World Of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria Log Two: Goodbye Pandas, Hello Cataclysm

Things are just not going well for me in Azeroth, I'm afraid. When my little rogue pandaren, she of the fierce daggers and the even more fierce blue streak in her hair, left the Wandering Isle, she joined the Alliance. After punching King Varian in the face and knocking him flat on his posterior — at his own request — she was set loose into a mainly-human world, do to whatever crossed her fancy.

In so doing, she — and I — crossed from Mists of Pandaria content into storylines from Cataclsym, which themselves have far more meaning to players who saw the world in its pre-cataclysmic state than to those of us who bumbled along after. I am now playing CSI: Westfall, as I trace a murderer hither and yon through the zone and down the road into Duskwood.

Along the way I kill 10 or 12 of pretty much everything, because the locals asked me to and I'm just that nice a rogue. The lore's a little muddled to my deeply-unfamiliar-with-WoW self, but nothing that I can't manage to learn. I even found crafting trainers in Stormwind, and learned how to gather me some stuff so that nodes won't have to lie around useless all the time.

Clearly, "go see the trainer" is the preferred mechanism of pretty much everything in this game. Trainers to teach riding, trainers to teach mining, trainers later in the game to teach fancier riding, trainers for skills, trainers for unlearning skills. I'm tiring of trainers, and of having to spend either coin or excessive time running back and forth to Stormwind every so often when I realise there is some other trainer I should see.

But I know this too shall pass. Levelling to 20 is taking me far longer than it should, but the reward for reaching it will be becoming a whole character, unlocking the things that require incessant trainer visits and spreading it out a little more into the decade levels.

Meanwhile, the low-level panda experience has long since ceased to be, well, the panda experience. Mists of Pandaria took me as far as level 12; at this point, I may as well have rolled any other race and just considered it all the Cataclysm experience.

The thing I didn't expect is that I'm kind of starting to miss the Pandaren story. I didn't love the Wandering Isle while I was there, and found its pastiche of appropriated east Asian cultures to be vaguely uncomfortable. But with Aysa and Ji in separate cities, and me toiling around the Eastern Kingdoms, far from Pandaria, I'm starting to feel the absence of that connection.

Whenever I write about my experiences with World of Warcraft, I hear from a veritable legion of fans who more or less tell me I'm playing it wrong, or that I clearly don't play MMOs for the same reason WoW players do. There may be something to this. I don't care terribly much about dungeon runs or raiding; I don't need my MMOs to be entirely about the destination and not about the journey. And yet, with WoW being a full eight years old, even revamped and rejuvenated lowbie zones aren't at all the point of the game anymore.

So I hope to see some connection to Pandaria before the slog to 85 is over, because for me that's going to be quite some time in coming. As for the current view on the late-game front, our high level expert, Mike Fahey, reports that he has just reached level 87 and looks forward to farming. "Not gold farm," he adds, "actual in-game farming."


Comments

    Awww.... She totally misses Guild Wars.

    As your colleague probably told you, the trip back to Pandaria only happens after you hit 85 and go through the quest chain to get back there as part of the Alliance. Admittedly, they should have re-vamped some of the pre lvl-60 zones and given them something new to entice players to play through again, however there is very little in difference to pre-Pandaria levelling at the moment. I'm hoping this is change with future patches, but we'll see. I really want to level my Pandaren...but after levelling a lvl 89 Death Knight, a lvl 85 Warrior and a lvl 80 Pally, my patience for getting through the same storylines in Outland/Wrath is limited. Please Blizzard, inject some life into the levelling zones!

      Blizzard already re-vamped 1-60 for Cataclysm, it's Outland that needs a revisit! There's some useless quest rewards there still, and would be nice to have some of the quest lines tailored so you can solo them. Apart from Ring of Blood of course.

        Yeah this. Used to be that the 1-60 experience was awful and getting to Outland was awesome. Now it's easily the worst part of the whole experience (though I still enjoy Zangarmarsh). Also after taking so many alts through the grind it really begins to lose its lustre.

          Yep. It's pretty much why I level 58-68 in dungeons and mostly the same through Northrend, unless I go to Sholazar, cause I love that place. Same with Nagrand.

    "Whenever I write about my experiences with World of Warcraft, I hear from a veritable legion of fans who more or less tell me I’m playing it wrong, or that I clearly don’t play MMOs for the same reason WoW players do. There may be something to this."

    And yet you continue to write the same biased articles which focus on the aspects of WoW that GW2 does better and neglect the aspects of WoW that... people actually play WoW for.

    Nobody plays WoW to level, maybe they did originally but for now it's a glorified means to an end. People will probably keep telling you this until you accept that it is correct.

      This. I play for the PVP and fun times with my friends! I really hate leveling, unless it's with friends, then it's fun!

      I generally play WoW to level characters. End game content bores me, I enjoy finding out bits of lore by exploring the world.

        I would hazard a guess and say that you are the exception and not the rule.

    Look I am not a fun of MMOs but I don't even understand why you even bother playing the game if you are not enjoying. Let somebody else review it or if no one at Kotaku likes WoW, don't review it at all. There has to be a reason why over 10million players happily subscribing this game.

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