Welcome to beta Bear!

I did spend a little time in the beta for Mists of Pandaria yesterday, and while I do not intend to write anything that would be a spoiler about story or quests or new races or classes, I did want to give you a few impressions. I hope you won’t mind.

I played the Pandaren Monk yesterday, through to level 6. My very first impression I’d like to share is how beautiful the areas and architecture are. The Pandaren starting area is very given to a martial-arts dojo aesthetic, and I came away with some personal decisions after playing it;

1) Do not start a Pandaren Monk unless the initial rush had died enough that there would only be a few other people sharing the area.
2) If I start feeling so damn excited that I don’t want to be patient, remember point #1. No, really, wait. No, stop it. Wait. Breathe in, breathe out. Ahhhh. Patience, young one. Give it a few weeks or even a month or two. Level to 90 on someone first. Let the need to level a Pandaren Monk go until the herd is GONE, damnit.

It was a little crowded. Yeah. Just a tad. It took away from the feel of the quests and the setting, took away from the fun of discovering class abilities and using them, it stole some of the innocence. Enough that I know I must wait when doing it for reals.

The second thing I noticed, and Alex commented on, was there weren’t any bad looking Panda faces, male OR female. They were all quite attractive. I liked the fur markings. Nice job. I hope you’ll be pleased.

I created a Gnome Monk to see how the class leveling was implemented in starter areas other than the Wandering Isles. Short answer; they’re not.

I got to level 2, I was getting quests, but as soon as I made it out of Gnomeregan, no more quests. No trainer. Nothing. I just stood around with a bunch of other level 2 Gnome Monks wondering ‘WTF now?” So, early days.

I also played around some with the Glyph system for Druids, and the feel of Guardian Druid skills and stats. I’m hoping to respec, gem and enchant, and go test Bear tanking a bit in some instances later this week.

Overall, the single biggest thing I guess I can share is, yes, the starter zone looks quite stunning.

The challenge will simply be in figuring out how to prevent the surge of other eager players from taking away from our enjoyment.

17 Responses to “[BETA] Spoiler-free first impressions”
  1. Tammy says:

    Bear:

    I’m not sure if you are aware of this but the new philosophy is that skills will just be given to you automatically when you level. The trainers are only there for you to learn duel spec and re-spec (I think). Right now re-spec’ing doesn’t work in the beta so I’m not 100% on that right now.

    I also tried monk’ing on a race other than Panda and I will say it was hard! The beginning quests are definitely not tuned for the new monk since monks really don’t have any abilities when first starting out. If you look at the Panda starting area you fight training bags and npcs for the first 2 or 3 levels as opposed to actual mobs that could kill you.

    I was lucky in that I made a Panda in the first week of Beta. I’ve seen screenshots of what the starting area looks like now and yea, it’s not somewhere I would want to be. Blizz did such an excellent job with the new area and it’s a shame to not be able and enjoy it due to the masses. Shoot, the new area even introduced me to an awesome anime (Ranma 1/2) *laughs*; so thank you Blizzard!

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy your time in the beta. I personally think Blizz has done a great job; I love the new quests in Jade Forest and quickly hit the lvl cap so now I’m lvl’ing my mage in Live so I can transfer her to the Beta. Good going Blizz, getting me back into the game again.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I’m not going to spend that much time in the beta until they add a ‘report a bug’ button, since I find so many bugs I’d be living on the forums to report them. As soon as they do, I’m gonna get back in there. For now, I’m gearing my new 85 priest as shadow, with the intention of rspeccing to healing the second I have solid gear. About the time I get done with that and happy, there will be new shinies.

      You know, if it wasn’t for some friends who gushed over Ranma 1/2 and who had ALL the videos, that would have been a reference I didn’t get. Instead, I actually know what it was about, and I did laugh. Especially with turning you into frogs and having cranes walking around.

      Now that you tell me how it’s supposed to work, I’ll have to go back and see if I missed a quest befor eleaving gnomer. I MUST have, since there was nothing for me top side.

      • Tammy says:

        *nods* that button probably won’t be put in for awhile though. Even though there are tons of people in the Beta and more to be added there isn’t much to do right now and the Beta will be Beta for awhile yet so you’ve got time.

        If anything, this might get people back into regular WoW to combat the lull.

  2. Elwolf says:

    Currently on Beta I have 3 druids – my main which is resto/boomin and 2 premades so I can test the new cat and bear on different characters with proper gems/enchants (you only get 1 feral gearset)

    Looking forward to spending some time doing just those this week – once I have sorted out all the actions bars etc! :)

  3. Matty says:

    Looks down solemnly: “I vow not to spoil without warning or caution, so help me expansion.”

  4. Xew says:

    It’s too bad Blizz can’t just instance starter zones to have like 10 – 20 people per shard. Then you’re not competing with a ton of people, but it doesn’t feel like a wasteland.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I completely agree. I know instancing later is a huge pain when trying to group with friends, but I think even the first three levels, the base introduction and ‘welcome to your new you” part could benefit from instancing. A lot.

      • Tammy says:

        I’d agree with you guys just due to the pure number of people but most people only play the beta for a few days and then leave. Also, there will be many servers when this does go live so while crowded it won’t be like it is right now.

        Like anything new, it’ll be popular and shiny but eventually it will settle down. Bug-wise, the new Panda area is actually relatively stable but then again that area has been ‘done’ since before BlizzCon *laughs* (more or less).

        The biggest bugs I find right now are that the new phase quests don’t seem to do well if more than one person is doing them at a time so they get quite buggy. It’s definitely the period of patience and persistence right now but that’s in the Jade Forest and not the new starting area.

  5. Gus says:

    Dont try tanking yet according to mmo-champion bear tanking is still a Work in progress low damage inefficient resource usage etc.

  6. Tesh says:

    Not looking forward to the Guardian spec. I rather like the flexibility of Feral spec where I can be a primary Cat but Bear in a pinch just fine. Pushing for stricter roles and specialization isn’t what I ever wanted to see from the game.

    …I’m not surprised that’s the design direction, but I don’t have to like it.

    • Fangtastic says:

      I agree with you Tesh. I don’t have beta access yet but reading about other people’s experiences is just plain depressing. From the current magnificent state of the bearcat to not even having rake, rip, shred or savage roar when shifting into cat form? That just sounds so… blahhhh compared to what we have now.

      Not a big fan of the stack rage to 60 and hit SD model either. Would be much cooler if we got combo points (but on us instead of the target) or energy. Energy would be super cool – we could pull with energy at 100 on the pull and use energy consuming abilities and then balance our rage/energy use. That would have some real depth. Right now bears are looking really boring.

      Same for prot warriors (my other tank) – I guess we still have devastate as a filler where bears have nothing. But waiting for 60 rage to hit shield block doesn’t sound like compelling gameplay to me.

      Sorry about hijacking your post with a comment wall Bear.

      • bigbearbutt says:

        No, sadly I’m feeling about the same way. I just won’t talk about it on a blog post until I personally test things myself and do what I can to try and figure out a fun way to make it work.

        I do love the idea of an energy style tanking system. I do.

        • Aldevar says:

          I completely, 100% understand where you guys are coming from. You ejoyed this playstyle, it’s what attracted you to the class and you want to keep it. But, honestly, isn’t it a “bit” unfair that you can, essentially, fit 2 roles in one specc? Why should one class have that privilege and the others shouldn’t?

  7. BigFire says:

    One suggestion for those of you trying out the starting area on Beta: keybind interact function to a key. There’s a lot of people unclear on the concept and crowd out the quest giver. What you can do in this situation is to target the quest giver using /tar and then hit the keybind key. You’ll be surprised at how many people are stucked at the very first quest giver.

  8. Xew says:

    Got my invite last night, and started playing as soon as I got out of the Red on the downloader. I’m saving ALL of Pandaria for when it comes out, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try out the monk. Been looking forward to seeing how well it heals (I have 85s for each healing class – though my druid is my main (and probably only 90 – so tired of leveling…)

    So, I started a tauren monk (all my healers are tauren – thanks Blizz for letting me be a pally and priest!) Gotta say, it was a bit lack-luster until I got to Bloodhoof village and figured out how to buy a staff (really, the drop down box to select specific items is nice – but defaulting to Class rather than All confused me for a bit “Why the heck are all these vendors not selling wares!?!?”) staff + monk = nice graphics!

    Only got to 7 before I turned into a pumpkin – but I’m definitely going to powerlevel my little monk… really happy so far. After playing a ton of SWTOR though, I think I would have preferred not having auto-attacks… and area looting FTMFW!

  9. [...] off, I want to mention that my favorite blogger “The Big Bear Butt” has a post on his blog where he discourages people from starting a pandaren first off in the game, since the [...]

  10. Tedronai says:

    Hey BBB,

    I found out what you mean about the starting area being swamped today. The first five quests are really horrible, but it opens up after that and the rest of the experience was pretty smooth. I’m not sure I’d discourage people from jumping right into it once it goes live though – there will be a lot of people there, yes – but will it really be anywhere near as bad as the beta? Right now Blizzard still has the chance to fix the bottlenecks on the five first quests. And with some 700 000 people on so few servers – it couldn’t possibly be that bad once it hits live servers, could it?d

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