When I first heard the announcement that the next expansion was indeed going to be Mists of Pandaria (MoP) I had a real Charleton Heston, Planet of Apes, moment. I thought -
"...We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
But then a couple of beers later I settled in and starting absorbing the massive amounts of information Blizzard was providing on this expansion.
I love the idea of the Asian themed continent. For once we may get to experience zones that aren't all torn up, covered in green haze or littered with walking skeletons. I think Pandaria is going to be beautiful, and we'll appreciate that more than we know right now.
About the only thing I'm not sold on just yet are the Pandas. I'm willing to give them a try, and the fact that they can be hunters means they can't be all that bad. Speaking of Hunters, I think it's safe to say that the second big theme of Blizzcon, after MoP, was Hunters.
- Goodbye minimum range - This is the change we've all been waiting for. Raise a glass an celebrate.
- Goodbye stat sticks - Hunters are losing their melee slot and won't even be able to equip melee weapons. To compensate for the loss of stats Blizzard stated they'll be buffing our guns, bows and crossbows. Also, Hunters will be the only class that can equip ranged weapons. So suck on that Rogue who got Thorid'al the Star's Fury back in Burning Crusade!
- Pet families will no longer be associated with a specific pet type (i.e., Tenacity, Cunning, Ferocity). The hunter will be able to choose which of those roles they'd like for their pets. Euripides can finally realize his dream of a tenacity seagull for extreme soloing. This unfortunately may mean the end of the pet talent trees - for now.
Even if pet talents may go the way of the dodo, Hunter talents are getting a complete overhaul. Instead of having three talent trees, there is going to be one set of talents for the entire class. Our specs aren't going away so at level 10 you'll still choose between BM, MM and SV. Abilities specific to those specs will be gotten through the trainer and not via talents.
Now the talents are going to be a tiered system where we can choose one, and only one talent from each tier. Blizzard did say that we will be able to swap talents as easily as we do glyphs.
Despite Hunter woes in PvP the winning arena team OMG, featured a hunter. They were only team to feature a hunter. While this is exciting, I can't help but wonder if this will be counter productive for our class. According to Frostheim, even Ghostcrawler was acknowledging that Hunters need help in PvP. We'll see if that assessment still stands.
Overall I think Blizzard gave us a lot to be excited about, and they gave us lots of incentives to keep rolling via the Annual Pass (more on that later).
I know I plan to visit Pandaria, although it won't be on behalf the Alliance and their silly war with the Horde. Nope, my mission is to impart Dwarven Wisdom to the Pandarens and ensure that every one of Chen's Empty Kegs is filled with Darkbrew Lager, and not that swill Chen's been pushing these thousands of years.
See you in Pandaria!