* Prices may differ from that shown
This is the most recent expansion for long running MMORPG PC/MAC game World of Warcraft (WoW), and was released in September 2012. It includes new features such as New Character Race, New Character Class, Expansion of player Max level, Extension of Map area, New Dungeons, New Quests/Storyline and all new Pet Battle system.
As an existing player of the World of Warcraft series I was anticipating the release of Mists of Pandaria, and looking forward to advancing through the game with all the new features on offer. Anyone not aware of how World of Warcraft works, you are required to Purchase the intial Game, and all the previous expansions to the one you wish to play. To then play on the servers you are required to purchase Game time, which can be done on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis.
First of all this game requires constant internet connect to play, as it is a fully online game. The system requirements are as follows (as per Blizzard's minimum requirements)
Operating system - Windows XP/Vista/7 with latest service pack
Processor - Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64x62
Video - NVIDIA GeForce or ATI Radeon X1600 pro (256MB)
Memory - 2 GB Ram (1Gb windows XP)
Operating system - Mac OS X 10.7.3
Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo
Video - NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600
Memory - 2 GB Ram (1Gb windows XP)
Storage -25 GB Hard Drive available space
Internet - Broadband Internet Connection
Media - DVD -ROM drive required to install from disc
Input - Keyboard/Mouse
My suggestion is to visit a website www.canyourunit.com from the system you intend to play the game, and it should tell you how well your system is suited to that particular game.
Installation & Set up
World of Warcraft : Mists of Pandaria is an expansion of World of Warcraft, so prior to any installation you will need on your system already, "World of Warcraft : Battle Chest" and "World of Warcraf : Cataclysm" as these games precede Mists of Pandaria in the timeline.
There are two main ways to Install Mists of Pandaria onto your system. You can either Purchase and download the game from Battle.net or buy the Game disc from a Digital Retailer. The download option from the Battle.net website, time will vary on internet speed of your download depending on your internet speed. But once downloaded installation will auto run and prompt you for decisions you need to make. The Disc option is similar, but instead of waiting on the download, your information if already on the disc. When you put into your DVD-ROM you will be prompted for CD Keys, which will be contained the box that the disc came in, this key unique to your CD.
Once the game is Installed, either way you chose, a game client will launch and often do daily updates to ensure you are playing the most up to date version of that game. Once the marker is green you will be able to play by hitting the play button and it will launch you into the game. At this point you will be able to chose your server, and your character.
The Game and General Features
Mists of Pandaria introduces a new Character race and Class, being Pandaren and Monk respectively. The Pandaren are Panda like Creatures with Oriental style themed setting. Unlike ever before on the game Pandarens can be either Alliance or Horde faction the decision is left to you, this is unique in the sense that on previous expansions there has always been two new races announced, but specifically one for Horde and one for Alliance. Pandaren's can go any of Hunter, Monk, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Shaman and Warrior classes and so there is a wealth of options to choose from.
The Monk class, which is introduced along with the Pandaren race, can also be played as all other races apart from Goblin (horde) or Worgen (alliance), so again there is plently of variations available. Monks have 3 different disciplines, Brewmaster, Windtalker, Mistweaver, which allow players to be either a Tank, DPS or Healer (These are gaming terminology which are widely used on most MMORPGs). This means that a Monk can be very versatile and depending on the route you take do most things on the game.
Players can now advance from the previous top level cap of 85 right up to 90 now, this followed suite of its previous expansion Cataclysm from 80-85, were as the two previous add-ons took you from 60-70 and 70-80 respectively. I was keen to get my main character up to level 90 as a priority, and my method was storyline based quests via the new storyline/map, this got me used to all the new features, including a brand new talent tree, which made the old skills redundant. Another method to level up would have been via the dungeons with parties, but I decided this was something I would tackle further down the line.
One big feature of the new add on, and one I didn't look at straight away was the Battle Pet system, but after collecting 1 or 2, it became like a challenge to go and collect them all and level them up, which is a theme in games of this nature. I really enjoyed the addition of the Battle Pets as it gave the game yet another dimension.
There are new Raids, new Dungeons, New Battlegrounds, New Mounts and new equipment, most of which I have briefly had experiences with but not enough to elaborate too much. This expansion like the game in its entirety hugely vast and there are so many features I haven't had chance to use, so I have only been able to review what has crossed my path to the top.
Price and Availability
World of Warcraft : Mists of Pandaria pack is available from most good digital retailers, and also available as a download from the EU host for World of Warcraft website, Battle.net. Prices currently range from £24.99 to £30.00 after checking some of the bigger retailers . Along with purchase of the game, game time is usually available from £8.99 for one calendar month, or £17.99 for 60 days, prices rarely vary as they are preset by Blizzard.
As previously mentioned due to this game being an expansion if you don't have the previous games then you will also need to purchase them.
The first in the series and now part of a set is "World of Warcraft : Battle Chest" this seems to be a steady price of £9.99 Priced checked on Amazon today and also on Battle.net as a digital download. This Battle Chest includes, "World of Warcraft", "World of Warcraft : The Burning Crusade" and "World of Warcraft : The Wrath of the Lich King", and so makes these individual games obsolete as a purchase.
The only other purchase necessary prior is "World of Warcraft : Cataclysm" which on Amazon is priced starting from £4.09 via 3rd party sellers. This like the rest is available to purchase and download on battle.net
My recommendation is to buy brand new copies of any of these games, as they come with unique game keys which link with your system/account.
I am hasten to give anything a 5 star review, unless I genuinely believe it was perfect, maybe if possible I would have clicked 4.5, but on reflection it is definitively a discredit to the game to give it a 4 star review. My personal view is that Blizzard got this expansion spot on, with a constant improvement of graphics an advancement of game play and maintaining very well run servers with good communities which make the game what it is to play. This add on brings the 8 year old game well up to date to rival any brand new current game and in my opinion still the best out there of its genre.
The issue of game time fee is always one you have to weigh up, and at £8.99 per month, obviously when more pressing issues come to front or its time to cut back, the game has to take a back seat first. With the way the game is maintained I personally think it is worth its value, but its not something you could leave subscribed to for months at a time whilst your not playing it, but this doesn't take anything anyway from Mists of Pandaria.
I have had several stints of game time on WoW with my most recent one coinciding with the release of Mists of Pandaria, right up until April 2013, only to cut back as our baby arrived in April.
Before I start writing this review I just want to make something clear to you all if you don't already know this game is an expansion pack to the world of warcraft game. I have been waiting for this game to come out now for months and couldn't wait to play it, or write about it. As most of you know by the world of warcraft review I wrote on I do enjoy playing this game, although does tend to get a little boring at times especially if you make another character because your doing the same things over again.
Always check the back of the box before purchasing any game, as this will tell you what is required to run this game efficiently. You will need to have the previous expansion pack before even purchasing this one, and also the minimum requirements of the system your running. If you not buying the game from a retail shop then I suggest you look on the website at the system requirements before getting the game.
**INSTALLING & RUNNING THE GAME**
Now the installation to this expansion pack doe depend on whether you have the other expansions and the base game installed on your computer, if you are like me and you do then you don't have to install the expansion pack as through the months the game does update itself in the background. All you need to do to update the game is to log into your game account and type in your cd key. If you are not currently playing the game then you need to install the content from the cd's, which is easy to do just pop the cd into your cd player on your computer and run the installation and follow the on screen instructions. Once you have done this, then you need to put in the cd key for the game which can be found on the inside of the case typed on a white sticker. Then run the game as you normally would, by clicking on the icon on your desktop.
**MISTS OF PANDARIA**
When you come to play this expansion the first thing you will notice is the new character and class, although you can play the panda without the expansion pack but you can't access the other content or the new class. Now I have to say at the moment I haven't played a monk class, but I know it's a hybrid class meaning it can do anything you want as far as either deal damage, tank or heal. I will get around to playing this class but for now I am getting to know the game and levelling up my other characters and enjoying the exploration this new game gives me. The monk class is not only available to the panda but to other races as well, so if you fancy playing a monk but don't fancy playing a panda then that's not a problem.
A new starting area will be available to explore by the panda's and it is a nice area to quest in. Although I was a little disappointed with not finding a mail box there but once you get to the appropriate level you will move out of there into a new zone. All quests must be completed in order to move out of there. Quests are simple to do and don't require a group of you to do them, as I know it can be a struggle to find a group as such a low level.
Another thing that is different with this expansion is the looting, the looting is a lot better now as before if you were to kill lets say a group of mobs you would loot them all individually which was time consuming and a pain, but now one click on a mob and all the loots are looted with a simple click. This is ideal especially if you're a big fan of doing dungeons and raids.
There are new dungeons, raids and battleground added in here too, which is good as I enjoy running dungeons. The dungeons are quite fun to run with the right group. There are other changes like the mounts you have purchased in the previous expansions can now be ridden by all your characters, so none as to be purchased unless there is a specific one you want. You also have a tab that you can view the combination actions to help you fight and kill mobs faster and harder, this was something I was always frustrated with, but even so I just played to my own style. You will also see what has changed with your character you're playing, which is something you have to look up on the internet to find out.
The expansion allows you to level up to 90 now, so any character that couldn't go no further can now explore the new continent, grab better loots, and expand your professions to the max. Also new to this expansion is the chance to battle your non combat pets, these pets are just for fun and goes where ever you go. To train your pet, simply go to a trainer and train up your pets, once they level up they experience a new ability to help battle other pets and win. Don't know to much about this as I have not really gone into depth with this.
**AVAILABILITY & PRICE**
If you don't want to buy this from a retail shop then you can either purchase it from the blizzard webpage, costing you £29.99, or a digital download which costs you the same. Or you can simply buy it from argos at £23.99, studio at £27.99, Amazon £27.25.
I do enjoy playing this game purely for fun and the entertainment it gives, there is loads to do so not really can you get bored unless you live on the game all day every day. I really like this expansion for many reasons, new starting area, new continent, new and better loots, battling pets, new dungeons, battlegrounds and raids. Just packed up with stuff to do, although I do have to admit it is quite addictive and some people playing the game can take it quite seriously and makes the game not fun to play.