At the character creation screen there is a new interface (new since I quit playing at the beginning of March) and this allows you to button click rather than slider select the look and features of your character. I’ve gone with the Panda Monk to see what the starting area is like.
In starting area there are lots of pandas around. This reminds me of the initial release all those years ago when there were actually lots of people around and you couldn’t get any initial quests done as all the items had been looted by others.
Having got back in after numerous WoW crashes and lots of Google searching for an answer, (DX11 isn’t liked!) it is a mess of people and problems with targeting the very first guy to complete the first quest.
Somewhere in this melee is a panda that you need to talk to! So I eventually worked out a method of doing this… Key binding “interact” to a keyboard shortcut then /target master sheng xi and press the keyboard button voila! Now I can get on with playing.
Specialisations and Talents:
So first thing, let’s have a look at the monk specialisations and talents.
Ok, so we have Tank (Brewmaster), Healer (Mistweaver) and DPS (Windwalker). Pandas can also be either Horde or Alliance but I haven’t got that far at this point. So on to the talents.
It’s interesting that even at this point there are 2 mystery talents for levels 15 and 30. I haven’t worked out what the bits in the <> brackets are yet, but I’m sure some of you already know.
The panda’s chi works just like a rogue’s combat points so nothing new to learn there. It’s a bit annoying that whenever you level up the old talent menu button glows meaning that you need to click on it but it only loads up the pop up you see above and although it says you can learn one of the specialisations… you can’t! Click it and it asks if you want to learn the specialisation and you say yes… and nothing happens! This shouldn’t be clickable if it isn’t available yet.
Levelling in the Panda starting zone:
So whilst I am running around doing all the familiar quest types, kill these, collect those, burn this paper, protect so-and-so, all I am thinking is, I’m playing Kung-Fu Panda! The locations look like it, the animals look like it (especially the stalks and the monkeys), and hell I look like it! Now I don’t know anything about the Panderan lore from the original Warcraft, but so far… not sure I like it. I was quite happy to give up and go get lunch, browse the net and generally do something else. It doesn’t have that level of addictive game play that many of the early WoW enhancements and expansions did.
So questing in Panda-Land is nothing new. Up to level 10 now and it’s still kill this, collect those, and loot these. The location is nice enough but there are no memorable quests like the Kobold Mine in Goldshire or turn the Daemon in to a frog in Dolonaar. Just some monkeys flinging poo around. Now you do get to do a few new bits (see screenshot) where you can jump around on poles pretending to be the Karate Kid and do the Crane Kick (readers of a certain age will know what I’m on about!)
Generally quests aren’t too far away and anytime you have to move on you are requested to hitch a ride on the back of an Ox and Cart. This usually about a 2 min journey to the next kill, loot, collects section.
It’s still fairly obvious that this is in beta, you can’t use any mods, there are actually people around!, general chat is full of “why won’t my quest work”, there a little blue and white checked boxes on the floor that look like item placeholders, and there is nowhere on the whole of the first island to learn anything!!! Can’t find a trainer or profession master anywhere. So after looking around I gave up trying to find any of these and just plodded on with the quests hoping that something interesting would come up. Eventually, after hitting level 10, I made my way to a hot air balloon and whilst on the ride I am presented with a nice Terry Pratchett homage (rip off) to The Great A’tuin, the sky turtle
Specialisations and Talents
So I hit level 10 and was able to select between the 3 classes for my Panda Monk. I chose Mistweaver, thinking that a healer might get me in to groups (although not needed any groups for quests yet). Choosing this class gives you 4 abilities but only 1 currently appears to be available and appear in my abilities menu. Side note here is that the abilities menu is now split in to Active and Passive abilities rather than by class type as previously done. I don’t like the new layout but have been used to the old one for a long while.
Impressions up to level 10
So far… I’m not impressed. This really isn’t anything new and even if I was considering going back to Warcraft I would have given up on the Panda and played a class / race that are much more interesting. All the starting level stuff looks pretty, as does most of WoW but there really isn’t anything exciting here to keep you playing. As I said before, I am more than happy to give up and turn it off to find something else to do… speaking of which Mass Effect 3 needs some more playtime!