Blizzard Registers "Mists of Pandaria," the Next WoW Expansion?

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Posted by MattBodega (1907 posts) -

In the wasteland of terrible video game-themed April Fools Day pranks, Blizzard's Pandaren race for Warcraft III was the rare joke that was actually awesome. A fake teaser for a new army to be added in an expansion, the Pandaren army was introduced with authentic screenshots, detailed models and serious lore. It was an elaborate-ass joke, and such was its popularity that real Pandaren characters actually made their way into both Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft. But according to a recent patent filling, the Pandaren could very well become the subject of their very own WoW expansion.

The patent form in question, courtesy of MMO-Champion.

MMO-Champion (a site famous for digging through WoW patches to reveal the latest items, mounts, and story content added to the game) managed to locate a recent patent application from Blizzard. The application in question is for an upcoming Blizzard product titled "Mists of Pandaria." According to the patent filling in question, the patent has been filed for a piece of "computer game software", as opposed to, say, a WoW-themed novel or comic book.

Obviously, a patent filing is no sure bet for an upcoming game release, but given that the name of the last WoW expansion similarly leaked out from a patent filing, I'm more than a little inclined to believe that, yes, the next World of Warcraft expansion will take you the homeland of the mystical Pandaren (which, given the animal's origins and the "Mists" title, will be some sort of Chinese-influenced continent to explore). Or maybe I just want to believe as hard as I can that we'll see a Pandaren expansion pack. The idea that this April Fools prank would be the basis of its own release is the best damn way to the end the whole joke.

And I'm sure my enthusiasm (and the enthusiasm of many other Warcraft players) for a Pandaren expansion is no accident. Following the "tepid" sales of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (though, in this instance, tepid sales means that the expansion didn't grow the size of the subscriber base for WoW), Blizzard's management announced that they would be changing their expansion pack process, focusing on releasing more expansion packs at a faster rate rather than once every 18 months. By announcing that the latest expansion will finally make good on bringing a fan-favorite race into the limelight, Blizzard potentially dodges the accusation that they're tainting the value of Cataclysm by releasing the follow-up so quickly.

As with so many elements regarding Blizzard's upcoming games, we won't hear definite information of a new WoW expansion until Blizzcon, Blizzard's yearly fan conference. However, like Cataclysm before it, I'm sure we'll see similar information leaks about Mists of Pandaren in the months to come. In the meantime, I'll be sitting here thinking about what kind of class my new Panderan will be. Maybe a Pandaren Warrior? Or how about a Pandaren Death Knight? Pandaren Rogue would be good too...

#1 Posted by MattBodega (1907 posts) -

In the wasteland of terrible video game-themed April Fools Day pranks, Blizzard's Pandaren race for Warcraft III was the rare joke that was actually awesome. A fake teaser for a new army to be added in an expansion, the Pandaren army was introduced with authentic screenshots, detailed models and serious lore. It was an elaborate-ass joke, and such was its popularity that real Pandaren characters actually made their way into both Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft. But according to a recent patent filling, the Pandaren could very well become the subject of their very own WoW expansion.

The patent form in question, courtesy of MMO-Champion.

MMO-Champion (a site famous for digging through WoW patches to reveal the latest items, mounts, and story content added to the game) managed to locate a recent patent application from Blizzard. The application in question is for an upcoming Blizzard product titled "Mists of Pandaria." According to the patent filling in question, the patent has been filed for a piece of "computer game software", as opposed to, say, a WoW-themed novel or comic book.

Obviously, a patent filing is no sure bet for an upcoming game release, but given that the name of the last WoW expansion similarly leaked out from a patent filing, I'm more than a little inclined to believe that, yes, the next World of Warcraft expansion will take you the homeland of the mystical Pandaren (which, given the animal's origins and the "Mists" title, will be some sort of Chinese-influenced continent to explore). Or maybe I just want to believe as hard as I can that we'll see a Pandaren expansion pack. The idea that this April Fools prank would be the basis of its own release is the best damn way to the end the whole joke.

And I'm sure my enthusiasm (and the enthusiasm of many other Warcraft players) for a Pandaren expansion is no accident. Following the "tepid" sales of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (though, in this instance, tepid sales means that the expansion didn't grow the size of the subscriber base for WoW), Blizzard's management announced that they would be changing their expansion pack process, focusing on releasing more expansion packs at a faster rate rather than once every 18 months. By announcing that the latest expansion will finally make good on bringing a fan-favorite race into the limelight, Blizzard potentially dodges the accusation that they're tainting the value of Cataclysm by releasing the follow-up so quickly.

As with so many elements regarding Blizzard's upcoming games, we won't hear definite information of a new WoW expansion until Blizzcon, Blizzard's yearly fan conference. However, like Cataclysm before it, I'm sure we'll see similar information leaks about Mists of Pandaren in the months to come. In the meantime, I'll be sitting here thinking about what kind of class my new Panderan will be. Maybe a Pandaren Warrior? Or how about a Pandaren Death Knight? Pandaren Rogue would be good too...

#2 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4976 posts) -

Yay! I think!

#3 Posted by Brockly46 (645 posts) -

Stopped caring after cataclysm

#4 Posted by RE_Player1 (7563 posts) -
@Brockly46 Me too.
#5 Edited by PhatSeeJay (3322 posts) -

Quit WoW after I hit 85 on my main and 60 with a new character, but I could potentially be drawn back to this. Aside from the excellent update to Azeroth, I had no interest in Cataclysm, the Twilight Hammer and Deathwings angst. The pandarens are awesome though, and I'd love to roll a brewmaster.

#6 Posted by Scodiac (474 posts) -

They need something to release right around the launch of The Old Republic.

#7 Edited by Zithe (1045 posts) -

I've heard some online claim that there are laws in place in China and some other Asian countries that outlaw any depiction of violence against pandas. I've heard others say that those laws are a myth. Seems like it would be a pretty big deal for Blizzard if those laws do exist. Weren't they already forced to not include the Pandaren Brewmaster pet in the Chinese version of WoW or something like that?

Edit: I did a bit of research and it seems that China only originally disliked the Pandaren because they were shown in traditional Japanese clothing? Probably not a big deal for this news then.

#8 Posted by Kombat (2205 posts) -

This seems pretty silly to me. Not that World of Warcraft has the most serious tone out their, but the surface-level narrative has always been pretty focused and ignorant of the hundreds of mini-Ragnaroses and whatnot that players have following them around. As a new race, Padaren would be impossible to ignore in the same way.

#9 Posted by beaugasm (7 posts) -

I'd definitely re-up to play as a Pandaren

#10 Edited by BD (253 posts) -

I bet it will be their game you can play while you wait in line for blizzcon like Failoc-alypse that or a book.

#11 Posted by Doctorchimp (4078 posts) -

Come on Blizzard....just let me play as a Pandaren in Diablo 3...
 
Scratch that...what do I have to pay to make my monk a protoss?

#12 Posted by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -
@Scodiac said:
They need something to release right around the launch of The Old Republic.
Yep, and after that they'll unleash the Titan.
#13 Edited by Sinful (211 posts) -

*yawn* I stopped reading after "Blizzard"

#14 Posted by Subjugation (4725 posts) -

While I don't care about WoW anymore, this is still a pretty interesting piece of news. I'll be interested to see how China takes the whole situation if indeed this does turn out to be an expansion.

Also, quality write-up Kessler.

#15 Posted by Thor_Molecules (732 posts) -

I think i'll be ass-deep in Guild Wars 2 by then. I learned my lesson with Wrath and Cataclysm, i get excited, resubscribe, and in the end i'm playing the exact same game I unsubscribed to, all over again.  

#16 Posted by shiro11 (64 posts) -

This could be probably the only thing to bring me back to WoW.

#17 Posted by Nephrahim (1154 posts) -

WHO CARES! 
 
God, I heard this and was nearly sick imagining people saying "I can't wait till Pandren."  I've played WoW since Vanillia, and it doesn't matter what they add to it at this point, I can't imagine them bring life back to the game. 
 
Blizzard has hit Peak WoW, and like Peak Oil, there is nowhere to go but down.

#18 Posted by Marz (5658 posts) -

They are finally putting in Pandarens :(   little late though.

#19 Posted by rmanthorp (4007 posts) -

NEVER!

Maybe?

Moderator Online
#20 Posted by nonny (15 posts) -

This sounds way too serene for being a WoW expansion. Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm all point towards the greater conflict of the expansion, but Mists of Pandaria does not really seem to do that.

#21 Posted by AlKusanagi (931 posts) -

If there's a monk hero class to go along with it, then I'm in.

#22 Posted by SockLobster (456 posts) -

You can already be a Goblin, who needs anything else?
 
Also they'll be Alliance scum anyway, just like Worgen. Maybe the horde equivalent addition will be Ogres, that would be pretty sweet.

#23 Posted by Irvandus (2881 posts) -

Way too silly to be it.

#24 Posted by DiamondDave (29 posts) -

I'm pumped!

#25 Posted by McShank (1629 posts) -

If they bring in pandarians then I am down to replay every class to 85 -.- I dont care for wow much this expansion but this simple addition to the game could bring me back for a long time... I just want to be a drunk panda!

#26 Posted by PhatSeeJay (3322 posts) -

@nonny said:

This sounds way too serene for being a WoW expansion. Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm all point towards the greater conflict of the expansion, but Mists of Pandaria does not really seem to do that.

Shit can't get more chaotic than a Cataclysm. It has to turn into a state of serenity eventually. :P

#27 Edited by Hector (3365 posts) -

@BD said:

I bet it will be their game you can play while you wait in line for blizzcon like Failoc-alypse that or a book.

Thanks for the link. That was pretty awesome.

#28 Posted by BeefyGrandmole (355 posts) -

I'll only come back if there is a new class. It doesn't need to be a hero just something different.

#29 Edited by Warchief (658 posts) -

edit: links were not legit.

#30 Edited by McDunkin (320 posts) -

This seems like some kind of weird counter-intelligence to me since they would probably never be able to release this in China.

It's also pretty gross that rather than focus on releasing new and interesting content they are just going to make it as fast as possible and stick it behind a pay wall in addition to their monthly fees. There is a good reason a lot of people have decided to stop playing WoW.

#31 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

Unless TOR turns out terrible (it probably won't) then I will never go back to WoW, pretty tired of the setting.

#32 Posted by agc8602 (36 posts) -

@Warchief: Those were outed as fake a long time ago.

#33 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I will roll a Pandaren Brewmaster.
 
Gonna a have a 'Drunken Master' ressource mechanic.

#34 Posted by Alex (2294 posts) -

Panda warriors wearing Chinese-ish garb?

Staff
#35 Posted by Vexxan (4623 posts) -

@Brockly46 said:

Stopped caring after cataclysm

Amen to that.

#36 Posted by Thompson820 (410 posts) -

@Vegsen said:

@Brockly46 said:

Stopped caring after cataclysm

Amen to that.

Yep.

#37 Posted by Duffman (208 posts) -
@SamDrugbringer said:
WHO CARES!  God, I heard this and was nearly sick imagining people saying "I can't wait till Pandren."  I've played WoW since Vanillia, and it doesn't matter what they add to it at this point, I can't imagine them bring life back to the game.  Blizzard has hit Peak WoW, and like Peak Oil, there is nowhere to go but down.
People care.  Doi.  And I don't get what you mean by "bringing back life to the game."  It's plenty active right now.
#38 Posted by Pop (2644 posts) -

I really really really doubt this will be an expansion, maybe it will be a starcraft 2 map or something along those lines, but an actual expansion for world of warcraft never. I know never say never but the pandaren was just a joke and there is pandaren companion pet but that's a joke too. 

#39 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Jumping the shark? Nuking the fridge? Mists of Pandaria?

#40 Posted by shiftplusone (48 posts) -

I'm not saying blizzard is going to stick to this 100% but metzen has always said they're a silly race, not in the canon and won't ever be in any sort of narrative

#41 Posted by clstirens (847 posts) -
@Duffman said:
@SamDrugbringer said:
WHO CARES!  God, I heard this and was nearly sick imagining people saying "I can't wait till Pandren."  I've played WoW since Vanillia, and it doesn't matter what they add to it at this point, I can't imagine them bring life back to the game.  Blizzard has hit Peak WoW, and like Peak Oil, there is nowhere to go but down.
People care.  Doi.  And I don't get what you mean by "bringing back life to the game."  It's plenty active right now.
He might be referring to the lack of World Pvp, and that about 80%+ of the characters on any given server are level 85. The result is that most players experience an empty world, with full capitol cities.
 
Just my theory.
#42 Posted by GioVANNI (1288 posts) -
@Warchief: Those were confirmed to be fake.  Completely fake.
#43 Posted by Warchief (658 posts) -

@GioVANNI: noted will pull down. Thanks

#44 Posted by Cataphract1014 (1316 posts) -
@Scodiac: Diablo 3.
#45 Posted by karatetron (692 posts) -

SAMURAI PANDAAA

#46 Posted by GioVANNI (1288 posts) -
@Warchief: I was kind of bummed by that fact too, because the fake stuff seemed more interesting than what Blizzard could do.
#47 Posted by CptBedlam (4453 posts) -

I condemn this shoddy journalism! You wait for the official announcement before writing anything about the game, sir!

#48 Edited by CL60 (16906 posts) -

Just sayin' if Brad Nicholson were still around and posted this, everybody would jump down his throat for posting "Non-news" and "rumors"

#49 Posted by zacharai (88 posts) -

There's no way we'll see an actual Pandaren character that could die/be killed, because China would probably ban it. So I'd expect to be investigating the ruins of the long-lost Pandaren empire or something similar.

#50 Posted by UberExplodey (944 posts) -

The only thing WoW-related that I ever cared about was the episode of South Park.

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