July 11, 2012

Looking Ahead to the New Dungeons in MoP

With the release of Diablo 3 and the impending release of the next WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria, I must admit I haven’t been playing much WoW. The question I am asking myself is if it’s worth running the Cataclysm content and continuing to hunt for those all important purple items, since when MoP is released the first quest drops on route to level 90 are going to much better than anything I’ve currently got – not to mention the ongoing challenge of trying to get our 5-man group organised and online at the same time. But I’m still excited about what will happen when MoP does get released, although we still don’t have a release date yet. The release date has been widely discussed in the Blizzard community forums and most expect a release in Q3 this year, additionally Blizzard have put WotLK and Cataclysm up for sale on it’s website recently, perhaps a final clear out before MoP?

I’m especially interested in the way that Blizzard has approached dungeons in this expansion; instead of leaving all the dungeons towards the level 90 cap you will now be able to start running dungeons from the very beginning of the levelling content, the first being The Temple of the Jade Serpent. Once you do hit level 90 you will then be in a position to¬† start running the heroic dungeons (level 90 versions of the normal dungeons), you may be happy to hear that they are going to be easier than the Cataclysm heroic dungeons which seemed to be inproportionally difficult compared with those from WotLK. But, if difficult dungeons are your thing then that’s where Challenge Modes come in. Challenge Mode is a new option you can select where you run the dungeon against the clock – it’s not only difficult because it’s against the clock, but also because the dungeon is going to be tuned to make it more difficult. In Challenge Mode you don’t wear your own armor set but are issued with a set of gear that is appropriate for the dungeon so that every player starts on an equal footing; the objective is to clear the dungeon as fast as possible and at the end you are then awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal depending on your time. The rewards available will only be available to those players completing the dungeon in Challenge Mode, also new players that have just started with the dungeons and don’t have the appropriate item level won’t be able to run dungeons this way, not until they work through the content, which is as intended and how it should be. Blizzard said at a media event back in March 2012 that “one of our primary design goals for Mists of Pandaria is to give players a wider variety of content and different types of gameplay to enjoy once they reach maximum level, in addition to the Heroic dungeons, raids, and daily quests that they’re used to”, hence the new Challenge Modes for the heroic dungeons. But that’s not the only way that Blizzard have tried to improve the endgame content, there is also the companion pet battles and scenarios (a new type of PvE challenge designed for groups of as few as 3 or as many as 25 players where everyone has to work together to acheive a common goal). It actually seems really wierd seeing all this new stuff coming out about MoP endgame, when there has been so much debate over the endgame content for Diablo III.

The expansion will feature six brand new dungeons found in Pandaria:

1. Temple of the Jade Serpent – The Jade Forest
The first dungeon encountered in MoP, here you will encounter the Sha of Doubt, a manifestation of evil energy.

2. Stormstout Brewery – The Valley of the Four Winds
The Brewery is where the brewmaster Chen Stormstout seeks to discover the whereabouts of his ancestors; here you will encounter the Hozen, the Virmen and the Alementals.

3. Shado-Pan Monastery – Kun-Lai Summit
The monastery is a retreat of the Shado-pan Clan. The Sha have escaped from their cages and you must capture them.

4. Gate of the Setting Sun – The Great Pandarian Wall
The Mantid attempt to break down the wall and the Shado-pan are defending it.

5. Mogu’shan Palace – The Eastern Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Filled with the legacy of the former rulers of ancient Pandaria.

6. Siege of Niuzao Temple – Island in the Western Townlong Steppes
On the island you encounter the Mantid.

The following classic dungeons are also included in the expansion: Scholomance; Scarlet Halls; Scarlet Monastery; Ragefire Chasm.

New dungeons are just a part of the new content packed into MoP, but I’m particularly looking forward to running them. Now I’ve just got to get my 5-man team ready and we’ll be all set for the off.

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