I wish I had written a prediction post before Blizzcon, because there were so many things they revealed that I was sure was going to be revealed; pandas, panda continent, monk class, pandas being a neutral race, etc. But there were also many things I could not foresee at all… Dungeon challenges? Awesome! WoW-Pokémon? What… uhm.. ooh, that looks kinda cool! No new big bad villain to let us know how the expansion ends? Hmm.. interesting.
If you want to see the massive list of new features planned for Mists of Pandaria then I suggest you check out MMO-Champion. Here I’ll add my thoughts to some of the new features instead of just rambling through all of them yet again.
This expansion is a shift for Blizzard, they are trying many new things at once here. Probably because Cataclysm was mostly just following old formula and as an effect of that they lost a lot of subscribers.
In this expansion they are not going with a big villain up front, instead it’s us, the players, who are the real bad guys. We’ll bring war to Pandaria and with that, we’ll recreate horrors unseen for many thousands of years. With our anger and hatred we’ll bring back the Sha, which is just hate embodied really.
And who knows what else? This is the key here, we’re venturing into the unknown, we don’t know what lies ahead and personally, I find this very exciting. In Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm we knew exactly what raids and dungeons lied ahead. This time we have no clue! What will be the last raid tier of Mists of Pandaria? Nobody knows! And when will it happen? Could be any time.
A lot of people thought the pandas were a joke and just too cuddly for general consumption. I disagree, they look awesome and I want more pandas. Furthermore their animations are epic and I really hope they will be able to up all the old races animations/models to this level of detail.
Lets ignore all the visuals of the new race though and lets focus on what really matters; the new racials!
Epicurean – This will be a massive boost to any class/spec. Rather than increasing one specific stat like 1% crit or 1% haste, which might or might not be beneficial for you. This bonus is just a fantastic “you get exactly what you want” buff. Dpsers, tanks and healers will all enjoy this buff and it is also immune to any patch changes that makes funny things to stat weights, you can just go for a different stat then the previous one you were using!
Let us compare this to other racials as a hunter if it were to exist during Cataclysm, right now (using my character as reference point):
- Night elf: +-0 dps (no dps increasing racials)
- Worgen: +215 dps (1% crit)
- Orc: +376 dps (increased pet damage and an extra cooldown)
- Pandaren: +324 dps (90 extra Agility)
If Pandaren were playable right now, it’d be the best race for Alliance hunters but for Horde hunters, Orc is still the way to go.
In the next expansion we might see slightly different tuning to all of these numbers so what will be best then remains to be seen, I have a hunch though that the Pandaren will come out ahead cause that’s usually what Blizzard likes to do with the new races.
Gourmand – A boost to cooking rather than a specific profession which you may or may not have. This one bypasses that frustration and provides you with a bonus to cooking, which everyone can use.
Inner Peace – Basically you level faster… Nice!
Bouncy – You take less falling damage. Sounds useful but not vital, I imagine there will be boss encounters where your healers will love you for having this and it might be useful in general when leveling…. I know I tended to fall from a few cliffs myself when leveling.
Quaking Palm – You can put an enemy to sleep for 3 seconds. This sounds like a really great extra ability for PvPers, but consider that the cooldown on this will most likely be ridiculously high like maybe 3 minutes and if so, it won’t really make that much of a difference in battlegrounds… but maybe in arena. Hm, hm.
No more minimum range for hunters
The class feedback form for hunters resulted in pretty much a 100% of people said they hated minimum range and wanted it gone for good. And guess what, now it is! Along with this change is a removal of melee weapon slot for hunters (and removal of ranged weapons for other classes), now we’ll only have a ranged weapon and that’s it. This opens up for displaying the ranged weapon on our back when it’s not in our hands and all that great stuff which I was wishing for in the feedback form, fantastic!
This will be a massive change for us and for Blizzard in both PvP and in PvE.
In PvP we’ll be able to deal damage and regen focus while in melee range and therefor we’ll be able to deal with any other melee class more effectively (even though we still want to get away from them to survive) and healers when they pillarhump and even casters, since most of them know to be in melee with us.
In PvE we’ll be able to stand in melee when needed. This means we don’t have to stand outside of the group (with all the AOE heals) during that burn phase, or have to run away from huge hitboxes (Rhyolith anyone?) and always being out of range of healers. We’d be able to help out on crystals effectively on Baleroc. We wouldn’t be in the back of the room on Marrowgar, being spiked to death alone cause no one noticed the hunter in the back, etc, etc, etc.
This opens up for new possibilities for us to play our class and for Blizzard to design raid encounters now that they don’t have to take minimum range into consideration. They could even design bosses that have such enormous hitboxes that covered the whole room so melee would always be in range – it’s ok now. There are no more suffering hunters from humongous hitboxes!
No more melee weapons isn’t all good…
Ok, so I don’t want to put a downer on the whole “no melee weapons for hunters”-deal. I really like this new approach and I think it makes sense. But…
What about quest items that need to be equipped (fire extinguishers, lances)?
What about flavour items that go in a melee slot (brewsteins, frying pans, ice creams, profession items, flowers, foam swords, canes)?
What about fishing poles?!
WHAT ABOUT OLD IRONJAW?
New talent system
Mists of Pandaria will have a new talent system, which is based more on providing interesting choices than a way for you to maximize the potential of your character. If they can deliver on this promise or not is still up in the air at this point. As an attempt to make Blizzard work even harder on making this a reality I will try to create some cookie-cutter specs right away.
I give you, the new cookie-cutter raid spec:
- Venom Tipped Arrows: Leaves a dot on your target, this means more dps. Alternatively the Arcane Arrows could provide more dps, depending on how much focus you gain out of it and how much damage the Venom Tipped Arrows do, but once the numbers have been crunched, one of the two should be a clear winner.
- Silencing Shot: It’s always useful to have an interrupt in a raid, the extra cc and stun the other two choices provide are most likely not as useful.
- Posthaste: In a raid you will most likely use Disengage to move from or to things, rather than because you have someone beating on your face. Therefor the speed increase from Posthaste will be more beneficial to you than the healing or mitigation that the other talents provide.
- Spirit Bond: You gain some passive healing which means you’ll need less healing by the healers of the raid. This is a better choice than Aspect of the Iron Hawk because that one specifically says “direct damage” (not AOE damage), which you won’t be receiving very often,
- Readiness: Fervor pales in comparison to Readiness and Thrill of the Hunt is cool and all but nowhere near as cool as having an extra Rapid Fire every 3 min.
- Flash Freeze: For kiting mobs, Black Ice will be superior, but if you’re one of the designated CCers of the raid then you’ll want Flash Freeze. Not having a cd on the freezing trap means your CC is THAT much more effective.
… and the cookie-cutter pvp spec:
- Frozen Arrows: You keep your enemies slowed, a clear winner.
- Silencing Shot: Again, Silencing shot is just much better in general than the other two options.
- Exhilaration: When you’re disengaging in PvP it’s probably because you have a warrior or rogue in your face making you bleed for lots of damage. Therefor that heal that Exhilaration provides will almost always be useful and potentially lifesaving. Evasiveness doesn’t seem as good because once you’ve disengaged away from the enemy… you don’t actually need to mitigate their hits anymore, you’re already away!
- Aspect of the Iron Hawk: In PvP you’ll take a lot of direct damage and a 15% damage reduction to that is wicked good.
- Readiness: Readiness rules the world in PvP, it’s the biggest reason we are even brought to arenas!
- Black Ice: Kiting people forever through traps? Sign me up! The Transmorph trap seems very fun and cool as well but you’ll most likely be kiting people rather than needing another CC.
There you go, my cookie-cutter specs. Do you disagree, have some better ideas or maybe suggestions for what Blizzard should do instead? Give me a comment! :)