I’ll be updating this post as we learn more Mists of Pandaria lore, but for now, there are a few things we can surmise.
First and foremost, Blizzard is obviously further sub-dividing the originally expected “Maelstrom” expansion. This is a very big deal. Why? Simply put, it could mean we’ll have not five, but six expansions (as some of you have suspected). Is this certain? Hardly. In fact, I discuss this more in the latest Future Expansions for WoW – Redux update. Six expansions would bring us to a nice clean 100 level cap, but I’m not sure if that’s enough incentive. Right now, the golden question is, “When the heck are we going to see Zandalar and Kul Tiras?!”
Will it be part of Mists of Pandaria as a patch? Will they receive their own expansion (together or separately)? Or will they be included with the expected, final expansion that ultimately takes us to Argus? As I like to say, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Right after the opening ceremony, Chris Metzen was interviewed as part of the DirecTV broadcast. In it, he mentioned that the overall story of WoW will be shifting down into fourth gear for Mists of Pandaria; in essence this would be the calm before the storm (a reprieve before getting back to the “mega war”). He then went on to say that perhaps the Horde and Alliance were meant to discover Pandaria at this time. What does that mean? I’m betting the overall story arch of our Mists of Pandaria lore will be the Alliance and Horde finally coming to peace. We’ll have several patches of escalating conflict and then finally a resolution allowing the Horde and Alliance to finally come to terms and form a unified front against Sargeras.
This is why, right now, I think we’ll still have only five expansions with Zandalar and Kul Tiras being part of the Argus expansion. Why? Conflict equals story. It’d be counter-productive for Blizzard to end the Alliance/Horde war any earlier than they needed to. Would they need to unify to take on Zandalar? Maybe. But that’s a lot less compelling.
So this leads to another question. What about Queen Azshara? Will we see her in Mists of Pandaria’s lore? Perhaps, but if she shows up in this expansion she’ll probably be the boss who bridges us to the following expansion, similar to Kil’jaeden and Halion. If not then she’ll certainly show up in the future due to her wannabe connection with Sargeras, her threat to the island nations, and because she controls the one dormant portal on Azeroth that we know leads to Argus.
As for the expansion itself, I’ve had a few readers ask for my opinion.
I’m excited about the new features and mechanics, but I’m a bit dubious when it comes to the lore. Why? Imagine if Burning Crusade had been entirely about the Elves and Quel’Thalas, or if Cataclysm was entirely about the Goblins and Kezan. It could be great… but if elves or goblins weren’t your thing, you’d have a problem. If Pandas aren’t you’re thing, will there be enough “other content” to keep your interest? Blizzard really seems to really take it for granted that everyone loves Pandas as much as they do. Personally, I think Pandas are cool, but even your favorite food can make you puke if someone shoves enough of it down your throat. A lot of players in the forums are compaining about the pandas, but I think the fuel being thrown on the fire is the overall feeling that the expansion will be, “all Pandas all the time, because we’re Blizzard and we’re obsessed with them!” I’m not saying that’s really the case, only that BlizzCon obviously gave a lot of people that impression.
My point? I question whether focussing on one race is wise. For now I’m witholding judgement… but I honestly hope it’ll be great.