Enter the Panda

Blizzard announced a major expansion to their World of Warcraft series set for release on September 25, 2012. Not only does Mists of Pandaria feature a new playable race, the Pandaren, but it’s got plenty of time-consuming content.

Hidden behind a magic barrier for ages, the Pandaren have been rediscovered after battles between the Horde and Alliance. Pandaren players begin their journey on The Wandering Isle, traveling on the back of a great sea turtle who has lost contact with the mainland since the barrier was erected. After encountering both the Horde and Alliance, you must choose which faction to fight for. With a new race comes new traits; bouncy lets you take 50% less damage from falling, gourmand boosts your cooking skills by 15 (as evident in Kung Fu Panda), while Quaking Palm devastatingly strikes your opponent with lightning speed. Seven classes will be available including mage, rogue, warrior, hunter, priest, shaman and a new class–monk.

If playing as a panda isn’t your cup of oolong, you can check out the new monk class available to all races except Worgen and Goblin (sorry y’all). After the veil around Pandaria was lifted, the Monk masters allowed others to become enlightened and learn to harness their inner strength. Monks are masters at bare-handed combat, only using a weapon to deliver the final blow. They have the ability to heal the gravest of injuries using ancient remedies. You can also turn into a “tank” by downing homebrewed beverages allowing you to sustain incredible amounts of damage (I want to part with these guys).

On top of all that comes even more new features. A pet battling system that, in its description, seems to be a lot like Pokémon. Train your pet, find new ones, level them up and challenge other pet owners. Challenge Mode takes place in a dungeon where a group must band together to quickly complete a task. The higher the score, the more valuable the prize.

Make sure to visit the official Mists of Pandaria page to keep posted on this massive update.