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. Venziir's Avatar
    A fine idea. Honestly, it really is a great idea.
  1. Fleuria's Avatar
    its an awesome idea and that's coming from some one that plays in a top20 guild.
  1. Xe4ro's Avatar
    More Time to relax and explore some new stuff and then raid..... allthough after like 6-7 years of raiding i hadn't planned on raiding straight from the beginning anyways.
  1. Throrion's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by moveth View Post
    Fucking gating. This might be enough for me to just not go out and pay the 80 dollars I was going to on the CE. I have 0 interest in WAITING on content that is already finished. /none/
    You could use that ONE week that the raid is delayed to actually do what they're suggesting; experience the 95% of the expansion that isn't raiding content. If nothing else, then at least to prepare yourself for the raiding by leveling your professions and gather enchants.

    But nope, much more constructive to bitch on mmo-champ.
  1. Narshe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Fleuria View Post
    its an awesome idea and that's coming from some one that plays in a top20 guild.
    But is 2 or 3 weeks enough time to get geared from 2 world bosses and 1 raid, to move onto the next raids being released?
  1. Spotnick's Avatar
    Obviously people going for world first won't like this, but for 99.9% of the population, we know raids on week 1 of an expansion are usually terrible because not everybody is geared or ready.
  1. Nekovivie's Avatar
    Really hope they delay the raids a week. Having to level in 12 hours really kills the enjoyment. Not having to do that = fucking super awesome.
  1. Suedomsa's Avatar
    This is a very good idea, now if only the would put attunements back in the game.
  1. JHartlin's Avatar
    Terrible idea, why take this away from the ones who enjoy the race factor. Let the casuals take their time and they will get to the content when they get to it. People thinking that a week is going to make a difference to these casual players are very wrong. Most of them won't even get to 90 let alone geared enough to be able to perform in raids.

    Ruining the fun of a new expansion for those who want the race - CHECK!

    Great job on making yet another awful decision blizzard.
  1. Spotnick's Avatar
    Just when you think Blizzard went nuts and gave us finally 16 bosses, they find a way to gate it and make it available over time lol. Well, it's one way to artificially release "more content faster" I guess.

    Interesting part is we'll have 3 world first races instead of 1.

    Most people who probably won't like the first week delay is those who wants to rush to get server first and spend tons of gold on crafted stuff to have an edge over the others. Now everybody should be on even grounds when raiding starts. I truly think it's a good thing.
  1. Nekovivie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JHartlin View Post
    Terrible idea, why take this away from the ones who enjoy the race factor. Let the casuals take their time and they will get to the content when they get to it. People thinking that a week is going to make a difference to these casual players are very wrong. Most of them won't even get to 90 let alone geared enough to be able to perform in raids.

    Ruining the fun of a new expansion for those who want the race - CHECK!

    Great job on making yet another awful decision blizzard.
    It's a shit race currently, only favouring those who pull the all nighter to level quickly.

    The "race" as you call it, is more fun if everyone gets in at the same time. Level playing field.
  1. lancore89's Avatar
    They are thinking about ONE week till they release the first raid? Are they kidding?
    That first week was always the best time in the whole expansion. Probably the only week that will be fun this time, but we'll see...

    Closing the raids in that time would completely kill the joy of racing to 90, clearing raids in greens, etc. I can't think of a time where I had as much fun as the first cata week. Would have never happened if there weren't raids though
  1. Fishyface's Avatar
    Interesting, now im really interested if there will be a raid finder of the other 2 raids, or just the vaults?

    If there isnt a raid finder for the other 2 bravo blizzard, its about time there was some places extreme casuals couldnt tread.

    Before you get your panties in a knot im an extreme casual i dont raid outside of raid finder and Bot currently.

    I just feel gear should be epic and desirable and not just because it doesnt have raid finder attached to the name, but because it actually looks different from everyone elses.
  1. Stormykitten's Avatar
    Are people seriously annoyed at the 'gating' that number in a low # of weeks? For real? They even give a valid reason for it - but let me guess, the whole post wasn't read.

    edit - if world first competitors don't like this change, they must not be interested in the competition at all. What's bad with -slightly-more contenders? It will make your competition more epic.
  1. Granyala's Avatar
    Looking forward to it, the idea of two tiers to begin with sounds interesting.

    If there isnt a raid finder for the other 2 bravo blizzard, its about time there was some places extreme casuals couldnt tread.
    Of course not. They already stated that every raid out there would be available as a LFR version. I'm not sure about that celestial dragon encounter though, sounds like an algalon/sinestra pendant to me.
  1. Thessalor's Avatar
    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.
  1. Hartlin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nekovivie View Post
    It's a shit race currently, only favouring those who pull the all nighter to level quickly.

    The "race" as you call it, is more fun if everyone gets in at the same time. Level playing field.
    The game launches at the exact same time world-wide. I'm fairly sure this is everyone having a level playing field.

    The race involves more than just killing the bosses. The race involves leveling, dungeon grinding, LFR grinding (if available), reputation grinding and any other things involved to maximize your chance of winning.

    If people aren't willing to do everything required to be competitive in the race, that's fine. The game isn't a race, but to a group of players (hardcore raiders), that's what the game is about; with this change, the game isn't really a race anymore. It's just, who can kill the bosses first, which takes away a lot of the prestige of it all.

    A lot of top guilds have already spent a bunch of time planning out things such as, "How can we level as quickly as possible" and set up plans to get the best enchants available really quickly, how to level their professions quick enough, they're organized groups for dungeon grinding, and probably made plans with other guilds to run LFR together to get the most loot for their raiders in the most efficient manner.

    All of this is basically a moot point with the gating.
  1. Jasperline's Avatar
    I'm just happy the game is coming out.
  1. Alenoria's Avatar
    really guys.. its only 1 week.... the first week of the new expansion will probably be full of bugs, heavy traffic and people will still take 1 week to lvl.
  1. procyan's Avatar
    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.

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