The hunt for the perfect grinding spots in Mists of Pandaria: Remix show us just how incompatible the event's silly fun is with WoW's grindset culture

An image of a Pandaren holding jade lightning in Mists of Pandaria: Remix.
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Mists of Pandaria: Remix (MoP: Remix) is a lot of fun. It's also fast becoming a hell prison of envy and frustration created by its own player base which—considering how prominent the emotionally-driven Sha are in the expansion—is pretty fitting.

In case you're completely unfamiliar, here's a quick crash course. MoP: Remix is a roughly 90-day event that lets you replay the Mists of Pandaria expansion on an alt while partying with the Infinite Dragonflight. Normal gear is replaced by gem-socketable pieces with absurd modifiers, and you're also given a scaling cloak that just keeps getting more powerful.

It's intended to be a fun romp and a nice fresh way to level up alts—though launch-day nerfs to said cloak have been controversial, stopping several of its benefits from being account-wide as they were on the PTR. 

That's not what we're going to focus on here. We're gonna be talking about frogs and anxiety.

We've already done a full rundown of that sitch, but in essence, a "hyperspawning" farm spot where players could obliterate a billion frogs and ramp up their cloak's power was, understandably, fixed. As a result, MoP: Remix suddenly has class (as in, social castes, not playable classes) disparity. There's those who got in early, and there's those who missed out on frog gate. This has led to absolutely absurd DPS numbers like this:

This makes me wanna quit Remix, i was rly enjoying the event :( from r/wow

Yes, you're looking at that right. That's 228 million DPS.

This tier of power is something MoP: Remix seems to want most players to be able to achieve eventually, but the fact some time-runners are there now has plenty of knickers in a twist, and I'm of two minds about the situation.

Panda mail grindset

(Image credit: Blizzard)

On the one hand—yes, it is kind of deflating to know that there's an entire caste of elites who made frog paste early, buffed their Cloak of Infinite potential to absurd heights, and are thus more infinitely potential-ed than you. Especially since there's no real catch-up mechanics to be had, unless said players simply quit MoP: Remix for the rest of the event.

On the other hand, the phenomenon at play here is kinda fascinating because… it doesn't actually matter, right? All of this progress goes away in around three months—though you do get to keep your character, sans the busted cloak, as a normal WoW alt. Not to mention, the only thing that happens if you've got one of these uber-elites in your raid finder group is that, well, it goes faster. But then there's jealousy—which I've heard has been turning saints into the sea.

It doesn't actually matter, right? All of this progress goes away in around three months.

Being a silly event where you're meant to feel stupid powerful invariably means that Blizzard hasn't gone through MoP with a fine comb, finding areas where the Remix systems can be 'exploited'. But its players sure will do just that, because WoW cannot escape its past. 

Folding Ideas' video "Why It's Rude to Suck at Warcraft" encapsulates the grindset culture that's formed out of WoW: Classic (and Retail) far better over the course of its 1 hour, 20 minute runtime than I could in this article. The hellscape it outlines is one of "instrumental play", referring to Kristine Ask's article The Value of Calculations: The Coproduction of Theorycraft and Player Practices.

Don't PuG me, I'm scared

(Image credit: Blizzard)

"Crudely put," Ask writes while citing T.L Taylor, "in instrumental play the point of playing is not just to reach the end but to find the best way of getting there." WoW: Classic, or as Folding Ideas puts it, "a hellscape of instrumental practices", is tough at endgame specifically because of this social pressure cooker. 

MoP: Remix is a fascinating contrast to Classic, though, because it feels like all the anxiety built around years of following these practices—'I'm not grinding hard enough, I'm not strong enough, people are going to make fun of my gear'—have been occurring in an environment where the consequences for not following said practices are basically zero.

The only thing that players who missed the frog goldrush are missing out on is, essentially, a feeling of power—and, admittedly, a shorter grind for the transmogs they want. But even then, new grinds are (and will continue to) emerge. Sra'vess seems to be one such contender for the new hotness, even if its bronze per minute is far slower.

I, for one, don't really care about damage metres outside of idle curiosity. I keep one tucked in the corner of my screen just to see how I'm doing, but being middle-of-the-pack isn't a problem for me. It is, however, an issue for a lot of people, and I think it's a genuine pressure point for players that releases their old anxieties—of being booted from groups for 'trash DPS' or stonewalled off from PUGs for not having item levels far beyond the actual requirements for the raid.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

I think there are some genuine wrinkles in MoP: Remix, for sure. I'd like to see the shared XP buff thing return, for example—but the frog farming is only a problem if you view the event as a competitive experience, which it isn't designed to be. But that doesn't matter—it always will be one because the players made it that way—despite many changes over the course of Dragonflight to create a less hyper-competitive, grind-every day WoW, the game just can't escape its own culture. 

It's not even a WoW-specific thing, necessarily. In most games, MMOs included, even the simplest, most straightforward things will become optimised to death—and I'm not even ragging on those people. Some people find optimization fun, and that's absolutely fine. WoW just… has a lot of those kinds of people, and MoP: Remix is the water to their oil. 

That being said—if some uber elite frog-killing haxxor rocks up into your LFR group and does 200 million damage, and that upsets you, just remember: their power is temporary, but the time they spent murdering frogs for hours on end? That's gone forever. Comparison, as always, is the death of joy.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.