Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Legend of Manpanda II

Someday, the world will look up and shout "save us". And he will whisper... "Manpanda."


 That's right, time for me to revisit the oft-maligned World of Warcraft, specifically the Mists of Pandaria expansion.

If you missed the first Legend of Manpanda, read it HERE. The origin story.

We begin with Manpanda bowing to his master before they engage in monk fisticuffs. As in the previous WoW post, the screenshots are much bigger than they appear here; click on them to blow them up to full size. Just be sure to click the X afterwards to reduce them back so you can keep reading.

Manpanda is a man of one word.

The Grand Master at the Pandaren Monk Summit still offers a daily quest that gives you an hour's worth of a +50% exp gain buff. This stacks with everything, including the rested bonus. The quest itself takes about five minutes, and includes one moderately-tricky fight against the trainer. It's the one solitary daily quest that I highly recommend bothering with, as it can make your play sessions much more productive even if you're only on for an hour a day.

As our hero is level 20, he gets a mount. The Panda mount is, apparently, a giant land turtle. I can't imagine these things being very fast, and they look bizarre too. It sorta looks like you're the turret on a tank rather than a character on a mount.

I head for Duskwood, a zone that I never liked back in the day because it struck me as dismal and boring. Now I like it -a lot- because of the misty dawn air that it has. Place is very mystical-looking, and it rains frequently there.

Manpanda announces his presence to all the land, and I get started on doing quests while I wait for dungeon and BG queues to warp me to exp-ville. I remember when you had to run to those things yourself!

Manpanda is momentarily unmasked! HE IS A FRAUD!

He responds by hiding out in a mine cart, waiting to ambush The Horde. Nobody will find him in here.

 Monks are generally overpowered, and their most potent ability is this pummel that hits everything in front of you repeatedly while you channel it. It's like E. Honda's Hundred Hand Slap, except it does damage continuously rather than knocking foes back. Get six or seven enemies in front of you in a dungeon and let loose with this.

Meanwhile, in a dungeon, ladies talk about our hero's cuteness and he responds the only way he knows how.

Well, this is WoW, so... "ladies".

Later in the dungeon, Manpanda gets charmed by a boss for five seconds and starts attacking his compadres. The hunter in the group, no doubt seeing that his moment had finally come to assert himself as the alpha male, proceeded to BLAST Manpanda nearly to death before the charm wore off. Well, that was unnecessary.

It's unfortunate that the overworld (and the quests therein) has little purpose anymore with the advent of easy dungeon queuing. Dungeons give massive amounts of exp in a shorter amount of time, are simpler, and tend to be more fun since you can turn your brain off and just fight away with minimal "run from point A to point B" time.

I spend some time in Duskwood at this point, but every couple minutes I get pulled away to another dungeon. Gnomeregan here is nowhere near the incredibly lengthy slog that it was when I played this back in 2006 or so.

 Looks like Hogger got bumped up from "newbie area fodder" to hardened criminal and dungeon boss.

The Stockade gives me flashbacks to my time in D-Block with Julio the drug lord. I've been a bitch, I've had a bitch.

Scarlet Monastery is now divided into multiple dungeons, with the easier Scarlet Halls coming first. Who throws a bucket, indeed.

The boss fight here is sweet because you've got sunlight beaming down. I like when the game looks like this. It's definitely capable of giving us some good art direction.

The second, harder dungeon is the one that inherited the name "Scarlet Monastery". This definitely isn't the Scarlet Monastery I remember; it's in flames and generally ruined, while the original was a beautiful cathedral city.

 The monks here seem to have gotten equipped with FLAMETHROWERS when I wasn't looking. Well, the Scarlet Monastery is well equipped for an eventual war with The Thing.

I forgot that this game has guns in it. Manpanda has no use for guns!

I reach level 30 and go for the Chi Blast talent, which fires a beam directly ahead of you that obliterates everything in its path. Not sure if there's any upper limit on how many foes it can affect. Imagine how easy dungeon farming would be at high levels with this guy. I could build up a massive train of all the dungeon's inhabitants, then turn around and wipe them all out in one shot.

Then again, I suppose Mages can do the same thing, more or less, with Arcane Explosion.
 The casting animation for it is totally what you'd expect, with him balling up chi-energy in his hands ala Hadoken.

Our hero UNLEASHES HELL as he fires his new Chi Blast into a crowd of enemies.

"Oh Yeahhhh. Niccce."

 That'll pretty much do it for me. There's one more thing to do, though, so our hero teleports back to the mountain of monx.

There's a new duel at level 30 that replaces the old one. This one is much easier, at least, and still gets you the +50% exp buff.

Master Woo (no relation to John Woo) is a fairly simple fight, and the only thing to note is that you need to use the monk instant-death attack to finish him off at low health. Which is worth mentioning because MONKS GET AN INSTANT DEATH ATTACK. Not sure what's cooler... that, the beam, or the hundred-hand slap that affects a bunch of enemies at once.

Final Manpanda thoughts? Gotta say, as overpowered as monk is in PVE combat, it turned out to be SO MUCH FUN to play. The low difficulty is more a knock on the game itself, but the class being so strong only adds to that issue. Regardless, monk is fun to watch, fun to play as, and just an all-around (chi) blast. I could see myself having a lot of fun with this class if I were going all the way with it. It's certainly more fun than, say, a Warlock or a Warrior. But then again, these things really do come down to personal preference a lot of the time.



  1. Manpanda is a fun bear. I hope you bring him back again even though you hate WOW!

  2. You "unlocked" Scarlet Monastery? What's up with that?


    Those last two shots are really fierce. Is the Monk class restricted to pandas?

    1. You unlock dungeons in the queue as you level up. So that just means Scarlet Monastery got added to the list of dungeons I could queue for. I'm not sure if you can zone into them before that level if you run to them manually. If they added level requirements for zoning in at all, that'd be new. Sounds as if that might be the case with the use of the word "unlocked". Since I don't manually run to the dungeons ever, I can't say for sure. But yeah, half the fun of leveling up now is seeing which dungeon gets unlocked. There are so many dungeons in the game that one unlocks every two or three levels from 1-60 and every level after that (sometimes more than one... level 70 and 80 both unlock something like ten new ones). Since you no longer buy spell upgrades or have talent points to spend (as everything is auto-done for you now), there isn't really a whole lot of "fun" in the leveling-up process anymore outside of unlocking new areas to queue for.

      A lot of races can be monks. Most are probably pandas since they were introduced at the same time. I know humans can be monks, not sure who else.

  3. The graphics here are so much better than EQ's. Looking forward to Manpanda sequels.

  4. Read this post again for double the Manpanda fun. I haven't seen any duels with a non-panda Monk, I wonder if they exist.