Blizzard unveils Dota and new panda-focused WoW expansion

Blizzard logoBlizzard made two big announcements related to its World of Warcraft franchise and a new game at the opening ceremonies of Blizzcon Friday. The first was a Defense of the Ancients-style game that pits two teams of heroes against one another to destroy each others’ structures on opposite sides of the map. The second was a WoW expansion centering on... panda bears?

The DotA game, appropriately named Blizzard Dota, works similar to the popular game League of Legends where players control “heroes” that work in teams alongside lesser automated fighters to battle through the other team’s forces and destroy their towers. The game will feature several popular characters from Blizzard’s other franchises.

Following a trailer for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm that teased some new and unnamed units, Chris Metzen, Blizzard’s VP of creative development, unveiled the fourth expansion pack in the WoW universe, titled World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. The expansion will add a new continent to the game named Pandaria, populated by a playable race called Pandaren who value “balance, beauty, harmony, and hope,” according to Metzen. Metzen said little of the story that will take place there, but obliquely suggested the focus will be on the Horde-Alliance conflict of old, and that it may turn peaceful Pandaria into a war-torn landscape. While the direction sounds out of left field, Metzen says the development team was considering including the race and class in the first expansion pack, The Burning Crusade.

Along with the continent that looks, for most intents and purposes, like a Kung Fu Panda tie-in (though the movie came long after the Pandaren race in Warcraft II), there will be a new playable class, Monk; the level cap will be increased to 90; and players will get access to a new pet battling system. If all that isn’t enough of an enticement to keep playing (or to return to) WoW, Blizzard is also offering a new package deal called WoW Annual pass: customers who commit to paying for a full 12 months of WoW will get a free copy of Diablo III and access to the Mists of Pandaria beta. Like Heart of the Swarm and Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria has no forthcoming release date set.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Blizzard, computer games

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