World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria preview

Our monk George may not be as fierce as Po, but we hold our own in this hands-on session

Eating at Panda Express can hardly be considered an achievement in real life, but if you get your tubby Pandaren rolling, you can earn the "Panda Express" achievement in the new expansion for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. At Blizzcon 2011, we entered the beautiful and lush world of Pandaria to get some hands-on time with our male Pandaren monk named George.

It's hard enough to keep away from the allure of World of Warcraft, but once you throw some pandas into the mix, everyone's giong to want to frolick in the bamboo with these cuddly bears. Mists of Pandaria is Blizzard's next expansion for its insanely popular MMO, World of Warcraft. The new expansion is set on a continent that is 10,000 years old and has been shrouded in mystery until now.

The Pandaren have inhabited the land for ages now, but they weren't the first race to populate this enchanting and magical place. As you take on quests, more will be revealed in terms of the story but for now, we were occupying ourselves with some kung fu. The new monk class is obviously very fist-heavy and our first order of business was to get some gear and start punching things. Without the auto-attack feature for monk, we really had to pay attention when attacking targets that fight back.

Like other starting zones, you'll level quickly by taking on a variety of quests to gain experience. It's a good mix of fighting and collecting, but you won't be sent too far away in the beginning. Your chi recharges fast enough to string a series of attacks and roll around in the process. These Pandaren are surprisingly nimble, considering the amount of weight they are lugging around.

As we go through the motions of getting through the early stages, it's the Asian-influenced environments and melodies that stand out. But Pandaria has a magical quality to it, similar to the Night Elf realm of Teldrassil, but instead of obscenely large trees, we were surrounded by brightly colored but quaint stone structures and temples. Female Pandaren are hard to tell apart, but they are denoted by a cute bow on their head. In case it wasn't totally obvious, is displayed below their name.

In typical Blizzard fashion, there is no word of when the expansion will be out, but we'll keep you updated as time goes on. For a full list of the new features being added to Mists of Pandaria, be sure to read our comprehensive List of new features in Mists of Pandaria.

Oct 22, 2011

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sophia is a transplanted Canadian who loves video games, dogs, poutine, snowboarding, photography, food, and naps.
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