I’ve been playing the Mists of Pandaria beta for a little while now and so far I’ve been very impressed. Blizzard have done a lovely job at creating another beautiful expansion, based on a Chinese theme in a new land called Pandaria. In this article I’ll describe what’s new in the MOP expansion and some of the key points of interest that’s caught my eye when playing the game. Note: be advised that the beta is not the final incarnation of the game and many features may change upon final release of the expansion.
How Do I Get An Invite?
If you think you have time to play the beta – and be warned it’s changing patch by patch – then simply log onto your account and indicate that your interested in beta testing. Blizzard will ask you to profile your computer for reference and then, if you are lucky, invite you to the beta realm via email (beware of phishing emails). For those of us that signed up to an Annual Pass, we automatically became eligible for the beta.
Pandaria – Land of Mist and Bamboo
With the new expansion Blizzard have created one of the best looking zones to date, in my opinion (and I’ve played them all). The new land of Pandaria is made up of seven new zones, all in keeping with a Chinese theme. The landscape is beautifully designed and looks as if it was taken straight out of a Chinese painting with misty vales and forests of luscious, green bamboo.
|The Jade Forest||85-86|
|Valley Of The Four Winds||86-88|
|Vale Of Eternal Blossoms||90|
After an epic sea battle between Horde and Alliance, survivors wash up upon a tree-lined shore of The Jade Forest. This is the entry point into the new continent of Pandaria. Quests start here and players once more can earn experience to move their characters to the new level cap of 90.
Meet The Pandarens (Alliance/Horde)
As with previous expansions, Blizzard have created a new race called Pandarens based on – well pandas! Pandarens are a spiritual race and so a new Monk class has also been created in keeping with the theme. Both Horde and Alliance must align themselves with new factions of Pandarens to survive the new world.
Marcus The Monk
To play the beta I have copied over my main level 85 Mage but also created a template level 85 Pandaren Monk. The Monk is a great new class – somewhere between a Mage and a Priest – and this is the character I have been leveling. At level 10 the Monk class can choose from three specializations:
- Brewmaster – a tank class with a liking for liqueur
- Mistweaver – a healer class using Pandaren herbs
- Windwalker – a martial artist that uses Kung Fu to defeat enemies
I’ve chosen the Windwalker class for my Monk. This class comes with a huge array of new abilities and special strikes. Some of my favorites include:
- Spinning Crane Kick – the Monk madly spins, striking several enemies at once.
- Crackling Jade Lightening – channels jade lightening at a target from a distance.
- Touch of Death – exploits a weakness in the enemy striking them dead!
It’s taken a while to master the new abilities and spells of the new class but having now trained at the Tian Monastery, my Kung Fu is strong!
Best Come Prepared
Players should find it relatively easy to advance to level 86 by completing about 75% of The Jade Forest, but it’s best to come prepared. Players entering the new zone will need to ensure that all their gear to up to the challenge and weapons are locked and loaded. As with Cataclysm, there will be a rush to the Auction House as players load up on new gear, enchants, gems and potions to max out their stats. My wimpy Mage – who spends most of his time in the Auction House or hanging out in the Pig & Whistle – didn’t last long out in the forest. The Pandarens have a saying: ‘behind the bamboo curtain, no one can here you scream!’
To date there are no new professions, although expect to see new patterns and recipes appearing as existing trade skills advance to the new level of 600. New trade goods are being added after every patch in the beta and as with every new expansion there are new ores, herbs, cloth, skins and elemental material for the new skill levels. Players should try to max out their existing professions so that can gather the new material and begin to craft the new gear. Players will also need to level to at least 80 before they can move to the next profession level.
|Green Tea Leaf||Jade Forest|
|Rain Poppy||Jade Forest|
|Goldern Lotus||Jade Forest|
|Silk Weed||Valley of The Four Winds|
|Fool’s Cap||Windless Isle|
|Spirit of Harmony||Used in many recipes in Pandaria|
|Spirit of Spring||Maybe similar to Volatile Life|
|Spirit of Summer||Maybe similar to Volatile Life|
|Spirit of Autumn||Maybe similar to Volatile Life|
|Spirit of Winter||Maybe similar to Volatile Life|
|Spirit of the Season||Maybe similar to Volatile Life|
|Windwool Cloth||Forms Windwool Bandages|
|White Trillium Ore||White + Black smelts into Trillium bar|
|Black Trillium Ore||White + Black smelts into Trillium bar|
|Kyprarite Ore||The new Elementium?|
|Blood Spirit||Used in Blacksmithing, Tailoring and Leatherworking|
|Ghost Iron Ore||The new Obsidium|
|Magnificent Hide||Rare leather in MOP|
|Heavy Sha Leather||The new heavy leather in MOP|
|Sha Leather Scraps||Combine 5 leather scraps|
|Sha Leather||The new leather in MOP|
As with any beta, items are changing with every patch and locations and rarity of drops are also likely to change upon final release of the expansion. I’ll be updating this page as I get further into the beta and as new items are discovered. Don’t forget that I’ll be updating my new Journal series of guides with new Mists of Pandaria content once the expansion goes live and that all guides come with free updates if purchased before then. Marcus