Jay Scherer

The bright colors, exotic weapons and beautiful landscapes captivated all of us when we first stepped into Azeroth.

World of Warcraft is still delivering wonder and awe, expansion pack after expansion pack. Developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment has always taken turns with respect to the themes in their games, and their latest announcement at their annual convention in Anaheim is sure to have some people scratching their heads.

It’s evident that nothing will top the sheer silliness of the newest expansion pack revealed at BlizzCon 2011. The Pandaren, the newest race unveiled by Blizz, are here to kick ass and chew bamboo. I should have learned to expect the unexpected from Blizzard long ago.

As we gamers reminisce back to the days of Diablo II, we all remember portals to the secret cow level and the renowned cow king. Surely, I could not expect Blizzard to do anything other than take a black and white animal, stand it on two legs and hand it a weapon. If my prediction is accurate, we should see Zebras yielding spears in the near future.

Blizzard makes a great game and they never shy away from eccentric ideas. I first started playing WoW as a Tauren warrior. In true Blizz fashion, the Tauren are a race of bipedal cows. I played as a cow week after week and it soon became my favorite toon.

So if the Pandaren seem strange, don’t worry, they will probably grow on you. The Pandaren were a race in World of Warcraft III and rumors circulated the WoW community that they would return in the Burning Crusade. Instead, Blizz introduced the Draenei of the Alliance and the Blood Elves of the Horde.

Wrath of the Lich King was announced on Aug. 3at Blizzcon ‘07 and released Nov. 13, 2008, when players were introduced to a new class of character, the Death Knight, a class infamous for spreading death and decay in previous editions.

Death knights were a formidable ally and fearsome foe. In the following expansion, Cataclysm, we were introduced to the Goblins of the Horde and the Worgen of the Alliance. Although the Worgen won’t huff and puff and blow your house down, they may tear you to shreds, transforming from human to werewolf as the player chooses.

The new expansion, Mists of Pandaria, allows gamers to now play as the Pandaren, while also including the monk class. When you put them together, you basically get Jack Black’s character from Kung-fu Panda.

Unlike other Warcraft races, you do not start out by picking a faction. You play the Pandaren until level 10, getting a feel for the character, and then only deciding on what faction you will align with.

The idea of the Pandaren expansion is to introduce a more relaxed feel into the game environment, and for that reason, I applaud Blizzard. Surely, we can all use a little break after raiding the Firelands and finishing off Deathwing in patch 4.3.

Good luck all, and see you in Azeroth!


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