[Tooth & Arrows] Explorer of Pandaria

Monday, October 15, 2012

I know I’ve been doing a lot of gaming posts lately, but with the launch of the WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria, I’ve also been doing a lot of gaming. So, therefore, that’s what you get to hear even more about today.

I didn’t have my experience bar for even three days before it was gone again. And I am now firmly of the belief that on top of the “Realm First” achievements (being the first person on your particular server to hit max level, max a profession, etc) there should be “Guild First” achievements. I was actually startled that I was the first person in my guild to hit level 90. But there’s no achievement for it, so I kind of just let it go. 😛 Still, I feel proud.

Despite the fact that on the world map, Pandaria looks smaller than Northrend, it’s actually much larger. Especially since while you’re leveling through, you can’t fly in any of the zones. This lead to…well, far less falling off of cliffs than I expected, to be honest. (Not that I have a habit of doing that or anything…) And once I started questing, I was totally pulled in by the story of the zones.

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but let’s just say that this is the most immersive WoW expansion ever, in my opinion. I really felt like I was part of the storyline, and like my being there made a big difference. And then hitting level 90, oh! The story is just beginning. With all the new factions, the farming, the pet battles, everything just opens up into a huge new world of things to do the moment you hit 90. 

Not to mention dungeoning and raiding, of course – which I haven’t even started to get into. Being the first in my guild to hit 90 has meant there’s no one to go with, and without that need for me to switch specs from my DPS (leveling) spec to my tank spec for dungeoning, I just haven’t been switching. We’re all coming into this well-learned from the Cataclysm era, so we basically know what we’re doing when it comes to dungeoning and raiding. I’m totally enjoying the immersiveness of the new dailies, as well as the removal of the 25 dailies a day cap, which just opens up a whole lot more to do.

For instance, since I hit level 90, I’ve been raising my very own Cloud Serpent to ride. I’ve even been taking some pictures off and on. Those are what I’m peppering through this post, since the meat of the screenshots to show off the beautiful new content are in the slide show at the bottom. 

I finished Lorewalker of Pandaria today, and Explorer is quick to follow. In a few more days I’ll have a bigger farm, and my own Cloud Serpent. All in all, I’m enjoying Mists in a way that I admit I didn’t enjoy Cataclysm. Maybe it’s because Cata was my first full WoW expansion (I started playing near the end of Wrath), and I’m just more comfortable in my skin, so to speak, now. But really, I think it’s the storytelling and the art of Mists that is making it so wonderful. For an example, check out the screen shots below, showing some of the beautiful zones and locations.

As far as I’m concerned, this expansion wins.

[image credits: Blizzard Entertainment]