Blizzard Entertainment just announced Mists of Pandaria, a new expansion to the most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, World of Warcraft (WoW).   

This will be the fourth expansion to the WoW MMO since its launch in 2004. Details are still coming, but new features include a revamped talent system, the addition of a new Pandaren race (a Panda-like race), the new continent of Pandaria, a new Monk class, a dungeon challenge mode, PVE Scenarios, a Pet Battle System and a level cap raised to 90.


The Pandarens have always been a beloved joke among warcraft fans. A few years ago they were announced as part of Blizzard's infamous April Fool's Day jokes. But it isn't kidding about the new addition. They reside in the Asian-themed home continent of Pandaria and will be available to play on either the Horde or the Alliance factions.

The Pandarens also usher in the Monk class, which will also be playable on other races. Not too many details have been release about the monk other than they will harness chi energy and be a combination of a damager dealer, tank and healer. Here is how Blizzard described the class on its Web site:

Monks are masters of bare-handed combat, choosing to draw their weapons only for devastating finishing moves. Monk healers bring harmony and balance to every group, healing even the most grievous of injuries with ancient remedies and focused spiritual arts. And few can hope to out-last the unquenchable prowess of the Monk Brewmaster, whose empowering beverages and unpredictable combat style allow them to absorb incredible amounts of punishment.

The dungeon challenge mode will be timed dungeon events that give five-player teams prestige rewards for completing them. And scenarios will be player versus environment events that will have players working together to mount a defense from an oncoming monster attack, along with other challenges.

One of the most exciting new features is the Pet Battle System. Players have been able to collect pets that follow them around for years, but they haven't been much use. The new system gives pets abilities and lets them battle in 3-on-3, turn-based fights. It's basically like Pokemon, but inside of WoW. Players can even capture wild pets and some only appear in the rain or during spring, among other conditions. Players can even challenge Master Trainers to gain new abilities for their pets.

No word yet when the expansion will be release, but expect Blizzard's usual It's done when it's done philosophy to govern its launch date.