World of Warcraft: Pre-Pandaria Cheat-Sheet

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

By on September 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

A lot of really excellent games have come out since World of Warcraft‘s last expansion, Cataclysm. One of those games was even from Blizzard themselves. So even if you, like I, have not really involved yourself in World of Warcraft since seeing what Deathwing did to Azeroth, there’s still time to catch up before checking out World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.

Time away from an MMO can make it difficult to get back in. Stat gaps form, players change, and sometimes entire systems undergo revamps. World of Warcraft also features an actively evolving world and storyline, which can make it even tougher to know where you stand. Here’s the absolute basics to ensure you’re not totally lost come September 25.

The World…

Deathwing has been defeated, and as of right now there are no overarching threats to the inhabitants of Azeroth. This time of relative peace has, ironically, allowed the tension between the two player factions of the Horde and the Alliance to build.

Varian Wrynn, the king of Stormwind, has firmly positioned himself at odds with the Horde, though he isn’t acting outwardly hostile like the Horde’s new warchief Garrosh Hellscream. Hellscream, in fact, has been vying for a full-on war with the Alliance since Wrath of the Lich King, and in Mists of Pandaria that looks set to occur.

His outlandish, warmongering behaviour has become so volatile that neither faction can really abide him, and Blizzard has revealed that he will in fact be the final boss of the upcoming expansion (the Deathwing of Mists, if you will). Bearing that in mind, Horde players are still obliged to follow his rule until then — as traitors and challengers to his title have been known to be quickly cut down. Alliance players can keep doing whatever they like, really. Their leadership is fine (and boring!).

…and you

If it’s been a while since you’ve played, your character has likely undergone some pretty sweeping changes.

The talent system has gone from a complex tree that ultimately feels like a maths puzzle, to a hyper-basic choice every 15 levels. Talents no longer provide passive benefits like increased damage, but are instead a specialized, and often very powerful, new ability. Some of these harken back to the older talent system from days of yore, but many are new, and the system puts far less emphasis on filling a single role as much as providing avenues of flexibility.

For passive increases, the Glyph system has been reworked to provide a much greater difference in the Major Glyph slots, and minor cosmetic changes (such as goofy polymorph options for mages) in the Minor Glyph slots.

If you still can’t find someone to play with despite all these tools at your disposal, then chances are you aren’t actually playing World of Warcraft

Everyone now has vast amounts of gold, but that’s okay, because gold is mostly useless (until the Black Market comes with Mists). If you want to buy gear or do basically anything, you’ll need to collect one of the many, many other currencies floating around such as Valor. Some of the old currencies you might have had have also probably been converted into something more useful.

Engaging in content and finding social circles is also much more streamlined, as in addition to the Dungeon Finder function from Wrath of the Lich King, there is now a Raid Finder and a Guild Finder.

If you still can’t find someone to play with despite all these tools at your disposal, then chances are you aren’t actually playing World of Warcraft and might accidentally be spacing out while staring at a WoW-themed mousepad or something.

A great number of changes and additions are still yet to come with the launch of Mists, but you still have until the 25th to get to grips with those. Stay tuned as we explore more of Blizzard’s newest world.

14 comments (Leave your own)
James Pinnell

After playing through all the changes in GW2 I don’t think I could ever go back to a static experience like WoW. This expansion doesn’t sound very exciting frankly.


James Pinnell,

I think any MMO where I have to go to a hub to get a series of quests is going to make me hate them immediately from now on. GW2 has spoiled me too much with how streamlined it is.


I was bored of GW2 leveling by the time I got to 60. Well and truly sick of it by 80. I think I could go back to a hub system easy enough.

That says, Rift: Storm Legion looks far more exciting than MoP to me.


Im lvl 40 something in GW2, i have no desire to level. What for? you get gear in pvp and instant 80 you get down levelled in every zone you go to if your too high. It just makes it a bit redundant, I’d rather go play on scriptcraft or something though then repay for full-retard version of WoW.


To buy or not to buy hmmmm. Probably just buy because it would be weird not to own a blizzard game.

Oh and haters gonna hate :).


I quit WoW some 2 weeks after Cataclysm was released due to severe apathy towards everything, and I didn’t give it a second thought until one of my friends decided to start playing again about a week ago.

I wouldn’t mind joining him, but the recent changes and the expansion really kind of put me off. I wouldn’t say I’m hating on it, but the changes make it harder to get back into, and MoP just doesn’t look all that interesting to me…


I played since beta but stopped soon after Icecrown. Coming back to the game recently, I have to say I’m rather enjoying the changes. The recent mechanic changes in the pandapatch are pretty cool to play, all in all .. and am looking forward to seeing what happens when the content itself is expanded.


From an outside perspective Pandas seem like a random addition.

I liked Warcraft when it was just Orcs & Humans.


I would drop the $15 to give it one last chance to make me want MoP, but I can’t shake the feeling that it really isn’t worth the time investment it requires.


I’m looking forward to playing Pandaria, I play WoW pretty casually now, and quite enjoy what it offers, and with some of the changes coming/already in with 5.0.4 it looks like it’ll continue to be fun in that capacity. (I can’t speak for hardcore players/raiders anymore, I left those days behind in early Wrath).

Also, if you only liked Warcraft when it was Orcs and Humans, the last Warcraft game you liked came out 18 years ago, might be time to move on.


Also, if you only liked Warcraft when it was Orcs and Humans, the last Warcraft game you liked came out 18 years ago, might be time to move on.

I play a variety of old school and contemporary games, which isn’t uncommon.

Orcs & Humans is dated but so is WoW really considering it was first announced over 11 years ago.


That is pretty funny to think about – the time between Warcraft 1 to WoW and from WoW to now is almost the same.

By the time Warcraft 2 came out 1 year later Warcraft 1 was a completely outdated relic of a game, but WoW is still one of the biggest games today and its gameplay is still very closely copied.




Dont worry, they seem random from the inside too.


Mists is going to be awesome. 5.0.4 is a great patch and the new talent system is a breath of fresh air that really leaves the old one in the dust.
Can’t wait to see the new continent and all the new stuff.

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