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Mists of Pandaria: The Pandaren

Mists_Of_PandariaWhen Blizzard first introduced their upcoming expansion to World of Warcraft, The Mists of Pandaria, the first thing that most people exclaimed was: PANDAS! True to fact, the new race being introduced to the WoW community are indeed fat, anthropomorphic pandas with everything that comes with that. Their history is an interesting one in that their development stems from an April Fool’s joke from 2007—the community reaction to having playable pandas came with such a reaction that Blizzard put the project on a burner and waited for it to boil.

As of Blizzcon 2011 the Pandarens have been announced as the new playable race in the upcoming expansion.

Players seeking to play a Pandaren can come from either faction, Horde or Alliance, and will be able to play any of the following classes: Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, or Monk. Pandarens start as “neutral” until level 10 when they must choose a faction to join; until they choose a faction they cannot be friended by anyone.

Amid the racial traits that Pandaren players will receive there are a few interesting ones to list. Epicurean—a reference to Epicurious, a website best known for their excellent recipes—will give the Pandaren a 100% buff to all food-related stat benefits, essentially doubling all food buffs. Gourmand—another food related trait—will increase the base Cooking skill by 15. Inner Peace doubles the length of time that the rested bonus lasts. Bouncy reduces falling damage by 50%—this is probably a reference to the Kung-Fu Panda movie. Finally, there is Quaking Palm, which enables a Pandaren to put a target to sleep for 3 seconds as a melee attack.

These are all initial expectations so there’s always a chance that they’ll be changed before the final release of the expansion delivers them through beta testing.

The Pandarens start on an island called “The Wandering Isle,” which is actually a giant turtle swimming in the seas of Azeroth—echoes of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series anyone? This will be the starting zone. The giant turPandariatle is named Shen-zin Su and it left the island of Pandaria 10,000 years ago when it began growing. Forests sprang up on the turtles back and the Pandaren who accompanied it on its adventures constructed buildings and a small city there.

Pandaria is a standard volcanic island. Currently it’s expected to have five zones on the continent: the Vale of Eternal Blossoms at the center; the Jade Forest in the east, acting as the beginning zone; the Valley of the Four Winds, the southern zone; the Townlong Steppes, the western zone; and Kun-Lai Summit, the northern zone.

Chances are all of these zones will be 85+ and will house high level dungeons native to Pandaria and further challenges for high level players in the World of Warcraft.

Non-Pandaren players will gain access to Pandaria from Orgrimmar and Stormwind in the same fashion that they did Cataclysm zones—but following quests out of their capital cities.

It is only recently that the Pandaren clans, called shao'dins, have sought to contact the rest of Azeroth again since the Great Sundering of the world. Ten millennia they separated themselves from the rest of the world; but with the coming of the Burning Legion a few reappeared. Now the citizens of world of Azeroth have been given a glimpse into their borders.

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