Pre-postmortem on Mists of PandariaI have spent a considerable amount of time in Azeroth. A lot of that time raiding, some of it leveling alts and not raiding at all and for a while I even PvP'd.
I am fascinated with game design philosophy, and WoW is arguably the game that interests me the most. So while I've only done core 10 man raiding for the very beginning of this expansion I'd still like to give my own premature postmortem report on Mists of Pandaria. I will admit upfront that it's incomplete due to inexperience but try to see it as a different perception.
I will be discussing several systems spread across a series of posts.
LevelingOverall I feel that Blizzard has done an excellent job at taking feedback about questing from Cataclysm and creating a fluid questing experience. Story telling through questing is better than before with far less cut scenes where you lose control of your character (I'm looking at you Ulduar!) and a lot more voice acting than ever before. After having spent a considerable amount of time playing SWTOR I knew that one of the best ways to enhance an MMO'S narrative is by using voice acting and this concept was confirmed to me in this expansion.
As for keeping folks grounded, it's a mixed bag. I totally loved being grounded to the world and I really think Blizzard should continue to do this in future expansions as flight effectively negates any form of level design. I do feel for the folks who are leveling their eighth alt and probably don't care to be grounded anymore.
Still, I think there is a way that you can be deprived of flight but still have an ok time leveling so many alts. I'm not really convinced it's all that bad but hey, I didn't play many alts this time around.
Mists is currently in an awkward place when it comes to dungeons. They served their purpose early on in getting people the items they need before raiding, and they all tie up loose ends on the stories each zone have to tell. But ever since 5.2 their role has dropped significantly. And now with the Timeless Isle I don't think anyone cares about dungeons. If they started the expansion with ~12 dungeons they wouldn't have gotten any attention now.
Obviously we can all assume that there is a direct relation in the quantity of dungeons and their relevance to the game in the long run.
The Burning Crusade and Wotlk expansions had even more dungeons but Blizzard also made them relevant to a great number of players. Especially in Wotlk the five man heroics were important as you could accumulate valor points to get those oh so valuable Tier piece tokens.
Personally, I'm actually kind of relieved to see 5 mans the way they are. It is sad to see so few of them, but I like that they're very easy. There's a bit of a long story to tell as to why that is that I absolutely want to share with you, but that will be another post - possibly the next one before the next post for this series!
Dungeons have returned to their most basic form of fun, and those who seek challenge can find that in the challenge modes. Those haven't quite entirely turned out the way some had hoped for as you still hear stories of people just following along for the free shiny loot, but I found them to be quite challenging. Anything is relatively more trivial if you obsess with min-maxing, after all.
The really interesting point of discussion however are Scenarios. Until next time!