In the run up to World of Warcraft's Mists of Pandaria expansion, the virgin land of Pandaria has been hidden beneath a magical mist for an age, untouched by the conflict between Horde and Alliance. When the expansion launches, war will hit the shores of the Panda nation, but not right away.
We caught up with Blizzard lead system designer, Greg Street, at Blizzcon to discuss how the war for Pandaria will pan out. He tells us that it will start out as a peaceful land, but become increasingly war torn with the addition of each post-release patch.
"It's more about just ramping up the conflict. When players get Pandaria the box or the digital download or whatever and they go in there there won't be very strong Horde or Alliance influence in the continent. They'll see a lot of Pandas, they'll see a few Night Elves and Tauren and those but they won't have big established bases or the kind of things we saw in Northrend," says Street.
"Over time, say with our first major content patch, now both sides have established a bulwark and they're starting to build up and then maybe in the second patch there's a big open battleground where the Pandas are kind of caught in the middle of this big conflict between Horde and Alliance."
"We did a little bit in Wrath of the Lich King where we introduced this whole new quest hub with the trial of the crusader and then again in Cataclysm with the molten front. It makes it feel like things are changing over time even though it's not a gradual change, it's just that the patch comes and then one day and now there's all this new stuff there."
Street agrees that the slowly growing conflict in Mists of Pandaria is quite a change of pace from the world-ending menaces introduced by Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. "You have to have conflict, you have to have someone to fight, it's not a peaceful game, but we thought it would be good to have a break, to have a beautiful environment instead of an oppressive destructive environment," he says. "we thought that it was a question of pacing."
The expansion will raise the level cap, add a new neutral race, The Pandaren, their homeland, Pandaria, a new Monk class and much more. Find out more in our post from Blizzcon on the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria announcement .