World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria - Two Weeks In
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria - Two Weeks In
When I began my Mists of Pandaria journey two weeks ago, I promised myself I would go through the whole experience from level 1 to 90. I donít want to bail out to one of my level 85 mains just to get to the end game content. I want to experience and share the entire Pandaren Monk adventure, to see all the effort Blizzard has made, all the way to the end. Almost all of my free time has been spent levelling and at times it has been such a struggle.
In fact, right now I am smack bang in the middle of struggle town. Once I had left the Pandaren starting zone, I found myself amongst the Ďnewer than vanilla World of Warcraftí but still somewhat old quests like those in Duskwood, Searing Gorge and Burning Steps. Despite previous expansion packs giving a rebirth to some of these vanilla quests, the landscape of zones remains largely unchanged. I can understand the changes Blizzard made to the original quests when previous expansions were released. Not only does it fit in with the Lore story, but it was also designed to help you get through the early content and into the end-game content for each expansion released.
I am fine with the mentality, to an extent, but it needs to be consistent throughout the game. As I progressed through the levels, I often found myself levelling faster than the quests and zones could keep up. Stranglethorn Vale, a zone known for being a seemingly never ending stream of quests, flashed by me as I surged on to higher levels. I often had no choice but to move on to a more level appropriate zone well before I was done with the current zone. Soon enough, I found myself at level 60 and venturing out into The Burning Crusadeís Outland.
Thatís where this game comes to a grinding halt and the levelling pace becomes inconsistent. The time it takes to gain a new level is slower in Outland than in Azeroth and the quests havenít changed a bit. Itís slower levelling through Outland now than it is when The Burning Crusade was first released. Itís so exhausting to go through the motion of the Outland content. It goes to show just how much Blizzard increased the pace of Azeroth - as well as how expanded the journey is now due to the fact that once you get to The Burning Crusade, you are only at the beginning of the expansion series.
Levelling as the Monk class has been interesting. I am now midway through my 60s and while I still believe the class feels overpowered, I can see the effort Blizzard has put into the class mechanics. I have purchased dual specialties so I can level as both the Windwalker damage specialty and the Mistweaver healing specialty.
I generally tend to gravitate towards playing as a healer class, even while levelling. I find healing fun and itís something I am genuinely good at. Healing, to me, demands more attention and skill than simply clicking an enemy target and swinging away with just about any ability you want - particularly when it comes to 10 and 25 man raiding.
I appreciate the subtle change to how Monks handle healing compared to my Priest and Druid. Other healing classes resign the player to standing in the background of their party, casting healing spells on their party when needed. There is the exception of those Priests who cast spells like Shadow Word: Pain, but the Monk takes this to the next level. Instead of being in the background, Mistweaver Monks can get in the action by laying some smack-down with their hands and feet.
Chi is the main driver for most spells and abilities, similar to the Rogue and Druid combo points. All Monks must utilise Chi points along with either their mana or energy pool. There are a collection of spells that are given regardless of specialty or faction such as Jab, a basic skill all Monks start with that causes damage to enemies and allows generation of Chi to power their other abilities. Jab is complemented by spells like Tiger Palm, which ignores enemy armour for a short period while also dealing damage. Even the powerful Touch of Death is a standard issue spell - resulting in the instant death of non-player targets who have equal or lesser health than you.
It is these blanket spells that help set Mistweavers apart from other healing classes. Not only can they get involved in dishing out some combat damage while sending out heals, any damage they do also counts towards healing efforts. This is all thanks to the Eminence buff provided by the Stance of the Wise Serpent, which causes the Monk to heal the lowest health nearby target within 20 yards for an amount equal to 50% of any non-auto attack damage dealt.
Every 10 levels, Monks make a trek via Zen Pilgrimage, a spell similar to the idea of astral projection. When using this spell, the physical body is left behind in order to travel to the Peak of Serenity in Pandaria Ė a place where the Masters of Pandarian martial arts and zen techniques reside. It is here you hone your skills and abilities by challenging the various Masters in battle and it is one of the key ways that Blizzard ensures you learn how to use your various spells to their full potential.
When healing as a Monk, I donít feel as though I miss out on the fight happening in front of me. Instead of constantly staring at the player portraits watching nothing more than green bars rise and fall with life I am a trained fighter, skilled in martial arts, blessed with the gift of restoring life as their healing spreads from player to player across the battlefield. Itís a strange feeling to be involved in the combat while healing my party. It goes against everything a healer traditionally would do and stomps all over the notion that healers are defenceless squishy things.
I canít wait to get through to the new end-game content because, at this stage, the process of levelling through the old and unchanged expansion content from The Burning Crusade to Cataclysm is already becoming a total drag. I am looking forward to getting into the higher level and newer instances and, eventually, raiding. And, hopefully end-game dungeon groups wonít consist of all Pandaren Monks as the only class in the party.
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Mon 15 Oct 12, 11:53pmnatrat26
Posted: Mon 15 Oct 12, 11:53pm
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