World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria announced. Adds new playable race, new class, new zones, level cap raised to 90
The Pandaren are coming to World of Warcraft! The expansion will add the Pandaren race and their homeland, Pandaria. We're also getting a new class, the monk, and the level cap will be raised to 90. The Pandaren will be both playable and a neutral race, unaligned with Horde or Alliance.
Mists of Pandaria will also add new PVE scenarios, a pet battle system and a new talent system.
In the new expansion, Alliance and Horde will take their conflict to Pandaria, a "land of balance and harmony and beauty, and hope." Previous World of Warcraft expansions have added colossal evil forces, in Mists of Pandaria "the true enemy of the franchise is going to be war itself."
New zones in Panderia include "the lush Jade Forest, treacherous Kun-Lai Summit, and other exotic areas of Pandaria designed for high-level characters."
This is mad. But amazing. The Pandaren were initially created as an April fools joke for Warcraft 3, but have since taken on a life of their own. A pandaren pet has previously appeared in WoW, and the lore has plenty of occasional references to the brewmaster. Chris Metzen just told the Blizzcon interviewers that Blizzard considered putting the the pandas into the Burning Crusade expansion, but never quite made it in. Now seems like a much more sensible time, especially considering WoW's launch in China.
The World of Warcraft panel will be kicking off shortly, we'll hear more very soon.