Through The Mist: Excited For 5.2


Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

I’m excited – are you?

My last column was a relatively bare bones look at Patch 5.2 and a number of minor (yet significant) changes have been made that really have me wanting to get stuck into the new content.

I am excited for the Isle of Thunder. This zone may look like another in the long line of daily quest grind hubs that we have seen ever since dailies were introduced, and of course that is correct to an extent. However, Isle of Thunder is shaping up to be somewhat different in that it is a progressive zone like the Isle of Quel’ Danas in the Burning Crusade and even the Molten Front in Catacylsm. As we progress through the zone more areas and more quests will open up to players.

The Isle of Thunder also sees Blizzard trying to put the Multi back into MMO. I have been playing quite a bit of SWTOR of late and this push from Blizzard to offer small group content is something that has me excited as opposed to spam healing a companion that does everything for me. The core group of people I play WoW with is shrinking with every passing month and is no longer capable of raiding, but the new mini-bosses such as Oondasta on the Isle of Thunder will allow me to continue doing what I enjoy best in WoW- playing with friends.

We get to keep our valor! This is an interesting move from Blizzard, who would normally reset our valor points with the release of a major content patch and new tier of raid gear. This time around they are allowing us to keep what we have earned and spend it on the new items that will be available as well as heavily discounting the gear that is currently available to us. This allows us to either grab gear as soon as we can access it from the new content or buy those few pieces we have had trouble upgrading to move into the next level of content. It also offers us the chance to quickly upgrade the gear of our alts to a level where we can participate in and enjoy current content.

Legendaries – legendaries for everyone
I have been playing WoW since launch and short of a binding (4 of the same half to be exact) and crafting on an occasional Sulfuron hammer for others I have never had a legendary item. The continuation of the Black Prince storyline will give me this opportunity. It may only be a gem but by God man it’s a legendary gem!

And – my beloved pet battles also receive more love and bug fixes!

Through The Mist: Hot Fixes and Mists of Pandaria Sales Numbers

mists of pandaria sales numbers
Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

This week has seen some a number of changes to pre-raid gearing for this expansion. Justice Point items (pre- raid blue items) have had their ilvl increased to match that of their pvp counterparts AND they have had the reputation requirements removed. Epic items, which had a faction requirement of revered, have been lowered to honoured.  The blue post can be seen in the list of 5.05 hotfixes

This is all great for the casual players except for one minor problem. The ilvl requirement for joining the random dungeon finder to run heroics, which required ilvl 450, now requires 435 ilevel, which players should have prior to reaching level 90. I was at 449 when I dinged. So basically Blizzard have made the items more accessible but also pointless as players can run heroics for higher level items without spending justice points.

There has been quite the negative reaction to Blizzard’s return to the reputation grind by the general community and it appears Blizzard have been listening. There are a number of changes in the works, though they are not yet finalised they could include increased reputation gain on alts when a main characters has achieved exalted reputation; a list of ideas being tossed around can be found here –

This week also saw the release of Blizzard’s initial Mists of Pandaria sales numbers which you can see in this press release. While it does not give a whole lot of detail in regards to the sales breakdown, I am quite interested to see how digital sales compared to box; it does give us the ball park figure of 2.7 million sales. I will leave it to the guys in the podcast to analyse this as they seem to have a better grasp on these things than I do. (Methinks the author is being too kind – Ed.)

We also saw the clearing of all gold challenge mode dungeons. MMO-Champion have an excellent rundown of the numbers on their chart here. It also saw the completion of Mogu’shan vaults by Exodus and if I am not mistaken the first raid was cleared the day it went live.

We also saw the start if Arena season 12 – while I do not personally arena I will try and keep up to date on the happenings to relay via this column.

Lastly I wanted to mention an addon I recently downloaded for pet battles. Petjournal enhanced has all the features that I wish Blizzard had included. It allows you to sort pets by level, rarity, type  and specialisation as well as offering you the option to filter pets by the zone that you are in to make identifying uncaptured pets easy. I have to say that since downloading this I have already captured a number of pets I had no idea existed. So if you’re into pet battles check it out.

Through The Mist: Mists Of Pandaria Impressions

mists of pandaria impressions
Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

The Mists of Pandaria expansion has been live for just over a week and I thought it was past time for another column. Apologies for not putting one up sooner, but as you can imagine I have been spending a fair amount of time in game. (I know the feeling! – Ed)

A lot of this was covered in the Episode 43 podcast so I urge you all to have a listen to it. I felt that the launch was relatively smooth. Not having to log out was a huge leap forward compared to previous launches by Blizzard. The initial quests phased in quite well, despite the huge server loads.

The first Alliance quest in Pandaria however was bugged – a large number of people could not complete the quest. For those of you who are not aware of the Alliance introduction it involves jumping in a helicopter and completing a bombing run. I was stuck in the helicopter unable to complete the quest or even fire the vehicle’s attack move for around an hour. The second part of the quest involved destroying explosive crates on a ship that I could not see due to the amount of players stuck in the area. Eventually I received credit for a lucky shot and moved on.

That was about as bad as it got for me bug-wise, mob spawns are of course a different story, and my questing partner and I found a novel way around this by having him cast mind sear on me as I ran around like a headless chook hoping to get mob tags.

I really enjoyed the Jade Forest as a zone. I had played the very early version from the beta and it had some very nice changes made to it. It introduced us to a number of storylines that continue on all the way to 90 and hopefully beyond.

Overall I really enjoyed the levelling experience – I have to admit that I am a little annoyed that levelling is so fast. This is probably because I am a sour veteran that slogged through vanilla on a holy paladin.  The zones are absolutely beautifully designed and there is an amazing amount of immersion in the various quest lines. I got side tracked from levelling several times by chasing storylines and this eventually took me all the way into the Dread Wastes to the Insect race: the Kirk’thik. These remind me of the insects from the Star Wars universe. I am already looking forward to cutting a swathe through them in a raid environment and that is a feeling I have not gotten from WoW in quite some time.

I hit 90 relatively quickly, though nowhere near as quick as a lot of people as I was distracted by levelling a Monk, pet battles and exploration. I have to say there are a huge number of daily quests to complete and they offer a huge variety of styles so that it will hopefully take a long time to get bored of dailies.

I was reluctant to set foot into heroics immediately, so I began with a handful of scenarios. This was the first area in which I felt let down by Blizzard. While scenarios are interesting, they are extremely short and simple. They do not offer much in the way of difficulty and I feel that I will quickly become bored of them. However, the way in which they are structured (3 players of any spec) make them a good way to try and get gear when you have minimal time.

I have also completed around 5 heroics so far and I have to admit that they feel a little under-tuned. In one of my groups we managed an achievement without even trying for it, we also managed to pull 3 separate packs with no tank and no fuss. Difficulty aside I have thoroughly enjoyed the heroics that I have completed so far and I look forward to moving into raiding in the near future.

I also wanted to share this video with everyone as a form of thanks for reading, so enjoy it and have fun with your flying cloud!

Gizmo and Socks: You Bastards!

Gizmo and Socks: You Bastards!Ok, I have to admit WoW can still make me laugh. I’m early days in my levelling up in Mists of Pandaria, and have just completed the quests of which the title of this post comes from.

I won’t spoil anything by detailing who Gizmo and Socks are, but well done Blizzard on an amusing quest line combined with some slightly different gameplay to boot. I particularly liked the sniper work required.

Over to you fellow MoP’ers – did you enjoy these quests?

Mists Of Pandaria Is Go

Just a few minutes ago, the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, went live.  There was a slightly different approach this time, with no logout required to access the new content. Blizzard have wrangled the servers in a way that allows the transition to occur so that the new content ‘appears’, including the new quest to start the journey to Pandaria. (If you’re after all the info on how to get going with the expansion, this is a good start)

So far it appears that things have gone smoothly although some servers are likely to be experiencing queues. Unlike Cataclysm, I’m not planning on starting my Pandaria questing quite yet. I’m actually going to attempt a ‘server first’. The one I’m attempting matches my lack of ability in end-game: I’m going to try and be the first person on my server to level up my fishing to the cap. I have a quiet spot next to one of the lesser known fishing trainers, and for the first 2-3 hours of MoP I’ll be doing nothing but casting a fishing line. Wish me luck!

More importantly though, how have YOU found the MoP experience so far in these early hours and days? Will you be rolling a Pandaren and/or a Monk early on? What’s got you particularly excited about the new content?

Also don’t forget our own WoW guru Luke has written a nice retrospective on Cataclysm and he’ll be bringing plenty of his impressions of MoP over the coming weeks and months.

Mists of Pandaria: Detailed Preview

Blizzard are pumping up the PR engine in a big way in the final few days until Mists of Pandaria launches. The latest salvo is a nearly seven minute preview of what’s coming in MoP. It’ll be of particular interest to any WoW players who haven’t played the beta for MoP.


I’ve had beta access and have purposely avoided the new zones so the surprise isn’t ruined too much. I have to say I like what I see – what about you?

Australia/NZ WoW Launch Details Announced

We’ve just received the info on the server live times and when people can pick up their box copies of Mists of Pandaria.

Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

While heroic adventurers hailing from Australia and New Zealand can purchase a copy of Mists of Pandaria directly from, they can also pick up the game at their favourite retailer on Tuesday, September 25th beginning at 9 AM local time. (9 AM NZST/9 AM AEST/9 AM ACST/9 AM AWST)

For a handy reference, the game servers will go live at:

New Zealand Standard Time: 7:00 PM

Australian Eastern Standard Time: 5:00 PM

Australian Central Standard Time: 4:30 PM

Australian Western Standard Time: 3:00 PM

The new continent reveals itself to a broken world just as the Alliance and Horde are spiralling ever closer to a war that will consume all of Azeroth. Will the mists of Pandaria part to reveal the world’s salvation? Or will the battle to control this rich and breathtaking new land push the two mighty factions over the brink of war and into total annihilation? The answers await within Pandaria’s mysterious shores!


So if you’re like me and have ordered a box copy, you have plenty of time to pick it up and have things ready for the servers going live.

Over to you: what plans do you have for launch day?

Through The Mist: More On 5.04

Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

Firstly I wanted to apologise for the delay between columns, it has been a pretty busy time for me.

By now, we have all had time to adapt to the changes made by Blizzard in 5.04, and just in time with Mists just around the corner. There have been a lot of polarised opinions about the new talent system within the community, but it seems to be settling (for the majority of classes) now that people have had time to familiarise themselves with builds.

The first thing I did with 5.04 was log all of my characters in and assign their new talents. Having played the beta quite a lot, I was fairly familiar with where I wanted to go with each character so it didn’t take me long, I would like to mention that a lot of players on my realm where struggling to grasp these new talent trees at first.

Still, I had something of a learning curve actually putting the new talents to the test using Blizzard’s Looking For Raid function, I won’t get into the merits or lack thereof regarding this feature but it definitely served my purposes well when it came to trying out their new builds outside of a guild raid. It took a little while for me to really get into the rotations, having only really played a handful of dungeons on beta – most of my time had been spent levelling various classes and exploring. Once I found a rotation I was comfortable with, I barely noticed the differences. Sure there are a few new abilities such as Dispatch to work into rotations, but it seemed to be a fairly seamless merge into the new system.

I noticed, as did most classes, a fairly strong increase in DPS. This of course is because most of the new abilities and talents are attuned to Level 90 stats. With our current stat budgets we’re at the top end of performance for this expansion and will likely see lower relative dps at 90 than we are currently seeing.

I have also enjoyed the changes to Holy Paladin and I am tossing up on who to level first and progress into raiding for MoP.

So how did your experience of 5.04 go? Are you enjoying the changes or do you hate them? Did it have any  effect on which characters you want to level?

Blizzard Start TV Spots for Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard in the US have started promoting the upcoming expansion on TV, with two different advertisements taken from the first cinematic released a bit over a week ago.

Here are the two ads:

For the avid and active WoW player there’s not much in there to get excited about, but we’re obviously not the audience. I also think it might have been good to show a second or two of actual gameplay.

What do you think?

Mists of Pandaria Cinematic Trailer Released

It’s been a while coming, but Blizzard have release the cinematic trailer for next month’s Mists of Pandaria expansion.


Over to you: what are your thoughts? Is the cinematic more or less than you expected?

Through The Mist: A Tour Of The Wandering Isles

Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

This week I will be taking a look at the Wandering Isles, the new starting zone for the Pandaren and the Pandaren in general. The zone offers us a new introductory cut scene, which I will not describe so that you may enjoy it on launch night.  Suffice to say that this zone known as the Wandering Isle has begun to move erratically and it is up to you as an adventurous and gifted Pandaren to discover the reason for this.

The Pandaren are World of Warcraft’s first neutral race and as such the starting area is quite serene with some amazing new scenery. The entire zone has a strong Chinese feel to it as one would expect given the lore behind the race. Due to its neutrality, the starting zone does not have mailboxes, meaning that until the area is complete players cannot use their BoA items or send bags and supplies to their new Pandarens. This has been the focus of a lot of discussion in the beta but overall it has proven to be a sensible decision on behalf of Blizzard. The zone is rich in lore and the visuals are absolutely stunning and there is no surprise that Blizzard want players to be immersed in every aspect of the Wandering Isles.

Last week I described the Pandaren as bobbly and I stand by this description. To me it feels similar to the bobbing motion that a character has when they are riding a Raptor mount. In a way it suits the physics of the race but personally I find it distracting.

There are a number of interesting racials for the Pandarens to enjoy and these include:

Epicurean: Your love of food allows you to receive double the stats from Well Fed effects.
Inner Peace:  Your rested experience bonus lasts twice as long.
Bouncy: You take 50% less falling damage.
Quaking Palm: Strikes the target with lightning speed, incapacitating them for 4 seconds.

Onto a tour of The Wandering Isles:

Starting area

The first few quests follow along the lines of those that were introduced with Cataclysm and focus on teaching new players how to equip items and use their abilities.

While this is somewhat annoying as a seasoned player, it is brief enough to be tolerable knowing that it will help new players to the game learn their characters.


Next up is a handful of quests where the player is trailed by Master Shang Xi as they attempt to complete their training. This series of quests also introduces us to a new protagonist the Hozen who we will also meet in the higher level zones to be previewed later.

The Hozen have some nifty little attacks such as the ability to jump on the players head (similar to the Kobolds) in ToGC.


We continue along these lines until we reawaken the spirit of fire, upon completion of this quest we learn that Shen-zin Su is in pain. While there is little hint as to what or who Shen-zin Su is, we are whisked off to awaken the remaining elemental spirits, whose absences are being felt to varying degrees across the Wandering Isle, in order to communicate with it.

The quest line follows this approach, with various side quests that have us dealing with the Hozen, until we have gathered the four ancient spirits together. After this we learn that Shen-zin Su is an enormous turtle and the Wandering Isle is affixed firmly to his shell and the might creature is in pain due to a thorn in his side.

Shen-zin Su

We are now sent to investigate this injury to learn that an alliance airship has crashed into his side. This is the first time the Pandaren are exposed to the battling factions of the Alliance and the Horde.

After completing a series of quests for both factions and finally healing Shen-zin Su with their assistance, we return to the spirit of Master Shang Xi where you are required to select a faction. After selecting the Horde I was teleported to Orgrimmar where Garrosh Hellscream gave me a fairly cold welcome and put me through a quest that sets the tone of the expansion.


The Wandering Isles was an interesting zone, I was just shy of level 12 upon completion of the quest for Garrosh Hellscream and I feel that the levelling was well timed. I never felt too strong for my opponents or too weak and I am glad that BoA’s are not allowed in the area. The zone itself was visually stunning and the quests combined with the environment reinforced the sense of discipline and lore of the Pandaren race and Monk class. There is a fair amount of walking involved in this new area which in future may become annoying for now it allowed me to enjoy the aesthetics of the zone.

Through The Mist: MoP Overview

Through the Mist is a regular column covering not just the new expansion but pretty much anything else of interest in the game. We’re thrilled to welcome Through the Mist’s writer, Luke Le Page. Luke is going to writing the column regularly, starting with an overview of the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion. Welcome Luke!

As this is my first piece I was having some difficulty in determining how to start it. Blizzard have managed to do it for me by announcing the release date for World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion; Mists of Pandaria. This also leaves me with a lot of content to cover and not much time in which to do it. Mists will hit shelves and for the first time in the franchise’s history be available digitally on September 25. The digital version will enable players to log in the second that the servers are ready and eliminate the need to wait in line at various retail stores for midnight launches. Thurday’s press release also detailed the different version of the game and can be found here.

I will start by summarising ten of the major changes to be found in the upcoming expansion and unpack them in more detail on a weekly between now and release.

Character creation:

There have been a number of complaints over WoW’s lifespan regarding character customisation, which was partially addressed with introduction of the barber shop where players could, for an in-game fee, change the look of their characters. This was advanced further with the recent introduction of transmogrification – which allows characters to transmogrify their equipped items into something entirely different. This feature was warmly received and has seen a huge differentiation in the items that many people display on their characters giving them a more unique feel. Despite these other additions the actual character creation had not changed since the initial launch of WoW and it was past time for this feature to be updated.

While the changes in Mists are by no means ground-breaking they offer an exciting new feel to making a character and I have spent some time on the beta playing with the new functions.


The talent tree has received a major overhaul. Veteran players will be familiar with having to adapt to a number of changes with the release of past expansions, but the new system is something completely different. We still see the 3 major tree’s for each class, but it is the talent trees themselves that have seen the major changes. Players will now receive a talent point every 15 levels giving them just 6 talent points overall. Each tree has 6 tiers with 3 choices per tier, offering just 18 talent choices in total, however only one talent in each tier can be selected. Many of the old talents are now incorporated into abilities passively and are acquired as characters progress through levels. This change has seen a lot of discussion across various message boards but when people ask me what I think of it I describe it as ‘less is more’. These changes can already be seen on the PTR.

Pre-release world event:

I will not go into any real detail on this as I do not wish to spoil it for anyone but we all love a great in-game event and the Mists of Pandaria launch event is set to be excellent.

Shared Zones:

This is one of my favourite changes to the game in its life span. MoP will see the introduction of cross-realm zones where players from multiple realms will be able to see, interact and play with one another.  This will help solve the issue of sparsely populated levelling zones and shows promise towards the introduction of a fully shared game world where guilds and friendships can be formed across realms.

Account wide mounts and achievements:

This feature may not impress everyone but for me personally it is a major selling point. I have well over 100 mounts on my Rogue, including a number of rare and no longer attainable ones, so it is nice to be rewarded for this hard work on all of my characters. This feature is still being worked on but it looks promising for release

New Race:

In this expansion we see the introduction of a new race, the Pandaren. The Pandaren come with a rich back story and breathtaking new starting zone, which I will preview prior to release, and is available to both factions. I was quite impressed by the dynamics of the Pandaren race, though their movement felt somewhat bobbly to me.

New Class:

MoP will introduce us to the class of Monk. The Monk is a new melee class with the ability to fulfil all three roles in the game i.e. healer, tank, dps. I will preview the Monk in full prior to release but so far I have found it an extremely fun class to play.

Pet Battles:

This is an extremely fun mini-game. I hate to bring up another game but many readers of this site will be familiar with the high demand for a Pazaak mini game in SWTOR and the disappointment that accompanied its exclusion. While Pet battles is not Pazaak it seems that Blizzard have taken note of the demand for mini-games and decided to try their hand at it and the result is a lot of fun. Again this is by no means a ground breaking advancement of the modern MMO, it is simply another way to have fun in the game.

Challenge modes:

This is a feature I am extremely excited about. This feature sees the introduction of challenge modes to dungeons where players will race against the clock to complete instances as fast as possible. Rewards will vary based on the speed with which the instance is cleared. Gear will also be normalised to a level appropriate to the dungeon ensuring that challenge modes remain difficult throughout various tiers of gear. The only downside I see to this is that it encourages “zerging” of the challenge mode as the rewards are based on speed and not the difficulty of content.

New Zones

Lastly we have the customary introduction of new zones. We see the introduction of eight new zones in Mists of Pandaria and all of them are breathtaking. If, like me, you enjoy exploring the world, MoP offers you spectacular scenery to enjoy and explore.

This is by no means all of the changes that are coming with Mists of Pandaria and I will attempt to cover everything I can in the time until release I felt that these 10 points were the major changes that have me excited to play.

Over to you: have you been involved in the beta and if so, what have you enjoyed the most?