Well, I’m in the WOW:MOP beta.

My first impression:

  • My god, there are a lot of characters in Pandaria.

On both my new Pandaren monk (which was a lot of fun) and my transferred 85 (Theande, renamed to Theánde because apparently I was late to the game), I was forced to stop playing because I simply couldn’t progress any farther. Mists of Pandaria may be a fine, worthy expansion, but Blizzard has seriously fucked up the beta process in two major ways:

  • Only one realm is provided for each region (US has two, but one is PVP so it doesn’t count because it’s just going to be Who Can Get To 90 First And Then Grief The Hell Out Of Everyone Else).
  • They’ve disabled the Submit Bug function.

The first one just means that it’s nearly impossible to complete quests or, in many cases, even interact with quest objects – the first time I tried one of the quests in the Pandaren starting area, I literally couldn’t see the quest object to click on it because there were so many other characters piled on top of it.

That last one is telling. I see why they’re doing it – to avoid the four billionth person reporting that all dead mobs turn to face you when you loot something – but at the same time, they lose so much data that way (both in terms of character and world state – for instance, what if that only happens while the game is in the “day” phase, or if a character has a certain item in their bags? – and in terms of bugs that simply go unreported because the player is too lazy, or unmotivated, or disorganized, etc. to keep a piece of scrap paper handy*) that it makes the bugs that do get reported almost useless for actual debugging.

Also, along with several other bugs – like the bug that removes your talent choices if you swap talent specs, or the one that randomly swaps out your primary action bar for an apparently-unrelated action bar – it feels like Blizzard’s favorite new game mechanic really is “write stuff down on a piece of paper in case the game refuses to remember it for you”.

All that said, the bits I have been able to play have been quite fun, especially the Pandaren starting area, which has a couple mechanics I haven’t seen before. And monks are a blast, although I can’t quite figure out how they’re supposed to work. Unfortunately, at the moment, the 85-86 area I’ve experienced (Wayward Landing, I think?) feels very much like old Stranglethorn, Nagrand, and Sholazar, and I’m dearly hoping that it gets better from there.

* The inevitable response: “Well, you should have a second computer/second monitor/play in windowed mode”. No. You have missed the point of broad-base beta testing.

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