Welcome to the very first Pandaren Ponderings! Thats right, from now until I deem it “done” this will be a semi regular article I will be writing on World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. As of this moment the game is in a closed beta state and anything and everything I report on is subject to change. The good thing here is that I have no NDA so whatever I see or do I can talk about and show off to you fine people, so lets strap in and talk about my favorite MMO and hopefully yours too if you’re reading this!

Where to begin, this whole expansion is rather overwhelming to be honest. I’m honestly not sure if we’ve ever seen this much new content going into the game at once. But I suppose we’ll start this week with the logical and most obvious addition. The Pandaren themselves. I’m not going to bore/spoil story for those of you who don’t know or want to know how we get here so here’s the juicy bits.

Pandaren start at level 1 within their own starting area called The Wandering Isle. Available classes are Monk (duh), Warrior, Shaman, Priest, Rogue, Hunter, and Mage. Both sexes have the options of being a standard black/white panda or a ‘red’ panda. Females have the long tail option when red is chosen, males always have a small round stub tail.  More recently added was highlights for the females’ hair in roughly 9-10 different color options. We’re talking hot pink and bright blues here, but mind you it’s just highlights, they still have ‘regular’ color for most of their hair.  Males don’t get the short end of the stick on options though as they seem to have quite a few more facial options than the females. Overall it feels a good balance on initial customization options.

Pandaren Male   Pandaren Female

On the flavor side of things are a few rather fitting dances for our new friends. The males have been given the “shuffle” very closely based on the shuffle used in LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem video. Honestly it’s super fitting and just works for this model. Very happy with it. Females have been given a classic dance that wasn’t originally associated with Asian anime but has since been claimed by the genre as its own, that’s right the “Caramelldansen”. There may be some minor variation here but it also fits the model quite nicely. Not as much of a fan myself but it’s cool enough and acceptable.

Lastly we get to more of the mechanics side of things, racials. First up is Epicurean. This is a passive bonus applied to any food you eat that doubles the stat gains for the duration. Very nice indeed! Could be highly useful in raid and dungeon situations, we may even see some top end raiders race change for that but we’ll have to wait and see.  Another passive Gourmand, increases your cooking skill by 15. Cooking has gotten a  major major endgame overhaul in this expansion which I hope to cover in more depth later but this is a nice bonus that potentially pairs well with Epicurean.  Inner Peace, doubles the time your rested XP lasts. Some might say this is OP however remember Pandaren have 85 levels to catch up to the rest of the player base plus another 5 to our new cap of 90. It kinda makes sense now doesn’t it? Next up is Bouncy, which allows you to take 50% less falling damage. Picking on them being fat? Who cares. I’ve tested this myself in beta and it’s rather nice if you need a quicker getaway on a PvP server. Not sure if it stacks with the rogue bonus yet but don’t see why it wouldn’t. Lastly we have Quaking palm. A 4 second incapacitate on a target. I cannot remember the cool-down on this but it’s relatively short 2 minutes or less I believe.  Helpful in PvP and PvE depending on your class and play-style.

Pandaren Master Chef   A Master of Brews

The final note I’ll leave you with is the Pandaren racial mount. The Dragon Turtle. This may be my favorite racial mount introduced yet. There are currently 12 different ones in beta, 6 normal and 6 epic ones. Price points are currently way too high but I expect them to be equivalent to every other racial mount by launch. Speaking of which in case you didn’t read my other article is now officially September 25th! Get your preorders in now, especially if you’re going for a boxed Collectors Edition, those always go quick!

Dragon Turtles   Epic Dragon Turtles

Thanks for joining me in this first edition of Pandaren Ponderings. Next time we’ll explore the new class, The Monk.

Also a very big thank you to my source for the screenshots, they wish to remain anonymous as ‘all they did was press a button” but I’m currently unable to access my beta due to download issues, so these lovely images would not have been possible without them. Thanks again!