I watched a bit of the live-blogging and Twitter coverage of BlizzCon today.
Of course, the big news was the announcement of the next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria.
Panda Express... In Your Face!
I told somebody who used to play WoW about the expansion and they thought I was pulling their leg. Pandas? Really?
Which about sums up my initial reaction.
Not that it was much of a surprise that pandas turned out to be the focus of the expansion. The news about Blizzard registering the name “Mists of Pandaria” was out a while ago. The surprise for me was that they weren’t just yanking our chain, registering a red herring name to throw us all off.
No, when Blizzard registers pandas, they mean to give us pandas.
And I honestly do not know what to think.
WoW is all but in the “nostalgia” category for me as of this moment, a game I may go back and visit when the urge strikes me, but one I somehow doubt will ever be my main game again. And thanks to Cataclysm, nostalgia isn’t even a good excuse to go back, since most of the game only dates back to 2010 now. Nothing pre-Burning Crusade exists in its original form.
But Blizzard is throwing in a lot of stuff. A new race, a new class, a Pokemon-like pet battling system, scenarios, account-wide achievement tracking, scenarios, and a revamp and simplification of talent trees, all of which have some appeal.
And there is the whole “subscribe to WoW for a year and we’ll give you a special mount, Pandaria beta access, and a free copy of Diablo III” there to muddy the water.
I am going to, without a doubt, buy Diablo III. And that is going to be $60 if it is a penny. So, taking the best possible price plan to subscribe for a year, $156 by going for it in two 6 month increments, that means a year of WoW for ~99 dollars.
Which wouldn’t be a bad deal, if I was playing WoW. But I am not. And I might still consider it still if Pandaria was six months out. But it is a year out if it is a day. And while I would like the mount… I have a weakness on that front… the beta holds no attraction for me whatsoever. Access to the Cataclysm beta took the edge off the game for me and probably shortened my interest in the expansion by a couple months.
When I got home from work, I told my daughter that the new expansion had been announced at BlizzCon.
She was immediately disappointed that I hadn’t subscribed to BlizzCon on DirecTV again this year, even though all she really wants to see is the dance and costume contest. I told her we could catch that later on YouTube.
But when I told her that the new race was going to be pandas, she was very excited. Pandas are a winner with pre-teen girls.
So we went over to her iMac and watched the Mists of Pandaria B-roll video in full screen HD via YouTube.
This got a mix of excited gasps and exclamations that Blizzard was totally ripping off the movie Kung Fu Panda. We own the movie on DVD, and while I think we’ve only watched it twice, it apparently left an impression, as my daughter was pointing out what was ripped off from which scene or location in the movie. I was impressed with the level of OCD detail.
But despite that, or perhaps because of that, her first question was, “When does it come out?” And I had not even mentioned the pet battling system, which I am sure would also be a big hit with her.
When I said it was probably a year away, that got a frown. A year is a huge chunk of a young girl’s lifetime. Anything could happen in a year.
Still, she seemed undeterred, as her next question was, “Can I get in the beta then?”
And of course, there is a way I could make that happen.
So we have at least one strong fan of pandas at our house, as well as one undecided.
We shall see how things turn out.
One thing though… it is a shame that the World of Warcraft Magazine was closed down. This would have given them at least six more issues of content.