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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria review
Review A couple of years ago I was addicted to Farmville and I've always had a soft spot for Pokémon. As much as I hate to say, it the Mists of Pandaria is coming over all Pokéville 2. Everyone is battling minipets or farming, which all feels a bit twee but I can’t deny it’s also extremely enjoyable... except when I see my baby polar bear bashed to death by someone’s mini robot.
Whether starting a Panda monk or levelling my Tauren to 90, there is a whole world of new content to explore. It's just a shame that right from the beginning, it all just feels and looks tired, leaving me yearning something exciting and surprising – did someone say Guild Wars 2 ? Indeed, a 30 per cent drop in sales from the last expansion indicates Blizzard needs more than just pandas to keep this franchise going.
Shrouded in mist for 10,000 years to escape the First Sundering, the Isle of Pandaria has been discovered and the new race, the Pandaren, are caught between the Alliance and the Horde.
Bugs Bunny's heaven
It’s not till level 12 that I choose sides and head to Orgrimmar – just call me bad panda. To be able to play a Pandaren monk as a class, I have to buy the expansion, while I can play a Panda without showing Blizzard the colour of my money. Apart from the one sore point, namely the monthly pay to play fee.
Pandaren Lore is complemented by quests, scrolls and objects scattered around this rich and fertile new landscape. The no-fly zone at the start of this expansion means I have to explore step-by-step (or yak-by-yak). No bad thing, as this encourages a sense of excitement while getting to grips with this large, living and breathing (literally) island.
Gimme a beer or I'll get bitter
Now here's where I would talk about the pretty-pretty – all subtle cherry blossom, jade bamboo shoots and Miyazaki makeover – but it just makes me sad to mention it. Yes, the Jade Forest shines but, ultimately, it’s not as visually stunning as GW2.