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12/22/2018 09:42:39 •••

Mists of Pandaria in Retrospective:

Mists of Pandaria was a controversial expansion pack at the time, and it had many flaws, but in hindsight, it's easier to appreciate what it did well.

The plot takes place in the eponymous Pandaria, which involves an entirely new setting and a fair amount of worldbuilding. Some say that it doesn't feel very much like WarCraft, but it's well written and thought out.

The story develops well from patch to patch, and nicely makes the players feel as though their efforts mean something. The legendary quest, while grindy at times, and having some odd rewards (for example, a very powerful gem you can only use with a few weapons)is an interesting way to develop it, which makes it worth pursuing.

The dailies are worth noting. Essentially, in order to be able to purchase raid-quality gear, you need to grind rep, and the dailies were long and monotonous, making them difficult for casuals. Over time, however, as alternative avenues of getting gear opened up, and some of the requirements were alleviated, it significantly improved. One could imagine that Blizzard learned from their mistakes this time.

The Timeless Isle was a good area, as while some ways of getting what you needed were easier than others (i.e. farming frogs), you were never forced to do things a certain way.

The raids are generally high quality with a good variety of bosses, although, as usual, some bosses can be roadblocks.

Unfortunately, the 5 man dungeons were somewhat uninspired and easy, particularly in that the Heroic modes do not have new mechanics, making them less than challenging. However, by the end of the expansion, I could blaze through them easily, killing some bosses in 10-20 seconds, making them more bearable.

Scenarios were quite entertaining and diverse, albeit significantly easier for DPS than healers or tanks. Heroic scenarios were good challenges, paticularly the timed objectives.

The new talent system (6 choices between 3 talents each) ostensibly allows for more player customization choices, but don't entirely live up to that goal. Guides still stress that there's often only one viable choice. I preferred Cataclysm, which gave players some guidance, but also retained flexibility.

All in all, Mists had some rough spots, but with each patch, it took great steps toward finding its way. It's no Wrath, but it's better than Warlords.

12/18/2018 00:00:00

Mists of Pandaria\'s faction storyline was a failure on every level. All in all, that story made players of both factions angered and unhappy, losing Wo W a lot of subscribers.

It was intended to be a expansion showing the evils of war, except the Horde and only them were shown to be in the wrong in every scenario. Even when it made zero sense such as the Horde PC being depicted as a bastard for killing an unrepentant Alliance war criminal.

Multiple Horde characters receiving Character Derailment into Card Carrying Villains. To the point that the entire orcish race was turned into a Planet Of Copy Hats of Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome Garrosh.

The Horde player spent almost the entire expansion doing atrocity after atrocity for Garrosh, only to turn against him last minute for no adequately explained reason. And note, aside from Thrall, Saurfang and Eitrigg, all orcs were shown as siding with Garrosh, even when it made zero sense for them to do so.

Both the orcs who now only appear as mooks/villains to kill and the Horde as a whole who are always depicted as evil, have yet to recover since this from this disaster of an expansion.

All in all, I see zero defense for this expansion\'s storyline.

12/18/2018 00:00:00

Monsund,

I\'ll admit that I mained as Alliance during Mists, but I don\'t agree with your analysis. The player wasn\'t necessarily unthinkingly loyal to Garrosh, but there were many cases in which the player worked against him, such as by killing the Kor\'kron assassins at the end of Dagger in the Dark, helping Vol\'jin fake his death and eventually helping the Darkspear rebel against him. The precise reasons a player has for opposing Garrosh come down to personal opinion and roleplaying, but one interpretation of the player\'s role is as a stand-in for various nameless heroes who play crucial roles in Azeroth\'s history, rather than one hero who\'s fought in every notable conflict since the end of the Third War.

While Garrosh is the clear antagonist, the Alliance is not without its share of faults, from Sky Admiral Rogers gunning down Horde soldiers who appeared to be surrendering to Jaina ordering the Sunreavers purged from Dalaran. Those Alliance characters\' misdeeds weren\'t enough to make them the villains, but they are enough to ensure that the Horde will never fully trust or forgive the Alliance.

Perhaps many people share your opinion, but your argument also seems to ignore whichever facts are inconvenient for your position.

12/19/2018 00:00:00

I admit, I\'m not a World of Warcraft player. I sort of keep up with the story at a distance though. Kind of the way I keep up with wrestling. (Until they killed my favorite character after squandering him for multiple expansions, just so they could bribe players into staying with his magic sword, that they then broke once they were tired of- I\'ll stop now.)

And, for a long time, I figured this sounded like the weak link. It didn\'t seem to advance the story much, beyond them fully abandoning the idea of Garrosh being a complex character who grows as a person over time in favor of just making him the bad guy. And... okay fine, I\'ll admit it: the kung-fu pandas are distracting. I\'m still not a fan of such blatant China-baiting. I realize the Warcraft universe has always had a certain amount of silliness to it, but this just seemed like a bridge too far.

But, as I hang out with many other people who do play WoW, I\'ve heard defenses like this more and more often, and they seem to make good points. One point that really stuck to me, as a guy who played Warcraft III, which was all about how sad it was that orcs and humans keep warring against one another, was that this is apparently the expansion that focuses least on the Alliance vs. Horde aspect and instead tries to see whether or not they can be friends and allies who can coexist.

Also, they reminded me that I\'m a big fan of Wuxia and Chinese culture in a non-panda context, and of the Kung Fu Panda films in a non-Warcraft context, and heck, I can\'t argue with either point.

I have no idea how valuable this comment is, since it comes from a non-player\'s perspective, but... \'s where I\'m at.

12/19/2018 00:00:00

Nope, thats not true at all. The player helps Garrosh steal the Divine Bell, Bomb Theramore, most of the Horde expedition they work with is shown as evil

‘’Nope’’, thats not true at all. The player helps Garrosh steal the Divine Bell, Bomb Theramore, most of the Horde expedition the player work with is shown as generically evil, the player is

Incorrect, Rogers actions are shown as in the right by the narrative and never shown to the Horde PC. Note Rogers immediately gets a justification by the story saying the orcs killed everyone in the Southshore(Even though it was forsaken..) while all the Horde NP Cs in the expansion are just shown as generically evil for no reason. Rogers are also never brought up again, unlike the Horde’s crimes.

Note one of the Alliance NP Cs in MOP was General Twinbraid, a Dwarf NPC who massacred an entire tribe of tauren ‘’’before’’’ the Horde/Alliance war, then killed goblin prostitutes(really!) in Cataclysm. When Twinbraid appears in MOP, he gets to whine about he’s a victim, whilst Wrathion describes him as defending the Alliance and makes no mention of his crimes. Because these actions are heroic when done by the Alliance according to Wrathion and MOP’s warped narrative.

Except ‘’’every’’’ single orc outside of Thrall, Eitrigg and Saurfang was shown to side with Garrosh, leaving the Orc PC to stick out like a sore thumb, in the rebellion only because of Plot Armor.

To list some of the orcs.

  • Zaela: Was previously built up as a new Horde of the new Horde and had a Interspecies Friendship with several Horde heroes of different races. MOP turned her into a
  • Bloodhilt: Used to like tauren, now a Fantastic Facist for no reason other then to give the Alliance PC an excuse to be morally superior.
  • Gorrok: One of three orc characters in the expedition. Is depicted as an evil Garrosh loyalist and gets a bridged dropped on him.
  • Shokia: The last of the Orc characters of the expedition and just like all the others sides with Garrosh. Thats right, every orc in the expedition sided with Garrosh.
  • Tons of Orgrimmar NP Cs present in vanilla.
    • Thathung.
    • Komak
    • Mojka
    • Mokvar

What facts have I ignored. I have given direct evidence, what have you given?

RE: Spectral Time

People generally hate Pandaria for its Black and White Morality, Broken Aesops, and Family Unfriendly Aesops like Beauty Equals Goodness.

12/19/2018 00:00:00

Part of my comment got cut off, so I\'ll put it here.

As for Jaina expelling the Sunreavers, note the event was actually rewritten so The Dog Shot First and Jaina was morally right. In the early PTR builds, Aethas was confused by Jaina\'s actions and ignorant of the theft of the Divine bell. In the final build, lines like \"Aethas Sunreaver shifts uncomfortably\" were added to show Aethas was complicit and not innocent.

Vol\'jin even writes in warcrimes that Jaina\'s actions were correct. So again the writers of MOP showing they are incapable of having the evils of war apply to anyone on the Alliance, the morality must remain Black and White.

To expand on the Zaela comment cut off. She was previously built up as a new Horde hero and had a Interspecies Friendship with several Horde heroes of different races. MOP turned her into a Stupid Evil Fantastic Racist, nice Fantastic Racism on the part of the writers there.

Bloodhilt was an orc general who liked tauren and was interested in protecting the Horde. Now a Fantastic Facist for no reason other then to give the Alliance PC an excuse to be morally superior. He\'s even blamed by both the Alliance and Wrathion for actions he never did, with the latter accusing him of \"taking many innocent lives.\"

And note this is the same quest line where Wrathion covers for an unrepentantly genocidal dwarf.

Again where are your points in response? These are all taken from official sources.

12/19/2018 00:00:00

The point SpectralTime mentioned is a good part of why I like Mists\' storyline. Not only have the Horde and the Alliance lost much fighting each other, but their conflict also has the potential to affect those who aren\'t originally involved in it, dividing the Pandaren into factions and unleashing the Sha on Pandaria. In the end, though, long-time enemies are able to set aside their differences long enough to take on their mutual foe, Garrosh. It\'s fairly telling that the Pandaren introductory storyline involves long-time friends Aysa and Ji being torn apart and joining opposite sides because of their ideologies, but Aysa saves Ji midway through the Siege of Orgrimmar. Much of the expansion is about the war between the Alliance and the Horde, so it\'s fitting that it ends with the possibility of peace between the two sides.

I\'ll admit that Warcraft\'s storyline can be ridiculous at times, and often suffers from various consistency and writing issues, but there are many things that it handles surprisingly well, such as the origins and repercussions of a generations-long conflict between two long-standing adversaries.

12/19/2018 00:00:00

The thing is the Sha was just used as a lazy The Dog Shot First Style plot device to excuse any Alliance wrongdoing, whilst again, Horde heroes were just depicted as generically evil for no reason.

Considering the enemy was just the Horde again, not really much setting aside their differences.

Ji came off as Too Dumb to Live and the Horde fanbase hates him. He saw the Horde during their most Character Derailed and at the height of Obviously Evil, then suffers for his mistake. Whilst nothing bad happens to Aysa. Again, its a Broken Aesop as only Ji suffers for his decision.

Hordeside, the prevailing view of Mists of Pandaria\'s end was Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.

Other then Vol\'jin, who the writers did nothing with before having killed by a nameless Mook and thus killing off the WC 3 Horde, all the remaining Horde leaders left after Mists of Pandaria were ill-suited.

  • Baine: Suffered Character Derailment in Tides of War into an Extreme Doormat who exiled many innocent tauren, including grieving widowers, defended themselves against Alliance military forces trying to invade Mulgore, actively crippling the safety of the tauren. Now the entire fanbase hates him.
  • Orcs: Have no racial leader and the trolls soon joined them. They have stayed like this even up to BFA.
  • Lor\'themar: Big moment for the expansion was trying to join the Alliance. So another member of the Horde that isn\'t loyal to its ideals.
  • Gallywix: An Evil and Incompetent Slaver and racist who acts as both The Load and The Millstone. That this character who goes against all the Horde\'s ideals stayed in Mists, shows how pointless the Siege was for theHorde.
  • Sylvanas: Its a sad day when the original Token Evil Teammate is one of your best remaining leaders.

Maybe the Alliance storyline handled the origins of a generations long conflict and ended idealistically, but the Horde storyline of Mists of Pandaria definitely failed at both. The writers of Mists even refused to admit the Alliance ever wronged the Horde.

12/22/2018 00:00:00

I feel I should say a few things. First, Pandaria was not hated. Polls of players consistently put it above Cataclysm and Draenor. Secondly, the clumsy black-and-white approach is no worse than usual for Warcraft. Remember Illidan\'s derailment in Burning Crusade, or how Malygos and the Drakkari became villains when they most needed allies? It was only more noticeable because it affected the players\' own factions.

Now for myself, I loved everything about Pandaria except for the Horde-Alliance war (well, that and how inaccessible the early raids were without a guild). It just felt forced, with both sides (but especially the Horde) allowing their leaders to drag on a war that everyone can see is stupid. It contrasted with the likeable and believable Pandaren stories. I wished PvP was left in its own realm and did not intrude upon the main story, because it never works. (Even in Overwatch, they made the game non-canon for this reason.)

Still, I felt the end raid was a logical conclusion to all this, and of Garrosh in particular. And I play on both sides. I hate that now Battle for Azeroth just seems to repeat the whole thing, though at least now world PvP gives it some reason to be part of the story.

The key problem is that the two side don\'t have an issue to fight over, other than racial hatred. They hinted at this with the split between Tushui and Huojin Pandaren, but it was never built upon. The Jedi and Sith are pretty Manichean, but at least they are given irreconcilable philosophies; in warcraft we have plenty of war, but no actual reason for it.


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