*Check out the playlist with video accompaniment for all of these separate patches here!
As we count the days to WoD, I see more and more faces I used to know and faces I’ve yet to see return to the World of Warcraft universe. Much to my delight, this game truly brings people from all over the world together to revel in the mysticism a fantasy experience like this delivers.
Unfortunately, while it is of great amusement to me, it can be quite overwhelming to those on the other end of this conversation. It is with this in mind that I bring you my detailed recap of everything you have missed in World of Warcraft: The Mists of Pandaria! Look at this article as a “guide” of sorts, to help understand just what has been happening while you are away, and what you can look forward to working towards while you prepare to relaunch the game for the first time in a long while.
For the individual’s benefit, I will list features per major patch, so if you quit part way through you will have some timestamp to utilize! To make the best use of this guide, examine the concepts and read my small description. Then, if you find interest in one of the topics, explore it more in game and elsewhere! This will be quite lengthy so I recommend using the “Find” feature (Control + F key) and typing in the patch you want to focus on.
5.0 – Launch of MoP
Daily Hubs and Progression – This was a major feature of the expansion when it launched, but wasn’t everyone’s favorite. As of now, these contain outstanding lore and background into what’s happening with Pandaria, as well as mounts and tabards at their finale. They can also be a tremendous source of gold income!
The hubs encompass the storyline of the Golden Lotus, Shado-pan monks, August Celestials, and Klaxxi Paragons as primary targets. There are also fishing dailies associated with Nat Pagle that is the target for those looking for the water-walking mount. The other desirable target is the Cloud Serpent dailies in Jade Forest. These are by far my favorite and conclude with an amazing scene, so if you are going to do anything, do these first. Their ultimate goal is to teach you cloud serpent flying, unlocking many of the expansion’s mounts.
Challenge Mode Dungeons – My personal favorite feature added in all of MoP. These are essentially a timed-challenge 5 man dungeon akin to the “heroics” you would run, but MUCH more difficult. They have to be flown to, will require 5 people with coordinated vocal communication, and scale all your gear down to 463 to preserve the challenge! Look more into these if you love challenging five man content and their rewards. They feature amazing mounts and sets of gear, but are being removed with the 6.0 patch so act now!
Pet Battling – an often over-looked or misunderstood concept that should be regarded as a major addition to Mists of Pandaria. There are thousands of achievement points tied to pat battling alone, and really get you involved in a three-dimensional world with a Pokemon-style backdrop. Of course, the parallels are too hard to miss, but the point is that it can be done on your character, in the game we all love, with the assortment of hundreds of pets out there. There are also many rare pets that can be collected as they used to be pre-MoP that will do quite well in the battles!
Scenarios – Effectively 3 man dungeons that don’t require tanks or healers, but can be done with even just 1 person if needed. All the mechanics on mobs in these will be dodgeable, interuptable, or survivable in some other capacity. Rewards are outdated, but worth doing each of the original ones for the lore and experience alone!
“Farm” system – A daily source or renewable materials of your choosing. It starts in Halfhill and encompasses the Tiller dailies, and at the end will leave you with 16 plots to place seeds that can yield you anything from cooking materials, to enchanting dust, or even herbs. Any material you need can be found here, and can result in a great source of income!
Legendary Quest Chain – This chain persists over the entire expansion, and will be pretty useless early on now-a-days, but its true splendor comes not from its rewards, but from its amazing voice acting and character development. I have done a video on every part of the chain if you’d prefer to just watch, but I beg you… DO NOT walk out of MoP without experiencing this. It’s far too well made to let pass. (Check it out here if you prefer to watch https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLezAEu8shuO6_8rHYHpto3zO8Gw9FqoRt)
Raids and LFR – In 5.0 through 5.1, there were three raids of progression. Mogu’shan Vaults was the entry raid and dropped the lowest ilvl of the tier. Its available on LFR, Normal, and Heroic, and features lore about the mogu and the trolls involvement in restoring their King.
Heart of Fear is the next raid, containing the highest item level gear of the tier, and featuring lore related to the Klaxxi’s former queen gone mad via sha corruption. Available in LFR, Normal and Heroic.
The final raid of the first tier is Terrace of the Endless Spring, without question the most beautiful setting we have ever raided in. It’s a small four boss raid that features the penultimate Sha that has been behind the corruption of the Mantid and the protectors of the Spring. This raid is available in LFR, Normal, and Heroic.
I would suggest skipping LFR of these raids unless you really want to see them, as its gear is trivialized by catch up mechanics discussed later.
5.1 – Landfall, minor content patch
Faction War Daily hub – The previous hubs and patch was to give us the feeling that we arrived in a place devoid of our interference. We followed the lore of the land, but it was only a matter of time before the Horde and Alliance arrived, and when they do they bring war with them. These dailies feature progression based lore than takes you many weeks to complete and ends with a scene or scenario explaining what sets the stage for the final raid of the expansion. Extremely important if you wish to understand all the lore the expansion travels upon!
Brawler’s Guild – Continuing the trend of personal challenges, this is essentially a solo-test based on the concept of the film/book Fight Club. You fight NPCs with unique and specific challenges, but sadly this is really harshly trivialized by gear. Regardless, it’s extremely fun to sit around and watch your friends brawl, and at the end of it all there is some really great rewards including a mount. I would highly recommend this if you like to be challenged as a player and as a class.
Battle Pets Added to Classic Raids – A small feature, but an important one for collectors and pet-battlers. AQ, BWL, and MC have had rare quality pets added to certain bosses that can also be sold, for those looking for profit. To facilitate this, the “raid group” requirement has been lifted from everything pre-MoP, so you can just walk in alone and solo it. Before you ask, everything in MC and BWL is EASILY soloable at 90. AQ 40 may present some select issues depending on class.
Gear Upgrading via Valor Points – One of the biggest systems’ changes ever implemented in the game. This allows us to use Valor points to literally make our existing epics better by whole item levels! Can be of tremendous use for getting the item level you need for LFR etc. This vendor is near the transmog and reforging guys!
5.2 – Rise of the Thunder King
Isle of Thunder – New daily hub, where Horde and Alliance meet to tear down the walls of the newly awakend Thunder King. This island featured AQ gate style unlocks that your realm had to complete together, but by now it’s all finished. With these unlocks, there was a solo-scenario that explained the lore and showed you taking on each challenge, eventually opening the raid instance to everyone involved.
New Raid, Throne of Thunder – This raid features the Zandalari early and explains their involvement on the Island and with the Thunder King Lei Shen. This is a large, sprawling raid that takes us from the gates, to having to sneak in through whats beneath the palace, then finally into the main chamber of Lei Shen. The lore here is spectacular, and continues when we learn that Raden, a fallen titan and Heroic-only encounter, had been captured by Lei Shen many years ago – as an explanation for his immense power. The raid is split up into 4 wings for LFR, and drops 502 gear, so can mostly be skipped if returning and looking to get right into the final tier. Worth doing just to see the amazing scenes and witness the horrible creatures Lei Shen has at his disposal.
World Boss / Rare Mob Faction Tag – A small feature in its scope of implementation, but extremely important and worth noting for players returning. Long story short, you no longer have to be in a group to receive credit for killing any world boss or rare mob! Enjoy.
5.3 – Escalation, minor content patch
New Storyline, Battlefield: Barrens – Picking up where we left off with the 5.1 storyline, the Horde has imploded because of Garrosh’s disastrous decisions. You find Thrall, Chen, and Vol’jin gathering their strength to assault Orgrimmar and dethrone the madman. I’m honestly not sure what’s left of this story or area, as it was further morphed into 5.4 content, but either way, the Barrens should still see the effects of the war preparation. Head out there and check it out!
“Heroic” scenarios – Further 3 man content that challenges the group beyond the previous. There are actually strong ilvl rewards from doing these, and you automatically get an upgrade for whatever your worst piece is when you complete the quest to do your first one. Commonly regarded as the highest valor-per-hour farm in the game as well as tremendous source of gold. Must be queued up premade, cannot use lfd pug system.
Battle Pets Added to TBC Raids – SSC, Karazhan, and Tempest Keep will feature even more pets for collecting or selling. You can really make quite a profit if you can get a few of these a week for the AH. Don’t forget, all the raid requirements have been removed for things prior to Mists of Pandaria, so you don’t need others to sit in a group with you while you solo it. Before you ask, all three of these places are entirely soloable, but you may have some trouble with Lady in SSC, so don’t be scared to ask a friend!
5.4 – the Siege of Orgrimmar! (Biggest patch ever, without question.)
Connected Realm Feature – If you are returning to a realm that was previous low or medium population, there is a high chance that you will be seeing many other people from other realms flying around you. This is because of the Connect Realm concept, where they have essentially “merged” multiple realms together to help facilitate larger groups finding each other.
This has literally saved realms from death, and has fostered a nice relationship from competitive players across the merged realms.
In order to understand the change, realize that you are still on your original realms, but now EVERYTHING you could do previously can be done with these other players, including joining guilds, using the AH, sending mail, etc.
Without question, this change is one of two that make this final patch the most important patch in the history of the video game, and solidifies the fact that MoP has been a tremendous success, even if you don’t like some of the features.
Flex Raiding – The second part of what makes this patch the most expansive ever. This feature allows for actual raiding to be done on a dynamic level, with as many people as you want. It scales all mechanics and bosses based on the number of people, and uses individual loot systems to ensure fairness and lack of exploits. THIS should be the goal, NOT LFR. Currently only available for SoO, and still broken up into wings. Drops 540 gear, and can be done easily with 515- 525 item level.
A great feature for those looking to do actual raiding with real mechanics, but not mess around with the LFR clowns.
Siege of Orgimmar – You know it’s been a big patch when the titular raid is third on the list!
This is IMO the most epic raid we have seen. Storming Orgrimmar is just mind-blowing, and really puts things in perspective when you break in through RFC and see just what Garrosh has been building under the city we all hang out in!
It’s quite an expansive raid, and absolutely of the highest quality, so even if you are forced to do LFR, make sure you get all four wings done.
Timeless Isle – The isle itself may not be the biggest thing, but the concept will transcend the expansion and revolutionize the way people play the game in the future. For now, its an AMAZING catch up concept. You can easily get 500+ ilvl just from the gear out there, so if you are returning to the game and need some gear, head out there asap.
For the future, this concept will replace Daily quests as the end game pve content that isn’t dungeons or raids. There has already been much discussion about this free-roam type discovery reward system, and all agree it’s far better than the previous model!
Proving Grounds – Essentially solo Challenge Modes. You will face trials specific to your sub-roll (DPS, Healer, Tank) with the potential for extreme difficulty. It starts off easy, progressing from Bronze, to Silver, and then Gold. After gold, there is Endless, which allows the waves to never stop coming and fosters macro-competition. This will be a TRUE test of your ability, and the further you get, the more bragging rights you can claim! There are even achievements and titles associated with your success here.
Arena Team Changes – I would say this is far from focused on PVP, but it’s worth noting this change no matter what type of content you play. If you haven’t played in a while, you will immediately notice there are no more Arena Teams, and thus no more team rating. This is great, as it allows you to play with anyone at any time, and not worry about creating teams and that whole thing. With this change, this has also made arenas fully cross-realm. You can now do ranked arena with friends from any realm and still gain rating.
That’s everything. Hopefully you have seen just how much content there is in MoP, and now have a good idea where you want to start. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the forums over at http://stratics.com/community/