Blizzard Announces September 25th Launch for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

Finally, I’ve got something to report!  Blizzard has finally confirmed the release date for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, the forth expansion in their long-running MMO.  As always there will be several versions of the game available, all of which will be playable on a Windows-based PC or a Mac.  The standard DVD-based version will hit retailers on Sept. 25th for $39.99, and will also be available via digital download from Battle.net for the same price.  The Collector’s Edition, which includes a wide variety of goodies mentioned below, will be available in a boxed version for $79.99, while for the first time ever a Digital Deluxe version will also be available for $59.99.  Here’s the difference between the two.

The Digital Deluxe version of Mists of Pandaria includes a full digital copy of the expansion along with the following exclusive in-game bonus items:

— World of Warcraft In-Game Mount: Take to the skies of Azeroth astride the mystical Imperial Quilen flying mount.

— World of Warcraft In-Game Pet: Journey across Pandaria with the Lucky Quilen Cub at your side.

— StarCraft(R) II Battle.net(R) Portraits: Bring the Horde and Alliance rivalry to the far reaches of the Koprulu sector with exclusive Infested Orc and Night Elf Templar Battle.net portraits.

— Diablo(R) III Banner Sigil and Accent: Display your status as a hero of Pandaria with the iconic markings of World of Warcraft’s newest playable race, the pandaren.

The Collector’s Edition of Mists of Pandaria includes the full version of the game on DVD-ROM and contains the following exclusive bonus items, in addition to the in-game content from the Digital Deluxe version:

— Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-Ray: Learn about the creation of Pandaria with this two-disc set featuring over an hour of commentary, insider interviews, and developer roundtables.

— Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Experience 20 orchestral pieces from Mists of Pandaria.

— The Art of Mists of Pandaria Book: Explore this 208-page hardcover tome featuring never-before-seen pieces from the expansion, from early concepts to final 3D renderings.

— Chen Stormstout Mouse Pad: Equip your desk with this special-edition mouse pad featuring the legendary pandaren brewmaster.

Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment had the following to say about the announcement.

“Mists of Pandaria contains the biggest variety of new content we’ve ever created for a World of Warcraft expansion, with features that will appeal to new players, veterans, and everyone in between.  We’ve received a lot of great feedback from players during our most extensive beta test yet, and we hope they enjoy exploring everything Pandaria has to offer when the expansion comes out in September.”

Blizzard has put up a new description of the expansion, which I’ve included in this report for good measure.  It should get you excited about what to expect in the new expansion.

In World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, warships of the Alliance and Horde clash off the coast of a long-lost continent, signaling the start of a new era of discovery and conquest in the history of Azeroth. As players storm the shores of this exotic new frontier and begin to explore its mysteries, they’ll encounter brave new allies, unearth ancient secrets, and play their part in reigniting the long-brewing conflict between the Horde and Alliance on a strange battlefield far from home.

Mists of Pandaria offers a wide variety of content for new and returning World of Warcraft players. Features include a new playable race (the pandaren) with its own starting zone and quests, a new character class (the monk), and an expansive new continent for players to explore as they adventure to the new level cap of 90. The expansion also includes a host of new gameplay elements designed to give players even more ways to enjoy the game, including scenarios — a flexible new kind of cooperative PvE trial; challenge modes, which offer high-prestige rewards for mastering Mists of Pandaria’s 5-player dungeons; and an all-new pet battle system.

So there you have it.  How many of you out there are going to be picking this up, and if so, which version?

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