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Mists of Pandaria: 'What has changed?' makes class changes more palatable

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One of the sharpest double-edged swords in Blizzard's arsenal is the constant iteration to class and play design that comes with each World of Warcraft expansion. On the one hand, players like innovation and new mechanics and spells to keep their favorite class fresh. On the other hand, players could reject the changes as too severe or too different from the class they originally set out to play, as was the case with Alex Ziebart and myself with paladins in Cataclysm. It's a risky move to change up the core mechanics of a class, and the introduction of the "What's New" window helps streamline this occasionally daunting issue.

New and old players alike will benefit greatly from the "What has changed?" tab. Simply open up your spellbook and click on the last tab at the bottom. You'll be greeted with a new screen giving you the run down on some of the biggest changes to your class coming in Mists of Pandaria.

On a warrior, for instance, you can see how Blizzard wants returning players to acclimate quickly into the new Mists of Pandaria mindset. Blizzard is letting warriors know that a bunch of their skills might seem missing but have just become baseline specialization abilities rather than something in your book to throw you off. The other big stress points are touched on. Rage generation's mechanic has changed, and stances no longer control what abilities you can use.

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All in all, I'm glad that Blizzard has added in tips and tricks for transitioning into Mists of Pandaria. Many old players have returned due to the Annual Pass as well as the prospects of another Burning Crusade-esque expansion. If it can make the transition back into WoW that much easier for old players, Blizzard could shore up some new old customers again relatively easily.

The "What has changed?" window is not currently implemented for all classes, and most are unfinished as of this build in the beta. However, I think it's an important enough new UI piece that players who are thinking about returning would get some real use out of. It's interesting to watch the nature of player retention almost eight years down the road for a game as large as World of Warcraft, because so much has had to change in order to get to the point that we've had almost three complete class overhauls since the game launched.

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It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

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