Pandaria has been confusing to me. Not because of its layout or quests or storyline (although they can be confusing in a fun way) but because I was supposed to hate it and get bored with it quickly but instead I’m finding myself enjoying it. I wrote last year about how this expansion was WoW jumping the shark, how it would be the final nail in the coffin for WoW, how it was proof that WoW had lost its way.
Today I am eating my own words.
And apparently I am not the only one finding Pandaria to be surprisingly fun. Quite a few friends who had quitted WoW for a long time are making returns. People who skipped Cataclysm altogether and people who had sworn off WoW. In all cases it seems positive word of mouth got them back. Going around blogs I get the same feeling. It’s not all perfect but the general vibe is positive.
I’ve been puzzling over this for the past few days because quite frankly I had trouble trying to pinpoint what exactly happened. On the surface it’s all pretty much the same game we had in Cataclysm. Same type of quests, same reputation grinds, dungeons, raids, pvp, etc… So it should be as fun as Cata… meaning not a lot… but we’re having fun… so why?
So usually this is where I get all detective like and start a long-winded post but I’ll keep it short.
It’s all about choice
Nearly two years ago I wrote a post about what I felt was Cataclysm biggest problem and I ended up with the conclusion that it was lack of choice. When I began to write this post I was going to do another detective like post but everyone was telling me different reasons for loving Pandaria and then I remembered that old Cata post and it all clicked together.
Pandaria gave us back choice.
Well not complete and total freedom but they added so much different activities to the game that you get that feeling of choice again. Choice as to what you want to do a particular evening (battle pets, crafting, raids, dungeons, challenges,pvp…) and choice in how you get there. You actually have so control over how to progress through Pandaria this time around.
WoW is not an entirely new game and in the end, you still grind gear to raid but all those little extra pile up and I end up with choice again in my game.
I absolutely love it.