they're a little bit angry at you and are like.. "what, what is happening here" and you go through a little bit more fighting some more alementals. We've got different kinds of them. We've got sudsy ones and bubbling brews. You run across Uncle Gao who is the one that is supposed to be in charge, but he's kind of incompetent. Here's the last boss, Yan-Zhu the Uncasked. This is actually a placeholder model. We're actually going to get a real beer elemental which is gonna be great. We have different colors for the different types like golden, amber, so forth. So this one fight, we have the different alementals running around.
So, let's go ahead to Scholomance. In Cataclysm, we went back and reworked Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep. We got a lot of really positive feedback from players, and we had a lot of fun making it. We're very nostalgic about these places just like players are. So one of the dungeons that we're reworking in here is Scholomance. And you can see the artists have already added a bunch of things like these statues that look at you as you go by. As we announced at Blizzcon, we've actually complete reworked the layout of this place. Previously, there used to be a door right there in the middle and this room to the right you just completely skip, and we were like .. that sucks, so we're actually going to make this room a really cool focal point and we actually put a boss here. And again you see a lot of the new undead models that we didn't have when we originally did Scholomance, but when you do an entire expansion of the Scourge, you get a lot of new undead, so we're using those. The rooms have been all upgraded, completely new lighting paths. As we're going through here, you're going to see one of the rooms that players used to hate back in the day that had really annoying skeletons that were immune to magic. But now, like I said, it's completely new, plenty of space, you can see things, there's not little skeletons running around trying to gank you. What we've set up are these really cool scenes. But still over here on the left, we have Jandice Barov. And again, we're trying to keep a lot of the same flavors. So Jandice Barov still uses a lot of illusions to try and attack you, but again after 5/7/however many years it's been since we originally did Scholomance, we've been able to really punch up that encounter a lot. Here's another room you might have saw before. Here we had necromancers bringing skeletons out of the piles, they're still doing that, but wow, this is a whole lot cooler area now.
This character here in the middle is Lillian Voss. One of the things that we're trying to do with most of our dungeons is bring in story elements to them and Lillian Voss is a character from plaguelands that we introduced in Cataclysm, and she's head into Scholomance for revenge against Darkmaster Gandling who's up there at the top taunting her pretty viciously as any good, evil villain is wont to do. So going through, here's another room. This was the central room in Scholomance where you had various ways to move around. It feels completely new now, this crazy blue lighting, the fog effects. We brought in all kinds of undead models that we didn't have before. We'll go through over here to the left as players will.. There's a boss fight we're not showing off, because we want to keep some things secret. Go through this door and you get to one of the coolest rooms. It used to be one of the worst rooms to look at it. It was just this big, grey stone room with a bunch of really bad grade benches. It was supposed to be a classroom, but you never really saw that very well. Well now, the artists have gone in really made this super awesome classroom, benches, they're all learning how to make potions, and of course you wouldn't have a creepy classroom without creepy paintings on the left that are always watching you. Making sure you're not cheating on your test.
Going through here, we'll get to the final boss. Again this is now much more focused and a much quicker experience for players. Hitting upside the head with as much cool as we can. Here we get to Darkmaster Gandling, who's gotten a bit of an upgrade. He's a whole lot more into fire than he used to be. But one of the things he'll still do, again, trying to make sure that players when they run across and go "oh! I remember this guy, he like sends you.." yep! He sends you into his rooms with all of this undead and you have to fight your way out still. So, again, we're gonna keep all the things that really made this place super memorable. Take out the things that weren't as cool, and then really just make sure that everything is kind of punched up to 11 here. And that's a lot of what you're going to see in all of the dungeons. Now I'll turn it over to Mr. Chilton.
Thank you, Scott. So by now you've had a chance to see a slice of the different types of content that we're doing in Mists of Pandaria. We've shown you zones, quests, dungeons. We've talked a bit about the raids that we're going to be having. And that's all very important and a really core part of every expansion set that we do. But one of the things that we learned from doing Cataclysm is that it's important not to just have the tried and true content, it's really important to introduce new types of gameplay to players as well. So they have really fresh, new things to do to go along with the tried and true content that they love. In Cataclysm, I feel like looking back on it, you could say that there's so much of our mindshare went into the revamp of the level 1-60 zones and the creation of the content itself, that we didn't really have an opportunity to create a lot of those new types of gameplay elements. So we're really trying to make sure that with Mists of Pandaria that we have a deeper, more fun gameplay experience overall than we've ever had before. So with that, one of the features that we're introducing that Dave eluded to a little bit ago is the Scenario feature. So what I have here is just a mockup screenshot of the UI. The feature isn't fully implemented in the game, yet, but not from the UI standpoint at least. We have the feature functioning in the game, but without any UI. So first, I'm going to show you some UI screenshots, and then we're going to show you a video of the actual gameplay, and you're going to have to imagine fusing those together. So here, really the core element here is when you go into a scenario, you'll queue up for it a lot like you would a dungeon. Then you get put into the scenario.
The scenario is typically some slice of the world that we've carved out, and the design is to give you things to do as a group in that gameplay environment that you normally wouldn't be able to do while questing. There's a couple reasons for that. Number one, when you're out there questing, there are other players involved. So even back in the day, if you remember a place like Stromgarde Keep in Azeroth. When you go over there back in the day, it had group quests. And you go and you do your solo quests, and you run into this kind of group quest area. Then suddenly you'd be faced with a choice. You can either sit around in the chat channels trying to spam players looking for group and hope that you find some number of people to quest for whether it's an extra 2-3, however many people. Or you could kind of skip those quests for now and imagine that you're going to get back to them at some point, and go on your merry way doing your solo quests. Which happens to be what people did most of the time. So a lot of people didn't get to experience those group quests. But now with out match-making systems that we have, we're more able to make sure that everybody gets to experience it. Then also, because of the instancing, we have the ability to make sure the environment is controlled in such a way that there aren't different groups that are competing for the objectives and causing problems for each other and taking away from the overall game experience. So players will be able to queue up for the scenario, and then once they're in, they'll be presented with a series of objectives. Here we see, Stage 1 in this particular example, save the villagers and do all these different things, save these different houses, and then you'll be able to move on to Stage 2. Again, that's just a UI mockup, that's not a real Scenario, the video that we'll be showing you is an actual scenario that's in the game.
So with that, let's move to the actual video. In this scenario, this is the lightning lager scenario that you can encounter by finding one of the Brewmasters out in the world. And the idea here is that you're helping the Brewmaster create her Lightning Lager that can only be brewed while it's raining and in the middle of a thunderstorm. The problem is that she's being sieged by saurok, so she's got a saurok problem to deal with. So you'll have to help her defend the brewery from the saurok while putting out fires. As you go through here, you'll kind of encounter different sorts of problems that come up. You'll have to fight your way through the entire thing. Something important to note here is that the scenarios don't use the traditional tank/healer/dps set up. While players could go in there as a tank/healer/dps, it isn't required. So the encounters feel a lot more like the type of combat you would engage while you're questing. Up there at the top, we have a giant saurok trying to take the place apart. This is sort of the final boss encounter for this scenario. Players have to fight their way through that as a lot of other threats get introduced.
The fights here tend to have a very different sort of gameplay feel than traditional dungeons do because of that lack of the tank/healer/dps setup. It's a lot more chaotic, a lot more frenetic, because you don't really have absolute control over the encounter. You don't have the aggro on lockdown with the tank. You don't have the healer just constantly pumping heals into the tank itself. So there tends to be a lot more movement, a lot more action going on, and in a lot of cases, you get to use a wider variety of the character abilities, because you don't have those tanks and healers to rely on. Sometimes you do if you happen to group up with them, but it tends to slow you down a little bit versus going through there with three dps. With these scenarios, we have the ability to take a lot of different, interesting parts of the world that and develop them more than we usually would be able to with questing. We have a number of these scenarios already in production. We have about five of them already completed or close to complete. We're gonna continue to be working on more of them as we go along. It's very hard to say how many of them we'll actually have by the time the game ships, But we feel like, the more the merrier, and however many we have will be cool. More is better, so however many we get would be awesome.
The next feature that I'd like to talk about is something that we introduced at Blizzcon, the Pet Battle System. A lot of you guys may have heard about this. For many years now, we've had pets in the game. Players have had these cute, little companions that have hopped along by their side, but not really done anything else for the last seven years or so. And what we've really wanted to do is kind of satisfy the desire players have had for a little bit of gameplay involved with those pets. Right now, players just collect them, but there isn't really anything to do with that collection. At the same time, we have the philosophy that these pets should never really feel mandatory. There shouldn't be anything about these pets that leads to your character becoming more powerful. So we view this as a purely optional activity the players can do. We also view it as the first mini-game that we've ever gotten to introduce to WoW. For many years now, we've talked about having mini-game within World of Warcraft, and this is really our first foray into being able to do that. So when you've gone and done your raids and all that kind of stuff, your questing, your challenge modes, your scenarios, all those different types of activities, if you're still kind of hungering for a change of pace and more things to do in WoW, the pet battles give you an opportunity to do that.
So players will be able to pop open their pet UI. This is the kind of revised pet UI. On the left, it lists all of the different pets that you have along with all of the different pets that you don't have. So it also serves as a convenient look-up tool to find all of the pets that you haven't gotten yet and tell you where to get them. And then when you click on them, it also shows you the score card over on the right. The little pet card that tells you the pet's different stats. In this case, this Tranquil Mechanical Yeti is level 22, he's got a 99 attack, a 25 defense, a 40 movement speed rating. That movement speed is like an initiative type of value. And then the 65 health. To go along with that, he's got 6 different abilities. Imagine that, since this is a mockup, those are actually different abilities. They're not all Yeti Smash, although we will definitely have a Yeti Smash ability in the game. Each pet has 6 different abilities, and you'll have to pick from 3 that you'll want that pet to have available to them at any given time for any given fight. So right now, this is the pet line up that this player has. They've got there Fluffy the de-weaponized mechanical companion and Chuck the alligator. You also have the ability to name your pets, so you can have very clever, funny names for yourself. He has selected a handful of different abilities out of the 6 possible for each of his pets. As you level up your pets, you gain access to those different abilities.
So now what we have to show you is a video of what the gameplay actually looks like and feels like. So this is now actually functioning within the game. We have some placeholder players here (Illidan vs. Lich King). This will actually determine who is more powerful. What we see here is, imagine these are two players playing, they'll see their characters, they'll see their lineup of pets. Along the top, you see the interface. It shows how much health your pets currently have. And at the bottom, you see your pet action bar which gives you access to your three different abilities and it also allows you to swap out pets. What Illidan just did right there is tactical wizardry. He knew that a crab would be a great thing to use right now to slaughter this helpless corehound. I think Lich Kings gonna get hacked now with no corehound defending his account. Now he busts out his spectral tiger cub to fight back. And again, this is a little bit primitive. This is really kind of the first time we've finally gotten it to actually work in the game. Where the characters are actually able to run up and do there attacks. It is a turnbased combat system. And of course we have borrowed the final fantasy music for now. So Lich King sees that Bananas is a real problem for him, so he's gonna bust out lil' KT. Who better to deal with Bananas than lil' KT. So this just kind of gives you an idea for the feel of what the pet battles will look like.
When you challenge another player in the world, it'll just kind of smoothly zoom in to this view. And you'll go about taking your turns, fighting it out, and then when you finish, it'll just pull right back on out to your normal gameplay view. Not only will players have the ability to go out into the world and collect their pets and fight against other critters that are out there in the world to level up their pets, we'll also have NPCs that they can fight against that have a collection of 3 different pets, so they can have little tactical pet battles there. Finally, we're also going to have players be able to queue against other players. But one of the important values for us with the queuing system is that we keep this very light and very casual. And as a result of that, we are doing everything that we possibly can to eliminate the shame of defeat. One of the things that really keeps a lot of players out of PvP types of activities is feeling bad about when they lose. 'Cause ultimately, that's really what drives a lot of people out of it. So we're trying to do everything that we can to make sure that you do not feel bad about losing this.
We're doing that in a number of different ways. For one, when you're fighting an opponent in a match made battle, you'll have no clue who they are, and they'll have no clue who you are. So you're playing this cross-server against who knows who. You won't see their character name. You won't be able to talk to them. They won't be able to talk to you. So there won't be any trash talking going on as they stomp your face in or whatever. Or you won't be able to trash talk as you stomp their face in. It will feel a lot more like just some relatively intelligent AI then it would a normal kind of PvP ingame. In addition, not only will you not know who they are or not be able to communicate, but we also aren't going to tabulate a running number of losses that you had. We'll keep track of how many wins you had in your own statistics page, so you can always look at that out of curiosity. But the game is not going to record how many times you've lost. Again, we are really trying to eliminate all the sort of negative emotions that go along with PvP. So, that sums it up for the pet battles.
One of the other core features that I am really excited to talk about is the challenge modes. We also talked about these a little bit at Blizzcon, but I really feel like the challenge modes in a lot of ways are going to add a new kind of activity for max level players to do that really enjoy doing our dungeons and raids. It introduces a form of competitive PvE for the first time, a really cool kind of way to compete against your friends without that feeling of direct PvP confrontation. This is the UI that describes what the challenge modes are like and how they work. This is the basic challenge mode UI, you access it the same way as you access the dungeon finder. When you take a look in here you are able to see which dungeons you have completed challenge modes in. For example, "You have completed another dungeon and earned a bronze medal in that". When you are looking at Grim Batol, it has the different time increments that you have to be able to hit to get a Bronze medal, Silver medal or Gold medal. It tells you what your record time is, what your last run time is, and what the rewards are. Here we see what you would see in game, one of the toasts, when you complete the challenge mode and get a medal that shows you what you accomplished, what your time was, and what you get for it. On the right, as you play through the dungeon, you will have a UI that shows you how much time you have left before you move in to the next medal bracket. You start off with a gold medal, if you take up too much time it drops to a silver medal, if you take too much time for that it drops down to a bronze medal, and nothing after that. We estimate that the vast majority of players will be able to complete the challenge modes if they get together with their friends and earn a bronze medal, even if you are a relatively unskilled player that isn't a hardcore dungeon person.
For completing all the different challenges at the bronze medal level you will get an achievement and title for yourself. If you are able to beat the various instances with a silver medal, you will actually be able to earn pieces of armor for your character that are visually spectacular and can be used for transmogrification. The point here is that you don't actually gain character power from the challenge modes, but you do gain a lot of prestige. Finally, for those players that have the entire set of gear from silver medals, they can go and try for the gold medals, which gives access to a special mount that you can't get any other way. It is a unique epic mount called the flying Kwai-Lan. It is similar to one of those Chinese dog statues with a Mogu like head and looks really awesome. You will have to wait for us to have it finalized before you can see it.
The thing that will keep players that beat the gold medals coming back for more is the leaderboards. This is where the competitive PvE comes in to play. On the right we have the leaderboard that you will be able to filter that by instance or by time. You can see that the number one time on the realm here is 18:10.3. We are going to track things to a high degree of accuracy so that there can be very minor differences between groups and we will still be able to reflect that. Right now we are looking at the expanded view of the number seven time and it shows you all the characters that were involved in that run and what their classes were so that you can get an idea of who these guys are, what they play, and what their group composition was when they made that run. We feel like that will add a level of replayability to the instances that we never had before. In addition you will be able to set leaderboard to show your guild. If competing on a realm level is a little bit out of your league, you can compete against your friends and guildmates by trying to have a good time for their guild. Here is an example of one of the armor sets, this is the armor set. All of these sets have been built completely custom for each class and it is unlike any other armor set that we have in the game. In addition, something that we are doing with these armor sets that we have never done before is giving them all unique effects that trigger off of something you do with your character class. For example, the dragon being able to breathe fire. All of these different armor sets that players will have access to will have unique special effects that you can't get any other way.
That really wraps it up, those are the core features that summarize some of the new things for players to do in Mists of Pandaria, along with the additional depth that we are trying to add in gameplay with the new factions, along with the tried and true stuff that we normally do in our expansions. Hopefully players will find that Mists of Pandaria is more deep, more fun, and more engaging than any of our previous expansions. We will be looking forward to your questions and giving you any answers that we have. Thank you!
Mists of Pandaria Press Tour Interview - Cory Stockton
Originally Posted by MMO-ChampionWe've already heard of 3 dungeons at Blizzcon: the Temple of the Jade Serpent, the Stormstout Brewery, and the Shado-pan Monastery. Assuming the new version of Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery is included in the total, can you tell us more about the 4 other dungeons?
One of the other ones you didn't see today would be the Gate of the Setting Sun, and that takes place at the Great Pandarian Wall. Which kind of fits in with our whole concept of the Asian theme we’re doing. You actually fight across the wall. You’re trying to hold off an invasion of the Mantid. It’s at the edge of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, and that’s kind of the main gateway that leads in. The Mantid are trying to get in from that side and the Shado-pan are holding them off. So you’re in that dungeon basically trying to hold them off from breaking through the wall. It feels really cool because it’s outdoors. It takes place on top of the wall and some of our Mantid fly. So you end up not just having the combat right there on the wall, but some things come flying in, so it feels a little bit different. One of the other ones is Mogu'Shan Palace. That was the dungeon on the opposite end of the Vale between the two player hubs. So it will feel similar to when people did Violet Hold in Dalaran. There was a dungeon right there in their local city and that’s basically the seat of power from the ancient Mogu empire. So that dungeon is going to feel really epic from the sense of the Mogu use to run the entire empire, so it’s got this really grand feel. It’s huge. But it’s been broken into by the Saurok. Which is the race we saw earlier today, the lizard men. They have run crazy across Pandaria and this is one of the places they have been able to break into. So you’re going to run into them as well as Mogu, and really the reason for that is we wanted to try to break up the bosses. We don’t want you to go into a Mogu dungeon and then fight a Mogu boss, a Mogu boss, and a Mogu boss. So making it a Saurok in there we can really change up the full thing and make it feel different.
I don’t know if we’re going to cover every dungeon today, we’re trying to keep a few, but we do have a Mantid dungeon as well. The Mantid is one of the races we’ve talked about before, but we haven't revealed it yet today, but it’s the other biggest antagonist outside of the Mogu and the Sha. The Sha is all around the world. The two zones we didn't show today, the Dread Wastes and Townlong Steppes are both crawling with Mantid. So of course we would have to have a dungeon specifically for them. They’re basically attacking one of the local temples. You saw the Jade Serpent today in Jade Forest; there’s a local god for each of the individual zones and the god in this zone is the ox. The Ox Temple is under attack by the Mantid. You can see a theme here, the Mantid are attacking everything. So you’re coming in here and trying to clear them out, but the whole goal of the dungeon is a little bit different. It’s more of an infiltration mission. So you’re going to come in and going to set charges and do a little bit of a different vibe than what you would see in some of our other dungeons. We’ll talk about the last one later.
What can you tell us about the raids that will be available at release?
We have three raids and 14 bosses across those raids. Then we are also going to have two world bosses at launch. So in total we will have 16 bosses, 14 will be available through the actual Looking For Raid system. The other two will be world bosses. As far as locations go, we have the Mogu raid that’s called the Mogu’shan Vaults. And that’s going to have a similar look as the dungeon I was talking about earlier; the Mogu dungeon. But just on a much more grand, epic scale and it’s really going to reveal some of the history of the Mogu and what’s been going on with them. We’re really trying to pull people into the story and let them know what’s going on, and that’s one of the things that without having changed our progression and not having a grand villain we really want to pull people into the story of Pandaria - what happened here? Why are we here? What are we trying to save? Since they use to kind of run the whole place, it kind of made since that they left all this history everywhere. But in this raid you’re actually fighting more of a ghost side of the Mogu. So as where you would be fighting living Mogu in the dungeon, here you will see a ghost version. We got new models, we have a whole different kind of vibe and look for this place. It’s going to explain a little bit more of not just the Mogu past, but where did they come from? Who exactly created them How did that work? That’s one of them. We have a Mantid raid where you’ll be fighting the Mantid empress who’s basically kind of the leader of all the Mantid in the this local area. Super awesome unique look. I think dungeon and raid art wise it’s one of the craziest things we've built just from that visual standpoint. Part of what they do is build into these giant cypress trees. So if you can imagine a visual of this humongous cypress tree and it’s been overrun by this really beautiful grand architecture that’s kind of the mix. So you’re getting a little bit of nature but also some architecture mixed in. That will be a chance for people to do these really epic fights against some of our Mantid; our new creatures that we’re doing for them. Our third one is the Sha raid. So we talked about the Sha quite a bit. We built a new Sha boss model that looks just unbelievably awesome. It’s a super super huge raid boss and that whole raid circles around him and he has turned other local creatures into Sha and that’s what you’ll be fighting leading up to him. So those are the three we are planning for ship, and obviously we will be adding more raids as we go along.
You introduced scenarios during Blizzcon as a replacement for group quests. How are they going to work exactly? Are they instanced? Do you expect players to run them repeatedly while leveling?
They are definitely instanced. We’re looking to do almost all of the introductory scenarios that we’re gonna have for Mists of Pandaria at level 90. We could do them along the leveling path, but we really felt like they would have more impact at 90. What we’ve been trying to do is create as much in-game content as possible. There’s so much content in the leveling already, it felt like they would be a better fit for max level. The reason why they are instanced is we can do so much more. When you have an instance you don’t have to use phasing. We can do all kinds of different NPCs and creatures that might not be in the normal world, but we can do it here and it doesn't effect the other players that might be in the area. So it gives us a lot of control. As far as replacement for group quests, in our eyes a lot of people didn't do group quests because they couldn't find people to do them with. They were really awesome experiences in some cases. So we’re able to take the ones we think are the best and implement them through this system and it’s a system that has a lot of room to grow. It doesn't have to be just for group quests because they are going to reward you with faction. So imagine the Tillers farmers faction we talked about earlier today. It’s not just daily quests, you could also do a scenario and earn faction for them. There’s also even the possibility we could make scenarios that work for professions. Imagine a scenario that would send you into a mine and you have to fight off a number of creatures, but in between you might be able to mine nodes and you could repeat that scenario and it would be one for a mining profession. We’re not planning to do this necessarily right now, but I think the system has a lot of growth potential. We’re going to focus on doing scenarios for the factions across Pandaria and then from there I still think there’s a lot of other places we can go with it.
The Pet Battle System is a very interesting addition to the game. How did this idea come up, and what benefits do you feel that it will add to the game as a whole?
It’s definitely something that we’ve talked about doing for a while. Which is the concept of a mini game. We’ve wanted to put mini games into WoW for a long time, but we never really had an idea that we felt fit right and didn't feel jammed into the game. Mini pets are really popular, everyone has companion pets, it feels like something a lot of people like, a lot of people collect them. So the thought was “Why don’t we just put these two things together”. There’s so many it feels like we could create a game out of it. We could use all the exciting pets because doing a game would require so many new assets, with this, we can take all the pets and give them all this new game play with abilities and leveling and stats. Then take a new selection of pets, put them into the world, and let players go find them. So you can go into a zone and there might be a pet that only spawns during the rain, in Stranglethorn Vale. There might be a pet that only spawns at nighttime in Uldum for example. So we can do that kind of stuff and it adds a whole lot of gameplay to the whole world because now you can have exploring, you can have achievements. If you like the general combat system, you can get really into the combat. It’s a turn-based system. It has a lot of depth. It’s optional content. It brings options to the game, and that’s huge for WoW.
WoW is the kind of game where we have to deliver the core content, dungeons, raids, leveling, battlegrounds. We know these are core things we always have to do, but then we also want to add new things for people that want to move out of those core things that we’re always doing, or attract new players that might not even be into those things. Achievements for example are something that's a completely optional activity, but has added so much to the game. The concept is, you get a pet, and then you have what we call pet cards. So we’ll have a whole new pet journal interface. It will show you the pet. When you select it, you’ll see stats for the pet, you’ll see its level, and then you’ll see its abilities. The abilities actually work kind of similar to our new talent system. So when you learn an ability, you’ll get an option of two choices, and then you can pick that choice, and any time outside of battle you can swap that choice. So even once you get a pet and you get it to max level, you can still make lots of changes to it by changing its abilities.
Can you tell people about the new talent system and how it helps balance things?
There wasn't really a lot of choice in the old system. It’s a system we’ve worked on for 7 years. We’ve been tuning and changing and making little tidbits trying to get it just right. In the end, I think people just end up going to a website and finding a site because there’s so many talents to pick, you don’t want to pick the wrong one and there are talents that are key to being really able to play your class with the right dps. We just didn't feel like that was fun to be honest. It wasn't offering a lot of choice. A lot of people, if we wiped talents, they would be sad. They wouldn't be happy to get a talent wipe: “I have to fill this whole thing out again”. So we had a couple core concepts in mind: “Make the choices matter”. The choices you make should matter and make your class feel unique to you. Also to make sure we don’t put anything that offers pure player power in the talent tree. We put all those things in your specialization. So when you pick your spec, you’re always going to have all your heals, you’re always going to have everything you need. What you get through your talent tree is some customization. You can maybe turn a heal into an AoE heal. You can maybe make a heal jump to another character. When we do add power, we balance it because we know you have to pick one of these three. You can’t miss it, and then when we add power, we can know that each one is adding that very close similar amount so that we can balance it.
We want to make people feel like they can swap when they need to. I think it’s a very common thing to think that going through a dungeon a player might swap on each boss. I don’t think they are going to want to swap on each pull. But we expect that a player will swap on a boss. A boss might have a certain ability that makes it so that you need AoE heals. So at that point, you might want to change your spec and change up something that will buff up your AoE heals, because you’re going to have them by default because they are in your spec. But all you’re doing is giving yourself a little bit of an advantage by maybe buffing them up a little. So that’s how that kind of plays in.
Can you tell us more about the patch and world event that will introduce Mists of Pandaria before the release of the actual expansion?
Yeah, we’re essentially planning to do a couple things. One of the things we’ve talked about is doing a scenario and introducing the game with this scenario, to be a new type of gameplay that players have never seen before. And doing a scenario that would involve Theramore, and really kick off whats happening with the Alliance and Horde, and pushing home this whole red versus blue kind of concept. So that’s one part. We have another thing where we would like to introduce the Pandaren in a way that feels really natural. So we’re talking about taking Chen Stormstout in, and having him show up in some of the local cities and get players more excited about whats happening in these two weeks right before. Chen has an idea of what’s happening, but he’s not going to give out all that information. So it gives people a chance to see some new gameplay, but also to get hyped up about Pandarens and going to Pandaria. A special event everyone can take part in. We usually do like to give simple rewards for all the launch day events.
Could the gear scaling that is being added for challenge mode dungeons be applied in a similar manner for older content, allowing players to go back and play through old dungeons with an appropriately powerful character?
It’s like someone is reading our minds. That’s something that could 100% work for that. What we are starting with for challenge modes is the concept of doing it with the shipping dungeons for Mists of Pandaria. Then we’re going to watch it, see how it plays out and see how things go. Then the idea is if that goes well, we totally want to backdate that to some of our older dungeons. I mean, obviously it will probably be in thing like Scholomance, because that’s coming as new dungeon. But if it works out well, there’s no reason we couldn't backport that to older dungeons. That could end up being in any of the more classic dungeons that players really like. That’s the kind of tech that we develop at the beginning to know that it could work in other places. Gear scaling that is something that could also work in a scenario if we really wanted to because it’s an instance. We could decide that we could build a scenario for say level 35, it takes place in say Southern Barrens, but then you could also play that scenario at level 90 because we could scale your gear. So in that way we could make content that works for the level up, but also for the max level. So there’s a lot of options of being able with being able to scale gear on players that we can use.
So you mentioned Scholomance earlier...which has changed drastically including the art.
We have been playing it internally, and it’s definitely much better from the gameplay standpoint. Especially Jandice’s room is very different. I think that’s something we all have the labor of love for. We really felt like that for Deadmines and Shadowfang, but we didn’t get a chance to upgrade the in-game art as much as we did here. Here we could do whole new layouts, really change the flow but keep all that stuff about Scholomance that made it feel so cool. So I think players are going to be really stoked.
People have been complaining about mount models being "recycled". Do you think Mists of Pandaria will give you the freedom to work with more exotic models?
I’m actually totally the guy working on making sure that we have a huge selection of mounts. For Mists we’re planning on trying to do less of the sharing of colors for individual mounts for different rewards. So for example the achievement for completing all the raids on heroic that usually offers an individual mount. We’re trying to make sure that mount is different than the mount that you get for the dungeon hero. So if you remember back to Cataclysm it was essentially a protodrake with different colors. So what we are trying to do here is trying to create mounts that have a different look for each one. That’s not going to be everywhere. Obviously we’re still going to have mounts that have multiple colors and will give the mount in different ways, but I think the goal is to make sure that if you get a mount like that you feel unique. Our perspective on this is that mounts are kinda like a sacred thing. There’s only so many flying mounts that you can give out before they start to feel too common and everyone has them, that kind of concept and we know that. That’s why something like the flying Kwai-Lan we were talking about as a reward for the gold medal in challenge modes, you’ll only ever be able to get it from that. The concept is that when you see someone, you’ll know they have really accomplished something, and that it feels great. But our total mount count is looking really great. Actually for Mists I feel like we already have more mounts than we did for Cataclysm. We have multiple of versions of all of these different mounts, and we're trying to not just do the mount, but maybe do a modified version that has more armor on it so that it feels a little bit different. So I really think players are going to be stoked. I think they are going to get more content then they got even in Cataclysm in that specific category.
Is there anything else that you would like to add? Any interesting change or feature we've missed?
One really cool thing we’re doing is for Looking for Raid, which has been super huge for us in 4.3. The amount of people that are raiding now in comparison to what were raiding pre 4.3 is exponentially larger. I mean very very significant. So we felt that has been a huge success. But one of the places we have had trouble with is loot. Turns out everyone just rolls need, on everything in LFR. It doesn't really matter if it’s for you or not, everyone just needs. So one of the big changes we’re going to make with Mists is the introduction of a per-player loot system. So that will be just for LFR, but essentially every person will get to roll individually on the items that are on that boss. So if you win that roll, then it will look at the loot table on that boss, and if there’s an item for you, then you’ll get that item instead of just having it be everyone can roll, and if you win you guarantee get it. Instead you’ll roll individually and if your roll actually comes up as a win, if there’s an item that works for you, like say if you’re a druid, and there’s a druid item, you would get that item. That doesn't mean you’re always going to get a guaranteed thing when you win your roll, because there might not be an item on that boss for you to begin with. What it does mean is when you do win, you’re always going to get something that is right for you and it fits your class and feels specific. I think that’s really going to help with people feeling like they are running it constantly and “I never get my weapon” or “I never get my item”. That’s something that if it works there, we could definitely open it up to more parts of the game but that’s where we feel is a good place to start.
Mists of Pandaria Press Tour Interview - Greg Street
Originally Posted by MMO-ChampionYou wrote a blog post on the great Mists of Pandaria item squish, did you reach a final decision on the matter? Should we expect everything to be scaled down in the expansion to avoid ridiculously high numbers?
That depends on your definition of final decision. We are not going to item squish for Mists of Pandaria. We tried it, we had it all working in the game and we sat down (and these are designers that knew exactly why we did the change and what we were trying to accomplish). We sat down and we did it and like “All right! Mortal strike hits for 200 now and Shadow Bolt hits for 150!” and we were like, this feels really weird, and we knew this was already going to. You know that we’re already changing the way talents work, which is super controversial, and we thought if we change talents and mortal strike is hitting for 150 damage, players are going to be freaked out. We knew the item squish was controversial to begin with. One of the reasons we did the blog was to test the waters a little bit and we decided now is not the time. What would be a better situation for us is if in like 6.0 or 7.0 if players are demanding the item squish and then we can do it and it will be “Celebration they finally listened”, rather than right now where some players get it and want it and others don’t.
Since you mentioned the new talent system, some players may not be familiar with it, can you explain it a little.
The trees are no more. The old trees we decided were full of little passive bonuses here and there, they were designed to initially allow you customization of your character, but instead the reality for almost all of this was we went on a website somewhere, found the optimal build for our character, plugged that in, and never interacted with the talent system again. So you had this thing that was suppose to be something to really customize your character the way you wanted to play but it wasn't doing that at all. So the new system has exclusive choices. When you pick talent A, talent B and C are off limits now. That’s fairly easy to change if you want to try talent B, but you can never have talent A and B at the same time. This allows us to offer some really interesting and fun choices for players to decide which of those talents suits their character or the situation the best. Yet when we do offer power, because we know they can only have one of those three, we can balance the numbers a lot better than we can when its the 42/8/1 build compared to the 40/10/x build.
Have you gone and looked at other people’s talent trees and copied them or have you always had your own custom one?
No, I can't say I always have a custom one, particularly for healers I find that I can tweak it a little bit. I think that something players and developers are guilty of. Just because it worked for the best players in the world, does not mean it will work for you. If you're spending talent points on an ability that you're just not using as much as you should have your personal effectiveness will go up or down.
And that’s what you wanted to change, you wanted to make it more interactive and custom?
Yeah, a lot more about the players individual style. A great example is the kind of talent that has a random chance of something happening versus clicking this button to make it happen. Some players hate the RNG, they just don't want any randomness in their game at all, and for them that choice is an easy one. Others are like “You know, I like it when my rotation gets mixed up a little bit. I don't mind when Divine Purpose gives me a little holy power. I like to adapt to that”.
One of the most important additions of the expansion is the Monk class, can you tell us more about the class?
We talked about it some at Blizzcon, and the core of the Monk hasn't changed since then, we still have a tanking, a dps, and a healing spec. We have simplified/modified the resource system a little bit. We found that players trying to struggle with energy and light and dark force, wasn't at all intuitive. We had very veteran players sit down and say "Do I want light force and dark force and am I trying to build to where I can spend 1 light and 2 dark”. They ended up just mashing buttons down, so we weren't heading in a good direction there. Simultaneously we had come up with really cool abilities for the monk, and a lot of them worked very differently from our traditional abilities. The monk doesn't have a lot of "deals 20% weapon damage" type of abilities. They all do different things, so we thought we should take a step back on the resource model and try to have all the cool gameplay be in the abilities themselves. So the resource system we have now, is for the tank or the DPS guy, there's energy and the energy is just there to avoid having to have cooldowns on all of the abilities. They don't have many abilities that cost energy. Most of it is to deliver the light force, which for now we are calling Chi since we don’t have the light force and dark force. So you have these four orbs that you're building up towards, and you choose how to spend them. Some abilities cost 3, some cost 2, some cost 1, and then hopefully the depth of the rotation comes from mixing those up. So you might do a 3 force ability, then 1 force ability, then a 2 force, then a 1 force, then a 2 force, and we hope that chaining is going to help deliver that kind of street fighter, button mashing, feel that players are expecting in a martial arts based character.
So I guess we will find out more in beta and how it actually plays out.
Yeah, players remember the Death Knight. New classes are the kind of thing we iterate on a lot, and I'm sure there will be more of that with the Monk. It has a lot of cool animations and a lot of really fun spells. It should still be able to fill the role of tank or healer in a raid or in PvP. I think players are going to like it, it looks awesome.
Which classes needed the most changes in the expansion according to you? Is there any class that got reworked more than the others?
I think hands down the Warlock got changed the most. We felt like the Warlock could never really deliver on the promise of the three different specs, Demonology, Destruction, Affliction. Destruction always felt like "I’m a Warlock that plays like a Mage?" Demonology just felt like "I’m a Warlock but my pets do a lot of damage and that’s about the only difference". Demonology and Destruction now have their own resource system. Destruction is trying to build up this fiery force. They basically start catching on fire, their hands catch on fire, and then their whole body catches on fire. Then they can unleash Conflagrate, their really powerful damaging spell. Demonology similarly has a bar they fill up, but this bar drives how long they can stay in demon form. So rather than their Metamorphosis just being a cooldown that lasts for a few seconds, they can try to game it to stay in demon form for a fairly long amount of time. They decide when that happens and how that happens.
How bad did you nerf Paladins?
You know, I always say this, but I think Paladins will be pleasantly surprised. We have fixed some of the RNG in their rotations, they now have a more dependable supply of holy power, and there are fewer gaps in the rotations. Holy is in pretty good shape already. I think ret and prot will be happy with how they feel in beta.
Which new class abilities are you most excited about?
Wow, that’s a broad topic. Players get really excited about Ascendance, the Shaman ability. I think something about the term "lava beam" just really struck a chord. Players are like "Lava beam, now I can’t wait to play my shaman!". So that was pretty fun. I don’t think we have talked about what we are doing for the hunter yet. I think a lot of hunter players have guessed it but the hunter level 87 ability is basically you get all your pets at once for a short amount of time. So if you have 5 pets in your stable, they all come out and do damage for a little bit of time, and that’s really fun cooldown for them. I think it increases Beast Master’s damage by 80% while they’re out, or something ridiculous like that. That’s a pretty fun one. The rogue 87 ability is group stealth, so you get to have your whole group be stealth for a short period of time, that’s cool. The most complicated one is symbiosis for the druid, where they give you a druid ability and they get one of your class abilities to use. The matrix there sounds more confusing than it really is but there's a lot of weird gameplay going on with the kind of abilities that get traded around that way. It will take a lot of iterations, and we give players abilities that are way too powerful and then we have to scale them back.
How are challenge mode rankings going to work? Can we expect worldwide rankings on the official site at some point?
Yeah, what we are doing is dipping our toe into the waters of competitive PvE. This is something players have been excited about every since World of Warcraft came out and now we’re trying to get into that game a little bit to. I don't know if we'll do world wide originally, we will at least do region wide, and that will be on the armory site. Within the game you’ll be able to compare your ranking to your friends and your guildies and things like that. The rating for challenge modes are medals, there is a bronze, silver, gold medal and maybe some stuff beyond that. Bronze will be the kind of thing that if you can finish the dungeon at all (remember challenge modes are a little harder than heroics) you will probably get bronze. Then after that the time factor starts to be really important, we don't expect many players to get gold, that may be only a few percentage on each server will get gold and then beyond that we're going to have to start measuring in the fractions of a seconds, into the milliseconds as if you’re doing the 50 yard dash. We think it will be a really big deal when someone is like "Oh someone got a new high score for Shado-pan Monastery!"
With 5 man dungeon challenge modes bringing truly balanced competition through normalized gear levels, are there any plans to implement the same thing for PvP where an even playing field is even more important?
Yeah, I definitely understand why some players want that. When they do tournaments and things like that, they don't want gear to be a factor. They want it to be all about skill. On the other hand, gear is like the single most valuable reward in World of Warcraft. So if you had a PvP game where gear wasn't rewarding, I worry players would quickly run out of things to do. It might be fun for the individual matches, but I think if we did it, it would have to not replace PvP, but be some type of extra option. The same way we do the arena tournament realms or maybe this "challenge mode PvP" where gear doesn't matter.
What's happening with the new Female/Male Warlock pets, is this still being considered? What about the demon form? Should we expect any other changes for those pets?
Yeah, so to do a female Voidwalker we just put a bow on her hair. That's still in the works, I actually have no idea what a female Voidwalker looks like but you could imagine how some of the other pets translate over. I’ll be honest its not high priority. The way we tend to handle our tasks is we hardly ever cancel a task, but we have our long list of art request and there's a lot of new creatures we have to do, there’s a ton of new spell effects because we’re giving so many new talents to the classes and a lot of those have visual effects. So the warlocks pets are still on there. We'll see if we get that for 5.0 or if we get it for 5.1 or a later patch. That's for the male/female versions. There are some new warlock pets for Mists of Pandaria. Players who pick the right talent combinations can get say the Shivan, the big six armed demons from Burning Crusade, and Wrath Guards, and a few extra ones like that. I don't know if we ever came up with an official names for them, we call them Beholders, the big orbs with the eye. I don't know what a female beholder looks like. Just a bow on every eye.
Currently when doing non rated battlegrounds, especially the smaller ones, the game may be decided by the number of healers that each team gets. Are there any solutions to balance this out without a significantly negative impact to queue times?
They nailed it right there, the risk is the queue times would take longer and longer. Now as we go to more region wide battlegrounds, it makes it a little easier for us to assemble a group, and we can start to look at better logic to make sure groups are balanced. We just want to make sure queues don't get long. Players know in dungeon finder that sometimes they may be waiting a long time for a healer and now there are players that would say "you know, I'm willing to wait 20 minutes for a battleground if it means I'll have a more balanced team" while others players would just say "I just want to get in there and play". Definitely the kind of thing we could look at a little more.
Anything else you may want to share with us?
We have some really fun things like a mage minor glyph that teleports you to old Dalaran. So instead of taking you to the Dalaran in Northrend, it takes you to the big crater and drops you into the crater from up high. I don’t want to make it like all the minor glyphs are silly, but it’s definitely an opportunity to do a couple of things that we wouldn't do before. There's a warrior minor glyph that makes your shouts scare small animals, so if there’s any critters in the area and you Battle Shout or Commanding Shout the critters all run away. That's the kind of stuff we originally wanted to deliver with minor glyphs, fun kinda cosmetic things. I apologize, the paladins always had 9 minor glyphs that make your abilities cheaper. We're tying to do that a lot more with all the classes, glyphs that are more fun to dabble with, and that's true for the major glyphs too. I think players will be pleasantly surprised with some of the crazier things we are able to do with the major glyphs this time around.
Mists of Pandaria Press Tour Interview - Tom Chilton
Originally Posted by MMO-ChampionWe already know that new character models are in the works for old races. Do you have any idea of when players will be able to see them and do you plan to also revamp newer races such as the Blood Elves and the Draeneis?
We are slowly in progress with revamping the races, but the reality is that at best we would get the Dwarves for Mists of Pandaria, and even that's on the bubble. It is something that we are planning to do, it is something that we want to get to and actually believe is valuable. As to when the the Blood Elves and the Draeneis would have that happen, they would probably be near the end of the list. We would probably get through all of the original races first before we go on to them since they are better than the original ones. Any of the ones we have done more recently tend to be a little bit higher fidelity.
A lot of players spend most of their time rerolling characters of every class on a single server. Is there a plan to allow them an eleventh character slot?
Yes there is. For the Mists of Pandaria launch we are going to open up an eleventh character slot so that players can create a monk if they want to, without having to delete one of their existing characters.
Cataclysm brought updated water effects, shadow effects, phasing, and other small upgrades to the game. Should we expect more technical innovations from Mists of Pandaria?
Yeah, there are very subtle technical improvements that allow us to do more things than we ever have before. It really comes through when you look at the environments that are in Pandaria. For example, one of the things that we have done is allow for a higher level of detail when we are painting the sides of mountains and stuff like that. When you look at it now, the textures don't tend to look as stretched along the sides of shear surfaces as they used to. It is a small, but subtle thing that adds up a lot and I think that when players look at the screenshots or finally get in to the beta and when Mists of Pandaria launches they will be pretty blown away by how the look has evolved.
Blizzard mentioned that a lot of things would become account-wide in Mists of Pandaria, can you tell us what made the final cut and what will be applied to the entire account in the expansion?
For sure the pets have made the final cut. Your entire pet collection will be made account wide, which is important as it ties in to the Pet Battle feature that we are introducing. That way you don't actually have to go and change out characters every time you want to level up a specific pet, or have to level a pet for each one of your characters, or anything really annoying and grindy like that. That is the only one we know for sure, but we are trying to make progress on the account wide achievements, which is the next one on the list.
Many other games over the years have implemented AoE Looting, is that something that is currently or ever was being considered?
We got this into the Mists of Pandaria builds a week or two ago. At this point it is actually functioning in our internal builds and we are super excited about that. It is an option and when you use it any of the creatures around that are eligible to be looked will bring up one loot window that has all of the different stuff in there. If you are set to auto loot it will loot everything.
Are you happy with how guild perks worked in Cataclysm? Can you give us an example of what new content guilds should expect? New perks? Is the level cap going to be increased?
We are happy with some of them, but others of them went too far in some ways or were just not cool enough in other ways. My overall view of it is somewhat mixed. We do expect to introduce some new perks, even if it is just to swap out some of the ones we feel didn't work out as well. The Have Group, Will Travel was popular because it is one more thing that shrinks the world and allows players to avoid being out in the world. We are trying to put more of an emphasis on players going out into the world to do stuff, so that is one of the ones that we are going to replace with something else.
When Cataclysm was released, you mentioned the possibility of allowing players to scale down their level and play with friends that are newer to the game. Is this still something that you would like to add in the future?
It certainly is something that we would still like to add. We are continuing to make progress in that regard. Some of the technology that we need to do that is being created for the challenge modes, so the challenge modes get us closer to being able to do that. That is a feature that we find very valuable and we are hoping to see it for the Mists of Pandaria launch, but we can't say for sure yet that it will be ready. It might be in a patch that comes right after launch.
With one more expansion there's even more gear for people to hold on to. Are there plans to expand features such as guild banks, regular bank slots, backpacks, or void storage?
Well, Void Storage is certainly something that we can continue to expand over time. We just added Void Storage, so if everyone is already out of Void Storage space... We do have a lot of pack rats playing World of Warcraft, so there's no doubt that there will be some players running out. I do think that it is a legitimate problem, and I can definitely see us adding more room to Void Storage as time goes on.
Is there anything else that you would like to add? Any interesting change or feature we've missed?
You got to see the demo this morning and a chance to play the different builds that will eventually become a beta build. We are excited to get players into the beta very soon, because that is going to be the true test of whether or not it is awesome.