WoW Wednesday - Levelling in Mists of Pandaria
By Meredith Watson, OnRPG WoW Reporter
If you have read any of my previous articles concerning the talent changes in Mists of Pandaria then you, like my guild, friends and family will know that I am not a fan of the changes. Now, before you go thinking I am just going to go on a hate filled diatribe about Mists of Pandaria, think again. I love Mists of Pandaria (with the exception of the talent changes but we will get to that in a bit). Mists of Pandaria is easily my favourite expansion since The Burning Crusade. As one tweet put it “If you're not playing MoP because you're all hipster about Pandas, you're missing out on some of the best stuff WoW's ever done”(@instanceshow). And that is true. The content is really very entertaining from interesting quests to beautiful zones (Kun-Lai Summit is obviously Tibetan inspired). There is even a nod to Skyrim in one of the panda’s dialogue in which he talks about taking an arrow to the knee. How great is that? Blizzard has always been known to incorporated popular culture into WoW.
I, like everyone else, have been levelling through the new content and the most notable absence is, as I suspected, the lack of talent points to spend when levelling. Every time I ding I hit the N key looking for my talent. I am not alone. Others are missing it too. Instead nothing happens. We still get the iconic levelling sound and animation and maybe a notification that we now have access to a new dungeon but that is about it. It isn’t enough.
The current talent system was meant so that we as the players would have to make hard choices. In fact, the only decision you get to make now is which of the three choices you like the best every fifteen levels. It isn’t quite the game making decision process they were hoping for. Most I have talked to about it find it too simple and a hit to anyone looking to make those personalized decisions in the building of their character. For example, my guild leader plays a discipline priest and he used to spec out of smite healing as he didn’t like it and would take the holy spell of Inspiration instead as it suited his play style. He can no longer do that.
The prospect of levelling a character with this new system sounded daunting to me from the start. I am curious as to how a new player to WoW would react to the talent system especially if they were an experienced gamer. While I am not a new WoW player but a very experienced one, I decided to give it a go and created a human monk. Obviously, there is the novelty of playing a new class to consider. That could be incentive enough if one was really into the way that Blizzard has done the monk. Personally, I am not a fan. For me, EverQuest II does the best monk with its clever spells and animations. Diablo III’s monk is also a lot of fun. Essentially, while levelling up to level ten you have three spells. At level ten now, which used to be a major milestone, you choose your path and get one extra spell. Who doesn’t remember getting to level ten and having to make the tough decision of where they were going to spend that first point and looking further down the tree as to where they wanted to spend the next? The next spell doesn’t come until 14 and of course the first talent point isn’t spent until 15 with the current system.
Long gone are the days of getting a new spell or talent point every level which made the player feel as if they were actually building their character-as if they had a say in the matter. I would rather put a stick in my eye than level another character with this current talent system. It feels like it would be a very tedious affair.
As stated previously, I miss the old talent tree as I am levelling high level characters through Mists of Pandaria. Because I already have the vast majority of my spells it hasn’t affected the way I play or the enjoyment factor though I still expect to get my little reward of a talent point every other level and am disappointed when I don’t. Luckily, that disappointment doesn’t last too long as there is so much to see and do in Mists of Pandaria.
I am having a wonderful time playing through Mists of Pandaria and from what I read and hear the rest of the community seems to be enjoying themselves as well. If there is a major downside to this expansion it is the revamped talent system, and I can only hope Blizzard has a good long look at it especially since other games out there have more in depth systems. Blizzard really shouldn’t be resting on its laurels just now even if it is still the biggest game out there. Though for how long it remains the biggest game is anyone’s guess as Mists of Pandaria has not sold as well as expected.