Hello my friends and welcome to Metro’s final look back at Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion set! With the new calendar year of Warcraft approaching rapidly, its time to wrap up our affairs and say our final farewells to Chen and Li Li and wish Taran Zhu a speedy recovery.
By all accounts, the expansion has had its ups and downs, and despite my own exuberant love for some of the features, there is much dread to recall alongside.
This article is part two of a two part series where I go through the top 5 best and worst features. We start with the worst in order to frame the best, as I frankly feel despite there being 5 of each, the 5 best far outweigh the 5 worst.
If you would like to see my top 5 best/worst of cataclysm, you can do so here.
Part one has already been release on wowstratics, and the link can be found here.
Let’s get right into the list! Drumroll please!
Best #5 – Timeless Isle Concept!
After placing Dailies as my number 5 Worst feature, I’d be foolish to not mention their fix in the Best list. Without question, the timeless isle is the preferable method for me, especially in terms of gear and catch up mechanics. I’d much prefer 5 mans for the pure catch up situations, but the fact that this promotes group play out in the world is a very healthy thing for the game.
The concept borrows ideas from Diablo, Dark Souls, Guild Wars 2, and the best of WoW’s previous attempts and bakes them into one area where everyone congregates. The atmosphere is electric and hostile, but there is truly something for everyone here, from gear to pvp to achievements to battle pets.
In WoD, they are furthering this idea even more by having rotating areas that you cycle through. Couldn’t be more excited!
Best #4 – Legendary Questline!
If you aren’t aware of this or haven’t seen it through start to finish, you likely missed your chance to do so in game, but its not too late to experience it. I strongly urge you to check out this playlist. Within, is every step’s story and completion, as well as full ambiance.
The story and scenes were truly exceptional, and it was actually quite a challenge start to finish. The collection was a bit dull, but this was just half of the whole, and the solo scenarios and dialogues really made you feel like you were a part of Pandaria. Its magnificence will likely go underrated, but I will always look back at the expansion and remember it fondly for this quest line.
Best #3 – Tanking, Active Mitigation, and Situations that Enforce It!
I have always been partial to tanking, as you can surmise after reading my latest article on the topic, but this expansion really smashed it out of the park. To be clear, I do not play a tank in Progression Raiding, but my passion with the role lies in 5 man and smaller situations outside of raid bosses.
The number 1 situation where tanking shined this expansion was Challenge Mode dungeons, but it was mostly because of Vengeance scaling. However, this was the ideal situation to implement into Active Mitigation, as it allowed exceptionally skilled players to make their mark on the dungeon and show how far they can push their character.
A runner up in terms of reinforcement would be a boss liek Ra-den. Not a boss a lot of people saw, and the mechanic was used again in paragons of the Klaxxi, but regardless of its state, it helped make tanks feel relevant again. During Cataclysm, the tank role was very much gear related and strategy sufficient. Now in MoP, a tank can make your runs through anything from 5 mans to heroic raiding 10x easier or harder, depending on how they do.
Best #2 – Scenery and Theme!
The theme and especially scenery of this expansion was second to none. I usually enjoy the high fantasy style of a major city in European fashion, but there was something about the ancient Chinese theme that captivated me, especially out in the world.
Jade Forest is easily the most attractive zone I’ve ever seen in a video game, and architecture including bridges and small towns you wouldn’t visit normally really make you feel like you are in a living and breathing world.
If you are reading this and don’t know what I mean, I urge you to take a stroll through the zone ON THE GROUND. By flying over the zone, all you’ll see is trees and some monuments. The true splendor comes in the delicate craftsmanship that it took to create such a place.
This is present in every zone of the expansion, and when you open your mind, you begin to realize just how great this expansion really was.
Honestly, this is the reason I can not wait to be on the ground in WoD. There are so many hidden treasures to be seen, and when you fly everywhere, it really cheapens things.
Best #1 – Challenge Modes!!!
By far the best content ever added to the game, in my honest opinion. This is something that should have been fostered from the get-go, and wouldn’t mind seeing the concept introduced for Raiding as well, provided it didn’t interfere with progression.
Something about the fact that everyone’s gear is regulated makes it an equatable challenge unlike anything in the game thus far. Even more fun is the eventual mindset you find yourself in when thinking on the clock.
Before you say anything, I will tell you that I have always had a phobia of timed events, but after doing these you begin to realize that there is nothing to be scared of or nervous in. Its turns into a friendly competition, first between you and the content, and eventually between you and others doing the content.
This, coupled with #3 (active mitigation) has easily given me enough enjoyment even in the year long patch 5.4.
As of now, you have less then three weeks to complete these if you want your set, but beyond that try to enjoy yourself. Don’t ever considering buying them, especially now. Any class or spec can compete in there if you skilled, and 70 percent of the challenge is knowing the strategy.
This is what the game has needed for a long time, and I’m looking even more forward to seeing the second generation in an environment without ridiculous gem scaling and vengeance cheesing. Can’t wait!
Honorable Mention goes to Proving Grounds and Brawler’s Guild.
These miss the cut for me because I have no toon with adequate gear to consider Brawler’s Guild passable, and Proving Grounds has far too many mechanics that aren’t realistic in the world of dungeons and raids.
Regardless, they are exceptional content, and a great fill for a great expansion. Its been such a great ride, and there has been so much good to come of MoP. I truly can not wait to do it all again in WoD!
Don’t forget to check out the top 5 Worst!
If you prefer to listen to more detailed rants on these topics, you can find a full video here below:
(when its finished).