Pandaland Mists of Pandaria was announced, I was aghast (and sometimes still am), because pandas are Not My Thing in both the real world and MMORPG universe. It’s not like I want pandas to go extinct or anything, it’s just that I don’t really get the cuteness they are often credited for, since I tend to find small creatures more adorable. WoW-wise, I thought something like, say, a splinter faction of the Naga would be neat. (Admittedly, I have no idea how they’d deal with pants. Perhaps they could wear a plate tube instead?) I also suggested that raptors be the next new race and Philosoraptors be the next new class, because raptors are awesome.
I forget which arrived first – the moment when Blizzard made it clear that they didn’t expect to add any non-cute options for female pandas or the promotional video which lacked even one female lead, but the two factors combined to make me fairly irritated when considering fictional pandabears in fantasy land. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the fur patterns, of which there are plenty - I’m talking scars like the guys have, or anything that might make the eternal :3 expression less freakishly adorable. Given the nature of LFD and LFR, I’m all about the equal opportunity for pissed-off looks. I can’t /roar ALL the time.
Blizzard’s issues with female characters aren’t exactly new. Ignore the whole platekini/sexual objectification argument for a second. What seems worse to me is how they often seem to forget or run out of time to even make females of many races and they never go back to do so (Taunka, Kaulak, Yuangol, Grummies, Tol’vir, Ogres, etc. etc. etc.). Actually, now that I think about it, I just had a mental image of female Kaulak in platekini. How, exactly, would a Tol’vir wear the black mageweave leggings? Errrr, never mind.
Obviously, they had to make women an option for pandas, but in so doing they fell into another gender trap: the persistent (and false) dichotomy of “sexy vs. cute.” Possibly in an effort to avoid going overly sexy like the Worgen, Blizzard walked right into the other option. Female pandas, intentionally or not, got shoved into the cute box full force. (p.s., I don’t know about you, but I think seeing the male pandas do Carmeldansen would be awesome.)
I felt like there was no point in contributing to or making a fuss about the above mentioned problems – things were obviously set in an established pattern and there was an impending deadline for the expansion. Mostly I just wanted to play the dang game so I could SHOOT ALL TEH THINGZ and need on every piece of huntard gear ever. I was annoyed enough to swear off making a pandabear of my own for the immediate future.
Still, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I became so inured to seeing pandabears everywhere, I would try making one of my own. My resistance was also greatly weakened by a guildmate of mine who plays a panda and is so freaking cute in every transmog ever that I go aslfkja;slfkja;lskdfja. WHY DOES IT ALWAYS COME DOWN TO TRANSMOG!?
So, panda. I JUST noticed that pandas have no eyebrows, which I guess isn’t surprising since they have fur and all, but it still looks kinda freaky.
She’s a huntard, since the power of cute and/or beer overcomes evil and they can’t be warlocks. Though I forced Thermalix to clear out some more stable space (“That one’s not a rare! If you really want it, you can tame it again!”), I still wanted to make a second huntard to tame some of the crazier looks and silly pets that Therm’s plans don’t have space for. I’m talking pets like Gib the Banana-Hoarder (I am NOT looking forward to camping this bastar…uh, creature in the era of CRZ), because OMGWTFBBQ MONKEY IN A FEZ, and Winna’s Kitten, since that questline breaks my heart and I must SAVE TEH KITTEH. I’d link you to the quest line, which (to my mind) got sadder after Cata, but according to WoWHead as I write this post, Felwood doesn’t exist.
You know what kills me? This kills me:
Other than the sheer ADORBS*, why does it kill me, you ask? Purple is my favorite color ever. I’d been bemoaning the lack of a transmogrifiable purplish monk belt for weeks, and as if to add insult to injury, this is one of the white-quality outfits you get in the beginning zone – SO YOU CAN’T TRANSMOG IT. Why, Blizzard, why? /sob
I find it a little odd that as a huntard, I still had to do the same starting quests which were obviously very monk-centric. For example, I still had to go and defeat six trainees, who were fighting each other in hand-to-hand combat. Um, guys, see this turtle here with me? Yeah, I’m a huntard. You’ve got to be kidding me if you actually think I’m going to try to punch you with my fists. No, you’re going to stand way over there while I’m going to sic my pet on your ankles and shoot you in the face. Fortunately for me, the nooblet NPC monks haven’t learned Grapple Weapon yet.
I kind of hate the whole starting-zone-on-an-island thing, because you just can’t leave. This whole island system that nobody else can get to and that you can’t get out of seems to exist solely to protect super-low leveled nooblets from PvP griefers, which is (of course) a non-issue on my RP realm. Why not just make the super-low leveled starting areas Sanctuaries or something? Yeah, I’ve done the goblin starting zone tons of times so you’d think I’d be used to the inability to get off the freaking islands by now, but still it drives me nuts.
Also, the fact that pandas can’t get a guild until they choose a faction is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, this means that I don’t get randomass whispers that are OBVIOUSLY macros while I’m only level 2 to join some guild I’ve never heard of. Yay! On the other, it means I can’t join my Horde or Alliance guilds to chat until I get off the freaking island. AUGH!
I’m almost tempted to take bets on how long she’ll last before I race-change her into a goblin.
* I almost named her Adorbs, which isn’t taken on WRA. ALMOST. I decided to pun on robust/rotund instead, since pandas are most graciously gifted in comparison to blood elves (who make up the other half of the Horde). I also love the word “rotund,” but “Rotunda” wouldn’t work.