I've been questing continuously and managed to finish two zones to completion in Pandaria, The Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds. The first thing I must say is that questing has vastly improved. Quests are finally more integrated into the storyline through impressive cinematics and a well thought out plot. I truly appreciate the effort Blizzard put into streamlining the questing process. Not just through story telling but by including quest markers on the map. That is a godsend, I cannot tell you. Not to mention smoother, straight forward quests and a check for each storyline you complete. Finally, questing is actually pleasurable.
Pandaria is being infiltrated by demonic spirits who seek to destroy the gentle harmony and consume all positive energy. As always, questing involves a battle between the dark and light, good and evil or should I say, the yin and yang (like Taoist philosophy). It makes the player feel a level of commitment to restoring the peace and balance in this new found continent.
As always when traveling in WoW, you're bound to come across architecture, geography or people that are very recognizable. This time I came across the Yan-Zhe River. I couldn't help but chuckle since it's an obvious imitation of the Yangtze River in China. At first I thought that all of this stereotyping from Blizzard was just a little racist and it might be, but in my opinion it's probably closer to the adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The sheer amount of detail and dedication to various cultural references is an homage.
Even if you're not a gamer there is something to be said for the beautiful landscapes and fascinating quest chains. In one group of quests you listen to 4 different people tell the same story from different perspectives and in listening you actually become them. In another quest you train relentlessly to perfect your focus and technique. Even more interesting is a whole new line of quests allowing you the opportunity to act like a farmer.
Finally, I leave you with pictures of my partner and I sleeping together at 2 different inns. Sometimes when we finally decide to log off (or make camp) after a long day/night of questing, we have our characters lie down on some beds just for fun. Well, I'm off to explore and experience more of Pandaria. Today I'll be questing in Kun-Lai Summit.
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