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Blizzard made a huge push to bring new players to their massively successful MMORPG World of Warcraft with the last expansion Cataclysm. With the game’s newly announced fourth expansion Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard are making a big effort to hold onto their still massive but currently declining playerbase.
Although Blizzard have been losing subscribers for a while now, the playerbase for World of Warcraft is still absolutely gigantic and gains an injection of new players with each expansion. This leads Blizzard-Activision to a strategy where they aim to release expansions at a faster rate than previously. Mists of Pandaria is the first expansion following these ideals and aims to give a ton of new content to players of World of Warcraft by offering them new races and classes to play as, and new areas to explore.
The two biggest additions to World of Warcraft that Mists of Panderia is bringing are the new race and class – The Pandaren and The Monk. The Pandaren are a species of Panda-People that dwell upon the titular isle of Pandaria. The big difference between the Pandaren and the other ten currently playable races in the game is that rather than be tied to either the alliance or horde, the Pandaren will be a neutral race and players will side with either the horde or alliance through a quest chain. Pandaren have access to every class (Including the new Monk class) except for Druids, Paladins, Warlocks and Death Knights. Players who play as Pandaren will begin their journey on the Wandering Isle, which is located on the back of a giant moving turtle.
Rather than add the Monk as a hero class, like the Death Knight was added in Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard are bringing the Monk to players as a fully fledged new class. Monk is available to all factions and races sans the Worgen or Goblins and utilizes a unique and cool mana source as “chi”. Players spend chi on basic attacks which then generate either light or dark energy which can then be used to activate more powerful and complex abilities. A key difference that the Monk has over other classes is that players who choose the Monk class can specialize in one of three specializations. The Brewmaster specialization turns the Monk into a tanking class, the Windwalker turns the Monk into a heavy duty melee DPS class and the Mistwalkers puts the focus of the Monk firmly on healing.
The other huge and more obvious addition that Mists of Pandaria will bring is the physical continent of Pandaria. Pandaria features a number of new zones and players who get the expansion will be able to level up from 85 to 90. Blizzard have so far confirmed nine dungeons, three new raids and four new battlegrounds.
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria currently has no confirmed release apart from the Blizzard’s usual “It’s done when it’s done” but regardless you can expect more coverage on the game as information becomes available.