World of Warcraft’s upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion is no walk in the petting zoo, according to Blizzard’s Chris Metzen.
“This is no joke. This is not a throw-away silly-silly ha ha funny expansion set; it is absolutely the next vital chapter and as things ratchet up, they’re gonna get really gnarly,” the vice president of creative development said at a Blizzcon 2011 panel on Saturday, as reported by Gamefront.
An April Fool’s Joke involving the pandaren has some World of Warcraft players affronted by what they perceive as a flippant attitude to the serious business of the game, but Metzen explained that the pandaren have a much longer history.
“There’s no way we’re gonna build an expansion set based on an April Fools Joke,” he scoffed.
“What you guys may not know is, our senior art director, Sam Didier, started drawing these guys years ago. Was it in Warcraft III, we included Chen Stormstout in Frozen Throne, maybe, in the Orc campaign? Was it after that? I can’t remember anymore. But these guys are not a joke. This is an idea that we’ve been thinking about for years. It’s one of our favorite flavors of Warcraft.”
Metzen said the events of the pandaren campaign are “serious as a heart attack”.
“They’re really going to make a difference in the history of the world; it’s definitely not a light, throw-away expansion set in any way. It’s about as rich a kit as anything we’ve put out so far and it’s definitely got its intrigues and its dangers and its drama. It ain’t armies of the dead and it ain’t demons fallin’ out of the sky, but it’s definitely gonna have some flavor and some teeth.”
“I think a lot of people that aren’t buying into the idea right away don’t realize the depth of the race,” lead quest designer Dave Kosak agreed in an interview later.
“I actually think the pandaren as a culture are really neat. I would encourage you, if you aren’t really climbing onto the idea, to check out what’s there, what’s in the game, because the pandaren are fascinating, they’re fun — they live hard, they work hard, they play hard, they drink hard, they nap hard. they don’t do anything halfway. So they’re a very fun, very lively, vibrant people.”