MMO-Champion - Blizzard Insider #45 – Mists of Pandaria – Raid Preview
Blizzard Insider #45 – Mists of Pandaria – Raid Preview
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With the launch fast approaching, Blizzard Insider sat down with Lead Encounter Designers Scott Mercer and Ion Hazzikostas to get an inside look at the expansion’s newest raid instance -- Mogu’shan Vaults -- and the ancient secrets and epic encounters that await players inside.

Before we dive into the details, can you give us a quick overview of the lore behind the Mogu’shan Vaults? How does the raid fit into larger story of Mists of Pandaria?
Scott Mercer:
The mogu are an ancient race of evil, ogre-like sorcerers who once dominated Pandaria. At some point in the distant past, all of the warring mogu factions were united by a single tyrannical warlord known as the Thunder King. The Thunder King rose to power the “the mogu way,” namely by eliminating his rivals one by one. According to legend he was able to accomplish this with the help of a mysterious artifact that he found in the depths of a mountain. After his rise to power, he built the Mogu’shan Vaults to contain and protect this secret, and converted the surrounding structure into a sort of shrine dedicated to the mogu empire. The complex houses many of the empire’s lost artifacts and is the resting place of the spirits of old mogu kings.

Ion Hazzikostas:
At the time Mists of Pandaria begins, the Thunder King is long gone and the mogu empire has crumbled into isolated factions. As great and powerful secrets are wont to do, the Vaults have attracted a number of interested parties, including Zandalari trolls who are trying to enter the Vaults to get at the ancient source of mogu power, which is the key to their tribe’s survival. When the players arrive, they join forces with a pandaren Loremaster who knows of a way into the Vaults. The Loremasters are a new faction dedicated to learning and retelling the oral history of Pandaria, so the Vaults are naturally a place of tremendous interest to them.




What’s in store inside the Vaults from the gameplay side?
Scott Mercer:
We’re building an epic new raid that includes 10- and 25-player versions with both normal and Heroic modes, as well as another 25-player version available exclusively via the Raid Finder. The Vaults contain six encounters with a wide variety of mechanics.

What kinds of encounters are planned for the Mogu’shan Vaults?
Ion Hazzikostas:
The players’ characters are the first living beings to set foot inside the Mogu’shan Vaults in a few millennia,and the experience plays out as a classic “tomb raid” adventure, with mystical defenders and guardians emerging to protect the place’s secrets. In fact, the first boss encounter involves a pack of giant quilin -- magical, lion-like stone constructs -- that have stood motionless since the Vaults were sealed but awaken as fierce defenders once the players intrude upon their lair. The four quilin statues have different abilities based on the type of stone from which they were carved, and players will have to experiment to uncover their weaknesses. As players venture deeper into the Vaults, they’ll encounter other protectors, including a celestial dragon and the spirits of the mogu kings from ages past.

Scott Mercer:
It’s important to note, too, that the Thunder King doesn’t make a direct appearance in the Vaults, though his presence is certainly felt. His original source of power lies hidden deep within the Vaults, and the mogu have learned to use that power to create most of the guardians that the players fight in the Vaults. Observant players may even notice a certain “titanic” influence in lair’s defenses.




What details can you share about the final boss encounter?
Ion Hazzikostas:
The core chamber of the Vaults contains an army of terracotta warriors that are built into recesses within the walls. If players look up, they’ll see these statue-filled niches stretching above them into the distance. When the players enter, the statues begin animating and attacking in huge waves, and the fight quickly turns into a free-for-all. There will be certain heavy-hitting statues that require tanking, and many of the other statues have special abilities to keep the non-tanks busy. It’s going to be a crazy fight that requires lots of crowd control.

Scott Mercer:
The encounter as a whole is known as the “Will of the Emperor,” and it represents the Vault’s last line of defense between the players and whatever mysterious power source originally allowed the Thunder King to rise to power. By the time players complete the raid, they should have a clear understanding of how the mogu were able to dominate Pandaria for so long.

What design challenges have you encountered during the development of the raid so far?
Ion Hazzikostas:
In past raids, we’ve worked with a lot of the established races from Warcraft lore. For example, when we sit down to design a troll dungeon, we have a pretty clear idea of what that’s going to look like and what kinds of creatures the players are going to find there -- you know, besides just trolls. Pandaria offered us a blank slate of sorts, as the continent has been alluded to in Warcraft lore, but we’ve never really fleshed out the details until now.

Scott Mercer:
This meant we’ve spent a lot of time and energy on building out what we call the “kit” for each of the expansion’s new races. A kit includes all kinds of things, from the armor and weapons used by the race to the architecture and environmental themes that go with the race. Part of the “kit” includes what kinds of monsters are found together; for example, the mogu are fond of using quilin statues as guardians, so those two monster types are often seen together. Our primary goal was to make sure the mogu felt visually and thematically distinct from the other Warcraft races, while still making sure they fit into the larger world of Azeroth. Establishing the kit for the mogu, and indeed all of Pandaria’s races, has been a fun challenge.

Let’s talk loot! What rewards await players who are strong enough to take on the raid?
Ion Hazzikostas:
The raid rewards players with powerful epic items, depending on the difficulty setting: item level 476 for Raid Finder, 489 for normal mode, and 502 for Heroic. There’s also a new mount that can be obtained by defeating Elegon, a celestial dragon found deep within the Vaults. The mount looks a bit like the Celestial Steed, but in the form of a serpentine dragon.

How does Mogu’shan Vaults fit into the larger raiding plan for Mists of Pandaria?
Scott Mercer:
There will be two outdoor world bosses, along with the Mogu’shan Vaults raid instance, available when Mists of Pandaria first launches. One idea we’re considering is to delay opening Mogu’shan Vaults until a week or so after the expansion’s release, similar to how we’ve always handled the start of the PvP season, just to give players a little time to reach level 90 along with their friends and get acclimated to Pandaria’s new 5-player dungeons, daily quests, and scenarios. In any case, Mogu’shan Vaults is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the raid content we have lined up for Mists.

Ion Hazzikostas:
Mists of Pandaria will also include two other raid zones, which we plan to make available a few weeks after Mogu’shan Vaults: the Heart of the Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring. These two raids feature 10 bosses between the two of them and play out as a two-part story. In the first raid, the Heart of Fear, the players fight the mantid empress who has been possessed by the Sha of Fear. Sha, for those who don’t know, plague Pandaria as physical manifestations of negative emotions, like fear, doubt, and anger, and they tend to have a corrupting influence wherever they take root. When the players defeat the possessed empress, the Sha flees her body and hides elsewhere. In the Terrace of Endless Spring, the next raid instance, the players track down the fleeing Sha and finish it off. Both of these instances are a higher tier than the Mogu’shan Vaults and are designed to be tackled using gear obtained in the Vaults, which is why we plan to make them accessible a few weeks after the Vaults unlock.

Scott Mercer:
Yup, and all of this is just the raid content coming before our first major content update. We’ll be announcing even more raiding details in future when we start discussing patch 5.1.




Thanks for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to share before you go?
Ion Hazzikostas:
I just wanted to say thanks to all of our beta testers. We’re very proud of our dungeon and raid content so far, and we’re looking forward to getting it all out there when Mists of Pandaria launches.

Scott Mercer:
Yeah, we have big plans for Pandaria’s encounters, and it’s great to see it all starting to come together. Keep the feedback coming!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Blizzard Insider #45 – Mists of Pandaria – Raid Preview started by chaud View original post
Comments 101 Comments
  1. Deadanon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by procyan View Post
    I'm amazed at how much complaining people do in general. "Zomg TBC was teh best raiding, make it more like that". So now you have an intro raid (Kara), that you need to do before you are able to do the next level of raid (Gruul, Mag, Eye, SSC). People are honestly complaining about having to even wait a week to raid? Sorry, but you are the 5% or less of the population who are able to raid something new after leveling, gearing, getting professions back up, in a week. Wait 5 days before getting the game, then you will be challenged to do it all in days instead. Great idea on Blizzards part to hold off a little on everything. Gives people time to see the new stuff before they feel required to raid, then at least extends the content out a little waiting for everything to be released.
    The gear progression should be the gated part. You should not be able to beat second dungeon without good gear from the first one.
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Hartlin View Post
    ...with this change, the game isn't really a race anymore. It's just, who can kill the bosses first...
    What exactly do you think a race is? Your example of "not really a race" is literally a race.

    First of all, how does it remove the competition for raiders? There will still be a world first. All it does is give everyone an extra week to prepare. If anything, it means all of the "competitors" will be able to prepare and start off on roughly equal footing.

    If they want to break it down into "first to 90," "first to get geared," "first to clear the raid," and so on, that can all be tracked as well.

    You know, Burning Crusade launched with multiple tiers including an introductory 10-man raid, AND attunements. It's not like people were raiding right out of the gate back then, either.
  1. lobomuerto's Avatar
    I really really hope they lower the item level of lfr gear so that its lower than the previous tier raid's normal mode gear. Normal mode firelands gear should have been higher level than dragon soul LFR.

    In the past it at least made sense to run previous raids...Now it's just...hit max level -> get high enough item level through badge gear/auction house -> run heroic 5 mans for a bit -> run lfr and get free gear thats better than the previous raid and almost as good as its heroic gear, which is MUCH harder to obtain ->run the same raid again to try and get normal mode gear that's only slightly better? It's a terrible system that completely ruins end game in WoW and probably causes most people to quit the game (it did for me). LFR was easy and convenient and I took part in it for a couple months, but i soon began to realize that it ruined the whole endgame experience....others guildies of mine also quit the game one by one as the weeks went by during dragon soul. We only raided twice a week for about 3 hours each night, and that only happened when we could find pug replacements. I left before we even killed spine on normal mode and I didnt really care b/c I had already killed that boss many many times in LFR and it no longer interested me. WoW had become a communist game in which all players had the same gear and everyone had killed every end game boss, who cares what difficulty level they did it on.

    There are a few options to fix it. Lower the item level of gear that drops from LFR(and it's appearance) OR significantly raise the difficulty so that pugs wipe on it a lot. This is made for VERY casual players, so the gear drops should also be VERY casual to match.... Hell...get rid of lfr on normal servers all together and just make completely new casual servers for noobs who want to "get their $15 worth".

    It sucks that they decided to ruin what once was an awesome game just to please the casual bandwagon gamers who saw the nightelf mohawk commercial...
  1. Lilfrier's Avatar
    I actually love the sound of this. The final Vault boss encounter sounds like it'll be realy intense, and a GREAT way to make sure people know their roles and abilities. Hopefully they have dungeons do smaller versions of that to get people used to that kind of mindset--focusing on CC over DPS. Then adding in two 5-boss (or however the 10 bosses are split) raids before the major content patch has me REALLY excited. I know that Cataclysm launched with 3 raids, but we're getting world bosses and such now. We're getting so many cool things that I can honestly say that I am excited for a WoW release for the first time in my life.

    I started right before Wrath, and bought Wrath before I even bought TBC because I took a friend to get the game in a different town (I was already there, might as well grab it then, haha)/ At Cataclysm, I had been gone for so long that I just lost interest, then came in right before Christmas (a couple of weeks after it released). I was wanting to play it, but more for hanging out with my RL friend on there and giving real raiding (something I only got a small taste of in Wrath, once I got to ICC) a go.

    Here, I can say that I'm truly wanting to get this game on release day because there's so much I want to do. I HATEleveling, but I even am excited to do THAT (partially because all of my WoW leveling has been done almost entirely on my own, which might not be the case if I get MoP on release day).

    What they're doing with this should honestly shut the "WoW is dying" babies up. I'm not a WoW apologist or fanboy, not even in the slgihtest (I barely know anything about the lore, and I'm not exaggerating). I look at what is being brought to this game and how we're getting it, and I'm honestly really pleased with their approach. Even the elitist in me (even thoguh I'm not very good at the game) is happy to see how they're doing the two-part raid release, which should require a bit of one before he other.

    Man, I probably sound like a moronic fanboy right now, but I don't care. IT honestly seems like a lot of high-quality work is being put into this. If this turns out even 75% as well as I expect, Blizzard should be extremely proud.
  1. smegmage's Avatar
    We’re building an epic new raid that includes 10- and 25-player versions with both normal and Heroic modes, as well as another 25-player version available exclusively via the Raid Finder. The Vaults contain six encounters with a wide variety of mechanics.
    LFR only content huh? The disease is manifesting.
  1. Schaapa's Avatar
    There goes everyone from IRC :P
  1. turskanaattori's Avatar
    <Giveaway> The Mists of Pandaria key giveaway has ended in #mmo-champion
    <Giveaway> Sorry, you did not win a key
    <Giveaway> Better luck next time!

    Does this imply there will be a new one?
  1. Therec's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Thessalor View Post
    For those thinking that gated content is bad, hey, that's your opinion, but gated progression is much more efficient than what we had in Dragon Soul.

    Are you sick of running the same 8 bosses every week now?

    Wouldn't you be happier running the same 8 bosses if they gated off the second half of Dragon Soul for the first few months? Gated content is a way to give everyone time to get to the same standpoint. Wait for more people to cross the finish line instead of worrying about your own World First.

    What's wrong? U mad? U mad that there's now going to be more competition now that content is gated? That skill alone isn't going to save your ass that shiny new title? You should be mad. You should be scared. Welcome to the new world order, raiders.
    I really hope you're kidding on the Dragon Soul gating. Most progression raiding guilds cleared the first 4 bosses on heroic within a month. If we would have had to farm those first 4 bosses for 2-3 months we would have been even more pissed than we are now, b/c the only reason we wouldn't have cleared Dragon Soul and taken a break by February/March would have been due to the artificial gating.

    This does not allow for more competition, all the gear in the world won't make up for poor skill, especially on fights with as many derp checks as T14 has. All this does is shut up the delusional whiners who think "The only reason my guild's rank was so low was b/c we didn't have the time to farm up the gear like all those other guilds who played 24 hours a day the first week."
  1. Degnar's Avatar
    In terms of sheer numbers, tactics and diversity among bossfights - new tier seems great. However, I'm really curious how does is stand on difficulty level as for example first tier of Cata was great and well-balanced (my opinion of course) on both heroic and normal giving nice and progressive difficulty growth but it went much worse after that ending with DS witch was so damn easy on normal that after two weeks nobody even wanted to do that anymore in my guild.
  1. greyghost's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Magemaer View Post
    Gated is better. both for casuals and hardcore. I also hope Vaults only come after the first week, so we have time to level, gear and maybe complete the challenge modes gold medals.
    This.

    While I doubt many'd agree, but I think how the last 2 raids of WotLK were paced out was a great idea. Considering the vast amount of alternative content that was put in with those raids, it provided an opportunity to do the new dungeons and the massive amount of Tournament daily quests.

    However, I think the difference between my given example and what MoP's launch is like, is that Blizzard's giving an opportunity for more people to level/gear at a reasonable non-suicidal pace and try out the myriad of other features (pet battles, challenge modes, scenarios) before worrying about getting into raid stuff which -- as it seems -- isn't going to be delayed for as much as people think it will.
  1. Azrile's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lobomuerto View Post
    I really really hope they lower the item level of lfr gear so that its lower than the previous tier raid's normal mode gear. Normal mode firelands gear should have been higher level than dragon soul LFR.

    In the past it at least made sense to run previous raids...Now it's just...hit max level -> get high enough item level through badge gear/auction house -> run heroic 5 mans for a bit -> run lfr and get free gear thats better than the previous raid and almost as good as its heroic gear, which is MUCH harder to obtain ->run the same raid again to try and get normal mode gear that's only slightly better? It's a terrible system that completely ruins end game in WoW and probably causes most people to quit the game (it did for me). LFR was easy and convenient and I took part in it for a couple months, but i soon began to realize that it ruined the whole endgame experience....others guildies of mine also quit the game one by one as the weeks went by during dragon soul. We only raided twice a week for about 3 hours each night, and that only happened when we could find pug replacements. I left before we even killed spine on normal mode and I didnt really care b/c I had already killed that boss many many times in LFR and it no longer interested me. WoW had become a communist game in which all players had the same gear and everyone had killed every end game boss, who cares what difficulty level they did it on.

    There are a few options to fix it. Lower the item level of gear that drops from LFR(and it's appearance) OR significantly raise the difficulty so that pugs wipe on it a lot. This is made for VERY casual players, so the gear drops should also be VERY casual to match.... Hell...get rid of lfr on normal servers all together and just make completely new casual servers for noobs who want to "get their $15 worth".

    It sucks that they decided to ruin what once was an awesome game just to please the casual bandwagon gamers who saw the nightelf mohawk commercial...
    There is another option.... for you to find that magical ´other game´ that does everything right. Everything coming out of Blizzard´s mouth the last 18 months has been opposite of what you seem to want. Blizzard got a big slap in the face the first few months of Cata and they saw just how many subs they lose when they make the game not-casual-friendly. Now you can complain all you want about ´your´ playing experience not being optimal.. but that just means you aren´t really their demographic.

    I am really going to have fun watching all the crying if what we are seeing in the datamined stuff is true.... that you can get legendaries from LFR also. I mean seriously, what more do you guys need to see to realize that this game isn´t for epeening hardcore players anymore. LFR versions of every raid - check companion pet battles - check Reputations and dailies that give epics - check

    I think you guys are just in for even more gnashing of the teeth if you ever expect WOW to more towards being more hardcore. Hopefully the LFR-legendaries will make you finally see the light, and we can have an end to all this special snowflake talk on the forums. Try doing some searches and such and find a game that says ´we build content that only 5% of our players are good enough to see´..
  1. Rawt's Avatar
    LOl @ 'The Thunder King' and his mysterious artifact. Deja Vu.
  1. Lilfrier's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by smegmage View Post
    LFR only content huh? The disease is manifesting.

    I'm wondering if they meant that only 25-player is available for LFR.
  1. lavafoxx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathranis View Post
    What exactly do you think a race is? Your example of "not really a race" is literally a race.

    First of all, how does it remove the competition for raiders? There will still be a world first. All it does is give everyone an extra week to prepare. If anything, it means all of the "competitors" will be able to prepare and start off on roughly equal footing.

    If they want to break it down into "first to 90," "first to get geared," "first to clear the raid," and so on, that can all be tracked as well.

    You know, Burning Crusade launched with multiple tiers including an introductory 10-man raid, AND attunements. It's not like people were raiding right out of the gate back then, either.
    He'll be one of the people quitting due to lack of content.

    Sad thing is, he wouldn't realize he blew right past it.
  1. Fulgurah's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilfrier View Post
    I'm wondering if they meant that only 25-player is available for LFR.
    This is pretty obviously what they meant.
  1. Kae's Avatar
    As a hardcore raider, I say gating the first raid by a week after launch is something I would very very highly approve of. Give us some time to enjoy the levelling content and check out the world, dailies, achievements, dungeons, scenarios and challenges before the world/server first races begin. I've always disliked in previous expansions how you're almost forced to speed-run all the levelling content and skip most of the pre-raid content in favour of rushing straight back to the raiding treadmill.
  1. Galaddriel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathranis View Post
    If anything, it means all of the "competitors" will be able to prepare and start off on roughly equal footing.
    Everyone does start on equal footing. The expac is released the same time/day everywhere in the world.

    According to your logic, to make it "equal footing", they should only release one boss at a time.

    Blizzard promises 3 raids with Pandaria release, delivers zero.
  1. Creamy Flames's Avatar
    Hahaha! A troll raid! HAhahaha!
  1. Notos's Avatar
    Wow, I really really hope they do delay unlocking the raid for a week, because it would be flipping awesome to actually enjoy leveling my first couple characters to 90 and not rush past everything for the sake of getting a head start on raiding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Superlolz View Post
    That doesn't really mean anything. Firelands was suppose to be in 4.1 along with ZA/ZG but was pushed back because the raid wasn't finished yet.
    Actually ZA/ZG were released early.
  1. Schaapa's Avatar
    Also, they pushed Brewfest a week forward

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