Blizzard, developer of the hit MMORPG World of Warcraft, has announced the release date for their next expansion pack, set on the continent of Pandaria. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria now has a release date of September 25, 2012.
The expansion will bring with it many changes to the gameplay for each class with a revamped talent system and the phasing out of training new skills.
In addition, a Pokémon-esque pet battle system, complete with batting wild pets to capture them, will be implemented, along with account-wide pet and mount sharing and account-wide achievements.
The expansion will raise the level cap up to 90, the second in a row to only boost the cap by 5 levels. This is offset by the stunning new zones being implemented, that will take time to complete. By this point, players of the game have come to expect new dungeons and raids, however, players will also get a new challenge mode for many dungeons, as well as scenarios which put players in the shoes of warriors in specific events in the lore of Azeroth and beyond.
Blizzard shifted their focus with this pack back to World PvP and quality. The new textures for the zones have been polished nicely, though they make the older more familiar textures seem dated.
The lighting system got a slight upgrade, though this will likely only be noticeable by people who can manage to set their settings relatively high.
The expansion is now available for preorder at $40, with digital deluxe at $60, and a physical collector’s edition for $80.
Digital Deluxe will contain:
- World of Warcraft in-game mount: Take to the skies of Azeroth astride the mystical Imperial Quilen flying mount.
- World of Warcraft in-game pet: Journey across Pandaria with the Lucky Quilen Cub at your side.
- StarCraft II battle.net portraits: Bring the Horde and Alliance rivalry to the far reaches of the Koprulu sector with exclusive Infested Orc and Night Elf Templar Battle.net portraits.
- Diablo III banner sigil and accent: Display your status as a hero of Pandaria with the iconic markings of World of Warcraft’s newest playable race, the pandaren.
And the Collectors Edition will include the above, plus:
- Behind-the-scenes DVD and blu-ray: Learn about the creation of Pandaria with this two-disc set featuring over an hour of commentary, insider interviews, and developer roundtables.
- Collector’s Edition soundtrack CD: Experience 20 orchestral pieces from Mists of Pandaria.
- The Art of Mists of Pandaria book: Explore this 208-page hardcover tome featuring never-before-seen pieces from the expansion, from early concepts to final 3D renderings.
- Chen Stormstout mouse pad: Equip your desk with this special-edition mouse pad featuring the legendary Pandaren brewmaster.
Perhaps one of the most exciting additions to the game, which I would be remiss to forget, is the new class and race being added, monks and Pandaren respectively. Pandaren start on a island known as the Wandering Isle, where once they reach level 10, they will have the opportunity to select which faction they would like to join.
This new mechanic makes the expansion much more innovative, something Blizzard cannot afford to ignore. Competition is creeping up, and they’ve got to stay on their toes to compete.