This has been a great year for MMORPGs. Not only did 2012 bring us some great new games, like ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2, it also brought with it two of the best and most anticipated expansions in recent memory: World of Warcraft: Mist of Pandaria and RIFT: Storm Legion. Now we at Vagary.TV would encourage you to play both games but, let’s face it, this is a battle for your subscription dollars. Read on as our resident MMO players take to the podiums for debate and seek to answer who should win the coveted “Best MMO Expansion” for 2012!
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Jeremy: For the first time in almost four years, Blizzard has released an add-on to the World of Warcraft experience that is worth our dollars. The content of Pandaria is massive and adds some of the best lore to the game that we’ve seen to date. After the abyssal experience that was Cataclysm, it’s refreshing to see Blizzard really hit the nail on the head with this expansion. And who doesn’t love Pandas and Pet Battles?!
Chris: Storm Legion is deep, Jeremy. Drown in your hungry eyes deep. RIFT’s first expansion sets a new bar for what $40 gets you in this genre. It triples the size of the world with two new continents, adds four new classes (souls), a new warfront and raised prestige cap, three raids, and seven 5-man dungeons. It also brings 10 new levels through which players will experience story and adventure in a more direct way than ever — and all without faction restrictions! Plus, I’m pretty sure one of the loading screens is an upskirt shot of a main character. It’s like the developers have been playing TERA.
Jeremy: So, what you’re saying is that Trion had to resort to pornographic loading screens to get people back to Rift? Mists of Pandaria also features a level increase, and an entire new Class (Monk) and Race (Pandaren), both of which have an underlying storyline that carries players all of the way through the game. It may not be two new continents, but it is one well thought out experience. Blizzard also included a new Battleground, 9 dungeons (6 new, 3 re-imagining of old favorites), and 3 new raids to start, with more coming in the near future. Did I mention they also added an entirely new pet battle system? Oh, and as for the devs playing TERA…how did that game do again?
Chris: Touche, good sir, but I would like to draw your attention to the sequel-less Kung Fu Panda. WoW just adds booze to the mix, so now you have an alcoholic panda. Not a recipe for success. I’ve played enough Pandaria to know that it’s much of the same. You level, you dungeon, and you raid. Somewhere along the line your ZOMGrage at PvP. While Pandaland does add a lot, it doesn’t really evolve what you’re actually doing. The one blessing is that Blizzard no longer asks you to pick through piles of poop. RIFT is similar but the paths are expansive! Instant Adventures, rifts, zone invasions, dungeons, PvP — dynamic stuff, my friend. To date, I have died 5,827 times in the first 5-man dungeon. Or something like that. Let me ask you, if there was one defining quality that you could name about Pandaria, one “sell me” feature to new and old players alike, what would you say?
Jeremy: Ok. First, let me say this: You are completely wrong! There is definitely a “Pick through/Find Poop” quest! So, there! ….Oh…shi….nevermind. Let’s just move on, shall we?
Come on man, we all know that if it wasn’t for WoW, we wouldn’t have RIFT in the first place. “Instant Adventures?” Please, it’s just a fancy way to say “Scenario”, which WoW has. “Dungeons”…well, we already talked about dungeons, and as for you dying so many times, at what point is that fun?! Also, don’t think that RIFT does something incredible with PvP that WoW doesn’t. I mean, isn’t RIFT the game that was having such a hard time with their factions that they had to allow them to play together? Care Bear Land I tell ya! In WoW, we still have the Horde vs. Alliance, just like we did from day one, and guess what?! They tension between the two keeps getting more intense as the story progresses! You want a “sell me” feature? If all of the new content, the ability to have your own farm, and the awesome Pokémon-esque pet system doesn’t sound awesome…I’m there…duh! What does Storm Legion have? I mean, seriously, they would definitely have to come up with some really good Dynamic Content and Player Housing to win me over!
Chris: The gauntlet has been thrown, I see. Well, WoW has scenarios but they’re really just excuses for not finding a tank, aren’t they? Blizzard tried to crack that nut since 2004 and scenarios are the white flag of defeat. But that’s okay, have fun! You have your poor man’s 3-man while I run around with ten other people wreaking havoc across whole zones, it’s okay. As for PvP, I have one word: Conquest. It’s fun, rewarding, and the most dynamic PvP this side of Guild Wars 2. And aren’t all classes in WoW pretty much the same nowadays anyways? But I’m happy to see that you’re reasonable my friend, because Dynamic Content and Player Housing shall save you from the depths of Pandaland! Dimensions are the single best and most in-depth character housing system of any MMO ever. It’s like Minecraft: Telara. And then dynamic content! It just keeps getting more dynamic, Jeremy! The sky opens up and dudes fall out. Then some of them run places! It doesn’t get much more dynamic than that. The writing is on the wall, if you ask me.
Jeremy: Yeah, well…wait…Dimensions is player housing?! Like “Minecraft: Telara?!” Why didn’t you just say so? I mean, WoW never had that. Why don’t they have player housing after all of these years? I want to build things and make them my own. And guys falling out of the sky and random open world events? WoW doesn’t have any of this! I’m so downloading Storm Legion right now!
Crap…what’s happening? What am I doing?!
Err..umm….I mean….WoW Rules, Rift Drools?! Mists of Pandaria “MoPs” the floor with Storm Legion?
Son of a….*hangs head in shame*
You win this round, Coke, but I shall have my revenge!
Chris: Mwahaha, you should have known better than to face the maste — wait a minute, you didn’t tell me that any race can be the Monk class…
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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria can be purchased for just $30 until January 1st direct from the Blizzard Store.
RIFT: Storm Legion is available for $39.99 but newcomers can pick it up plus the base game for just $10 more.