When Pandaria Is Left Behind…

– Dear Blizzes, please do a pre-launch event
where Garrosh launches a mana-bomb to a continent of Pandaria,
so that not a single virmen, mantid or pandaren survived.

– And Gina Mudclaw must be in the epicenter of explosion

– And forget everything as a nightmare.

(c) Official WoW forum

With each day, Warlords of Draenor comes nearer. It may be hard to imagine now, but Pandaria that has been with us for 2 years will become a one-more leveling area on your path to where “real events” happen. How will it be?

Ilmari
Ilmari enjoys Valley of Four Winds from the virmen cliff.

During these two years, we’ve launched at a continent with our faction, established a base and followed the magic Mogu bell storyline with Alliance or Horde. We fought Sha (and Sha in our souls too), embraced Pandaren peaceful philosophy and learned the ways of monk (even those who did not play monks). We eradicated endless mogu, yaungol and mantid. We put an end to Lei Shen and the regime of Garrosh through a series of events and finally raids. And we did lots, lots, lots of farming and possibly learnt more about growing crops than your local minister of agriculture.

The question is: Why do we fight

1. Is Pandaria worth replaying if you must level your alts here?
2. Compared to previous expansions, what place in the row will Pandaria take? And which expansion is best for leveling?
3. Which Pandarian storylines you will do when you level up through it again? Which you definitely won’t?

I really want to hear as many opinions here as possible, drawing the line and at the same time expressing your thoughts on the expansion experience. I would be grateful for a link to this post at your blog too :)

So, my answers for a start.

1. Yes, it’s definitely worth every minute I’ve spent here. It may not bear the “true-wow” atmosphere with all the Oriental scent, but it’s at the same time so unusual and introduces you many characters, things and storylines that you’ve never seen before, a unique style that gently embraces you as a jade mist and doesn’t let you out easily. With leveling alts, the continent will be perfect to distract from the orc-demon-undead spinning wheel of “normal” Warcraft, to plunge at least for 5 levels into a cozy atmosphere of snow-capped mountains and rich green valleys, to wander among magnificent temples and have fun with friendly Pandaren. Leaving Pandaria will be like waking from a golden dream with most pleasant memories before rushing into the harsh lands of Draenor.

2. When you level an alt character, it’s crucial that you have a variety of options of where to go and what to do. If you get a sort of crossroads, it’s very cool, because you are not stuck to one and the same storyline for each and every character.

So, my preferences are:

I. Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. As you travel for the whole lot of 58-60 levels here, there’s a vast amount of zones you can level up in. And what is most important, you can easily quit one continent and simply go to another – possible for both Horde and Alliance. Around level 20-30 and farther, there are no specially assigned faction zones. Capitals, many different zones (from deserts to jungle to forests to valleys to snow zones), many lore characters known from before WoW – and Cataclysm’s reboot of storylines which makes leveling up extremely interesting. And don’t forget many, many, many dungeons that don’t let you get tired even if you level up only through dungeon runs.

II. Northrend. You spend here like 10-14 levels, and it easily provides content for every step. Two landing points for your choice, and you can quit them at once and travel to other hubs of zones. If you do only one starting zone in full, you level up 5 levels (if you additionally make a single run for each available dungeon). Within the one zone limits, you have many different storylines to follow, so you can level up two chars of one faction in the very same area and not repeat a single step. You never get bored and never have to wait for the new quest zones to become available. You can have your pass to the end zones at 77 and enjoy Storm Peaks or Icecrown questing for 3 solid levels or more. Multiple dungeons! With each level you open some and eventually end up with at least 10-12 to choose from.

III. Pandaria. One landing point, and there is an obligatory starting questline which becomes more boring with every next toon. And there’s annoying Li Li who will peck out your brain with the first two minutes of your acquaintance with her. Sadly it’s the only questline you must follow too and listen to her for like at least half an hour. But even at Dawn’s Blossom you can choose to explore Jade Forest with many different stuff to do or go to Kun Lai Summit or Krasarang or Valley of Four Winds – so that’s when it becomes diverse and fun. Few dungeons is major drawback.

IV. Outland. One landing point, and it kicks off the desire to continue at once. If you leveled in Eastern Kingdoms, you already had 4 scorched zones in a row: Badlands, Searing Gorge, Burning Steppes, Blasted Lands – to get the very same scorched zone on your arrival. And you can’t really change it at once for Terokkar, for example. What is left is running through the vast already hated scorched areas and continue with the dark swamp for 4 levels before you even get a chance to get a quest at Terokkar. The expansion also doesn’t let you easily to Nagrand or Blade’s Edge Mountains, not until you’re like 65-66. One of the biggest drawbacks is also non-rebooted questlines. There are many, many quests where you just fly and fly from one place to another to kill 10 whats-your-names (lucky if you don’t have to collect smth. from them with extremely low drop rate) and then you fly, fly, fly back. And then you do it again and again. They got rid of this in EK and Kalimdor, but Outland was not rebooted. But there are many, many very interesting dungeons.

V. Cataclysm. These 5 levels are a complete disaster. While you can choose between Hyjal and Vash’jir at once, you have to follow the same questlines with both Horde and Alliance toons. Leveling up is very, very slow and you have to complete all the same storyline again and again with no hubs to choose from. You cannot level up through dungeons too – there are too few, and give so little experience. There’s also Vash’jir – undewater levels are never success with every game. All the 3D, and you cannot really hit the next enemy at once, requires tuning your position. And when things start to get interesing and different for two factions at Twilight Highlands – it’s at the same time the level when you can go to Pandaria. So, cool storyline for the first run and next char to remember all the plots, it’s becomes awful with your third alt. 

 3. The most exciting thing in Pandaria was RPG-element with most zones. Almost everywhere you get an opportunity to develop not only your gear or char but actually change the events and surroundings. The coolest examples are: establishing the bases of Horde and Alliance both in Krasarang. Jade forest and Kun Lai Summit, pushing through the continents and making your bases grow, development of Halfhill farm, discovering Klaxxi Paragons and adding them up to your quest hub (not a single one of them repeated), developing your base and assaulting the Isle of Thunder with your progress visible at once. And there are some questlines which also lead to landscape changes like unveiling a picture and destroying the Serpent’s Heart, plus the questline with Stoneplow. These things will be the highlights of leveling in Pandaria. Dull questing is of course happens Townlong Steppes and Grummle Path in Kun Lai Summit. It’s just a way to nowhere, killing more mobs and more mobs. 

That’s my experience on the expansion questing – would be cool to learn yours ;)

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2 thoughts on “When Pandaria Is Left Behind…

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