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Pandaria

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I have really controversial impression.

The game got really improved and polished mechanics. Combat process is more enjoyable now even when doing daily routine (like killing monsters one after another when questing).

On the other hand new system that encourages reputation "farming" and endless questing looks like serious torturing for players used to play in more creative, challenging way (heroic raiders, arena players, skilled guild officers etc.). In my opinion, game should respect not only interests of relaxed casuals but also interests of dedicated players and veterans used to challenges and solving non-trivial tasks.

It bothers me that now PvE aspect with reputation "farming" crashes into game style of so called "challenger" players. People used to logging to game only for 3 hour raid and high quality coordinated action now feel game aggressive system interferes real life schedule in really annoying way. WoW quest system in spite of combat mechanics improvements is outdated. From psychology perspective most quests are designed mostly for 8-10 years person, they also suit player style only if played as background activity. Gathering items, killing N enemies, playing mini-games can be fun first few hours of gaming then it becomes a real torturing for person with good thinking skills, a kind of stuff that hurts person intelligence in some manner. Of course sometimes the game checks player reaction and tactical thinking skills but most of the time game process is a routine.

For me it's confusing - why questing aspect, one of the weakest sides of game, with really outdated conception (kill X, gather Y, activate/destroy Z - in comparison to nice Elder Scrolls quests it looks very dated) and low part of enjoyment, was treated as core part of new expansion. Questing aspect requires serious reconsidering and redesigning to meet requirements of 2012 game industry. Otherwise it should be designed as optional, minor aspect of the game.

Players with naive thinking or those who try WoW for first time accepted MoP expansion in very positive and excited way. For those seeking challenges and tracking game industry events for long time it gave a reason to look at current state of game industry and reconsider creative value of some developers.


Ratings:
Graphics 7/10. I can't judge it too strictly. It uses quite dated engine which is not to be dramatically, models got better detalisation, more effects etc.
Sound and Music 8/10. Good and sometimes great as it is typical for WoW music. Some melodies got too much dramatism (Lion Landing), Pandaria main screen music is a modification of classic wow melody which some players love or hate.
Fight mechanics - I don't rate it, it uses same WoW desine, quite polished and responsive, but for some players it looks dated and not quite realistic though sometimes fun and addictive. For example no mechanics like press X to dodge 100% or jump behind the obstacle to hide from explosion damage (though some raid fight mechanics and some specific class talents provide some guaranteed defense or some real time avoidance). This system has its pro and contras, its lovers and haters.
Enjoyability - varies from 2 to 8/10. Depends if you are new to WoW or experienced player who seeks for challenges. Raiding and challenge mode dungeons are solid and enjoyable. PvP has "as always" state, where developers struggle for PvE vs PvP, or Classes Balance vs Class Unique Style.
Game innovations 3/10, Expansion unique features 6/10, Franchise progress 2/10. New class, new zones, new encounters, 2 new bg zones, 1 new arena. Challenge mode. But overall game is same. This is the expansion which brings new content but doesn't improve game conception much. Such formula can be attractive for new players, but for veterans it risks to become "reason to quit" factor, since linear questing, dailies routine, pvp balance in state "as always" etc is not a step forward. Also developers should consider monotony/routine and replayability value factors since for veterans those are the strongest ones.

Posted here: http://uk.gamespot.com/world-of-warcraft-mists-of-pandaria/user-reviews/807076/

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