A week has gone by since the surprise announcement of Mists of Pandaria‘s release date. Momentum is slowly building toward the release, and one can definitely see the increasing urgency to wrap things up in Cataclysm.
On Friday, two days after the announcement, I finally achieved something I have never done before: complete an entire expansion’s worth of content while it is still current. Our 10-man raid defeated Heroic Madness of Deathwing for the first time, resulting in a spree of cheers and congratulations all-around. Coincidentally, our victory came exactly six months after we first defeated Madness of Deathwing in normal mode.
Although I started Cataclysm a month late, I worked through all of its raid contents while they were still relevant. Somehow I was entering newer content earlier and earlier, and by the time Dragon Soul hit, I was raiding regularly from the first weekend. I think last week’s announcement gave our raid team a real sense of urgency now that the end is in sight. We needed to finish this expansion after breaking our backs over Heroic Spine of Deathwing for three months.
It really is a strange feeling when I realize I have completed the Cataclysm expansion. A few elusive achievements remain, but this is the first time I can truly say that I’ve beaten World of Warcraft, at least for now. I can finally move on to the next chapter in the story. Thrall’s words in the original Mists of Pandaria preview really spoke to me because I have been there for all the previous events in Azeroth’s history and because I was also facing the Destroyer himself when the preview was released.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid all information from the beta, but I think I’ve read enough to interest me in the next expansion and yet haven’t spoiled myself too much to feel like I am stepping into content that I am already familiar with. I wanted my experience to be fresh and awe-inspiring, just like the moment I entered the portal into Outland, and just like the moment my ship entered the canyons of Howling Fjord.
Mists of Pandaria is personally exciting for me because it is based on a culture that is familiar to me. I can’t wait to see how Blizzard will be tying elements of Oriental cultures into the Warcraft universe. I am already impressed at the artistic elements which have been added into the beta. I anticipate I will be devouring as much of the new content as I can. Many people in the Western world only think of dragons, knights, and princesses when thinking of the fantasy genre. They do not realize that fantasy is also a vibrant genre in the East, filled with mysticism and legends. As a professional working in cultural competency and awareness, I am excited that World of Warcraft can become a platform for introducing new cultures to people.
If you told me two years ago that I would be able to reach the pinnacle of end-game content in this expansion, I would not have believed you. If you ask me now what I will have done at the end of Mists of Pandaria, I do not know. But I do want to know, thus when I set foot on Pandaria, I will open my eyes and ears to any opportunity that will allow me to immerse myself further in the contents of the game. I don’t know where the blog will go in the two years to come, but I hope you will let me take us on this new adventure together.