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Unread 03-21-12, 03:02 AM   #1
Cairenn
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Mists of Pandaria Press Tour Review

[Edit]: Now with 100% more screenshots!

Okay, so … I apologize for the delay in posting this. I had some technical difficulties with the recorder I used during the one-on-one interviews (read: I messed up). I had been waiting on posting this in the hopes that Blizzard might be able to get me copies of their recordings. However, that hasn’t happened as of yet. I will update this if I get more. As well, all of the screenshots and video clips provided were done with the UI hidden so I don't currently have any of the new UI windows that I can show you. I am trying to get my hands on some and will post them if I do. Now, with that out of the way …

General Impressions

Unlike the last few expansions and their “central villain”, this expansion instead is about a central story. It’s about going back to that same feeling people used to have when they first started playing World of Warcraft. It’s about the excitement, the sense of adventure, about wanting to know what is over that next hill, what’s around that next corner. It’s even about that little bit of ‘fear’ about “what’s in that cave? Is something about to jump out at me and pound me into the dirt?” And the whole ‘challenge mode’ is also tied into that. It’s supposed to give you that sense of accomplishment. About “Holy crap, I can’t believe we just did that! That’s amazing!” And “Oh wow, check out this super awesome thing I just got!”

Scenarios are also about giving you more of those senses of accomplishment. You can log on, find a quick group, no having to wait around until you have the ‘perfect’ combination of classes/roles in order to succeed. They are quick little 20 minute ‘adventures’. Related to this are the purchasable consumables that will allow you to change your talents, spec and glyphs on the fly out in the field. You won’t have to go back into the city.

They really really liked the way the whole ‘planting a new world tree’ went, so they are expanding on that. They know it helps you feel more invested in the game, makes you feel like the things you do have an actual impact on the game, the world. You’ll be able to do things like work on your faction with one of the new groups by planting your own farmland, expanding it, growing stuff. There’s another thing where you will get an cloud serpent egg, you’ll raise the hatchling, do daily quests about it and eventually it’ll become your mount when it gets ‘big’ enough.

Questions and Answers

I asked both Greg Street and J. Allen Brack “What have people not asked you that you would have liked to have been asked?”
One of the things they talked about was that although a lot had been discussed about the scenario system, there is another ‘use’ of it that hasn’t actually been discussed much. That being that scenarios can be used to help players refine their specializations, their talents, their rotations. Since you will be up against actual monsters, it will give back more accurate results than using target dummies. A couple players can hop in, try a new rotation, adjust it, tweak it but without the worry of getting completely demolished in a raid.
Another I posed to them was “What is your favourite ‘sleeper’ feature?”
Maps, I was told. Maps for absolutely everything now. Maps for the little tiny caves like the ones in starting zones. And maps for the great big places like Black Rock Mountain and Caverns of Time.
I also had time to ask a few of the questions you guys posted:

Can the GetGameTime() function be updated to return seconds as well as consistently give the player’s realm time instead of sometimes giving the instance server’s time (which may be in a different timezone).
This is very technically difficult, bordering on completely undoable due to things like lag.
Would you consider allowing the use of in-game links as well as (functional) external ones to the GMotD (Guild Message of the Day) and Guild Information areas? Linking guild achievements you’re currently working on our directing guild members to something relevant outside of the game (such as the guild’s website) could be quite helpful.
This is highly unlikely. It could pose a very dangerous risk to players, opening up an attack vector for malicious third-parties.
Will there be an option to disable the default Raid UI in the interface options in the near future?
Possibly. It is a suggestion that they will discuss.
Any chance we will see specialty profession bags (engineering, enchanting, herbalism, etc.) converted to ‘boxes’? (Example, Blue Ribboned Gift).
Another thing that is very technically difficult. They have often discussed the possibility of being able to change things like the default backpack. The problem is because it touches on so many other systems in the game, making changes like this are not as simple and straight forward as they seem.
There has been a lot of discussion about account-side achievements, pets, mounts and etc., but where does reputation fit into all of this?
They will probably be made account wide, but no promises. They do understand that while it’s fine to go through levelling up your reputation with a group the first time, having to grind out rep on the rest of your characters is simply annoying.
UI Changes

There are going to be a lot of additions and changes to the default User Interface with the MoP expansion:
  • Addition of scenarios windows
  • Addition of challenges windows
  • Addition of per-player loot windows
  • Addition of bonus loot roll windows
  • Addition of black market windows
    • Auctions by NPCs of rare items for players to bid on.
  • Addition of pet battles windows
  • Updated talents windows
  • Updated specializations windows
  • Updated class mechanics windows
  • Updated consolidated buffs display
    • The basic display of buffs and debuffs will not change, but the consolidated buffs window is completely different. It will only show in groups (party/raid) and will just show the 8 group buff types you should have
  • Updated loot roll box
  • Updated character create windows
  • Updated auction house windows
Make sure to also check out the fantastic writeups and videos on our sister-sites, Wowhead and TankSpot.

Last edited by Cairenn : 03-22-12 at 01:54 PM.
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Unread 03-21-12, 03:09 AM   #2
Nibelheim
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Unread 03-21-12, 03:14 AM   #3
Gello
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A UI-related preview! From all earlier the press release stuff coming out I was beginning to think everyone hit alt+z the moment they hit the demos.

Some really interesting stuff, thanks for posting that.

On "Updated character unit frames" are the portraits 3d models instead of 2d textures? It's totally personal preference but it seems high time they made that standard or an option in the default UI with even today's low-end PCs.
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Unread 03-21-12, 05:57 AM   #4
Dridzt
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  • Addition of black market windows
    • Auctions by NPCs of rare items for players to bid on.
Am I too paranoid to think that this combined with Battle.net Balance is a precursor / opens the door to buying gear from Blizzard for cash?

"In addition, with the upcoming launch of Diablo III, players in certain regions will also be able to use their Battle.net Balance to acquire items from the game's currency-based auction house."

Already planned for Diablo III, with the addition of "Black Market" windows in WoW with items auctioned by NPCs ( ie Blizzard) instead of players isn't that a step to that direction?
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Unread 03-21-12, 06:51 AM   #5
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They really really liked the way the whole ‘planting a new world tree’ went, so they are expanding on that. They know it helps you feel more invested in the game, makes you feel like the things you do have an actual impact on the game, the world. You’ll be able to do things like work on your faction with one of the new groups by planting your own farmland, expanding it, growing stuff. There’s another thing where you will get an cloud serpent egg, you’ll raise the hatchling, do daily quests about it and eventually it’ll become your mount when it gets ‘big’ enough.
Now this bit I like the sound of.
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Unread 03-21-12, 12:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dridzt View Post
  • Addition of black market windows
    • Auctions by NPCs of rare items for players to bid on.
Am I too paranoid to think that this combined with Battle.net Balance is a precursor / opens the door to buying gear from Blizzard for cash?

"In addition, with the upcoming launch of Diablo III, players in certain regions will also be able to use their Battle.net Balance to acquire items from the game's currency-based auction house."

Already planned for Diablo III, with the addition of "Black Market" windows in WoW with items auctioned by NPCs ( ie Blizzard) instead of players isn't that a step to that direction?
Yeah, I don't know if I like the sound of this either. But we haven't heard everything yet though.

Let's say it's just an auctionhouse with auctions by NPCs that you can bid/buyout on, isn't that just a messed up vendor? Instead of buying an item for X gold, you can bid on it and maybe win it for Y or Z gold. Sounds wierd. Sounds like there's more to this that we don't know.
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Unread 03-21-12, 01:55 PM   #7
Dridzt
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Originally Posted by lerb View Post
Yeah, I don't know if I like the sound of this either. But we haven't heard everything yet though.

Let's say it's just an auctionhouse with auctions by NPCs that you can bid/buyout on, isn't that just a messed up vendor? Instead of buying an item for X gold, you can bid on it and maybe win it for Y or Z gold. Sounds wierd. Sounds like there's more to this that we don't know.
Yes that was my first notion as well.

The only analogue I could think of was the limited supply vendors...
(you know these vendors that sell only x patterns or items and if someone else bought it you had to camp it until the item re-spawned)

But it seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to just to make limited supply vendors centralized.

Hence my suspicion that they're making ready to install gear for gold in the game.
Initially game gold only but the infrastructure would be there and players conditioned to making this kind of transaction with NPCs for them to "enable you to use your Battle.net balance" to make purchases down the road.
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Unread 03-22-12, 01:53 PM   #8
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Now with 100% more screenshots!

A couple of the new Character Create Screen:



Shots of the new Specialization and Talent Windows:



And just for giggles, ya gotta love visual bugs:



More images coming as I can.
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Unread 03-22-12, 02:03 PM   #9
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I was wondering what the female Pandaren faces reminded me of

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Unread 03-22-12, 02:55 PM   #10
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Sooo, I don't mean to be that guy but...



Some Author beta-key love is in the works I'm guessing. x3
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Unread 03-22-12, 05:07 PM   #11
Cairenn
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As always, AddOns are currently disabled on the beta. They never have AddOns enabled for the first while. They need to make sure everything else is working correctly, well tested and bugs dealt with without AddOns adding to the mix.

Hopefully we will see keys for authors when they re-enable them, but at this point in time I can't promise.
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Unread 03-22-12, 05:19 PM   #12
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I do recall with Cataclysm that addon authors got in even long before addons were enabled again
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