It’s been a week, so I figure I can put together some actual thoughts on the new Pandaria content beyond “Oooh, shiny.” Aely just dinged 87 last night, and my monk, An Xei, is level 16. Obviously, I’ve not had the kind of time that a lot of others have, since many in my guild have hit 90 and are running heroics. But with raiding pretty much off the table, I’m not in a huge hurry, so I’m trying to enjoy digesting the content as it comes. (It’s a little hard not to feel horribly behind, but I can’t do anything about work!)
First thing? It’s pretty. It’s REALLY pretty. Jade Forest is gorgeous, Valley of the Four Winds is lovely, even the Kun-Lai Summit has a charm to it, albeit a lot fewer bright colors. I love running around just looking for views – something I’ve not really done since Northrend.
The story in Jade Forest is excellent too. While it slows at some points (Tian Monastery wasn’t my favorite), overall the zone makes sense and moves along at a good pace – with a cool plot twist or two to keep things interesting. I had a little trouble finding the last few quests to complete the zone achievement, which was a bit annoying (a crumb-trail would have been nice), but I really enjoyed the zone. I like the Jinyu too. I’m also not dreading doing it a second time, which is a pleasant feeling, given that Angoleth will be following Aely shortly!
As usual, however, Blizzard does a really excellent job of setting up an EPIC CONFLICT and then sending you out to collect bugs and feathers for some random fisherman NPC. While the Valley of the Four Winds quests have been amusing, and I understand the value of comic relief, it feels like a bit of a letdown after Jade Forest. It doesn’t seem to be advancing the story at all – we could easily have gotten the flavor of Pandaren culture in one quest hub instead of a whole zone. Maybe there will be a big plot twist at the end, but so far I’m a little bored there.
The Wandering Isle was a lot of fun as a starting zone, and monks seem like a pretty good class. I’m hoping to get more RP for An Xei as I level her up, since she’s got a pretty strong personality, and I have a lot of ideas for her story. Since I do a lot of story development through conversation, that will likely get sorted out via RP sessions more than it will on my own, at least at first. I’d like to try healing with the monk as well, though I’ve heard it can be a little tricky at first, especially if you get an all-monk-group (which is likely these days).
That’s about as far as I’ve gotten so far. I’ve run around a bit in the Kun-Lai summit, but otherwise I’ve only really seen the first two zones. Overall my impression is good, and I’m having fun. I haven’t touched the pet battles, which is a bit of a shame, since that seems to be a lot of fun and I’d like to catch one of the adorable Jade Forest raccoons that I keep seeing.
RP night is tonight, and the Wildfire Riders are setting up shop in the Drunken Hozen, which should make for good fun. Our RP has to be a little careful right now, since we range from “just got here 85″ to “running level 90 heroics” and storyline spoilers are not so cool. It’s really hard NOT to talk about all the things that you’re seeing, but having had a few major plot points spoilered for me in open RP channels, I’m trying hard to avoid ruining things for anyone else. (That includes in comments, thanks!) On the other hand, it’s nice to have a story that’s immersive enough to have to worry about spoilers!
Though I’m sure most of you are farther along in the story than I am, I hope you’re all enjoying the new content. The general feeling I’ve seen is one of optimism – it’s not perfect for everyone, but nothing is. But overall I think, at least so far, there’s a lot going for Pandaria, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it.
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