Hello and welcome! I am, of course, the distinguished and honored Professor Gnomey, an acclaimed expert on truthism and internetology at Gnomeregan Gnuniveristy. Professor Billy could not be here today due to some… uh… legal troubles. Something about him forging his credentials or some such. Anyway, I am here to discuss the fabulous and fantastical Mists of Pandaria beta. Or namely, to address some HORRIBLE rumors being tossed around the ‘Tweetor’. You seem, some rascally hooligans thought it would be fun to make up things about the new WoW expansion on the internet. Thus breaking the delicate and carefully maintained balance of everything on the internet being true. Which it has. Completely. I trusted every word I read on there until these trouble makers decided to start flat out LYING to the whole world. But I one upped them all. I took notes. I wrote them aaaaall down. And now I’m gonna to expose them for the dirty little liars they all are. These are just some of the lies I saw perpetrated under the extremely deceptive hashtag of #FakeMoPBetaLeaks!
- In order to combat perceived Horde bias, Alliance quests will get extra love & have twice as many pop culture references.
- The Horde wins, all players get free faction transfers, Alliance becomes a neutral faction of NPCs
- To make Pandaria easier to traverse without flying, a gnomish train system dubbed ‘The Panda Express’ has been added.
- A level 88 quest hints that the reason we fight Garrosh is he ate Thrall’s cookie that was clearly labeled ‘Do Not Eat’
- Shaman receive a class quest at level 90 that after mastering all four elements will receive the “Thrall State” stance
- In a quest to restablish Varian as a good leader, players will be his ‘wingman’ to help him ‘score’ at a Pandaren bar.
- To correct the ‘indignity’ of some classes wearing “skirts” or “dresses”, now all class sets have skirts or dresses!
- The Mogu are NOT related to the Mogwai.
- Morfeeus, a new goblin NPC added to the start zone, will remind goblins that they do NOT know Kung Fu.
- Players will face off against the elusive Warriors of Virtue in a new dungeon and learn a lesson about peer-pressure.
- To foster camaraderie among the Alliance, King Varian will now address all NPCs and players as “bro” regardless of gender.
- To match the Asian theme and tone of the expansion, item levels will be renamed ‘power level’
- Complete combat system overhauled designed around card games confirmed. Spells and abilities replaced with trading cards.
- In order to promote players to get out in the world, Warlock summoning spells will now also kill the caster and clickers
- Female armor does not contain any chain mail or plate bikinis. All pants are ass-less though.
- Mists will introduce a new PvE stat “NotSuck” that will boost all damage and healing in Dungeon & Raid Finder groups.
- In memorial of Theramore, Goth Jaina builds the new Linkon Park.
- Worgen Druids will receive exclusive out-of-combat ‘Human Form’.
- Several Lorekeeper NPCs added to world to remind players that monks are not ninjas, and China is not the same as Japan.
- Demonology Warlocks will be tanks.
- New Legendary Revealed! First Shield Legendary! In order to make sure it’s rare, it will be +Agility.
- Hidden across Pandaria are 7 magical orbs that, if gathered, will summon a dragon and grant your class a buff.
- Pandaren start zone quests include “Wax the Car” and “Paint the Fence”
- The origins of the Sha revealed! They are what happens when you leave Pandaren ice cream out in the sun too long.
- Hunters can tame anything for a variable length depending on the level of their new “Training” skill, even players!
- In a Horde specific scenario, players will face the Horde’s ancient and deadliest foe: BEES. And the Alliance will have a parallel scenario where they face their long time enemy: POOR PEOPLE.
- Tirion Fordring confirmed as faction leader for the Pandaren.
- The Argent Crusade will have a presence in Heroic Scholo. They don’t actually do anything, but they are standing there.
- Along with raising and maintaining a farm, players will also have to defend their land by launching birds at felboars.
- With Monks now in game, Paladins will be losing their tank and healing specs in favor of new abilities that make sparkles.
- Warlocks are getting a glyph that gives them a taunt, Mages will be receiving a new healing AND tanking spec.
- Players will receive a shocking twist at level 90 when a quest line reveals that a pandaren is just 3 gnomes in a suit.
- The expansion ends with a tearful public service announcement from Garrosh on the dangers of steroid abuse.
- Thrall is forced by Aggra to move into the Cleft of Shadows after being caught trying to “get his Proudmoore on.”
- “Chow Yun Fat-Free” is a BOE cooking recipe.
- Everyone is thrown for a loop when the real villain of Pandaria is revealed to be Shepard from Mass Effect 3.
- The “Harrison Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Item” questline doesn’t go over as well as hoped.
- Druids are given animal forms of the rest of the classes. The Donkey Death Knight is scrapped as “too depressing.”
- Accused of Horde bias, the band “Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain” renames itself “Level 100 Uber Human Dude.”
- Battlegrounds get sponsors, such as “Alterac Valley, brought to you by McDonalds.” The winner gets a McSword or McShield.
- Alementals abilities are datamined. Beer Goggles: +85 inflation to ego. Debuff: Waking up the next morning.
- Players will discover the hard way that the Pandaren do, in fact, have a Kung Fu grip.
- Tirion gives one of Arthas’ twins to a moisture farmer to raise in Tanaris.
- Blizzard begins the “Pandaren, at least they’re not Ewoks” ad campaign.
- The real reason the Forsaken destroyed Southshore is retconned as the cancellation of the Alliance’s “Jersey Southshore.”
- Hidden Continent of Pandaria was under Crusader’s Coliseum all this time.
- Warlock taunt only works on non-boss level mobs and mages
- Hidden continent of Panderia was inside you all along
- Stormwind Library adds several progressive volumes about Orientalism.
Other Awesome People
- New Race added. Trolls! no really please will someone play one of these, We’re bored of Blood elves – @DanRyyu
- Large styled belts are now limited to one per server, players can only challenge for these belts AT WRESTLEMAINA! – @DanRyyu
- All PvP players who refuse to fight near the objective will be permabanned after three BGs. – @CosmicLaurel
- Tier 14 Monk Armor revealed to be a yellow tracksuit with black striping. – @WalksTweets
- Monks surprisingly cannot use the /flirt or /hug commands and cannot enter Goldshire due to vows of chastity. – @WalksTweets
- Completing 1000 Pandaren cooking dailies will reward the player with a pair of legendary chopsticks – @RogueDarren
- Arcane mages get 3rd DPS ability, makes arcane rotation 33% more difficult – @Leodartbok
- New Death Kinght ability: Furry of Frostmourne – 3 sec cast, turns your enemies into Pandas. – @Leodartbok
- Aggra is carrying Velen’s love child – @Atanae
- The Aspects are re-granted their original powers after eating the magical Sensu beans from the Pandaren. – @Katana_Angel
- Garrosh is discovered to be Thrall’s evil clone, created by the Royal Apothecary Society to destroy the horde from within. – @Katana_Angel
- Everyone can eat and drink at the same time. If you’re a Pandaren, you can eat, drink, and brew beer at the same time. – @WoWCynwise
- Just discovered! In MoP, BM Hunters get 2 min CD Bestial Xform – change into a twin of their active pet for 15 secs! – @BigBearButt
- Pet Battle System only way to earn Trinkets. – @Melofedge
- Genn Greymane gets rabies, bites and infects Jaina Proudmoore, and then sends players on a poop quest in Lordaeron. – @Druidleaves
- Pandaran cooking profession now include a recipe for Sweetfire Chicken sponsored by Panda Express, home of the flying wok. – @KneeDough
((A huge thank you to all the awesome folks that joined in the fun on twitter. I love to see what people come up with. To those who aren’t already, I would highly recommend following all these amazing tweeps. They are an amazingly fun bunch!))
Please take note that these reactions are based on the beta build for the Nov. 11-13 weekend test. As with any unreleased software, certain details may have been changed already. You have been warned. Sort of. I don’t really know if this is actually a warning. More like a heads up. You have been heads upped.
So with the Non-Disclosure Agreement formally dropped with a flash of yellow text across the SWTOR forums, I can finally tell you all what I think about Star Wars: The Old Republic from what I was able to glimpse during my short weekend of running around. I actually got to play a couple of classes. I got my Jedi Consular to 11, a Sith Warrior to 12, and Trooper to level 8. I tried to avoid the Bounty Hunter because, well, that’s what I plan on playing and I’d rather not burn myself out on that story early (albeit unlikely).
First and foremost, the story is amazing. Actually, amazing is a bit lackluster. Superawesometastic? Yea, that’s a bit more like it. Story has always been a big part of gaming for me. It’s the drive that keeps me attached to a game. In WoW, I’ve only had one max level toon that wasn’t a Loremaster. So when I say that I have never been so engrossed in the plot during my 4 years of playing WoW as I was from a single weekend of playing TOR, I want you to be aware of the context I’m saying that in.
Within minutes of starting my Consular, I was figuring out what type of character he was. Greeted with praises and compliments from superiors, I decided that this bulking jedi (Yes, he was ‘fat’. But it’s Kingpin fat, not Silent Bob fat. Mostly muscle.) was prideful, and hungry for ancient knowledge that will bring him more praise. From that moment on, I knew exactly how this character would act in conversations. He sucked up to the masters, he would make dirty deals for powerful relics, and he what stoop to any low to complete the tasks he was given by his superiors. I wasn’t bothered by the amount of dark side points he racked up, because they were earned for being who he was. It was invigorating.
There was actually quite a few complaints about that. The fact that it doesn’t have much fanfare, and the fact that its very easily missed. After all, it just looks like any other quest. If I wasn’t actively looking for it, I might have missed it. Considering that without your advanced class, you won’t be able to do much beyond DPS – and you probably wouldn’t be great at that – it seems to be pretty low key.
I went for the DPS advanced class of Marauder for my Sith Warrior, and the Sage path for my Consular, since I wanted to try out healing. Which I did. With my one heal. That heals about 1/8th of the total health pool of your average player. Yea… I’ll get to that when I talk about flashpoints.
Ultimately, each class took some getting used to. Especially the ‘no auto-attack’ concept. You just get a no cost ability that helps either build resources or just fills in while other things are on cooldown. Luckily, you can use that ability by either pushing the keybinding or just right clicking the enemy over and over. So those who, like me, would spend your days in dungeon crawlers and RTS continuously right clicking your foes in a vain attempt to make it die faster will find that a bit comforting (or troublesome if you’re coming from WoW and forget that attacking with the filler attack does trigger the GCD and you’ll have to wait a few seconds)
I only got to try one flashpoint: The Esseles. The first bump in the road was trying to find a group. While there were plenty of people in the beta who wanted to run things, finding a group was still a pain. Mainly because the only way to find a group was to sit around the station and watch the general chat for people to put together a group. This was mixed in with people asking about training, where things were, and debating over how much of a WoW clone the game was (that was a hot topic in general chat all weekend.) The only other option is essentially flagging yourself as Looking For Group in the /who window. I’m not saying a Dungeon Finder is essentially, but there’s GOT to be a step up from spamming chat channels.
Once we got our group together, we realized that there were no roles decided when we grouped up. This caused someone to drop out as they apparently did not want to wait to see if we had a tank or heals, and we went back out to snatch another person. Finally, we had a group. A Jedi Shadow as tank, my Sage as heals, and a Jedi Sentinel and Smuggler (lv 9) for DPS. So we started, or joined in. As it turned out one of our dps had decided to go ahead and start the first conversation without notifying us.
The flashpoint in terms of combat was actually pretty fun. The trash ranged from easy to moderate, with a couple of tough mobs tossed in here and there. Nothing that gave us trouble, but was enough that if you weren’t careful, some mobs could give you some punishment if ignored. The bosses on the other hand were the complete opposite. It really felt like you had to know what you were doing, and we really didn’t. People would drop from 90% to 10% in a matter of seconds, in what I would eventually find out were hazards on the ground that they were ignoring. In other words, they were dying because they were standing in bad. In a moment of sheer hilarity, despite all the claimed hostility throughout WoW, I was called a bad healer for the first time ever by the Jedi Sentinel. Nothing I could really do. I was spamming my one heal to keep the tank alive. The one heal didn’t really feel too effective but it definitely helped. I’m sure that if people had used their self-heals inbetween fights or a medpack or two it would be easier, but that’s what I had to deal with.
Halfway through, when the Jedi Sentinel yelled at the smuggler for rolling need on some smuggler gear for being greedy and that everyone should have a chance to roll on everything, the tank decided to leave. So we tried to press on, which resulted in a dead sentinel and the smuggler and I kiting a large droid around a platform to kill it since we couldn’t get close to it while it was sparking (a massive damage AOE to everyone in melee range). After that, we pulled out the sentinel’s companion – a small tanking droid – to get us through the rest of the dungeon. Which actually worked pretty well! The droid kept aggro completely on the last boss, everyone stayed out of the bad, and it went down without issue. That’s why I didn’t discount the whole experience. I imagine if we had that much awareness and tactics, the earlier fights may not have been so brutal.
I didn’t get to work with crafting a lot, but from what I did get to play with it appears to have a lot of promise. I could send companions off to do things while I ran around in the station and cities, and then gather things myself while I was in the field. Mission skills like treasure hunting, or underworld trading seem to be companion only type things, and would cost money to send them off to do a job for you. The ability to reverse engineer items to get back some raw materials and learn improved versions of items was pretty awesome. I’m sure it will open up a bit more once you have more than a single companion to do the work, and I’m really looking forward to it.
So, based on this beta experience, would I leave WoW for SWTOR? The answer is yes. Yes, I would and I plan to. I love story and crafting, those are my favorite things to experience in a MMO, and SWTOR has got WoW beat in that department. Not to say I plan on being done with WoW forever. As I said a while back, Mists of Pandaria has a lot of promise. So I may come back for that at some point. Otherwise, it looks like SWTOR for now.