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Know Your Lore: The dynamic new face of Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The dynamic new face of Mists of Pandaria SUN
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Cataclysm was a good expansion for lore development. There were several new tools brought in to help the merger of gameplay and lore. There were just as many old tools that were reworked and reimagined in a way that made the story behind the game a fluid and interactive experience. And I'm not just talking about game mechanics like phasing and new quest technology; I'm also referring to the larger presence of novels and short stories that tie directly in with the game universe.

This isn't to say that Cataclysm's story was perfect. In fact, despite these innovations, there were problems abound with Cataclysm's storytelling methods. Zones played as seamless stories, but to many players, they felt as if they were on rails. Worse still was the lack of cohesion. The main storyline of Cataclysm felt to many just as scattered as the new zones we had to explore and level through. While Cataclysm was full of innovation, it seemed as though that very innovation led to an experience that ultimately wasn't as satisfactory from a story standpoint.

Mists of Pandaria is a stark contrast to Cataclysm. To be perfectly honest, it's a stark contrast to any WoW expansion we've seen to date. Throw your preconceptions of a world on rails out the window, because we're about to make the leap into dynamic storytelling.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Of replays and linearity

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One of the most common complaints surrounding Cataclysm is the extremely linear nature of questing, both in the 1-to-60 experience and from 80 to 85. For levels 1 to 60, this linear nature almost works for me, largely because presumably new players heading through this content would like to do so as efficiently as possible. With a multitude of zones to choose from, the replay experience with Cataclysm isn't too bad -- particularly because it's really not that hard to level from 1 to 60 at the moment. And that's especially nice for new players trying to get the hang of the game.

However, when you hit level 80, there is one distinct path to follow to level 85, and each zone in that path has been carefully laid out. Quests are divided into hubs, and each hub must be completed in order to move on to the next. If you're taking an alt through these areas, you must replay through the same set of hubs and the same set of quests. If you're replaying several alts, this gets incredibly tiresome incredibly quickly.

Thankfully, we're about to say goodbye to that leveling model. Let's look at Mists, shall we? No spoilers, I promise!

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

A spoiler-free look at the Mists of Pandaria beta

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Are you in the beta for Mists of Pandaria yet? Are you fastidiously avoiding spoilers about all beta-related content? As a site that covers Warcraft news, you'll find more often than not that we have a lot of content up on the site that could be considered spoilers. And if you're someone who's avoiding all that spoiler content, it can get a little frustrating to have to keep scrolling past all that information -- or even more frustrating, dealing with the temptation that all of the spoiler information you could ever want to indulge, just behind that click.

Well, that's not what this article is about. It's about the beta, but it's a spoiler-free look at the beta. You'll see some screenshots, but mostly what you'll be reading is what the beta is like. No spoilers of cool story information or anything of that nature here -- just information on Mists, how it looks, how it's shaping up, and what to expect in the event that you do get a beta invite and would like to indulge.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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