World Of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria Review In Progress – Gotta Catch -Em All
Today we’ve spent the majority of our time listening to catchy reimaginings of Warcraft 2’s soundtrack; no we aren’t feeling wistful, these memorable tunes are the musical accompaniments to Mists Of Pandaria’s Pokemon battles.
Sorry, “Pet” battles.
See, one of the newest features introduced with Mists Of Pandaria is an overhaul of the pet system. No longer are they just an aesthetic companion, now they can fight.
Not only that, they can be used to level up, capture new pets and even battle other players in the World Of Warcraft.
But then, you probably knew all that.
Unlocking this feature costs 95 Gold. Naturally our low-level Pandaren Monk Brian barely had two silver coins to rub together, so it was up to our 85 character – Shireboy – to provide the funds.
Luckily the pet battle system is account wide, so that payment is a one-off and any unlocked pets carry over across to different characters too.
Now chances are you’ve already grown uninterested. ‘Pokemon battles in an MMO?’ you’re probably shrieking. ‘Why the hell would I want to do that?’ you may add.
Fair points, but it’s actually not bad. No, honestly. Hear us out.
We collect pet snakes, level up our Jade Crane Chick and kill a small girl’s pet rabbits.
Admittedly this whole system taps into a very specific type of WoW player, and these are best identified by those who hunt down Achievements at every turn, whether it’s replaying Razorfen Downs or purposely seek out that last unidentified area in Westfall just for the ‘chievo to pop.
If you’ve ever spent time browsing the Achievement menu, then we’ll bet you’ll find it hard not to be drawn in to Mists Of Pandaria’s pet battles.
We certainly did.
Brian took control of the pets. Shireboy was far too high a level, and there was no way his level one tabby cat was going to defeat some of the gruesome level 25s he’d been spotting.
And since Brian still had a grind to 85 to get through, it only made sense that we might as well take a look at these pets at the same time.
That was a bad idea. Once learned, pet battle training pinpoints possible encounters throughout the world. It became a compulsion to check every damn green paw icon as it appeared on the minimap to ensure there wasn’t a new creature we hadn’t already bagged.
Honestly, we literally have to catch them all.
This is where it all begins, the real adventure.
The battles aren’t overly deep, admittedly, but it does use a type system that Pokemon utilises and it works well. You need to know what creatures you’ve got equipped if you want to safely defeat another critter.
There are customisable abilities, too, as well as random rare or uncommon pets (which increase stats more than an ordinary pet) to give you enough tweaking and altering to make you feel like you’re wasting your time properly.
And if a pet victorious in battle it’ll earn XP, level up and unlock extra abilities. There’s enough to see through this new feature that, if you take to it even slightly, then it’ll make that grind to max level just that little bit more bearable.
There’s a series of quests to follow too, of course, following the Human or Orc route through the main questing path that provide enough of an incentive to keep levelling your pets. Think of these as Gym Master battles.
Maybe we hadn’t levelled enough though, since they were pretty tough battles too. Not impossible, but required sensible use of our pets to make sure they didn’t all die.
Battles can get a little challenging, unless you endlessly grind of course.
We had a couple of PvP pet battles too, but this is something that really needs work. There’s no mention of your opponents name, and you’re not even given enough time to gloat over a successful domination.
Best of all is that this is an addition – a luxury. You might not find much enjoyment in it, but at the very least give it a go, if only to tickle your nostalgia glands at the excellent battle music.
We’ve spent too long with Brian, though. Now’s the time to dive into the real chunk of Mists Of Pandaria, and get our teeth into the 85-90 sections. Wish us luck.
If you missed it, take a look at our first impressions from day one with Mists Of Pandaria…