Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
We 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!