Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 27, 2012
 
Another MoP start complaint

I mentioned previously that I didn't like how linear the start of Mists of Pandaria is for characters level 85 coming to the new continent. Now I played around with alts some more, and I have to add another complaint: The start of the game is copy & paste identical for Horde and Alliance!

I am really disappointed about that. Playing through the start of Pandaria from the Horde side it appeared as if the Alliance got there first, and Horde stumbled with their airship right into an Alliance base, ultimately conquering it. I would have liked to see the other half of that story told from the Alliance point of view. But no: The Alliance airship comes to Pandaria, finds the Horde has gotten there first, stumbled into their base and then conquers it. There is the same sequence of quests with minor variations (shooting from airship vs. shooting from gyrocopter for example). The same pandaren NPC saves the leader of both sides from identical situations, where their emotions manifest into dark sorcery. Afterwards you have to fight through the same monsters to get to the pandaren village, where the same quest to collect barrels of alcohol awaits you.

I had hoped that somebody playing alts of both sides would at least have two different experiences of the start of Pandaria, but that was not the case. I find that a bit cheap.

Comments:
Wait, the horde did not crash their airship?
 
I was thinking about this yesterday, and I was interested in seeing the horde side of the story. I've only played alliance so far, so I didn't know what you say. It would have been much more fun to see two stories.

One question: the beer-gathering quest is combined with some horde-smashing, which leads up to the destruction of another horde base. Is that all reversed too?
 
I could be wrong but I have a feeling this is Blizzard testing conversion ratios.

They already offer WoW to new players - free for the first 20 levels. If Blizzard send these new players to Pandaria, it will be relatively easy to tweak gameplay to maximize the conversion numbers.

In a way, the first 20 levels in Pandaria have been given to marketing to run experiments in conversion optimization.

Having an open world with different stories for each faction and no linked quests presents too many variables for marketers.
 
Riftstalker,

I don't get it. In order to see the quests we are talking about you have to be level 85, I think. I am sure that Blizzard is eager to re-convert returning players to regular subscribers again, but wouldn't these "veterans" already have an established interest in their chosen faction?
 
One question: the beer-gathering quest is combined with some horde-smashing, which leads up to the destruction of another horde base. Is that all reversed too?

On the Horde side the beer-gathering is combined with smashing local wildlife. Right after that is the destruction of another alliance base. Woot! A minor variation!
 
I imagine this is a side effect of revamping Jade Forest so late in development. The first incarnation I played in beta was very different, muddled and rather lack luster. I like the new version better.

Unfortunately it sounds like they didn't have a chance to create two distinct enough versions of it.

Once you finish the apple grove quest, doesn't the paths split into the horde cozying up to the Hozen and the Alliance the Pearfin? I started seeing the Pearfin quests last night, so I wondered how all of that played out on the Horde side.
 
I agree with Bill. I think it's a side effect of the late cycle development of the starting experiences. Still, it does come across as a little beneath Blizzard's standards.

I don't mind it, though. I'm enjoying the expansion thoroughly so far. Even the pet battles surprised me. I'm actually enjoying that.
 
The two stories are very similar, however they are similar to prove a point. The horde and alliance the way they are will not work in Pandaria. It all leads up to the jade serpent, and when those events happen you have no doubts the horde did exactly the same thing you did. The stories are similar to prove the point.

Now, if the alliance were only in Pandaria to find Wrynn, and the horde were there to, say, strike up new trade relations, they probably wouldn't even meet, and if they did , well, it would be a blip in the story.

Also, you will get far more out of the story with them being similar starting when you get to later zones with the alliance/horde interactions, leaving names out to not spoil it.
 
It's also frustrating when we are supposed to be fighting the other faction, but all Alliance/Horde questlines are identical. Seeing the opposite faction all over the quests I'm doing breaks the illusion.
 
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