- Feb. 4, 2012, 3:40 a.m.
That's a decent question, Zubupally! I'll do what I can to address some of the popular questions/concerns on this late Friday's eve.
First, for some context, we showed a lot of pandaren at BlizzCon because that was the art we had completed at the time (and obviously it's the new playable race). Are there pandaren all over the new continent? Of course. There are also some really unique cultures and new races, including some very diabolical villains in the form of the mogu, the mantid, and the sha.
As a few posters have pointed out, Pandaria starts out relatively unspoiled. (spoiler!) That isn’t going to last. The Horde versus Alliance conflict is going to continue to ratchet up in a way we've often talked about, but never really delivered before now. It gives the story more depth (we hope!) when you get to see the “before” before the “after.”
The new continent has a heavy Asian vibe, but it’s still a fantasy game and there are some very fantastic and original landscapes as well. The last few zones in particular are what we like to call "high concept." You won’t find anything like them in the real world.
With all that said, you might still be asking, "why MoP?"
We think, more than seven years into World of Warcraft's life cycle, it's time to start some new stories. Previous expansions relied heavily on heroes and villains established in the Warcraft RTS games. We aren’t content to rest on our laurels though. We want to introduce some new characters to get to know. We want to have some new enemies to fight. Perhaps, most importantly, we want to start sowing the seeds for future stories. Nothing is lamer than finding out that the boss you're supposed to kill is someone you've never heard of. It’s a lot more fun when you get to know the bad guys, get a reason to hate them, and feel like you're thwarting their diabolical plans and not just killing them for loot.
We've focused a lot on the lighter side of Mists of Pandaria as a contrast to the world-ending vibe of Cataclysm. It’s not all unicorns and butterflies however. There are dark secrets lurking beneath the new continent, and in some ways they're even more insidious, because you get to experience the beautiful new landscapes before they become threatened and sometimes even destroyed.
To summarize, we provided you all with a very basic framework for the next expansion at BlizzCon. By the time the press tour ends in March, expect to get a lot more information on the real meat of this expansion. It won't be correctly summarized by a portrait of a smiling panda chewing on bamboo.