Galerie und Datenblatt zu MISTS OF PANDARIA

Bliz­zard hat geru­fen und die Pres­se ist gekom­men. Vor­ge­stellt wur­de die nächs­te Erwei­te­rung des MMOs WORLD OF WARCRAFT unter dem Titel MISTS OF PANDARIA, das dem Spiel die in Scha­ren abwan­dern­den Spie­ler wie­der zurück holen soll, aller­dings auf­grund der Knud­del­pan­das bei Hard­core-Zockern bereits für Unmut sorg­te.

Hier eine Gale­rie mit Pres­se­bil­dern und ein aus­führ­li­ches (eng­li­sches) »Fact Sheet« mit Details zur Erwei­te­rung, die mög­li­cher­wei­se im Herbst in den Han­del kommt.

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What is World of War­craft®: Mists of Pan­da­ria™?

Esca­la­ting ten­si­ons bet­ween the Alli­an­ce and Hor­de have bro­ken out into open war­fa­re. The roar of can­nons bla­cken the sky while naval enga­ge­ments around the glo­be fill the seas with blood. As the clash of mor­tal armies spins the world into cha­os, a con­ti­nent — once shiel­ded by imp­ene­tra­ble mists — sud­den­ly mani­fests its­elf in the sou­thern oce­ans. There’s no ques­ti­on that this resour­ce-rich new land will be at the cen­ter of a glo­bal con­flict. Will the Mists of Pan­da­ria part to reveal Azeroth’s sal­va­ti­on? Or will this new battle­field beco­me the flash­point that pushes the Alli­an­ce and Hor­de over the brink into total anni­hi­la­ti­on?

Mists of Pan­da­ria is the fourth expan­si­on set to Bliz­zard Entertainment’s cri­ti­cal­ly acc­lai­med mas­si­ve­ly mul­ti­play­er online role-play­ing game World of War­craft. The new expan­si­on opens up an exo­tic new land for heroes to explo­re and pro­vi­des a wide varie­ty of exci­ting new fea­tures and con­tent that will give play­ers even more ways to enjoy the game.

For info on the sto­ry and lore of Mists of Pan­da­ria, inclu­ding back­ground on the pan­da­ren race, key cha­rac­ters and fac­tions, and the histo­ry of Pan­da­ria, see the Lore & Sto­ry sec­tion later in this FAQ.

MISTS OF PANDARIA GAMEPLAY

What are the fea­tures of World of War­craft: Mists of Pan­da­ria?

The new expan­si­on intro­du­ces a wide varie­ty of new fea­tures and sys­tems, inclu­ding a new con­ti­nent, new race, new class, and more:

  • New Play­a­ble Race — Pan­da­ren: Deci­de whe­ther to side with the Alli­an­ce or the Hor­de as World of Warcraft’s first neu­tral play­a­ble race, and explo­re their uni­que star­ting zone: the Wan­de­ring Isle.
  • New Play­a­ble Class — Monk: Unlock the secrets of pan­da­ren mar­ti­al arts and do batt­le as a dama­ge dea­ler, hea­ler, or tank.
  • New Con­ti­nent: Explo­re the lush Jade Forest, treache­rous Kun-Lai Sum­mit, and other exo­tic new zones of Pan­da­ria desi­gned for high-level cha­rac­ters.
  • Sce­n­a­ri­os: Join up with some fri­ends to achie­ve a com­mon goal, such as moun­ting a defen­se against inva­ding mons­ters, in a fle­xi­ble new type of PvE chal­len­ge.
  • Dun­ge­on “Chal­len­ge” Modes: Mas­ter the ulti­ma­te 5‑player time tri­al and earn pres­ti­ge rewards in a new dun­ge­on mode that will put your resol­ve and coör­di­na­ti­on to the test.
  • Pet Batt­les: Chal­len­ge other play­ers’ com­pa­n­ion pets with your own collec­tion in a new tac­ti­cal mini-game. Level up your com­pa­n­ions and dis­co­ver pets in the wild to round out your ros­ter.
  • Level Cap Increa­sed to 90: Learn potent new spells and abi­li­ties while explo­ring unchar­ted zones and taking on chal­len­ging new con­tent.
  • New Talent Sys­tem: Cus­to­mi­ze your cha­rac­ter to suit your play style with the new­ly over­hau­led and impro­ved talent sys­tem.

What is the monk class? How does it dif­fer from other clas­ses in the game?

The monk is a mar­ti­al arts expert who excels in clo­se-quar­ters hand-to-hand com­bat, and can fill the role of a tank (Brew­mas­ter), dama­ge-dea­ler (Wind­wal­ker), or hea­ler (Mist­wea­ver), depen­ding on a player’s cho­sen spe­cia­li­za­ti­on. Monks build up ener­gy through a com­bi­na­ti­on of pun­ches, kicks, and other basic mar­ti­al arts moves, and then expend it to unleash power­ful spe­cial moves, such as finis­hers or potent heals. As with most clas­ses in the game with the excep­ti­on of death knights, monks begin their jour­ney at level 1.

Which races can be a monk?

Sin­ce com­ing into con­tact with mem­bers of the Hor­de and the Alli­an­ce, several of Pandaria’s mas­ters have begun to teach their new allies the secrets of their anci­ent mar­ti­al arts. Cur­r­ent­ly, every race except gob­lin and worgen can learn the ways of the monk.

At what point do pan­da­ren cha­rac­ters choo­se which fac­tion to side with?

Pan­da­ren who strike out to explo­re the world out­si­de their home­land begin their jour­ney on the Wan­de­ring Isle (a new star­ting zone for pan­da­ren cha­rac­ters level 1 to 10), whe­re they face a num­ber of tri­als — and meet with a num­ber of cha­rac­ters from both the Alli­an­ce and the Hor­de — befo­re arri­ving in Kalim­dor or the Eas­tern King­doms. Pan­da­ren remain neu­tral through most of their Wan­de­ring Isle quests, but befo­re they lea­ve, play­ers will need to make a cru­ci­al decisi­on whe­ther to per­man­ent­ly side with the Alli­an­ce or the Hor­de. After that decisi­on is made, the cha­rac­ter will be trea­ted just like any other mem­ber of their cho­sen fac­tion in cities, on quests, and in cha­rac­ter inter­ac­tions. Choo­se wise­ly, becau­se once your decisi­on is made, it’s irrever­si­ble (except through the Fac­tion Chan­ge ser­vice).

Which clas­ses are avail­ab­le to pan­da­ren play­ers?

Cur­r­ent­ly, pan­da­ren can choo­se to be hun­ters, mages, priests, rogues, sha­man, war­ri­ors, and — of cour­se — monks. Pan­da­ren are not able to beco­me death knights, druids, pala­dins, or war­locks.

What end-game con­tent will be avail­ab­le for play­ers at level 90?

One of our pri­ma­ry design goals for Mists of Pan­da­ria is to give play­ers a wider varie­ty of con­tent and dif­fe­rent types of game­play to enjoy once they reach maxi­mum level, in addi­ti­on to the Heroic dun­ge­ons, raids, and dai­ly quests that they’re used to. To that end, we are intro­du­cing three major new fea­tures in the new expan­si­on — sce­n­a­ri­os, chal­len­ge modes for 5‑player dun­ge­ons, and com­pa­n­ion pet batt­les — and focu­sing on impro­ving the end-game expe­ri­ence you’re fami­li­ar with.

Here’s just some of the con­tent we’re working on for play­ers to enjoy once they reach level 90:

  • A huge varie­ty of dai­ly quests to choo­se from, with dyna­mic sto­ries that chan­ge and pro­gress as you com­ple­te quest con­tent over time
  • Mul­ti­ple group-based sce­n­a­ri­os that play­ers can run in addi­ti­on to dun­ge­ons to earn Valor Points and gear
  • 9 dun­ge­ons, inclu­ding six brand-new Pan­da­ria dun­ge­ons with nor­mal and Heroic modes, and three new Heroics based on the clas­sic Scar­let Monas­te­ry and Scho­lo­mance dun­ge­ons
  • Chal­len­ge modes for the six new dun­ge­ons desi­gned for play­ers loo­king for the ulti­ma­te test of their dun­ge­on-del­ving skills, com­ple­te with sui­ta­b­ly epic trans­mo­gri­fia­ble rewards
  • A varie­ty of new fac­tions to join forces with, offe­ring uni­que game­play mecha­nics and rewards
  • 2 new Batt­le­grounds offe­ring dif­fe­rent styles of PvP game­play and objec­tives, along with a new Are­na
  • 3 raids fea­turing epic encoun­ters with sinis­ter new vil­lains, each with Raid Fin­der, nor­mal, and Heroic modes

And more… Our goal is to deli­ver a huge varie­ty of con­tent for level-90 play­ers to enjoy, at launch and bey­ond

What are Sce­n­a­ri­os?

Sce­n­a­ri­os are a new type of PvE chal­len­ge desi­gned for groups of as few as 3 or as many as 25 play­ers, depen­ding on what is appro­pria­te for the con­tent. Sce­n­a­ri­os requi­re play­ers to band tog­e­ther to com­ple­te a spe­ci­fic goal. For examp­le, you might be asked to help a pan­da­ren brew­mas­ter com­ple­te her mas­ter­work brew in the midst of a light­ning storm, and then escort her to a near­by temp­le against a how­ling rain and per­sis­tent ass­ault. Once the­re, you’ll use the powers of her new brew to help defeat a boss and his mini­ons.

Alt­hough the­re are no spe­ci­fic class requi­re­ments, play­ers will need to work tog­e­ther to accom­plish each scenario’s uni­que objec­tives. Sce­n­a­ri­os will be instan­ced, and we’re desi­gning them to take about 10 to 30 minu­tes each to com­ple­te. We’re also plan­ning a “Sce­n­a­rio Fin­der” simi­lar to the Dun­ge­on Fin­der and Raid Fin­der that will make it easy for play­ers to quick­ly find a group.

What are Chal­len­ge Modes for 5‑player dun­ge­ons?

Chal­len­ge mode is a new, advan­ced mode for 5‑player dun­ge­ons desi­gned for play­ers loo­king for the ulti­ma­te test of coör­di­na­ti­on and skill. In chal­len­ge modes, play­ers are tas­ked with try­ing to com­ple­te an exis­ting 5‑player dun­ge­on as quick­ly and skill­ful­ly as pos­si­ble. Depen­ding on how well the group does, play­ers will recei­ve reco­gniz­ab­le pres­ti­ge rewards such as mounts, pets, tit­les, achie­ve­ments, or spe­cial armor art­work that can be used with trans­mo­gri­fi­ca­ti­on to cus­to­mi­ze a character’s appearan­ce. The inspi­ra­ti­on for chal­len­ge modes comes from events such as the 45-minu­te Baron Riven­da­re runs in the ori­gi­nal Stra­thol­me dun­ge­on, or the timed Zul’Aman dun­ge­on run for the Ama­ni War Bear.

We want chal­len­ge modes to be a test of play­er skill and not of play­er gear, and so the stats on all play­ers’ armor and equip­ment will be nor­ma­li­zed to a set level upon begin­ning a chal­len­ge. As a result, play­ers will have the same chan­ce at vic­to­ry whe­ther they are wea­ring quest rewards or Heroic-raid-level epic items. Regard­less of equip­ment, chal­len­ge modes will remain just as chal­len­ging at the end of the expan­si­on as they were at the begin­ning.

What are com­pa­n­ion pet batt­les?

In Mists of Pan­da­ria, we’re adding a new tac­ti­cal mini-game that allow play­ers to pit their ros­ter of com­pa­n­ion pets against other play­ers’ pets (or against spe­cial crea­tures you come across in the wild) in stra­te­gic, turn-based com­bat. Pets will level up as they earn com­bat expe­ri­ence, and each com­pa­n­ion will have its own set of stats, such as attack and defen­se rating. As pets level up, play­ers will be able to choo­se which abi­li­ties their pets will learn, each with its own tac­ti­cal merits. During a pet batt­le, play­ers will be able to swap com­pa­n­ions out stra­te­gi­cal­ly depen­ding on which pet they’re facing or what abi­li­ties might come in han­dy against a given foe.

Play­ers will be able to hunt for appro­xi­mate­ly 100 wild pets across all of Azeroth, each with ran­do­mi­zed stats and levels. Play­ers can fur­ther cus­to­mi­ze their pets by giving them names. We’re also plan­ning a num­ber of other fea­tures, inclu­ding a Pet Jour­nal sho­wing whe­re and how to cap­tu­re wild pets, pet-batt­le-spe­ci­fic achie­ve­ments and stats, and a way to queue for PvP batt­les.

Pet batt­les are meant to be com­ple­te­ly inde­pen­dent from your character’s main pro­gres­si­on, and the rewards won’t offer addi­tio­nal advan­ta­ges in regu­lar PvP or PvE situa­ti­ons such as Batt­le­grounds or raids — though they should help pass the time while you’re wai­ting for your group to recoup from a par­ti­cu­lar­ly nas­ty wipe.

What’s in store for dun­ge­ons and raids?

Every raid in Mists of Pan­da­ria will inclu­de three dif­fi­cul­ty levels: nor­mal (10- and 25-play­er), Heroic (10- and 25-play­er), and a spe­ci­al­ly tun­ed third mode acces­si­ble via the Raid Fin­der (25-play­er only) desi­gned with pick-up groups in mind. We’re very hap­py with how many play­ers have been able to expe­ri­ence the Dra­gon Soul (patch 4.3) raid con­tent — espe­ci­al­ly the cli­mac­tic boss encoun­ter with Deathwing — fol­lo­wing the release of the Raid Fin­der, and we’ll con­ti­nue to pro­vi­de hig­her dif­fi­cul­ty levels for play­ers loo­king for the most epic chal­len­ges and rewards.

At launch, we’re plan­ning to have six brand-new dun­ge­ons (with nor­mal and Heroic modes) as well as three new Heroic modes for clas­sic dun­ge­ons, inclu­ding two based on Scar­let Monas­te­ry and one based on Scho­lo­mance. We’re also plan­ning three raids at launch fea­turing a host of sinis­ter new vil­lains and epic encoun­ters with anci­ent evils that have been hiding in the mists for mill­en­nia.

What are the new zones?

The con­ti­nent of Pan­da­ria will con­sist of seven enor­mous zones for play­ers level 85 and above, and new pan­da­ren play­ers will begin their adven­tures in a uni­que star­ting zone sepa­ra­te from the pan­da­ren home­land. Sin­ce our ori­gi­nal unvei­ling of Mists of Pan­da­ria at Blizz­Con, we’ve added two addi­tio­nal zones for play­ers to explo­re — Kra­sarang Wilds and the Dread Was­tes — sub­stan­ti­al­ly increa­sing the continent’s size (we didn’t sim­ply split up exis­ting zones) and expan­ding the diver­si­ty of Pandaria’s alrea­dy wild and varied land­s­cape. Here’s the break­down of the zones, along with their cur­rent working names:

  • The Jade Forest: High-level adven­tu­rers will make land­fall in the lush Jade Forest, whe­re they’ll meet some of Pandaria’s indi­ge­nous races, such as the fish-like jinyu and mon­key-like hozen.
  • Val­ley of the Four Winds: Fea­turing rol­ling green hills and lush pan­da­ren farm­land, the Val­ley of the Four Winds is whe­re tra­velers will find the legen­da­ry Storms­tout Bre­we­ry.
  • Kun-Lai Sum­mit: Amid this treache­rous, icy moun­tain ter­rain, play­ers will encoun­ter the Shado-Pan, a clan­des­ti­ne sect char­ged with kee­ping one of Pandaria’s dar­kest secrets.
  • Town­long Step­pes: Here, a tre­men­dous wall sepa­ra­tes Pandaria’s ver­dant forests and plains from the deso­la­te was­te­land left in the wake of the ravenous, all-con­suming man­tid.
  • Kra­sarang Wilds: A den­se strand of jung­le occu­py­ing Pandaria’s sou­thern­most shore, the Kra­sarang Wilds are home to lost ruins and a chain of dan­ge­rous islands.
  • Dread Was­tes: The man­tid home­land, now over­run by the Sha of Fear, has been cor­rup­ted into a hor­ri­fy­ing was­te­land of swamps and scor­ched earth. Play­ers will have to fight their way into the lair of the man­tid queen herself to rout out the source of the cor­rup­ti­on.
  • Vale of Eter­nal Blossoms: This lush val­ley in the cen­ter of Pan­da­ria hosts a secret power dating back to the time of the Titans. The city com­plex at its heart will be play­ers’ home away from home, but max-level play­ers will need to defend it against con­stant­ly chan­ging dai­ly thre­ats.
  • The Wan­de­ring Isle: Pan­da­ren adven­tu­rers loo­king to explo­re the world out­si­de Pan­da­ria begin their jour­ney here, on a mys­te­rious island that never seems to sett­le in the same place for too long.

What chan­ges are being made to the talent sys­tem?

We are making a coup­le of major chan­ges to how class spe­cia­li­za­ti­ons and talents work in Mists of Pan­da­ria. First, your spe­cia­li­za­ti­on is now com­ple­te­ly inde­pen­dent from your talent choices. When you reach level 10, you will still choo­se one of three specs (e.g. Disci­pli­ne, Holy, or Shadow priest) to deter­mi­ne your role, play style, and which signa­tu­re abi­li­ties your cha­rac­ter has access to. In addi­ti­on, you’ll recei­ve more of your spec’s defi­ning abi­li­ties as you level up.

Second­ly, the talent sys­tem has been rede­si­gned com­ple­te­ly. At regu­lar level inter­vals (at level 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90), play­ers will now be able to choo­se bet­ween one of three very power­ful talents. All three spe­cia­li­za­ti­ons will have access to the same three talent opti­ons, and our goal is to make sure that the­se talent choices are appe­aling to all three spe­cia­li­za­ti­ons with no obvious “must-have” opti­ons for any of them. For examp­le, level-15 war­ri­ors will be able to choo­se one of three move­ment-rela­ted talents: Jug­gernaut, which per­man­ent­ly lowers the coold­own of Char­ge; Dou­ble Time, which lets the war­ri­or Char­ge twice befo­re incur­ring a coold­own; or War­brin­ger, which knocks the tar­get to the ground and stuns it fol­lo­wing a Char­ge. Once you choo­se a talent in a spe­ci­fic tier, the other two talents are locked out from your talent build, even when you reach the next talent tier. We want play­ers to be able to chan­ge their talent build inde­pendent­ly of their spe­cia­li­za­ti­on, and wit­hout visi­t­ing a class trai­ner. This new sys­tem is desi­gned to pro­vi­de play­ers with hund­reds of dis­tinct and mea­ning­ful opti­ons for tailo­ring their character’s game­play to their spe­ci­fic desi­res and situa­ti­on.

If you want to get a feel for how the sys­tem will work, check out the Mists of Pan­da­ria talent cal­cu­la­tor on the offi­ci­al World of War­craft web­site. The­re you can crea­te a talent spec using the latest in-deve­lop­ment talent trees for your favo­ri­te class.

Why is the talent sys­tem going through an over­haul?

As with the talent-sys­tem rede­sign in Cata­clysm, our goal is ulti­mate­ly to give play­ers more mea­ning­ful cha­rac­ter-cus­to­mi­za­ti­on opti­ons and to eli­mi­na­te “coo­kie-cut­ter” talent builds. We were only par­ti­al­ly suc­cess­ful in rea­li­zing that goal in Cata­clysm, as many talents still felt man­dato­ry to a given spe­cia­li­za­ti­on, and some talent choices in the trees were still not par­ti­cu­lar­ly inte­res­ting or exci­ting. By giving the bene­fits of the pre­vious­ly “man­dato­ry” talents to play­ers auto­ma­ti­cal­ly as part of their spe­cia­li­za­ti­on choice, and allo­wing any spe­cia­li­za­ti­on to choo­se any given talent, we hope to be able to give play­ers much more signi­fi­cant and inte­res­ting decisi­ons to make about their cha­rac­ter.

Will play­ers be allo­wed to fly in Pan­da­ria?

Upon arri­val in Pan­da­ria, play­ers will be restric­ted from fly­ing until they reach a cer­tain point in their quest pro­gres­si­on. While the abi­li­ty to fly is a gre­at con­ve­ni­en­ce for play­ers once they have com­ple­ted con­tent, we can pro­vi­de a much more enjoy­a­ble, rewar­ding, and varied ques­ting expe­ri­ence if play­ers are (most­ly) groun­ded while the sto­ry of Pan­da­ria unfolds.

MISTS OF PANDARIA LORE & STORY

How will the sto­ry of Mists of Pan­da­ria unfold?

Offe­ring a uni­que chan­ge of pace from the glo­be-trot­ting cha­os of Cata­clysm, World of War­craft: Mists of Pan­da­ria focu­ses on the explo­ra­ti­on and poten­ti­al colo­ni­za­ti­on of a sin­gle, mas­si­ve new con­ti­nent. The adven­ture will unfold over a num­ber of sta­ges:

Mists of Pan­da­ria: The “out of the box” expan­si­on expe­ri­ence focu­ses on the dis­co­very and explo­ra­ti­on of Pan­da­ria. Both Hor­de and Alli­an­ce play­ers will have to try to swing the locals to their side of the con­flict… but their actions will bring unfo­re­se­en and dis­astrous con­se­quen­ces. Devas­ta­ting “Sha” ener­gy, a phy­si­cal mani­fes­ta­ti­on of nega­ti­ve emo­ti­ons that has been locked away for thousands of years, is brought to the sur­face once war comes to Pandaria’s shores. The batt­le to win over the hearts and minds of the pan­da­ren takes on a new urgen­cy as the darkness of the Sha plun­ges the land into cha­os. Among other things, Sha ener­gy infec­ts the fero­cious man­tid, trig­ge­ring a hor­ri­fic swarm. Mean­while, Mogu war­lords recon­nect with their anci­ent Zand­ala­ri allies in an attempt to recap­tu­re their for­mer impe­ri­al glo­ry. Far from Alli­an­ce and Hor­de resup­ply, play­ers must sol­ve the­se local pro­blems while lear­ning about the enig­ma­tic pan­da­ren race… and a litt­le about their own natu­re in the pro­cess.

The Pan­da­ria Cam­pai­gn: Begin­ning short­ly after the release of Mists of Pan­da­ria, a series of con­tent updates will advan­ce the sto­ry of the Alli­an­ce and Hor­de cam­pai­gn on the new con­ti­nent. The cam­pai­gn will kick off when the fleets arri­ve and claim Pandaria’s sou­thern shores, per­man­ent­ly alte­ring the area. As King Vari­an Wrynn strug­gles to unite the Alli­an­ce for a mea­ning­ful coun­ter-attack, Gar­rosh Hell­scream will batt­le to turn the dis­pa­ra­te parts of the Hor­de into a fren­zied kil­ling machi­ne. Tel­ling a com­ple­te sto­ry arc, the Pan­da­ren Cam­pai­gn will cli­max in a raid that will reset the balan­ce of power in the world of Azeroth.

Who are the pan­da­ren?

The pan­da­ren are an anci­ent, intel­li­gent race who have been cut off from the world at lar­ge sin­ce the time of the gre­at sun­de­ring that split apart the con­ti­nents of Azeroth.

If a sin­gle trait could sum up the pan­da­ren cul­tu­re, it’s that they live in the moment. They embrace life with gus­to. A pan­da­ren does ever­ything with vigor, focus, and inten­si­ty. Every meal is an event. Every moment with the fami­ly is che­ris­hed. Every pro­ject or work of art demands their full atten­ti­on. Every nap is trea­ted as if it will be the last! The pan­da­ren work hard, play hard, fight like ani­mals, love with all their soul, tell impos­si­b­ly tall tales, drink like they mean it, and sleep like the dead.

On the who­le, pan­da­ren are slow to anger and pre­fer mea­su­red solu­ti­ons to pro­blems. But under­ne­ath all of that prac­ticed civi­li­ty, the­re is a bear to con­t­end with. When a pan­da­ren focu­ses on com­bat, each blow rings with the weight of his or her ent­i­re body. Living “in the moment” also means get­ting lost in the fury of com­bat; a pan­da­ren monk in the midst of batt­le has fists like wre­cking balls and a roar that can be heard from hori­zon to hori­zon.

Howe­ver, it takes a gre­at deal to get a pan­da­ren wound up. On main­land Pan­da­ria, nega­ti­ve emo­ti­ons such as fear, anger, or des­pair can liter­al­ly take on a phy­si­cal form and stir up trou­ble. For this rea­son, pan­da­ren empha­si­ze and cul­ti­va­te a quiet life of inner har­mo­ny and focus. Con­flic­ts, no mat­ter how bit­ter, are quick­ly for­got­ten over cold drinks once the mat­ter is resol­ved. The pan­da­ren sen­se of inner peace and love of life is infec­tious. Spend any signi­fi­cant time with a pan­da­ren and you, too, can’t help but get lost in the moment.

Why has Pan­da­ria been hid­den this who­le time?

A veil of imp­ene­tra­ble mists has cloa­ked Pan­da­ria sin­ce the time of the Sun­de­ring and the reign of the last pan­da­ren emperor. Pre­vious­ly, ships ent­e­ring the mists have lost their bea­rings and spun about aim­less­ly befo­re retur­ning to the open oce­an. As for the pan­da­ren, they loo­ked out toward the mist-vei­led seas and many pre­su­med that the rest of the world had peris­hed in the Sun­de­ring.
Some­time in the wake of the Cata­clysm, the mists abrupt­ly vanis­hed. Alli­an­ce and Hor­de naval fleets, enga­ged in skir­mis­hes around the world thanks to the new Warchief’s aggres­si­on, sud­den­ly found a new con­ti­nent whe­re once charts show­ed open seas. With both fac­tions esca­la­ting their feud into a glo­bal con­flict, the war for Azeroth shifts in a new direc­tion.

Why did the mists col­lap­se at this cru­ci­al moment in world histo­ry? The ans­wers revol­ve around the will of the last emperor, and lie at the heart of this stran­ge new con­ti­nent…

What is the pan­da­ren star­ting zone, the Wan­de­ring Isle?

Many genera­ti­ons ago, a par­ti­cu­lar­ly bold pan­da­ren named Liu Lang set out to see what was bey­ond the mists by set­ting sail upon the back of a giant sea turt­le. As the turt­le grew, so did Liu Lang’s desi­re to explo­re the world. Others joi­ned him, until even­tual­ly a who­le colo­ny of pan­da­ren explo­rers tra­vel­led the oce­an, living atop the expan­si­ve “Wan­de­ring Isle.” Alt­hough the Wan­de­ring Isle hasn’t made land­fall in many years, tho­se who live the­re are still igni­ted by the spi­rit of adven­ture.

Chen Storms­tout is a nati­ve of the Wan­de­ring Isle, as are any play­ers who choo­se to crea­te pan­da­ren cha­rac­ters. They are a rare breed, on the who­le far more adven­tur­ous than their land-locked and long-lost rela­ti­ves on main­land Pan­da­ria.

Will all of the pan­da­ren join the Hor­de or the Alli­an­ce?

Just as it’s com­pa­ra­tively rare for a pan­da­ren to be struck with an urge to wan­der the world, it’s rarer still that one would feel com­pel­led to align oneself with a fac­tion such as the Hor­de or Alli­an­ce. Only tho­se who are con­vin­ced the­se fac­tions are the key to healing Azeroth would even con­si­der pled­ging their alle­gi­an­ce to one fac­tion or the other.

The decisi­on to join a fac­tion comes at gre­at per­so­nal cost, as any fel­low pan­da­ren who join the oppo­si­te fac­tion — inclu­ding fri­ends or rela­ti­ves — will likely never be heard from again. Pan­da­ren who choo­se to align them­sel­ves with the Alli­an­ce or Hor­de do so becau­se of sha­red values and per­so­nal beliefs regar­ding their over­all world­view and the best way to move for­ward after the Cata­clysm.

Gui­ding the decisi­on to join a fac­tion are two com­pe­ting pan­da­ren disci­pli­nes that are pro­mi­nent on the Wan­de­ring Isle. Tho­se who fol­low the path of the Hou­jin are impul­si­ve, quick to action, and prac­ti­cal. Hou­jin disci­ples feel that the ends can jus­ti­fy the means, and they may find like-min­ded com­pa­tri­ots in the Hor­de. In oppo­si­ti­on, fol­lo­wers of the path of the Tus­hui are more con­tem­pla­ti­ve, focu­sed on abs­tract ide­als of jus­ti­ce and mora­li­ty. Stu­dents of Tus­hui belie­ve that a princi­pled life is the only one worth living, and may find that the stal­wart Alli­an­ce aligns more clo­se­ly with their beliefs.

Every pan­da­ren play­er will need to make this dif­fi­cult decisi­on ear­ly on in their adven­ture. The vast majo­ri­ty of the pan­da­ren popu­la­ti­on, howe­ver, will con­ti­nue to fol­low the tra­di­tio­nal path of iso­la­tio­nism and neu­tra­li­ty.

Who are the pan­da­ren lea­ders or figu­reheads for the Hor­de and Alli­an­ce?

After the cli­mac­tic events on the Wan­de­ring Isle, two pan­da­ren monks will tra­vel with play­ers to the rest of the world to spread the wis­dom of the pan­da­ren.

Aysa Cloud­sin­ger is a fol­lo­wer of the path of Tus­hui. She belie­ves in living a venera­ble life through medi­ta­ti­on, rigo­rous trai­ning, and moral con­vic­tion. Descri­bed as grace­ful and poi­sed, Aysa has attai­ned impec­ca­ble form and a refi­ned intel­lect through dili­gent prac­tice. To Aysa, to fol­low the way of Tus­hui is to defend what is right above all else. She belie­ves that suc­cess in any endea­vor never jus­ti­fies dis­ho­no­r­able deeds. While the Alli­an­ce con­tains a diver­se mix of cul­tures, Aysa is attrac­ted to the high ide­als and values that cement the Alli­an­ce tog­e­ther.

Ji Fire­paw, a fol­lo­wer of the more direct Hou­jin phi­lo­so­phy, is ada­mant that inac­tion is the grea­test injus­ti­ce. Ji holds that it’s hono­r­able to defend home and fami­ly no mat­ter the cost. Out­go­ing, pas­sio­na­te, and not one for deep thought, he is always the first into the fray. Ji finds him­s­elf attrac­ted to the scrap­py prac­ti­ca­li­ty that defi­nes the Hor­de. Alt­hough it will cost him dear­ly, he will deci­de to car­ry the Hor­de ban­ner when he lea­ves the Wan­de­ring Isle.

Do the pan­da­ren have a histo­ry of inter­ac­tion with the Hor­de and Alli­an­ce?

Pan­da­ren wan­de­rers are very rare, but the deeds of a few are recor­ded in recent times. One bra­ve soul that spi­ri­ted his way into the annals of Azerothi­an histo­ry was the brew­mas­ter Chen Storms­tout. War­craft III play­ers may recall his chan­ce mee­ting with Rex­xar in the game’s bonus mis­si­ons, whe­re he worked tog­e­ther with Thrall to found the new orcish home­land in Duro­tar. Later, he accom­pa­nied heroes such as Vol’jin and Jai­na Proud­moo­re to libe­ra­te Ther­a­mo­re and pro­tect the fledgling Hor­de from anni­hi­la­ti­on. Never one to stay put for long, Chen moved on, always see­king new ingre­dients for the per­fect brew. Play­ers will be able to catch up with him as he resu­mes his adven­tures on the pan­da­ren main­land.

What’s the sto­ry behind the pan­da­ren monks?

Near­ly 12,000 years ago, the empi­re now known as Pan­da­ria was ruled by a mons­trous race of war­lords known as the Mogu (see below). Mogu task­mas­ters for­ba­de their slaves to car­ry wea­pons. During the­se dark times, pan­da­ren monks tried to lift the spi­rits of their beleague­red bro­thers and sis­ters. They were the sto­ry­tel­lers, the brew­mas­ters, and the hea­lers who hel­ped knit their oppres­sed socie­ty tog­e­ther in the midst of darkness.

As the Mogu empi­re began to fray, the pan­da­ren saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty for a revo­lu­ti­on. Becau­se they had no wea­pons, they trai­ned com­mon peop­le to fight with their unar­med fists and feet. They mas­te­red the use of posi­ti­ve ener­gy — or chi — to empower them­sel­ves. The revo­lu­ti­on its­elf was a bloo­dy affair that shat­te­red an empi­re and left a ter­ri­ble toll among com­ba­tant and civi­li­an ali­ke, but ulti­mate­ly the Mogu were over­thrown and a new empi­re was foun­ded.

Alt­hough pan­da­ren monks have sin­ce incor­po­ra­ted wea­pons into their attacks, they remain focu­sed on chi as a source of power and are still devas­ta­ting when figh­t­ing with open hands. In the wake of events on the Wan­de­ring Isle, pan­da­ren monks will tra­vel to key pla­ces throughout Azeroth to sha­re their wis­dom with young Alli­an­ce and Hor­de trai­nees.

What sorts of local thre­ats will adven­tu­rers face on Pan­da­ria?

Just becau­se Pan­da­ria is iso­la­ted doesn’t mean the con­ti­nent is at all peace­ful. Loo­m­ing dan­gers, new and old, threa­ten to over­whelm the empi­re as play­ers arri­ve.
The Mogu are an anci­ent race of mons­trous war­lords who foun­ded the first empi­re through con­quest and opp­res­si­on. They ens­laved near­by indi­ge­nous races and used their labor to build struc­tures of awe-inspi­ring majes­ty, some of which still stand. Mas­ters of flesh-sha­ping magic, they assu­red their domi­nan­ce through cru­el expe­ri­men­ta­ti­on. Only by mas­te­ring unar­med com­bat were the anci­ent pan­da­ren able to over­throw this ter­ri­ble régime. After the mists col­lap­se, the remai­ning Mogu get tog­e­ther with old allies and attempt to reta­ke the empi­re that their ances­tors foun­ded.

The Man­tid are an intel­li­gent and high­ly evol­ved race of insect-like crea­tures who have menaced the peop­le of Pan­da­ria sin­ce prehis­to­ric times. While their socie­ty has a queen, they don’t ope­ra­te as a hive mind. Man­tid act with indi­vi­du­al cun­ning, making them for­mi­da­ble in sin­gle com­bat and unstopp­a­ble when their num­bers con­ver­ge. Every man­tid genera­ti­on, the young hatch in incredi­ble num­bers and then swarm toward the rest of Pan­da­ria, devou­ring anything in their path. Only the stron­gest return. Alt­hough the anci­ent mogu mana­ged to pro­tect their lands by buil­ding a gigan­tic wall bet­ween them­sel­ves and the man­tid, the genera­tio­nal swarms requi­re an all-hands defen­se of the wall or the very heart of Pan­da­ria will be lost.

Final­ly, Sha is a dark ener­gy uni­que to Pan­da­ria, a lega­cy left behind by the last pan­da­ren emperor. Fear, doubt, des­pair, anger, vio­lence, and hat­red are all emo­ti­ons asso­cia­ted with the Sha — emo­ti­ons that can mani­fest them­sel­ves phy­si­cal­ly if left unche­cked. Unwa­ry mor­tals can beco­me pos­ses­sed by nega­ti­ve Sha ener­gy, beco­m­ing embo­di­ments of pure anger or fear. When the Alli­an­ce and Hor­de bring their war to the shores of Pan­da­ria, the­se nega­ti­ve emo­ti­ons threa­ten to engulf the con­ti­nent.

What other new races will emer­ge from Pan­da­ria?

After mill­en­nia of iso­la­ti­on from the rest of Azeroth, several uni­que indi­ge­nous races have deve­lo­ped along­si­de the pan­da­ren on the anci­ent con­ti­nent.

Fero­cious and impe­tuous, the hozen are a short-lived race. They have their own uni­que­ly fil­thy lan­guage and a deter­mi­na­ti­on to always impro­ve their sta­ti­on, no mat­ter how inept their efforts. While the pan­da­ren respect their ten­acious hun­ger for life they’re also wary of the cha­os crea­ted by such reck­less­ness. The ever-expan­ding hozen are often the bane of the near­by jinyu, and it’s up to the pan­da­ren to play the role of reluc­tant peace­kee­per.

The indus­trious and amphi­bio­us jinyu dam the rivers in order to crea­te lakes around which they make their home. The jinyu live under a rigid cas­te sys­tem, with war­ri­ors and priests cho­sen at a young age. Many of the jinyu elders are Water­speakers. Pla­cing a staff into the river, the­se sages lis­ten to the know­ledge of the island as it flows down­stream. Any events that touch the rivers will make their way down to the jinyu, giving the Water­speakers a con­nec­tion to the future. While the pan­da­ren balk at the over­ly rigid struc­tu­re of jinyu life, they hold in gre­at rever­ence this power to gain insight into what’s to come.

The cloud ser­pents are an intel­li­gent race of dra­gon-like beings inha­bi­t­ing the island. They exist in a wide array of shim­me­ring colors. Some may be the bright green of the tree­tops through which they fly, while others may be the spar­k­ling blue of the stream or the sho­cking crim­son of fla­me — their beau­ty always com­ple­men­ting their beloved land. Pan­da­ren will often rai­se the play­ful crea­tures from hatch­ling to adult­hood, as their cle­ver­ness and speed make them excel­lent mounts. While a hand­ful have beco­me cor­rupt or dan­ge­rous, the vast majo­ri­ty coexist hap­pi­ly with the other inha­bi­tants of the island.

Other uni­que races inclu­de the dan­ge­rous liz­ard-like sau­rok, the supers­ti­tious dimi­nu­ti­ve grumm­les, the obnoxious sca­ven­ging vir­men, or the fero­cious noma­dic yaungol tri­bes.

What new fac­tions await adven­tu­rers in Pan­da­ria?

The Shado-Pan: The bra­vest and most disci­pli­ned of pan­da­ren figh­ters, the Shado-Pan were estab­lished by the last Pan­da­ren emperor to act as guar­di­ans against the nega­ti­ve Sha ener­gy that per­mea­tes the con­ti­nent. Part of their duties also invol­ves man­ning the migh­ty wall that pro­tec­ts the pan­da­ren home­land from the dan­ge­rous man­tid race. They wel­co­me the assi­s­tan­ce of any who have the bra­very and skill to aid them in their sacred char­ge.

The August Celes­ti­als: Four power­ful ances­tor spi­rits have always wat­ched over the lands of the pan­da­ren: Yu’lon the Jade Ser­pent, Xuen the White Tiger, Chi Ji the Red Cra­ne, and Niuzao the Black Ox. Each of their four temp­les will call on the ser­vice of bold adven­tu­rers.

The Gol­den Lotus: Nest­led in the cen­ter of Pan­da­ria is the Vale of Eter­nal Blossoms, an anci­ent place of gre­at power that’s been around sin­ce the time of the Titans. The Vale and its magi­cal waters were once used as a wea­pon by the Mogu, and after their over­throw it was deci­ded to seal off the vale from any intru­ders. The Gol­den Lotus is an order of pan­da­ren priests and figh­ters who defend and main­tain this sacred land. Mem­bers are spe­ci­fi­cal­ly cho­sen at a young age by one of the four August Celes­ti­als.

The Kla­xxi: Kee­pers of the man­tid cul­tu­re, the­se stoic man­tid lords have deter­mi­ned that their own queen has been cor­rup­ted and must be des­troy­ed. Alt­hough wary of out­si­ders, it may be pos­si­ble to earn the trust of the Kla­xxi, gai­ning access to their uni­que arms and armor.

Order of the Cloud Ser­pent: This order of fly­ing war­ri­ors was foun­ded long ago, during the Zand­ala­ri wars. Gain their favor, and they’ll reveal the secrets of trai­ning a cloud ser­pent to beco­me a loy­al mount.

The Lore­wal­kers: This peace­ful fac­tion has been char­ged with safe­guar­ding pan­da­ren histo­ry and cul­tu­re. Intrepid explo­rers can win their favor by collec­ting his­to­ri­cal arti­fac­ts from around the world.

Artis­ans: Many Brew­mas­ters have wan­de­red the world in search of exo­tic ingre­dients to expand their craft, while the Til­lers and Ang­lers are simp­le far­mer and fisher folk, respec­tively. The­se three fac­tions are the back­bone of civi­li­an life on Pan­da­ria, and offe­ring assi­s­tan­ce to the­se artis­ans will reap gre­at rewards.

 

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AutorIn: Stefan Holzhauer

Meist harm­lo­ser Nerd mit natür­li­cher Affi­ni­tät zu Pixeln, Bytes, Buch­sta­ben und Zahn­rä­dern. Kon­su­miert zuviel SF und Fan­ta­sy und schreibt seit 1999 online dar­über.

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