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.
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!).
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.
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.