Mists of Pandaria descending on World of Warcraft

BlizzCon 2011: Blizzard announces new MMORPG expansion at opening ceremony; Diablo III Collector's Edition confirmed; WOW Annual Pass earns free copy of Diablo III.

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Blizzard Entertainment greeted an electrified crowd on Friday morning to welcome Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo fans to Anaheim. The event, which as in years past takes place a stone's throw from Disneyland, has hundreds of characters of its own--some in costume, some not so much. But before the festivities begin, the opening ceremony must commence. And unlike at last year's BlizzCon opening ceremonies, Blizzard had several announcements of substance.

Yup. It's a panda.

First and foremost, Blizzard creative director Chris Metzen confirmed the name of World of Warcraft's next expansion: Mists of Pandaria. Featuring a vaguely Asian theme, the expansion pack is set on the new continent of Pandaria, introducing the Pandaren as well as the monk player class. The expansion pack, which was not dated, will also increase the player level cap to 90. Metzen also confirmed that there will be no other race introduced with this expansion.

To preface the game's reveal, Metzen said that as opposed to previous expansions, where the Alliance and Horde needed to come together to face threats such as the Lich King or Deathwing, this expansion will focus on the conflict between the two factions.

"To give you a sense of what the next couple of years are going to do for WOW, at this time, the true villain is going to be war itself," he said. "Red and blue are about to get it on with a level of ferocity that hasn't been seen since Warcraft II. War is coming, and it's not going to be pretty, unless of course you're playing a blood elf. … This next expansion set is set in a place that has been lost to time for close to 10,000 years. It is a land of balance, and harmony and hope, that is, until we arrive, with all of our hate, violence, and factional conflict."

World of Warcraft's next expansion wasn't the only announcement to come during the opening ceremony, as Diablo III also received its due in the form of a collector's-edition package. The special-edition box will include in-game items for Diablo III, WOW, and Starcraft II. Other perks include an exclusive art book and a 4GB USB drive in the shape of a Soulstone. The USB drive is mounted in a holder in the shape of Diablo's skull, and it comes preloaded with Diablo II.

Blizzard also had a surprise for WOW players, announcing the WOW Annual Pass. Those who sign up for a 12-month subscription through the company's website (as of today), will be granted a free digital edition of Diablo III. The WOW Annual Pass also grants players a guaranteed slot in the aforementioned new World of Warcraft expansion when it goes live, as well as a Tyrael's Charger in-game mount.

According to Metzen, the Diablo III team has been voraciously gathering data from the game's beta-testing phase, and the game itself is "in the home stretch." However, he reiterated that the game will be done when it's done.

Beyond the headline announcements, Blizzard also offered a few bits on the year, and this year's show in particular. Notably, BlizzCon 2011 counts 26,000 people in attendance, with showgoers hailing from all 50 states as well as 48 different countries.

[CORRECTION]: This story originally reported Blizzard was still aiming for a 2011 release date for Diablo III. The company officially bumped the game's launch window to early 2012 last month.

Discussion

311 comments
XCore93
XCore93

I left WoW before Cataclysm release, Lich King was an awesome expansion, i would love to play it again, get Cataclysm and now Mists of Pandaria...I see a lot of people arguing because they are pandas, look dumb, and that kind of stuff...People a game is designed to give fun and entertainment to everyone, pandas will definitely bring fun to the game. I dont see a reason to hate them, i mean...We have Tauren, Gnome, Worgen, Goblin...all those races are funny, a cow dancing, a gnome jumping all the way around...Pandas are not the problem, the problem are lame players who are surely frustrated cause they suck and get pwnd at the game every time and so they start hating the company itself. Make love, not war, Cheers. This will be an awesome expansion.

Albaficas
Albaficas

Genesis_123 it is dying...they keep loosing more than 20k subs each month so if thats not dying then dunno what to say

maxwell97
maxwell97

Okay, pandas are great and all, but 'Mists of Pandaria' is the title? How stupid are we going to feel going to the service counter at Best Buy - 'hi, I'd like to pick up my pre-order of Mists of Pandaria! You know, the new game with the... magic pandas... yeah...'

Kal23
Kal23

I'm not really excited about playing as a Panda... not sure if I get this expansion, come on Blizzard, work on something better than this!

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

I think pandas were added to like warcraft 3 as a joke with the pandaren brewmaster. Looks like now the joke is on WOW players. Just a really bad idea for an expansion no way I would come back for something this stupid.

Genesis_123
Genesis_123

As someone who does not play WoW and only plays Starcraft II, is there really anything bad about the pandarians? Most of the races look rather comically designed and stylised, why should everything look serious? I've heard WoW isn't doing as great as it had in it's glory days, but it certainly isn't dying anytime soon, and certainly not because a race isn't exactly what the fanbase wanted, and maybe it will be interesting to see how war will shape this peaceful out of contact continent storywise. Why can't people give these things chances?

Bowser05
Bowser05

Also...as somebody else pointed out...I'm glad that people are ok with wolf-men, bipedal cows, squid-faced aliens...but when they decide to delve into a race they've had for a while people complain merely because it is a panda. People amaze me.

stEElyDaN909
stEElyDaN909

Most people here already hate WoW anyways. Even if this new expansion was the best yet, they'd still find something wrong with it. The pandas are just making it easy.

ryan81247
ryan81247

@humikimi i completely agree. It's funny how everyone thinks blizzard is running out of ideas by bringing in pandas, when they have been a part of Warcraft before WoW was even released. Blizzard is introducing the Panda race just like every other one they add like the blood elves, Draenei etc..Personally i thought the brewmaster panda on warcraft 3 was awesome

mycamper
mycamper

This has marketing written all over it. I.e., how do we take a bigger piece of the pie from the Asian market than SWTOR will? Shameful...

AzatiS
AzatiS

@juliano001 And here is the most clever answer i saw. ( after mine ). Kung fu pandas ( with chinese theme) is one of the best marketing "tricks" when at the same time , in 2011 , chinese PC market thake the lead over US with 25% of total worldwide sales , translated to 85Million PC in 2011 alone. Now before you blablabla and defend kung fu pandas , think beyond that for a moment. Besides that , i think a kung fu chinese theme panda , tanking ARTHAS in a kung fu fashion and skills..... SOMETHING IS OFF!!! thats my opinion of course. WoW its still the most well done mmorpg there is , i used to be hardcore. In the end do as you like but you/we cant bypass the fact that something feels off. Even a little , deep inside you... you know it.

ninjaslug
ninjaslug

+Are The Pandas part of WoW lore??? -Yep. +Then i have one more reason(besides 83487345) NOT to play that game. +What do you think the next expantion will be? -Umm..''Revenge of Teletubiarium'' i think...Hehehe i heard they give a free diablo 4 beta key for 3 year prepayed WoW subscribtion.Omgg can't wait for it..ehuhehuehuehue +WTF...shackkk(slap)

Bowser05
Bowser05

I'm glad most of the people on here apparently know NOTHING of Warcraft outside of WoW. /sigh

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

A Chinese speaking panda who is obsessed with kung fu? Doesn't get more racist than this folks.

Trantham
Trantham

Kung Fu Panda. It is what it is. Skadoosh and the Furius Five. The changes to the game will probably be fun.

vega13mv
vega13mv

and for people who are all like "omg, pandas!? /facepalm, thas so stupid and kiddie" well considering the game already lets you play as a bull and a squid faced alien, a panda isnt too farfetched

vega13mv
vega13mv

free copy of diablo 3? sold

dkdk999
dkdk999

now this makes me want to play wow.

juliano001
juliano001

I think Blizz is trying to make a big investment in chinese market. All this to sensitize chinise government, so that they can enter chinese market for good. In a country with 1.2 BILLION, if 30 million play this expansion will be the Blizz greatest dream. And seeing that us and eu wow players will surely migrate to D3 at some point, they came with that promotion of signing a year of wow and the reward is a free copy of D3. Milking the cow hard until the end. At least for western players. Now comes the eastern assault.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Nothing spells war like Panda. Proving: WoW is being further geared towards kids.

nice_guy3388
nice_guy3388

I don't care if i got down rated but it actually looks cool :P and yes Pandareans were involved in the lore of warcraft (War of the Ancients) not to mention that the pandarean brewmaster was one of the best heroes introduced in the frozen thrown expansion. http://www.wowwiki.com/Pandaren_Brewmaster

gameking5000
gameking5000

@n8b1979 Failures, lol? There are so many blockbuster games that have come out or are coming out this year. Portal 2, Arkhum city, Dark Soulis, Deus Ex: HR, NBA2K12, FIFA 12 are just some.

Onix95
Onix95

Pandas and Pokemon, omg where do I sign up.. lol.

Gmythe
Gmythe

It's the Hello Kitty expansion pack everyone joked about!

megakick
megakick

PANDERANS are real and are part of Warcraft lore The Game went to hell when Blizzard allowed Horde Paladin and Alliance Shaman, Blizzard has been changing the lore for the worse since. Blizzard got lazy allowing the same classes for both factions, made it much easier to balance the difficulty of the dungeons for Horde and Alliance. Blizzards laziness ruined WOW.

megakick
megakick

WOW is a dungeon crawler with a persistent world it was awesome back then but now its' old. IMO Blizzard can only do so much with the WOW code it's ancient, the XAPCS will more or less be the same game with new bells and whistle. Only reason WOW has lasted this long is because companies have been copying the same formula and change it up a little. Blizzard needs to WIPE and make a new MMORPG from scratch.

code_mann
code_mann

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Zero_Echo
Zero_Echo

@zoeyleft Yes Pandarens do actually exist in warcraft lore. They have existed, to my knowledge since Warcraft 3. A lot of people seem to have a problem with talking pandas, I just don't see the issue. You already have other mythical creatures like talking cow people, talking half man half horse people, and I must not forget, aliens. From outer space. For me, the dranei are a much harder "lore" concept to grasp.

otanikun
otanikun

@zoeyleft if they didn't they do now.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

does pandarens really exist in warcraft lore?

otanikun
otanikun

Panda's? Really? What's next? Angry Birds?

Ovirew
Ovirew

@-Aero man, I wish more people thought like you.

-Aero
-Aero

Looks kinda cool. I'll give it a shot before I start complaining.

Berserk8989
Berserk8989

Pandaria? Pandas? HAHAHA, are you serious? My god i'm sooo going to love SW: ToR!

EvalCo
EvalCo

I think that I should find a good old TBC or vanilla wow server and play it.

starduke
starduke

Sing it with me now... Attack of the killer pandas! Attack of the killer pandas! Attack of the killer pandas!

Santesyu
Santesyu

Pretty sure I quit at this point, after hearing this I cancelled my subs. Many people say STOR is like starwars wow, and what I always think in my mind is, atleast they are serious about there craft. Anyway come december I am going REPUBLIC!! see you guys over there. WoW is over in this chapter of my life.

nevryn
nevryn

@n8b1979 What? Now are there going to be people protesting outside Blizzard's headquarters in California too? I have to say, it would be amusing seeing all the gaming nerds with signs that say "Take Back Gaming" or "Occupy Orange County". Course, they would just call in one of the state football teams with threats of swirlies and wedgies and it would disperse pretty quickly.

Royial20
Royial20

Been with WoW since the very first one and it seemed a much more epic, compelling and very integrated with its lore. But now its kinda sloping down and now Pandariens from Pandaria? Idk seems not like the best choice to go with. I guess I though Blizz was more original but it seems like TBC=Aliens Wotlk=Vikings Cata= New Vanilla and now MoP=Chinese. I guess i'm just excited for D3 and the next generation of MMOs coming soon. I wish WoW luck, hate to see it be turned from Epic Dragon to Mystic Pandas...

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

It would seem as though Blizzard is expanding their demographic (aka, getting new fans addicted) to tweens, girls, and internet stalkers of those two. Kinda creepy.

shanthjibu
shanthjibu

so pandas are'nt gonna be a part of either alliance or horde? they are a seperate group in another land?

BM3K
BM3K

I've stopped playing this game, but man, panda's, they were impliment way latter on in WC3, their not even well meant to be seriously considered last I checked. And if they intend horde to have them and alliance, then we end up with the DK class all over again but panda's included, oh no, panda death knights, what the... and why monk class, there's like no monks in all of WC-WC2-WC3, why not make a necromancer class or something sensible, and bring back originallity to the game, by limiting classes to races that shouldn't have them, deathknight for everyone??? heck then that means that everyone should be able to be a pally and a warlock who is used to cover the necromancer area.

jokerx777
jokerx777

This isn't ridiculous, it's awesome, and why is it that people hate this expansion? I mean, the features are amazing! The story almost fits in the universe and I think the haters will play it anyways!

namdar
namdar

Lol I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks this is ridculous

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

I was just thinking to myself, you know what wow needs? Another expansion! Because I love paying out the butt for a game that desperately needs to be updated with a (spiritual) sequel. That being said, bring on the D3!

moviequest14
moviequest14

@Kooken58 : Well it at least doesn't bill itself as comedy (like secondhand lands etc.) so it is thus a serious mmo (considering it has combat and other elements included) .But the cheap pun-play-on-words here is what should be in a kiddy 2d,cartoon virtual world..not an mmo.