Finally, the NDA on the new World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, has been lifted! Information has begun pouring down like beer down a brew-master's chin!
Ooooh, so excited! I've loved Pandaren since Chen Stormstout popped up in Warcraft III, and I've been waiting for them to be playable since Burning Crusade ( Draenei, I can finally take you off notice. Use this newfound freedom wisely.) Initial impression bullet points, HO!
1. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. Blizzard said so. So when the drunken Chinese panda men roll down hills in a ball? Don't laugh, or you'll violate the ToS. Seriously, you guys.
2. Oh god the animations! So smooth, so expressive! Every thing these big roly-poly buggers do is just so full of life and energy. Whiiiich unfortunately just shows how aged the rest of the character models are. Double edged swords, ahoy! I'd love a more expressive female orc, but if Blizzard puts her under the microscope again they might realize the horrible, unforgivable mistake they made of actually making a strong muscular female character, and try to sexy them up. Blech.
3. EVERYTHING IS SO BEAUTIFUL. The environments, the textures, the half naked baboon men, everything is just pure eye-candy. Me rikey, me rikey rots, audience-san. THIS IS NOT A JOKE.
And, of course, the most important issue of all. What do female Pandaren look like. This is the what I've been agonizing over since September. Hey, your children's future is important to you, chubby panda women are important to me. God bless America.
The good news? They are absolutely adorable, they are amply chubby as a panda woman should be, and I want to be in a swimming pool full of them right now. Now you know a little bit about me. Plushies, Blizz? Plz k thx.
The best thing about them, and a great use of that new found animation wizardry, is that their butts jiggle as they run. This fact alone has added at least five years to my life span, and the universe is about 10 percent more at peace now. And as an unexpected bonus, Blizzard tossed in red pandas in the female customization options, with a tail modeled and textured exclusively for them. GJ, Blizz, you dun' good.
Don't waste time reading this drivel, just watch it for yourselves! Here's Simon and Lewis of the Yogscast playing through the Pandaren starting area:
And for the more Technical types, here is the always amazing Jesse, Crendor and Pride breaking down the press release:
And in a blatant attempt to feel less like I'm leeching off of much more talented people, here's a picture of my life-size National Geographic red panda plush I got from a flea market for ten bucks:
Ni Hao, panda-sans!
THIS IS NOT A JOKE.