Saturday, September 29, 2012

Through the Mists (Part 2)

Treking Forward

I've finished the main questline in the first zone of Mists of Pandaria's new content, that being The Jade Forest, and I must say....It's well worth it to do so. I wouldn't say it in and of itself was worth $40, but I dare say it comes fairly close.

As a bit of a guess on what it ends on...Most people who've gone through the game's older content tend to recall Wrathgate. Well, if you recall Wrathgate, I dare say the cutscene you're given during the end of this zone surpasses Wrathgate's own. And perhaps I'm building it up slightly too much to the point where it won't live up to expectations...

Moving on, after a few quests, I'm sent to the next zone, Valley of the Four Winds, to begin my mingling with the locals. This zone starts out fairly slowly, and doesn't ever really pick up much. Whereas in Jade Forest Alliance side you pretty much commit genocide of the Hozen, a race of monkey-like creatures, here you will destroy many of a race dubbed the Vermin, which appear to be oversized rats.

You'll help the local farmers on many an errand, but the high point of this zone is that you traverse it in part with Chen Stormstout, of Warcraft 3 fame. He and his niece are new comers in Pandaria, just as you will be, yet they have a slight firmer grasp on Pandaren culture, thus they sort of act as the middle point for you. You being at the low-knowledge end of the spectrum, and the locals being at the high-knowledge end, Chen and his niece ask just enough questions to allow you to learn the lore, without seeming to know nothing about their own people(though I would almost excuse it if they didn't know anything, as they've spent their time on a turtle).

Most of these quests end up falling in the simple "Go here, retrive this from the *insert animal here* that stole it*", before leading up to "Go here, kill a larger version of said animal." quests. Yet somehow I never really found myself bored. You'll be moving around the zone enough, and quests that shake up the formula are inserted at just the right spot, to keep you going forward. I'm about a bar from 87, and I honestly thought, after what had to be growing to near a hundred quests, I would be growing bored, but I simply wanted to keep going. There's a slightly believable relationship between Chen and his niece, Li Li, and even if the Alliance/Horde battles were in the background, it was pleasant to simply see some side character development, and learn about this new race's culture.

At first I was a bit iffy on a land full focused on a single race, and of the Pandaren in general, but now? I'm actually really getting into it. The Pandaren, while a gentle, peaceful race, are almost forced into their ways, lest they unwittingly summon the ancient forces known as the Sha, beings that feed off of negative emotion. It's actually sort of interesting just to think on that.

I believe soon enough I'll be moving onto a different zone, and I can't wait.

The Ways of the Monk

The new class to come with Mists of Pandaria is the Monk. The Monk relies mostly on hand to hand combat, uses an energy resource similar to a Rogue, but generates a secondary resource called Chi, similar to Combat Points, that feeds other abilities. They wear leather, and can spec into being Brewmasters(Tanks), Windwalkers(DPS), and Mistweavers(Healers), making the first new hybrid class to be added to the game, joining the ranks of paladins and druids.

They start a bit slow. Their basic attack is called Jab, and you do just that, you jab your enemy. This generates a point or two(up to three, I believe) of Chi, which later on is used to use stronger attacks, like roundhouse kicks and the like. It's easy to see where the influence for the class comes from.

It's honestly fun, once you've got a few abilities, but my main concern is balance. From the shape of things in the later levels, as I'm being told, the Monk appears to be seriously overpowered. Of course they are the new class, and as I recall DKs had the same problem. My main concern is that it either won't be addressed, or the poor things will be nerfed into oblivion.

I've yet to step into a dungeon with mine, and they've only just made it to level 23. As I tank for the most part, I specced into Brewmaster, was given a new stance to stay in, and a new form of taking damage, called Staggering. When you get hit by an attack, while in this stance, you will stagger some of the damage, taking only 80% of it right away, the remaining 20% will be applied to you over the course of the next ten seconds or so. It's interesting in concept, and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out in dungeons. I've yet to enter PvP yet with mine either, as at the lower levels I've found the queues to be ungodly long.

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