World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion hits September 25th. I know I’m the only one that still cares.
Although the numbers say otherwise! Millions are still rompin’ around Azeroth, even if their numbers have dwindled. Blizzard will pre-empt the busier holiday season with a September release of Mists of Pandaria (the previous two expansions both launched later, in November and December).
The highlights of today’s news include a digital deluxe edition for the game (as opposed to just the big bulky retail deluxe box, that and I and fifty thousand other nerds will still be buying), and the usual promo tie-ins with other Blizzard properties, Diablo III and Starcraft 2.
Thanks to Spaceship OL, I’ve been playing the beta of Pandaria (never going to accept that tragic name), and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the all-round quality-of-life improvements to the UI and the game in general, as well as how the game engine and art design have held up and kept the game looking fresh after nearly eight years.
Pandaria returns to the idea of introducing an entirely new continent to explore, and a new class, both ideas missing from the Cataclysm, the last expansion. Ask around and the general consensus will be that Cat was the most poorly-received of the three expansions to date, despite trying some ambitious things and reinventing a lot of core design elements. Panda Adventures is set to reinvent things (particularly character development) to an even greater degree.
I’m gonna break it down and post about what the beta’s done for the game as it settles down and finalizes the enormous number of changes in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s Blizzard’s press release:
World of Warcraft®: Mists of Pandaria™ Arrives September 25
Fourth expansion brings tides of war to the shores of a long-lost continent
Digital Deluxe and Retail Collector’s Editions revealed
Presales NOW LIVE
IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Land, ho! Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft®: Mists of Pandaria™, the fourth expansion set for the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, will be available in stores and online starting from September 25, 2012. Upon the expansion’s release, intrepid explorers of the Alliance and the Horde will be able to set foot upon the shores of the long-lost continent of Pandaria and embark on a perilous journey to uncover its ancient mysteries.
Mists of Pandaria will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 and Macintosh® at a suggested retail price of $39.99 USD. The expansion will also be available digitally directly from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft website (www.WorldofWarcraft.com), also priced at $39.99 USD.
A special Collector’s Edition packed with bonus items will be available exclusively in retail stores for a suggested retail price of $79.99 USD. In addition, for the first time, World of Warcraft players have the option to purchase a special Digital Deluxe version of the expansion containing the in-game bonus items from the Collector’s Edition. The Digital Deluxe version is available to download directly from Blizzard via www.WorldofWarcraft.com for $59.99 USD. Players who purchase the standard edition digitally or at retail will have the option to upgrade to the Digital Deluxe version at any time (for as long as the standalone Digital Deluxe version remains available) for an additional $20 USD.
Presales for the standard digital and Digital Deluxe versions of Mists of Pandaria are now live. Players who would like to purchase either version and be ready to play the moment the expansion launches can do so now by visiting www.WorldofWarcraft.com. The expansion content will automatically be digitally delivered to pre-purchasers via World of Warcraft‘s streaming launcher prior to the release of Mists of Pandaria. Players who would like to preorder the standard box or the retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition can do so by visiting their local retailer.
“Mists of Pandaria contains the biggest variety of new content we’ve ever created for a World of Warcraft expansion, with features that will appeal to new players, veterans, and everyone in between,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’ve received a lot of great feedback from players during our most extensive beta test yet, and we hope they enjoy exploring everything Pandaria has to offer when the expansion comes out in September.”
The Digital Deluxe version of Mists of Pandaria includes a full digital copy of the expansion along with the following exclusive in-game bonus items:
- World of Warcraft In-Game Mount: Take to the skies of Azeroth astride the mystical Imperial Quilen flying mount.
- World of Warcraft In-Game Pet: Journey across Pandaria with the Lucky Quilen Cub at your side.
- StarCraft® II Battle.net® Portraits: Bring the Horde and Alliance rivalry to the far reaches of the Koprulu sector with exclusive Infested Orc and Night Elf Templar Battle.net portraits.
- Diablo® III Banner Sigil and Accent: Display your status as a hero of Pandaria with the iconic markings of World of Warcraft‘s newest playable race, the pandaren.
The Collector’s Edition of Mists of Pandaria includes the full version of the game on DVD-ROM and contains the following exclusive bonus items, in addition to the in-game content from the Digital Deluxe version:
- Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-Ray: Learn about the creation of Pandaria with this two-disc set featuring over an hour of commentary, insider interviews, and developer roundtables.
- Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Experience 20 orchestral pieces from Mists of Pandaria.
- The Art of Mists of Pandaria Book: Explore this 208-page hardcover tome featuring never-before-seen pieces from the expansion, from early concepts to final 3D renderings.
- Chen Stormstout Mouse Pad: Equip your desk with this special-edition mouse pad featuring the legendary pandaren brewmaster.
In World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, warships of the Alliance and Horde clash off the coast of a long-lost continent, signaling the start of a new era of discovery and conquest in the history of Azeroth. As players storm the shores of this exotic new frontier and begin to explore its mysteries, they’ll encounter brave new allies, unearth ancient secrets, and play their part in reigniting the long-brewing conflict between the Horde and Alliance on a strange battlefield far from home.
Mists of Pandaria offers a wide variety of content for new and returning World of Warcraft players. Features include a new playable race (the pandaren) with its own starting zone and quests, a new character class (the monk), and an expansive new continentfor players to explore as they adventure to the new level cap of 90. The expansion also includes a host of new gameplay elements designed to give players even more ways to enjoy the game, including scenarios — a flexible new kind of cooperative PvE trial;challenge modes, which offer high-prestige rewards for mastering Mists of Pandaria‘s 5-player dungeons; and an all-new pet battle system.