When Mists of Pandaria was first announced during last year’s Blizzcon, my heart sank. I just didn’t understand it. What are they doing to my beloved game? How am I supposed to take Pandas seriously? Months later, my thoughts towards this expansion haven’t necessarily been changed but they have resigned themselves into complete acceptance. It is what it is. It’s old news now. The shock has worn off and I’m over it. Luckily I acclimated just in time to be able to look forward to the beta with a bit of excitement. This weekend I finally got to dip my toes into MoP and I gotta tell you… my first impressions were very good. I really don’t know what I was so upset about to begin with. I’m not someone who’s necessarily afraid of change, so it was more than that. I guess it just sounded so ridiculous.
Hey, guess what? Blizzard pulled it off. The female panda’s are adorable. I knew the Asian themed areas would be stunning, that was never a concern, but they were even more stunning than I had hoped. I won’t go into much detail here for those who are trying to halfway avoid spoilers but I got instantly excited just seeing the changes to the character creation screens. Once I got my Pandaren looking all cute, I had to name her. I couldn’t use Elfi in my name since a Pandaren is not an Elf, but I did want it to be as recognizable as possible because I know there are a lot of people from my Google Reader and Twitter feeds on the Lost Isles server where I am. I finally came up with Jadeindale as a pretty good combination of an Asian themed name and something that’s a part of my normal naming convention. I know I won’t be spending a lot of time logged into the beta, but if you are there and ever run into Jadeindale feel free to give me a wave or a hug.
As I mentioned above, I have no desire to spoil anything for anyone who is trying to go into the expansion’s launch blindly, so I won’t go into any quest details here. But in my 9 levels the quests were a pretty good combination of fun and serious. The only really tedious part about the Pandaren starting area is the fact that it’s a hotspot of activity with dozens of players doing the exact same quest as you every time. But that’s to be expected. I’m a very patient person, so that didn’t bother me at all. Besides, it gave me time to climb up on nearby rocks and take screenshots. I know by now you guys have seen the scenery before, but here are a few of the shots I took on Sunday.
Yes, I do apologize for the crappy looking gray text on those screenshots. I have always watermarked my screenshots before with an online photo editing application called Picnik (picnik.com), but unfortunately Google+ has purchased it and is taking it offline to make it only available through a personal Google+ account. They already did that to PicasaWeb, so I’m not sure if this means they are completely shutting down PicasaWeb or they’re just trying to control all photo editing software. I am normally a Google fangirl, but I have never been a fan of Google+. Sometimes I want to edit photos and share them with people who are actually strangers across the country and will not be at my next family reunion and therefore they don’t need to see my real name and various other information just because they clicked on a photo I posted on my blog. /rant
Sorry about that. Point is, I haven’t been able to find a good replacement for Picnik, so things are a bit rudimentary right now. I realize that Photoshop and PaintShop Pro, etc. are excellent photo editing resources, but the thing about Picnik was you could upload 100 photos to it’s website and edit them online from anywhere. Which meant it was easy to do at work. I will never have Photoshop on my work pc so that’s the difference. Besides, we’re just talking screenshots here and not serious photography. If anyone has any suggestions for some sort of replacement, let me know.
Back to MoP… the verdict is – I liked it. I really enjoyed myself and had fun playing. There are so many cute new creatures too. I fell in love with the field yak for some reason. Took a lot of screenshots of those things. Yep, I guess WoW didn’t jump the shark after all.