Packing up boxes and bringing them to the post office (one at a time, down a mountain, in the rain, with no car) to send belongings to my new home has made me think of things that must be done before the other big transition on the horizon: Mists of Pandaria. At this point, the items on my bucket list are either finished or won’t be. Just like in real life, I am selling off what I can and putting what I want to keep in a neat little area all in one place. I’m making a point to spend time with a few people important to me. I’ve done some initial research about what my job/class could be and where I will live/set my hearth stone, but I won’t know for sure how I will react to the situation until the plane/boat lands and am able to jump right in.
I won’t be a nube anymore. It’s true I haven’t managed to lead a raid or tame a husband, but I’ve been around the world enough times for my perspective to at least be considered… and have the achievements to prove it.
At the moment, I’m trying to think from the perspective of someone who has just started playing, and maybe impart a bit of my obsession to my progeny, Galindae. She’s just two months in, and there are so many resources to sort through. I thought I might type out a very basic list of what to expect in the coming weeks for someone who doesn’t even have a level 85 yet. Maybe it could be useful for someone else? If any of you have more ideas, please feel free to leave them in the comments.
The basic game we play is World of Warcraft. As time passes, the game developers give us more content to sink our teeth into. Azeroth changes when each expansion comes out, but we can generally go back and do old content while we are leveling a character or if we just feel like it. WoW currently has three expansions. If the players want the new content, they must buy the new expansion. Here’s how they break down:
World of Warcraft includes Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. Players can get up to level 60. This is often referred to as “vanilla”
Burning Crusade (BC) was the first expansion. Although players had to purchase the expansion when it came out in 2007, new players currently receive this as part of the initial package. If you bought the game in the past few months, you have this already. This expansion brought us Outlands, which is on a different world from Azeroth. Players with this expansion can get up to level 70.
Wrath of the Lich King (Wrath) was the second expansion. The continent of Northrend was opened up for players, and the level cap went up to 80.
Cataclysm can’t really be described as a continent, because the entire world was forever altered (overhauled) by Death Wing. Only five levels were added, and the Cata zones are inside of the existing Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.
Mists of Pandaria will be the fourth expansion, and it will give us an entirely new zone: Pandaria. You must purchase Mists (MoP) to go to Pandaria and level to 90. Interesting to note that this “new” continent has always been there, but was covered by magical mist so nobody knew about it.
Patches are added in between expansions. Most patches are small updates or repairs. This is when the developers go in and nerf your class because they personally don’t like you. Content patches are much more exciting. They bring more story, more quests, more dungeons, and more raids. (Raids are like dungeons except a hell of a lot bigger, harder and more frustrating.) An example of a Cata patch is Rise of the Zandalari, which is noted for pug-killers ZA and ZG.
The pre-expansion patch everyone is talking about comes out on Tuesday. There is a very good article on WoW Insider about what will happen on that day. A few of the MoP changes will be put into place to allow players to get used to the differences before the expansion actually hits. The main points a new player should note are:
Talents Go into the game. Press “N”, those are your talents. You’ve been putting points in this “talent tree” for a while now. All that will go away on the 28th. It will get a lot simpler, and you can basically choose what you want
Glyphs Go into the game. Press “N” and click on the “glyphs” tab at the bottom. You have all the glyphs filled, right? In MoP, some of those will go away (no more major glyphs). You will be able to choose what you want to put there. You can get glyphs from a player who has the inscription profession. Players often sell them on the Auction House. Some glyphs are better than others for your specific specialization, and a quick Google search will help you decide which ones to learn.
Attack on Theramore Isle is an event that you for sure want to check out. Spoiler: it gets blown up and the leader of that city gets really, really angry. I’m guessing we learn a lesson about screwing with an extremely powerful mage. If you want to experience a pre-MoP Theramore, do it right now.
This is the date the expansion finally comes. The entire world (all 9 million of us) has been waiting for this day to come for a long while. If you are able to play, expect a bit of lag those first few days. You might experience some frustration with other players trying to get the same quests done as you are. Try grouping up with someone to make it go faster. Anyone playing WoW at all will be able to play a Pandaren, but you will only be able to bring your level 85 characters into Pandaria itself if you buy the expansion. There are three different editions to choose from: Standard, DigitalDeluxe, and Collector's Edition. The first two are digital downloads from Blizzard at battle.net and the CE is only available at stores like GameStop and Best Buy.
Mists of Pandaria will be incredible. I’m excited about it, but as someone with three level 85s (/flex), I’ll be able to experience the content right away. It’s worth it to me to pick up the expansion the moment it comes out. I guess most people will do just that, but as a new player, will you?
OK, break is over. Back to packing.
See you soon,