Mists of Pandaria, Returning from Tyria

Greetings From BlandariaHiya Players! Last week during the crazy Black Friday deals I found myself picking up only one thing on a whim: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. I hadn’t planned on ever returning to Warcraft, but the memories of raiding and the $20 price tag on the expansion made me stop thinking about all the stuff I didn’t like for a bit in lieu of hope. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the best results.

When first logging in I was actually greeted by the friendliness of guildies from my old raiding group, which was a much welcome sign. Unfortunately the next thing that came out of his mouth was that they were in desperate need of a good healer (IE me) since they’re not making much progress in raids. This made me feel wanted, if not guilted, into at least trying to level.

Playing an alliance (*spit*) Druid the first few introduction quests to Pandaria were entertaining enough with the helicopter mechanics. Though as a healer, I was forced to plan my off-spec of moonkin for questing. After a short time, it became very clear that the mechanics of fighting mobs and doing quests as a DPS was simply no longer fun. Questing is incredibly linear, often taking more time to run back and forth to the NPC than accomplishing the task. In addition, I found the the fun and different mechanics are few and far between, leaving only ‘kill 10 rat’ and ‘collect 15 rat tail’ quests; These quests are boring. Very boring. I made it to level 86 through just questing, with no plans of questing in Pandaria any more if I can avoid it.

I have tried leveling via PVP but was hit with the same boring results as I hit with questing. I’m primarily a healer, but both healer and DPS were boring in battlegrounds and just not very exciting to play. I didn’t feel involved in the fight, I was just there.

Now with all that negative stuff said, the expansion isn’t a complete bust. For starters, I do still enjoy running dungeons as a healer. Now that’s not to say that these dungeons are really that good, because truth be told I had no idea what was going on aside from following the tank and not standing in the fire or cursed water. I’d have liked to see more of a story in it, as to why I was in the dungeon. But I digress, Healing is what I’m good at and it’s what I like doing when playing WoW. I don’t like that outside of dungeons though I don’t really have a place to play that role. I’d love to see this changed, or even just bump the exp earning in dungeons when running as a healer so I don’t need to quest in off-spec as much.

I think the largest things I’m missing now that I’ve been given such a new quality game in Guild Wars 2 are:

Mists of Pandaria is lacking involvement: GW2 makes use of active dodging, which means you always need to watch what you’re doing at all times. Combine this with tons of AoE, ground attacks, and debuff (conditions) you always need to be watching everything and moving. Compared to the play style of Pandaria, you just need to take two steps to the left every now and then to win; It’s not very exciting.

A large difference between Pandaria’s Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 is also their take on spells. GW2 offers a limited number of spells and utilities, and leaves it up to the player to know when and how to use them. Because of this methodology, it leaves the game to be primarily skill based. Pandaria gives the players a ton of spells to use, often making lengthy rotations to go through in order to make the most of your character. This type of play style made me feel more like I was on an assembly line than playing a game.

Despite the heightened level cap and the new zone, I didn’t find that the game was any more difficult (except the strain on my sanity). Wearing raid gear from the previous expansion, I was able to take on mobs of 5+ enemies with almost no trouble, with plenty of time to heal while fighting them if needed without worry of them killing me. I would have liked to see the ability for a player to get to a higher level be challenging. On the flip-side, high levels in Orr (PVE) of Guild Wars 2 are challenging even if you have the best gear on. Unfortunately though, World of Warcraft has chosen to make it so everybody can get there if they just go through the motions. A level should be a reward, not a given. Simply put, you should have to earn the ability to get to level 90.

The best thing that I found though from the Mists of Pandaria expansion though was Pet Battles. I like these a lot. I can’t see myself paying $15 a month for them, but they are fun. Then again, I’m a Pokemon fan from way back – Bought Pokemon Blue on the NA release day in 1998 – so I might be a bit biased.

As much as I’d like to enjoy the game again, I simply can’t get myself into playing it again; It’s too repetitive and lacking the need for skill to play. I can understand Blizzard’s attempt to branch out and bring in new players, but by doing so they have lowered the difficulty of the game and the prestige of ‘beating’ the game in nearly every form of the word. Games should be hard, if not then there is little reason to play them.
Overall I felt like I was eating chocolate pudding with a fork. It may be a slightly new experience but it’s still just chocolate pudding; Just more annoying.

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