September 9, 2012

Where is the Mists of Pandaria in-game launch event?

Although Blizzard have announced that there is going to be several official global launch events for the release of MoP in the US, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Taiwan; there has not as yet been any news of an in-game launch event. But, the lack of any news doesn’t mean that there isn’t a plan in the pipeline, especially since Blizzard created in-game launch events for both the Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm releases.

In 2008 Wrath of the Lich King featured a full on zombie invasion where infected crates appeared in-game and began to infect the players themselves, the players could then choose to cure themselves by visiting one of the Argent Dawn within 10 minutes who had also appeared throughout the world. If you were not cured (either because you ran out of time or chose not to be) you then became a zombie who was treated as an enemy by all other players and NPCs except other zombies, and you had the ability to then infect other players.

And again in 2010 for the Cataclysm release, if you were allied to the horde you were called to take back the Echo Isles from a tribe of trolls called the Darkspears, led by their leader Vol’jin, after being ousted by the witch doctor Zalazane. If you were alliance you received a similar call to join the fight to take back Gnomeregan led by High Tinker Mekkatorque, following the betrayal by his chief advisor Thermaplugg.

Further details of the launch events can be found on the Blizzard website, members of the dev team will be at these events where possible so you can meet them and get your copy of the game signed. You will also be able to purchase both standard and collectors editions. In the meantime I’ll be looking out for signs of any in-game launch events, please do let us know if you’ve heard of anything, it seems like a lot of players are asking the question.

August 14, 2012

Reserve your Panda name now!

Let the great Panda naming of 2012 begin!

I came into work this morning to a flurry of emails, there were more names, puns and jokes than you can shake a bamboo at! You know what that means, yes, it’s time to choose an MoP Panda name. We’ve had a whole lot of fun this morning drawing up our shortlist, what’s great about this new expansion is that you can just have some fun with it. Here are a few from our list:

FlareBear – Firemage
Darebear – Any
PanDamme – Monk
CareBear – Healer
ShootsAndLeaves – Hunter
FistsOfFurry – Monk
ScareBear – DK
Nelson Pandella – Any

I haven’t yet reserved a name so I’m keeping some back for later, fingers crossed what I’m thinking of is still available. You can reserve a name (unless anyone knows of any other way) by creating a ‘placeholder’ character, which you then delete and recreate as a panda post-golive.

A big thank you to my fellow guild members Dalitar, Sodoshi and Somerandom for their expert input this morning and reminding me how much fun WoW can be.

Have you reserved your panda name yet? Let us know what you’ve come up with?

August 9, 2012

Guild Wars 2 vs Mists of Pandaria?

Are these two upcoming games really in competition for our game time?

PC gamers should be extremely happy at the moment, not only do we have one big upcoming release, we have two! Not to mention that we’ve just had The Secret World release, labelled as a new modern MMO, on July 3rd. The decision by Blizzard to launch the WoW expansion Mists of Pandaria (MoP) only one month after the launch of ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2 (GW2) created quite a stir in the gaming community, sparking speculation of some type of ‘secret agenda’, but it looks like Blizzard are just releasing when Blizzard is ready, and we know that for Blizzard this totally normal. But does this mean that there will be a split within the MMO gaming community for our affections? Or can both games co-exist? We’ve all now had a chance to look at the betas and there have been many attempts at comparing the two and weighing up which is better, but does pitting one against the other really make sense? Except for both being MMOs, they really are two completely different games – or am I wrong? GW2 seems to be all about having a great PvE experience right from the first level, negating the ‘endgame’ that is attributed to WoW, whereas WoW tends to give you certain content up to the max level cap and then you start endgame. Similarly, although WoW has PvP, GW2 seems to be much more geared up for this. Plus, I just don’t think you can compare GW2 to WoW with it’s massive subscriber base – it may not be right but WoW fans are going to get MoP no matter what.

Personally I (and I think that a lot of other WoW players) will be getting GW2, playing up to the MoP release and then switching over, at that point GW2 will still be on the radar but in a more casual sense; since it doesn’t have a subscription you can just pick it up again whenever you want – this is actually why I was happy with Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR) going F2P. I’ll probably be working a little SWTOR into the equation, I know they have made a lot of changes since I’ve been gone and I’m actually quite excited to see those changes.

I think both games are going to be successful in their own right and I’m happy we’ve got so much new content coming out, I guess that only time will tell to see how the player base reacts. These are two amazing games and so I can’t see them going the way of SWTOR and Star Trek Online. What do you think? Will you being playing MoP, GW2 or both?

July 25, 2012

Blizzard Announces Release Date for MoP

The wait is finally over, Blizzard has announced that the next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, will be released on the 25th September 2012. MoP is now available on the Blizzard site for pre-order, the standard edition coming in at £29.99/$39.99, while the Deluxe Digital Edition will be £39.99/$59.99; the Deluxe Digital Edition giving you the Imperial Quilen flying mount and Lucky Quilen Cub pet, as well as extras for both Diablo III and Starcraft. There is also a collectors edition available which gives you a behind-the-scenes DVD, an MoP artwork book, the game soundtrack and a mouse pad; of course you’ll have to actually pick this one up yourself.

It’s true to say that subscriber numbers have fallen since World of Warcraft’s last expansion, Cataclysm, was released back in December 2010, but from what I’ve heard in the forums and from gamers in the WoW community in general, this number will again be on the increase as lapsed gamers come back for the brand new content – I definitely will be.

Don’t forget that the world premiere of the Mists of Pandaria opening cinematic will be shown at gamescom 2012! This will be at 2pm on Thursday 16th August, go to the Blizzard booth in Halle 6.1 (B21) where the opening cinematic will be shown on giant screens.

For more information on the MoP release:

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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