Won’t World Of Warcraft’s Neutral Race Cause PvP Pandemonium?

Won’t World Of Warcraft’s Neutral Race Cause PvP Pandemonium?

With Pandaren players able to choose either Horde or Alliance in the Mists of Pandaria expansion pack, World of Warcraft‘s arenas and battlegrounds will soon see an outbreak of panda-on-panda violence. I asked the game’s senior game producer Ray Cobo how players will tell Pandaren apart once the fur starts flying.

As new Pandaren players make their way through the starting experience they’ll slowly be introduced to the two sides of the battle now encroaching upon their ancient homeland. Once these players reach level 10 they’ll have to make a decision about which faction they’ll throw they’re lot in with.

This means that once the Pandaren come of age they’ll face each other in player versus player combat, and the opportunity for confusion arises. When you see a Gnome you know you have to kill it; that’s also true for Horde players in World of Warcraft. But what happens when both sides feel the flying fists of ursine fury?

“It’s something we consider a lot,” Ray Cobo told me during an interview at BlizzCon 2011. “As we progressed throughout World of Warcraft we’ve definitely wanted to maintain the uniqueness and the look of the silhouette of characters.”

The introduction of Pandaren to both sides will mark a heavier reliance on the game’s UI for telling friend from foe. “We have a UI enemy that helps players tell if they’re looking at an enemy or a friend, and that’s evolved greatly over time. That’s something we’ll be leaning on a little more in terms of the PVP aspects.”

Will that be enough? In the middle of a giant Alterac Valley melee, will a label floating over one of a dozen Pandaren heads mean anything? Perhaps additional measures could be taken?

“Who knows? It’s something we talk about all the time. We might actually have different types of armour sets that you get as Horde or Alliance to differentiate the two factions.”

Panda hair-dye in the barber shop?

“Very possible.”

It’s times like these I’m glad I’m a more of a carebear than a PVPer. We’ll see what Blizzard works out as Mists of Pandaria develops. Bear with them til then.


  • a) you should have health bars enabled. If you don’t, you’re doing it wrong.
    b) in giant melees, you should be tab-targetting or AoEing the crap out of everything.

    I don’t see it as a big issue.

    The stranger issue is the fact that Pandaren on opposite factions cannot communicate with each other. Stating that it doesn’t make sense in a world filled with panda-people, cow-people etc is a little laughable, but still.

  • I don’t know about you guys, but when was the last time you actually saw any PVP in Alterac Valley? 2006?

    Also, @TheLastQuestion, might want to try focus firing the healers.

    • Nope. The issue was back in WC3 when the Pandarians were wearing Japanese cloting that China got upset. There’s nothing wrong with the Pandas themselves. There’s alreaydd a lot of chinese MMO’s that let you play as panda men.

  • I feel sort of bad for the guys who have to field these sorts of questions. The guy probably has hundreds of things he’d like to talk about but instead he has to give this a full answer. It must be hard for him to not just turn around and say ‘duh, they’ll use the same targeting system that’s been in the game since day one. Have you ever even played Warcraft?’.

  • “throw they’re lot in with”

    I know it’s mike fahey, but is a basic understandging of which homophone to use too much to expect?

  • No, it won’t cause PvP pandemonium.
    Players could look like the opposite factions races way back in Vanilla and the Burning Crusade, using rare trinkets or items that changed your appearance.
    Orb of Deception, Orb of Sin’Dorei anyone?

  • or they could just say ‘you know what? having pandas in our game is actually a really stupid idea’, cancel the whole expansion, tell everybody it was a big joke and get back to making WoW a good game again instead of ruining it

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