WoW: The pandas are everywhere

Sanchomar on his dragon turtle mount in Ironforge

It has been a little over a week now since World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria went live for the millions of WoW players around the world. While many of the people in my guild have been busy leveling up their main characters to level 90 and taking on the new challenges of Pandaria, I’ve been sitting back and playing with the new Pandaren monk I created.

Sanchomar, named in honor of a friend’s toon, has been one of the most fun characters I have ever played. Despite playing through areas I’ve been through several times as I have leveled other characters, the dynamics of the monk class make everything feel fresh. Monks are a true hybrid class, with abilities that allow a player to tank, heal or do damage in dungeon roles.

Like my paladin, I gave Sanchomar the tanking spec, which for monks is called Brewmaster. Though monks can only wear cloth or leather armor, the abilities available in this setup allow for lots of dodging and parrying, as well as some that absorb damage and turn it into healing.

Throw in the animations that have been built into the Pandaren race, and this character is lots of fun. Because motion-capture technology has advanced so much over the years, the developers at Blizzard really were able to have some fun with these toons and make the pandas almost dance as they fight off mobs. I often see Sanchomar doing a quick backflip or smashing the beast on the head with his staff with one hand.

Sanchomar learns the truth about the Wandering Isle.

The monks also come with one of my favorite abilities in the game. Called Touch of Death, it is just that. With enough Chi energy stored up, this spell can quickly kill off an enemy with just one strike. I’m waiting for the glyph that lets him bow over the corpse after using the spell.

Along with leveling the monk, I’ve been busy collecting new pets through the pet battle system. I’m up to 146 unique pets. I’m not quite sure how many I have altogether, as you can have up to three of any one pet. But I’m nowhere close to catching them all, as there now are more than 500 pets in the game.

At any rate, I’m thoroughly enjoying the new features in this expansion. And to Blizzard’s credit, the upgrade process was seamless. I’ll get down to Pandaria, but with the way things are going, Sanchomar might be my first toon to hit level 90.

Andrew is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. He has owned every Nintendo system except the SNES and DS (in all its incarnations). He is a casual World of Warcraft player where his primary toon in WoW is Grantham, a dwarf paladin.