Rumours of a Pandaren Based WoW Expansion (are greatly exaggerated)

Rumours sprang up earlier that the next WoW expansion will be centred on the fluffy race of panda people and their mysterious homeland (which cunningly doesn’t seem to fit on regular maps of Azeroth so that’s some clever island hiding right there.) This was based in Blizzard having taken out a trademark for the name, “Mists of Pandaria.”

Far be it from me to doubt Boub’s research but I won’t be surprised if this turns out to be either a hoax or Blizzard are moving away from the large 2-yearly expansion model. Two reasons for this:

  1. Pandaren are pretty much a joke race. That’s not a showstopper in itself, lore can be written. But there doesn’t seem enough meat there to justify a whole expansion even if they throw in an entire east asian fantasy themed continent.
  2. WoW is going to face some stiff competition in the AAA MMO field over the next year, with SWTOR, GW2, Diablo 3 (we might as well call it a quasi-MMO now), and smaller MMOs like Prime, not to mention whatever Blizzard has up its sleeve with Titan. Wrath and Cataclysm were both fairly epic; are they really going to go with the fluffy pandas for their next outing?
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29 thoughts on “Rumours of a Pandaren Based WoW Expansion (are greatly exaggerated)

  1. Maybe it is an unannounced micro-expansion or not directly WoW related or just a hoax. But I second your reasoning, this is just too unlikely to be the next TBC/WOTLK/Cata level expansion.

  2. Karate Pandas, what’s not to like? It also gives them the excuse to create the monk class some players have been demanding for years.

  3. Point 1 is the reason why I thought they would never add Pandaren to WoW but point 2 is what I feel validates the possibility of this rumor being true.

    So far this year WoW has lost subscribers, and with games like SW:TOR and GW2 on the horizon they’re bound to lose more. Now, by no means am I saying that Blizzard is in trouble but lost subscribers is lost (potential) revenue and lost revenue is never a good thing.

    One easy way to combat growing apathy in your fanbase is provide fan service; and there is no greater fan service that Blizzard can give to Warcraft players than Pandarens. It’s just one easy way to reignite interest in former WoW players and keep their attention in the face of this new batch of AAA MMOs.

  4. It’s hilarious. I doubt they are going to do this though. By and large, those wanting niche aspects of the game though won’t ever find it. It isn’t gonna happen. I’m willing to speculate that WoW will continue min expansions, but I doubt they’ll base a whole major expansion on a funny sidekick.

    The mmo world is changing. People cry out that WoW is loosing subs. Guess what, it is the nature games to do so over time. EQ at one time was the end all be all in mmo’s. It had expansions that went all the way to lv 100 and today still continues to be a revenue base for a small amount of players. Every game does this. The first most recent game that I have seen finally hang up and close shop is SWG. Most likely this is due to SWTOR coming out and there game is barely profitable.

    Titan may prove to be interesting. I dunno. I just find it funny so much emphasise is going into this. For the record, I still play WoW and will for some time. There will be a point when I stop and go for a different game. Currently though, there isn’t anything in the fantasy genre that excites me so I stay on Azeroth. I felt the same way about EQ till it ran its course and the same way about DAOC. Sooner or later things are ready to quit. But speculating on a panda expansion??? ROFLROFLROFL….

  5. Mists of Pandaria = Titan

    But seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were exploring a new game idea based on pandaren. They’re cute, they’re popular and you don’t need to know anything about the WoW universe to appreciate them. Blizzard needs new IP and spinning off cute pandas is cute!

  6. Doesn’t China have issues with pandas being used without their “permission” or something like that?

    While I could easily see the focus being on Titans next expansion (Titan/Naaru/Old God 3-way…GET OFF OUR PLANET!), if “Mists” does exist, I could see it more for the trading card game instead.

  7. I’d ask the opposite question: If it’s not the Pandaren, what will the next expansion be? The main story arc of this expansion will most likely either be something we’ve fought before (like another dragon aspect) or something out of left field. Maybe it does make sense for the focus to be on a fan-favorite race that was supposed to be implemented back in 2007.

    The only issue I see is that fans will be disappointed by any outcome other than having them be playable by both factions. Then again, maybe that too is a plus, since it means that Blizzard wouldn’t have to do two new races (which they’ve said they don’t want to do in back to back expansions due to art requirements).

  8. Given Boubouille’s record for getting these predictions right, I’d advise taking it a bit more seriously. There’s literally no reason to believe that this is a hoax (the US patent office wouldn’t allow it), and Mists of Pandaria is actually something with bags of running room.

    “Lore” wise, this island is part of an uninhabited region that we, as players, know nothing about. Suggesting that there isn’t enough scope is like saying there’s not enough room for more stars outside our own solar system; we have no idea how big this area we’re talking about is.

    Sure, an expansion about the pandarens would be weak. But if the pandarens are merely the passers of information relating to a bigger threat, namely the Old God down there, then dismissing it entirely is a bit naive.

    Don’t forget that such a thing also implies the involvement of Azshara, a significant character that won’t be shoehorned into 4.3 unless Blizzard really have taken leave of their senses.

    I’m not disagreeing with your assessment outright, Spinks, I can’t – I don’t know enough information. But Blizzcon is going to be VERY interesting and I reckon we’re headed south after Deathwing bites the dust.

  9. Latest news: WoW loses another 300K subs worldwide in Q2, down to 11.1M. China subs are up, so losses in the high value markets were even higher.

    • Though it is worth keeping in mind that this include both the traditional Northern Hemisphere summer slump and that Firelands was a Q3 release. So it’s doesn’t really suprise me all that much.

  10. I think it makes more sense if you don’t think of it so much as The Fluffy Pandaman expansion as the Asia Themed expansion. Which is a perfectly valid angle for an add-on.

  11. I think it’s possible that Blizzard is simply trademarking some notions that spring from WoW lore just to make sure no one else does.

    If I were in their shoes I’d trademark everything that is distinctively from WoW, but if I were to trademark murlocs it wouldn’t necessarily mean a murloc expansion.

  12. As much as I think the Pandaren would be hilarious to have in game, at the core it would still be the same level-up grind for gear/rep game and now I am finally free of it that is what puts me off coming back no matter what happens to the game.

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  15. Pandas would be fantastic and could be a great addition. TBH though I would rather see a new class than a new race at this point. Both would be amazing but I think the DK is ridiculous starting at level 55. Bring on a brand new class from level 0 so those of us who have been playing forever can have something new to level. Someone mentioned Monk – that sounds cool or some sort of Bard or Necromancer. Pandas are adorable and people need to chill – if it’s included great, if not, it’s Blizzard it will be replaced with something damn cool.

  16. I love the idea of a monk class. Sorta rogue/druid, with no tank build. Instead of shapeshifting you change animations for different forms. You have blade master for pvp (burst dmg, high parry), iron fist for pve (weapons are beads, steady dps, combo points, high dodge), and brew master heals maybe light damage.

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