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Panda-monium Breaks Loose September 25th July 25, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, Guild Wars 2, Rift, Torchlight II, World of Warcraft.
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The date has been set.  Blizzard has announced that the Mists of Panderia expansion for World of Warcraft will launch on September 25, 2012.

Digital pre-orders are available now in both standard and deluxe versions.

Choose your panda poison

I am sure there will also be a physical collector’s edition with the usual making of art book, music tracks CD, and other extras.

One of the biggest reactions I have seen to the digital deluxe edition is because it does not include a pet.  A special pet… or three special pets… has been one of the traditional bonuses for collector’s editions.

It does however include a special mount.  Mounts go for $25 at the Blizzard store, and the deluxe edition is only $20 more than the standard edition, so you could view it as a discounted mount purchase I suppose.  The other items, more sigil fluff in Diablo III and some StarCraft II portraits seem, well… pretty meaningless to me.

But that kind of sums up my feelings about Mists of Panderia at the moment.  The expansion is adding a new race, a new class, five more levels, pet battles, and some new lands to explore.

Welcome to Panda Island!

But nothing about it has me very excited.  For starters, creating a panda character means 10 new levels of content, then 50 level of solo focused Cataclysm, 10 levels of Burning Crusade, 10 levels of Lich King, and 5 levels of Cataclysm until you get back to the new content.

Or you could just take one of your probably already at level cap characters and try out the new high level content.

Pet battles interests me mildly.  Not enough to actually download the beta now that they are finally in, but enough that I will certainly poke my nose in to see what it is about at launch.  I will still be in the last 30 days of my 1 year subscription commitment when this goes live.

But otherwise I am just not feeling it.

Of course, that might be a good thing.

If you are a long time reader you might have noticed a correlation between games about which I have been excited… Warhammer Online, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Replublic (now officially Tortanic), and the Cataclysm expansion… and games which have disappointed me.  The higher my spirits, the further they fall.

A sad commentary on life I suppose.

Meanwhile, I have often ended up enjoying things that I was initially unexcited about.  Rift, Wrath of the Lich King, EverQuest II Extended… I was skeptical of these, yet ended up enjoying them quite a bit.

It is sort of a variation on the Oscar the Grouch “happy when I am angry, angry when I am happy” thing.  Sort of.

Anyway, it is going to be an interesting third quarter this year.  Guild Wars 2 goes live on August 28, the LOTRO Expansion Riders of Rohan shows up on September 5 last I checked, and Torchlight II is threatening to ship in September as well, though nothing is official there so it might change.

Meanwhile, I am still playing Rift and EVE Online.  The instance group, once the summer hiatus comes to an end, still have a few dungeons to do before hitting level cap in Rift, at which point there might be an official date for the Storm Legion expansion.  It was previously slated for “Fall 2012.”

And EVE Online… well, they release all sorts of stuff all the time there.

So there will be pandemonium in just the number of like games launching or launching new content.

What else is going to launch between now and Christmas?

Comments»

1. Sephrenya - July 25, 2012

You do get a pet …. from the order page ….

Includes Full Expansion Plus: Imperial Quilen flying mount, Lucky Quilen Cub, Diablo III Banner Sigil and Accent, StarCraft II Battle.net Portraits.

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2. Dril - July 25, 2012

For me I think it’s time to settle in and wait the year to year and a half before the details of the 5th expansion come out and just resign myself to the fact that I can’t stand the game any more. If the fifth expac has a theme (and I really would resub just to go see the extra Legion worlds and/or play as a High Elf) that’s enjoyable I might go back, but I don’t doubt Blizzard will find some way to make what should be good lore into a giant pop culture reference that only Americans and people who rigorously watch Sky Atlantic will understand.

If they changed any of their woeful design decisions and the tone of blue posts that would be an added bonus.

Still, they have, as ever, got the release date spot-on to compete with the new shiny, in this case GW2: a month is enough time for people to realise that there’s no actual progression reason to keep playing once you hit the cap and by then I expect there’ll who will have had their servers/small group teams curb stomped by organised PvP guilds and min/maxers and are ready to go back into the great known that is WoW.

As an aside: I can’t help but wonder how few people will be like me in not playing any of GW2, RoR and MoP when they roll around.

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3. Wilhelm Arcturus - July 25, 2012

@Sephrenya – Thanks! Heh, they ought to put that on the announcement page as well, as when I looked the comment thread was made up primarily of posts saying, “What, no pet?”

@Dril – My current plan has me not playing GW2, RoR, or MoP at their respective launch points. But that could change.

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4. bhagpuss - July 25, 2012

GW2 seems like a given because of the “buy once play forever” deal. It’s not like there’s a commitment of any kind over and above that single purchase and it would be hard to imagine not getting at least the box value in entertainment even if you only play for a couple of weeks. Looked at another way, it’s a Lifetime Membership for the price of the box.

Unlikely I’ll ever play WoW again, although never say never. The leveling structure you describe appears to be a fundamental design flaw, too.

I’m probably done with LotRO too. Pottering around in the free parts gives me more than I need, which seems to be about an hour every other month.

My big surprise is The Secret World, which I can imagine still playing on and off for a good long while. Also City of Steam is supposed to launch this autumn and from what I’ve seen of the current “alpha” it will be more than ready by then. Another one I don’t have to pay for.

Too much choice, as usual.

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5. kaozz - July 25, 2012

Gah, can I complain about too much to do in the last half of this year? I’m actually pretty happy with all the good stuff that’s been releasing this year, more competition. I’ll probably end up getting MoP, kind of excited about it. Plus, I still have my annual pass sitting there. GW2 looks appealing too, I’m sure I’ll end up getting it, don’t know if it will be at release though… and I just bought TSW which I had no plans to buy. My willpower is so weak these days, lol.

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6. Matt - July 25, 2012

So why is it $40? Is there any good reason why a game that makes you pay a monthly fee just to play it also has an upfront fee for new content?

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7. Wilhelm Arcturus - July 25, 2012

@Matt – Well, the old answer, back in the pre-WoW EQ days, was that the price on the box was to pay for the development of completely new content, while the subscription fee was to keep the servers up, support staffed, to get bugs fixed, and to keep the client current with ongoing OS and driver updates.

But the real answer, or so I have always suspected, is probably, “Because they can.”

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8. Shadow - July 26, 2012

“Because they can.” is the answer for any money transaction, or more accruately, “Because someone will pay it.”.

I’ll say this: WAR kept me occupied for a long time. WoW I played in my post EQ2 time, and so was only there for my guild of RL friends, and SW:tOR I never expected to stick with.

I enjoyed Rift, and appreciate it for what it is and does, but just have almost no interest in going there when I could go to EQ2 instead with my years of nostalgic, comfortable past. Those two games just seem way to similar too me, and I split hairs when comparing what matters to me.

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9. avokes - July 26, 2012

I’ve been out of wow now for 7 months, I did say that I would not go back but I’ve got this urge to visit Azaroth again. What I am doing is going in on a starter account as I’ve had the unfortunate privilege of losing my authenticator for my original account. My form of identification here in South Africa is not accepted as proof for having my account reinstated. Is a right pain but what can one do.
If I do decide to return then for now I’d not have a need for mop as it will take me a while to level to 85 anyway, what with family commitments etc.

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10. coppertopper - July 26, 2012

@Dril
“…and by then I expect there’ll who will have had their servers/small group teams curb stomped by organised PvP guilds and min/maxers…”

Its going to happen of course – they will move across the map like locusts until every possible capture point is the same color. But between the matchmaking system and the initial 24hr resets, the auto max-levelling and pop caps of WvW, and all sides being equal class-wise, I don’t think Anet could have done it any better. They took every measure to make it the best possible experience, and will no doubt keep tweaking the formula, but thats more then anyone has done for fantasy PvP in years.

Whats really going to turn the tourists back to their comfort zones is the lack of explanation/tutorials to how the actual game is played. The number one question i hear all the time is “how do i get in to wvw”. The whole ‘heart of the mists’ thing is a confusing mess to the majority of players. GW2 is a theme park after all and tourists are going to consult a wiki when they are confused.

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11. coppertopper - July 26, 2012

…aren’t going to consult a wiki, aren’t…

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