Mists of Pandaria Beta
About a week or so ago Blizzard starting sending out invites to the next World of Warcraft beta test. Of course the first group of people let in were the press, along with a few folks that signed up for the World of Warcraft year long pass. What exactly is the year long pass? Well, let me tell you! How it works is you sign an agreement that says you will play 14.99 a month for a World of Warcraft subscription for one year. Essentially Blizzard locks you in! There are a few perks with this. One is the Mists of Pandaria beta invite, two is a free digital copy of Diablo 3 and third is a World of Warcraft in game mount.I signed up for the year pass along with a million others. I’m not exaggerating when I say a million others. There were a million people that signed up for the year pass! I know for a fact that Blizzard is not going to let a million people into beta all at once. Some people blew up the forums after the first wave of invites went out, really childish if you ask me. I really didnt care all too much, I’ve had plenty to do to keep myself busy. I received my Mists of Pandaria beta invite last Friday night and I had a chance to play this weekend, I wanted to share my experiences and what I think of it in its beta form.
I have to admit that I had my reservations about making a panda, even hearing the announcement at Blizzcon it rubbed me the wrong way. I know for a fact I was not alone in that feeling, as others had their doubts too. I’m here to say that those doubts are completely justified. Lets dive in shall we?
First off the character creation process has had a complete make over. Not only has Blizzard changed the way you customize your character, but they also show you what your character looks like in it’s end game gear based on what class you have chosen.
This reminds of Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2 and other games. Its not a bad idea to incorporate this into the character creation process, I think it adds a bit of coolness to your class, and that feeling of one day I will get there. My character will look that cool! Next Blizzard changed the customization screen for your character. Gone are the days of clicking arrows to change your appearance, instead they opted for a Guild Wars /Guild Wars 2 type of interface.
I feel that this helps make the character creation process faster, and more concise. Blizzard also added a video player in the right hand corner to show a short vid of your race and chosen class in action. Unfortunately Blizzard removed it in the beta build I received.
I went ahead and created a Panda, not just any panda, I made Funboy the Pandarian brother from another panda mother! Booya!
On my first log in after creating him it was literally pandemonium! (No pun intended…….well okay pun intended!) There were so many people that created pandas that you could even click on the first quest giver to receive your first quest. For some odd reason players decided to crowd around him and made it really, really difficult. Most of them where doing it on purpose. I’m sorry to say that this is very typical of the WOW community. Later on I found out that Blizzard invited 100,000 more people to try beta, and Blizzard only had 4 servers for us to choose from. I wish I would of taken a screen shot of it, it was nuts. I guess a video will have to do, but when you watch the video add 200 more pandas to the mix. It was insane.
Instead of trying to compete with everyone I decide to just run Funboy around, to get a feel of his movements in game. I did not like it. Pandas feel really off, the way they move is a total turn off for me. With how packed it was in the panda start zone, (there was no way you could test in that environment!) I decided to copy over my level 85 warlock and see what kind of changes Blizzard has added, and to see this overhauled talent system they want to implement. Long story short, if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it!
I liked the old talent system, this one feels too forced. Of course Blizzard says that this will create diversity and end the whole cookie cutter build issue. In reality it wont. Take a look for your self.
Warlocks received the biggest overhaul in the expansion. New pets, new spell effects, and some new spells! I got a screen shot of one of the new pets, pretty sweet!
The changes to warlocks is the only highlight at the moment in beta. You can check out Pandaria but only until level 86, after that there is not a whole lot to do, other than running the one level 85 dungeon in the Jade Forest, but I did manage to get a map of the new land mass for you guys to look at.
There will be 7 zones in total. Blizzard was shooting for 5 zones, but they had some time to add a couple more for more content, which is not a bad thing right?
My over all impression of the beta is this: Blizzard invited way too many people, it’s nearly impossible to test in those kinds of conditions. Also the World of Warcraft game play formula is getting stale, add pandas and not only is it getting stale but it is also starting to look desperate. I am sure once the expansion goes live there will be tons of people playing, I will be playing Guild Wars 2 instead. Thanks Blizzard for making the last 7 years great, it’s just time for me to move on. Yes I know beta is beta, but it does not change the fact that the game play has not changed in 7 years.