Monday, March 19, 2012

MOP: Press Tour Info (From MMOchampion)

Media Presentation - General
The final patch of Mists of Pandaria will be the Siege of Orgrimmar! Both factions lay siege to the city to bring Garrosh down and end his reign of Warchief.
There's a huge Horde vs. Alliance storyline. The war between the Alliance and Horde heats up as they roll into Pandaria, and it will serve as a major battleground, but things get so gnarly and out of control, and war crimes are committed by one side, it begins to spiral into crazyville.
The Mists of Pandaria storyline is split into two. The whole Pandaren arc where you will discover their continent, help solve problems, figure out what happened for the past 10,000 years and why. The second part of the storyline is obviously the war between the Horde and the Alliance.
In some ways, Mists of Pandaria is more of a spiritual successor to classic WoW, with the call to adventure. It wasn't about a giant world boss or big overarching problem, it was just about exploring. Experience this faction, see the world, engage the cultures, have an adventure, that was the spirit of the first game. In many ways Mists of Pandaria gets back into that.
The patches for Mists were conceptualized almost as a sequel to the box product, meaning that after you’ve helped the Pandaren save their land, the story kicks into a different gear. All of the heavy armor and wrath of these two great factions begin to collide, and the story really starts going from there.
This expansion is not a joke. It is not light and fluffy, although the Pandaren are fun and super zen. The conflict between Alliance and Horde is gearing up to hit a fevered pitch unlike any we have ever seen.
Why this and why now? This expansion will be a nice vacation that feels like an adventure before things ramp up in future patches.
Just because Pandaren were debuted as an April Fool’s Joke a few years back, that does not mean they are viewed as a silly and comedic idea. They have always loved Pandaren and wanted to put them into the game. Pandaren were in serious consideration for the Alliance race in Burning Crusade.
They are adding armor to creatures to give them varied appearances, something other than just simple color changes.

Media Presentation - The Pandarens
Aysa Cloudsinger is a follower of the path of Tushui, which believes in living a venerable life through meditation, rigorous training, and moral conviction. She 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. He 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.
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.

Media Presentation - Zones
The Wandering Isle
The isle will not appear on the map of Pandaria.
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.
The 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.
There are now seven zones, up from five. This was done to add more content to the game and give players a less linear progression path so that leveling for a second or third time isn’t the exact same.
The Sha
In Pandaria, negative emotions like fear, hatred, and anger take on a physical presence or dark energy called the Sha.
Unwary mortals can also become possessed by negative Sha energy, becoming embodiments of pure anger or fear.
Jade Forest
The Temple of the Jade Serpent is located here and is the first dungeon.
This temple marks a special place in Pandaren history, because this is where the last emperor defeated the Sha of Doubt and imprisoned it in the ground.
This temple is going to be completely overwhelmed by this dark energy, so you are going to have to go in and clear it.
There are four ancestor spirits that guard over Pandaria. The Jade Serpent has the temple dedicated to her, as well as a statue in the zone.
The Alliance and Horde enter from the North and the South with a small force of survivors from a shipwreck.
There will eventually be a large battle in the middle of the zone.
The Jinyu
They are a fish-man race that is found throughout Pandaria.
They are an elder and wise race, looked up to by the Pandaren.
The water speakers are an upper caste that uses the river to listen to the future
The Jinyu are recruited by the Alliance to go to escalate their war with the Hozen. The Jinyu have always been at war with the Hozen.
The Hozen
They act like a group of 14 year old boys running around together in the jungle, equipped with machine guns and weapons from the Horde.
They are also found all over Pandaria, even in one of the dungeons.
There are Jungle Hozen and Mountain Hozen, the heartier kind.
The Horde are going to work with the Hozen here and recruit this tribe to help fight their war.
We are going to give the monkeys machine guns and rocket launchers. This is a good plan; nothing could go wrong with this plan.
Cloud Serpents
They are the Pandaren's mount of choice.
You can raise your own over the course of roughly 20 days.
You first will pick an egg and color to gain a tiny pet that will follow you.
After doing daily quests with this pet, it will become a full size dragon that you can ride.
Once you can ride the dragon you must do more quests to train it, such as racing through stone pillars as the Pandaren in the stands cheer you on.
Valley of the Four Winds
It is the heartland of Pandaria, where the Pandaren farm their crops.
They grow extremely large vegetables here because there are waters that have been flowing down from Vale of Eternal Blossoms for millenia.
This is the farmer's market here, which is the social hub of the Valley of the Four Winds.
Every day farmers will come to the market with different problems, providing daily quests.
You will help Farmer Yun fix up his overgrown farm, which will show your progression with the faction.
You can clear plots of land and plant things like cooking ingredients, herbalism nodes, gifts for the different NPCs to build your reputation. You then come back the next day to harvest what has grown.
You will be able to decorate the farm as you gain reputation. For example, you can add some pigs and slop, some other animals, and grow an apple orchard.
Stormstout Brewery
The dungeon is in the world at full size, meaning it can be used for questing as well.
Things are not going well inside, so you have to clean house with Chen Stormstout.
Krasarang Wilds
This used to be a subzone of Valley of the Four Winds.
It is a coastal rainforest with a lot of story in it.
The Mogu
They are the original rulers of Pandaria, ruling the land 10,000 years ago.
During that time they built temples all across the world, which are now ruins that you will find while questing.
Now they want their land back and are another threat that you will be dealing with the entire time.
You will come across them in both raids and dungeons.
If they get their empire back it would be bad news for the Pandaren, which is why they are such a big threat.
They are flesh-shapers and can create other creatures.
The Saurok
They are a race of lizard-men created by the Mogu.
They were designed to be smart enough to use weapons and fight for the Mogu, but over the years some escaped.
They will be found across Pandaria and in dungeons.
In one of the patches, the Alliance and Horde will roll up onto the beach along with their fleet, armor, tanks, and build a fortress on the island. Both King Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will make an appearance.
Sometime in the wake of the Cataclysm, the mists abruptly vanished. The world will change over the course of the patches, especially this area.
In Patch 5.1 the beach on Krasarang Wilds will erupt into a battlezone.
Turtle Beach is another important historical part of Pandaria, as it is where Liu Lang, the first Pandarian explorer decided to see what was beyond the mists. He set off on the back of a giant turtle, which grew to become the Wandering Isle.
There are little historical points of interest all around the world and you will be able to visit all of them to collect the story. One of these points is the statue of Liu Lang on Turtle Beach.
Kun-Lai Summit
The zone is broken up into two separate areas, the lowland planes and the highest mountains in Azeroth.
The Yaungol
Their situation is similar to the Taunka in Northrend, as they got separated when Pandaria broke off from the main continents.
They have been forced out of their homeland by the Mantid in Townlong Steppes.
They are aggressive here because they are looking for a new place to set up their homes.
The Grummles
They were also created by the Mogu as a slave race to haul things around.
They make good guides and can carry many times their own weight.
They have a trade route that stretches across the zone called the Burlap Trail, which they will need your help with as this is very dangerous area.
The Shado-pan
The Shado-pan are the most elite warriors of the Pandaren society and they understand the threat of the Sha.
You have to earn the trust of the Shado-pan and work your way up through the ranks.
Shado-pan Monastery is located here in the outdoor world.
Vale of Eternal Blossoms
It is the original seat of the Mogu empire.
There are a set of sacred pools here that the Mogu used to build their empire.
Everyone that is here in Pandaria is fighting over the pools to take control of the power again.
Both Alliance and Horde will have their own player hub here, which will include an auction house, bank, and general vendors.
The zone will be under siege by the Mogu, who want to take their land back.
Golden Lotus
They were chosen by the Celestials to be the guardians of this zone.
There are not enough of them to fight the Mogu, so they need your help.
They don't trust you at first, so you will have to earn their trust. A different part of the valley will be under attack by the Mogu every day. When you first start working with them you will do some exploration and discovery. As you earn the trust of the Golden Lotus, they will send you to the front lines.
As you progress with them more of the doors open to a vault
As you collect the stories from the historical points of interest around the world you can bring them back to the Vale to the Lore Walkers.
The Lore Walkers are responsible for holding all the lore of Pandaria, so you can bring back the things you find and ask them about it, and they will walk up on stage and give a presentation.
This faction is scattered across the world looking for rare ingredients to mix into their brews.
When you find the Brewmasters you will unlock a scenario. Doing these will give you reputation with the Brewmasters.
Kun-Lai Summit, Jade Forest, Krasarang Wilds, and Valley of the Four Winds are all filled with content and ready. Townlong Steppes and Vale of Eternal Blossoms are mostly complete.

Media Presentation - PvP
There will be one new arena at launch.
The Temple of ?? Mogu
Located in ancient Mogu temple that located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
You will have a damage buff while holding the artifact. You will also be gaining points for your team as well.
The artifact has a curse that damages you over time. The longer that you hold it, the less healing that you can take.
It is going to be difficult for one person to keep the artifact for the whole time.
There will be three point zones, with the middle one giving 3 points and the outer one giving 1 point.
Gameplay is very fast paced, very different from other battlegrounds.
Silver Shard Mine
It takes place underneath Stranglethorn Vale in an Adventure Company goblin mine.
Both the Alliance and Horde are trying to get a hold of the mineral rich resources.
There are minecarts that take off from the center of the map and head to three different supply chains. As they are on the way to the depot, you can capture them in the same way you capture points in Eye of the Storm.
Both factions try to capture the cart before it reaches the end of the line, but there are checkpoints along the line that can be channeled to switch the direction the cart will go from left to right, giving your faction time to reclaim it.

Media Presentation - Talent System and Monk
Talent System
The idea behind the talents was adding a way for players to differentiate themselves and customize their abilities and utilities.
If you came back to the game you would go to a website and find the right build for your spec, take that, and never interact with the talent system again.
Most of the new talents don't add player power directly, but instead give you a benifit that is very difficult to weight mathematically.
In the case where the talents do provide power, they are on a tier with two other talents that provide an equal amount of power. It might be different ways of measuring the power, maybe it is a random proc versus something you can press on demand.
You shouldn't feel like you have to take a certain talent if you are a healer. You can take any of the three talents and have fun with those.
The Tome of the Clear Mind is the new consumable used for changing glyphs and talents, and only costs a little bit of gold.
There are a ton of new animations for the Monk and a lot of spell effects that are in place now. Almost every ability has a unique animation. If you are in healing mode, you will be using slightly different animations than if you are in melee DPS mode.
Currently, every race except goblin and worgen can learn the ways of the monk.
The way it works now is, if you are in melee or tank mode, you have an energy bar, but there are only a few abilities that use energy.
There are a couple of attacks that use energy, which builds up a second resource, which are the white spheres there, called Chi.
They are really trying to capture the feel of a button masher fighting game where you might chain combos together.
They don't want it to feel like our existing warrior class, so they don't have a Charge, but they do have a Roll that works more like a Blink. There is another ability lets you fly until you hit the button again and then you come down.
Spinning Crane Kick is the big AoE spell.
Fists of Fury is one of your big three combo point attacks.
Windwalker is the melee DPS spec, Brewmaster is the tanking spec, and Mistweaver is the healing spec.
If you become a Mistweaver, your energy bar is replaced with a mana bar, and you can cast heals much like our other healers, but you stand toe-to-toe and do some melee damage still.

Media Presentation - Dungeons
Stormstout Brewery
The Hozan have invaded and Chen Stormstout has tasked you with clearing them out.
They are having knife fights, seeing things, and sleeping because they got into the beer. You run around on barrels trying to break up the party.
And after you defeat enough of them, Ook-ook, the boss that is up on the ledge, will come down and the first boss encounter here will start.
The second section has the Virmen, which are evil, crazy bunnies that will eat anything.
The biggest Virmen of them all is Hoptallus, the next boss. He has a furlwind attack and carrot breath that you have to avoid.
The third section has old beer that has gone bad and come alive. It has Stormbrew Alementals and spirits.
The final boss is Yan-Zhu the Uncasked a beer elemental.
The artists have added a lot of new art throughout the dungeon, including new undead models.
New lighting and particle effects have been added as well.
Jandice Barov still uses a lot of illusions to try and attack you, but they have been able to really punch up that encounter a lot.
Lillian Voss is now in the room full of skeletons being raised. She is here for revenge against Darkmaster Gandling, who is taunting her.
The old classroom had benches added and creepy paintings on the wall that are always watching you.
Darkmaster Gandling is the final boss, who still sends you into his rooms with undead that you must fight your way out of.
There will be nine level 90 heroics for players as well as three raids with 14 raid bosses. All of the raids are all going to have three difficulties.
In Cataclysm so much of the mindshare went into the revamp of the level 1-60 zones and the creation of the content itself, that they didn't really have an opportunity to create a lot of those new types of gameplay elements.

Media Presentation - Scenarios
To enter a scenario, you'll queue up for it a lot like you would a dungeon. Each scenario is designed to take roughly 10 to 30 minutes to complete.
Most are some slice of the world that has been carved out, to give you things to do as a group that you normally wouldn't be able to do while questing.
People were not doing group quests because they couldn’t find people in the past, so now group quests are something you can queue for.
The instancing provides the ability to make that there aren't different groups competing for the objectives and causing problems for each other.
The UI will present a number of objectives once you enter the scenario.
For example, you can help the Brewmaster create her Lightning Lager that can only be brewed while it's raining and in the middle of a thunderstorm. This is done by defending the brewery from the saurok while putting out fires.
Scenarios don't use the traditional tank/healer/dps set up, which would be slower. Combat is more similar to questing than dungeons.
There should be at least five ready for launch, but there may be more.
Scenarios will reward Valor points.

Media Presentation - Pet Battle System
For years blizzard has wanted to have mini games in World of Warcraft. They have also always wanted something more for pets but they didn't not want them to be mandatory. The pet battle system allows a perfect solution for both, and gives players something to do after dungeons, raids, challenges, scenarios, and battlegrounds.
The pet UI has been fully updated. On the left you will see a list of all the pets you have, and the ones you don’t as well as where to find those pets. When you click on a pet, you have, it will pull up a pet card with all the information on the pet
Pets will have health, levels, attack, defense, and movement speed (which is an initiative type of value) . Pets will also have 6 abilities, of which they can choose three of. It will work just like the players talent system. Two per row, can only pick one per row. You will be able to change these outside of battle. You unlock more abilities by leveling the pet up
You can name all your pets, and they will be shared across all characters.
When you enter a battle, you will see both players along with that player’s pets lined up in front of them.
You will be able to switch your pets between the ones you have selected mid fight. They also now run up to the enemy pet to attack it!
When you challenge another player in the world, it'll just kind of smoothly zoom in to this view. When you finish, it'll just pull right back on out to your normal gameplay view.
There will also be random critters and NPCs out in the world you can fight to level up your pets. As well as a queuing system to queue and fight other players.
There are roughly 100 wild pets across Azeroth to collect.
PvP pet battles are going to be a fun and causal. They do not want losing to feel like a big deal because that's really what drives a lot of people out of it. They will only track the number of wins and not the number of loses. You will also not see the other players name, and the players can not talk to one another. It should feel like your playing against another NPC (that just happens to be very smart).

Media Presentation - Challenge Modes
Challenge modes will be a new kind of activity for max level players that enjoy dungeons and raids. They will introduce a new form of competitive PvE for the first time, a new way to compete against your friends without that feeling of direct PvP confrontation. The point of challenge modes will be prestige, and not character power.
The challenge mode UI will display what dungeons you have completed challenge modes in ex: "You have completed another dungeon and earned a bronze medal in that". When you click on an instance, it will show you the different times you need to hit to earn each medal. While playing, on the right you will have a clock showing you have much time is left before you move to the next medal bracket.
You will always start off with a gold medal, if you take to much time, it will drop to a silver, and then from there to a bronze. The vast majority of players will most likely earn a bronze medal even if they are a relatively unskilled player.
Collecting all of the medal types for all the dungeons will give different rewards to players:
Collecting all the bronze medals will earn an achievement with a title.
Collecting all the silver medals will earn you visually spectacular gear that can be used for transmogrification. All of these sets have been built completely custom for each class and are unlike any other armor set that we have in the game. In addition, something that we are doing with these armor sets that we have never done before is giving them all unique effects that trigger off of something you do with your character class.
Collecting all the gold medals will reward the player with a unique epic mount called the flying Kwai-Lan, which will not be rewarded any other way. It is similar to one of those Chinese dog statues with a Mogu like head.
You will be able to look through the leaderboard at all the times on your realm as well as being able to compare them to friends and guild mates. The times will be tracked down to the milliseconds. The current plan is to save the time to 7 places.
Challenge modes will be available for the six new dungeons at launch.

Interview with Tom Chilton
No new race models yet, but they're working on it. At best, dwarves might have been ready for the MoP release.
An 11th character slot has been added.
Higher resolution textures and less texture stretching on shear surfaces has been added.
Account-wide pets have been confirmed. The rest is still unconfirmed but the next thing on the list is account-wide achievements.
AoE Looting has been added! When you loot one creature, the loot from all the other creatures in lootable range will be included in the same loot window!
Guild Perks
New guild perks are coming, if only to replace the ones that didn’t work out so well.
"Have Group, Will Travel" will be replaced for example, because the goal in MoP is to emphasize on going out into the world to do stuff.
Scaling down your level/power to play with friends who aren't level at the level cap is a feature they still want to include. It might be there for the launch of MoP.
We are excited to get players into the beta very soon, because that is going to be the true test of whether or not it is awesome.

Interview with Greg Street
There will not be an item squish in Mist of Pandaria, but it is possible that we may see it in 6.0 or 7.0 if players want it.
Monks now have a simplified/modified resource system. The Monk’s main resource will now be orbs of energy called Chi. The Tank and Dps specs of the Monk use energy so that most of their abilities do not need cooldowns, as well as Chi.
They feel the Monk’s abilities are very unique, you get to choose how you wish to combo the spells together (via spending a 3 force, 2 force, or a 1 force ability) giving them the Street Fighter button mashing feel.
Monks have some amazing animations.
The warlock currently has had the most changes
Destruction Warlocks now build up a fiery force, as their whole body catches on fire
Demonology Warlocks now have a bar that fills up, allowing them to control when and how long they can stay in Demon Form.
Female Voidwalkers will have a bow on their head (not really) The idea of Female Warlock pets is still on the table, however its on a rather long list. We may still see them in 5.0 or 5.1 (or a later patch)
There will be new Warlock pets in Mists. If you choose the right talent combinations, you can get a Shivan (The big six armed demons from Burning Crusade), A Wrath Guard, and a few others, such as a “Beholder” (The big orbs with eyes)
Paladins are in a very good place, they fixed some of the RNG in their rotations and added more reliable Holy Power.
Challenge Modes
Challenge modes will not have world rankings at first. They will have region rankings on their website.
You will be able to view times of friends and guildies while in-game.
The rankings for challenge mode will be metals: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. They may have some more beyond that at some point.
Challenge modes are meant to be a little harder than heroics
They feel only a few percent of players on each realm will ever get gold, and they like that.
They will be tracking times down to the milliseconds, as if you’re doing the 50 yard dash.
With the introduction of gear scaling, using this system for evenly matched PvP is something on their mind. However, gear is one of the main rewards in the game. If they did something like this, it would be a side thing.
Balancing the battleground teams is something on their mind, but they have to balance it with the increased wait time that would be a result.
They have always wanted minor glyphs to be ‘fun’ glyphs. We will be seeing a lot of new minor glyphs that do fun things such as a minor glyph that makes the Mage “Teleport: Dalaran” send you to the Dalaran crater instead of Dalaran in Northrend. A Warrior could have one that fears critters when they use Battle Shout or Commanding Shout.
They are also changing major glyphs in a way they think will surprise and amaze players.

Interview with Cory Stockton
The Gate of the Setting Sun is a dungeon that takes place at the Great Pandarian Wall with the Mantid attempting to break it down and the Shado-pan defending.
Mogu'Shan Palace is now a dungeon in Vale of Eternal Blossoms with the Mogu and Saurok.
The unnamed Mantid dungeon has them attacking the Ox Temple.
There will be three raids with 14 bosses at launch.
There will be two world bosses at launch.
Mogu’shan Vaults is a Mogu raid where you fight the ghosts of the Mogu.
There is a Mantid raid where you fight the local Mantid empress.
There is a Sha raid where you fight local creatures who have been made Sha and a Sha final boss.
Scenarios will take place at level 90 and be instanced.
They are a replacement for group quests that no one really took part in.
They will reward reputation or later on profession related skill or items.
New Talent System
The choices that you make should actually matter, make your character feel unique, and add customization.
The talents that add player power will now be easier to balance.
You might not want to swap for every boss, but you are able to if you want to.
Pre Mists of Pandaria Patch
We might add a scenario that involves Theramore and the Alliance vs Horde theme.
We might have Chen Stormstout come to the local cities and get players excited about what is coming.
The patch will be roughly two weeks before launch and bring simple rewards.
Gear Scaling Tech
If Challenge Mode dungeons go well, the tech could be used with older dungeons.
The tech could also be used in Scenarios that you could play while leveling or at the level cap.
The gameplay is now much better, especially Jandice’s room.
Deadmines and Shadowfang are similar but there was less freedom to upgrade the art or change the layout.
There will be less sharing of colors. For example, the raid and heroic dungeon completion mounts will not just be different in color, they will be different mounts.
There will still be some places where mounts differ only in color, but they will be rewarded in different ways.
Armor can also be added to make them feel different in a way that isn’t a changed color.
There will be some unique mounts, so that when you see someone with it you will recognize that they have really accomplished something.
There are already more new mounts than there were in Cataclysm.
LFR Loot System
Everyone rolls on the items from a boss individually.
If you win the roll by being one of the highest few rollers, the system checks the boss’s loot table and if there is an item for you, you win it. If not, you win some gold.
This way other people cannot impact what you win, only the roll you get can.
You aren’t always guaranteed something. If the boss doesn’t have an item you can use then you won’t win anything.
It could be added to more parts of the game in the future, but LFR is a good place to start.

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