The latest expansion for Blizzard’s popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, called Mists of Pandaria, releases September 25. The expansion brings a new panda, and increases the level cap.
The battle of this year’s two bigger MMORPGs continues, with World of Warcraft’s latest expansion arriving in September
We like Guild Wars 2 – we like it a lot. World of Warcraft may be seven years old, and started a craze for cloning the formula because it worked, but Guild Wars 2 feels and plays very differently to Blizzard’s trend-setting MMOG. Anyway, today’s World of Warcraft news day: Blizzard has announced the Mists of Pandaria expansion is launching September 25.
The expansion brings a panda race, called the Pandara, and raises the level cap to 90 from 80. Blizzard also revealed a Collector’s Edition: it includes a behind-the-scenes DVD, soundtrack, art book, mouse pad, in-game pet and mount, and Starcraft 2 WoW-themed Battle.net portraits.
Fans have already said Blizzard is aiming to limit the amount of players moving to Guild Wars 2 – it’s popular, just talk to former Warcraft players – as the release date for Guild Wars 2 is August 28. That’s around a month, and probably represents the first sizeable challenge to World of Warcraft in terms of popularity in the MMORPG community.
The reason for that is because ArenaNet is providing everything WoW has – a huge world, active community, interesting races – with an accessible formula. There’s no massive skill bar which is intimidating from the beginning: there are eight skills, and nothing more. The combat is as simple as activating a skill and dodging attacks. The Dynamic Events make the traditional fetch quest fun, with literally dozens of people doing the same quest, and events appear when you enter an area, seemingly spontaneously. The Personal Story also provides cutscenes which are short and interesting.
There’s a digital version of the expansion for pre-purchase, for $59.99, and it includes the same content as the physical Collector’s Edition. If you buy the Standard Edition and decide you want the added content later, it can be bought for $20.
Pandaria has been in beta since March, and is the most expensive expansion ever according to Blizzard. It’ll be interesting to see whether players do return to World of Warcraft.
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