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World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria Remix is less WoW, more Diablo

World of Warcraft's new Mists of Pandaria Remix mode sounds like the perfect mix of chaos and fun, just like the game that inspired it.

World of Warcraft's Mists of Pandaria Remix is less WoW, more Diablo: A huge panda wearing a rice field hat stands holding a stick

Mists of Pandaria is the best World of Warcraft expansion – there, I said it. The emerald fields and towering bamboo of the Jade Forest, the masterful storytelling: MoP just has it all. WoW Remix: Mists of Pandaria, however, puts a twist on all of that amazingness, offering players the chance to speedrun the leveling process and scale infinitely. That sounds relatively similar to one of Blizzard’s other demonic franchises, so I ask senior game designer Brian Dowling and senior test analyst Ciji Bambrick whether or not WoW’s latest LTM borrows anything from Diablo.

After all, a quick look through the various gems that we’ll be able to collect in World of Warcraft‘s new mode, coupled with the genuinely smirk-worthy Cloak of Infinite Potential, does evoke images of Blizzard’s hack-and-slash extravaganza. There’s a new effect called ‘Brittle’ that feels particularly reminiscent of Diablo 4’s ‘Shatter’ passive, and a gem that can transform you into a ball of lightning, akin to the one you become upon activating one of Sanctuary’s mysterious Conduit Shrines.

When I ask what inspired the MMORPG‘s newest game mode, Dowling tells me that plans were drawn up “around a year ago” when Diablo 3’s last two seasons were in full bloom. “We were actually being inspired a lot by Diablo 3 Season 28; it was adding a whole new talent system. Just looking at our excitement and our friends’ excitement around replaying Diablo 3 for the 28th and 29th time, we were like ‘hey, World of Warcraft has a ton of just awesome content.'”

“There were a bunch of different ideas that were all getting brainstormed by the team, but we were like ‘hey, we could do that, right?’ We could take all of these awesome moments from Mists of Pandaria, we could add a whole bunch of different gameplay, systems, and progression in order to give players a fresh way to re-experience beloved content.”

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Mists of Pandaria Remix’s new achievement system is also inspired by Diablo 3’s, Bambrick tells me, but it has its own unique twists. “In Diablo, there’s the Season’s Journey where you can earn different rewards, whereas in Remix, you have the achievements and you can kind of pick and choose where you want to go.

“You can look at the rewards and see like ‘oh, I really want to chase after this really cool reward, I want this’ – like the chicken backpack transmog. So you’re like, ‘I want that first, I’m going to do what I can to go get that.’ You can use that as your journey of where you want to go and what content you want to start with.”

“Remix Achievements are definitely inspired by some of the great Season Journeys that Diablo 3, 4, and other games have done,” Dowling echoes.

World of Warcraft's Mists of Pandaria Remix is less WoW, more Diablo: A golden, spectral dragon flies through a dark, midnight sky

But, Diablo-ness aside, at its core, WoW Remix is a wild experiment where the possibilities are endless and creativity reigns supreme. I’ve spoken to WoW’s executive producer Holly Longdale about Blizzard’s push for new, innovative modes despite the backlash to Plunderstorm, and Dowling mirrors her sentiment: the team is going to keep experimenting to create weird and wonderful new experiences.

“We have to [ask] ‘how do we surprise and delight players?'” Dowling tells me. “With an event like this, we can take some risks. [In MoP Remix], the item system breaks a lot of rules that we usually have because, quite frankly, a lot of these items wouldn’t work in the evergreen part of the game,” he laughs.

“They wouldn’t make sense – a cloak that gets infinitely more and more and more powerful is going to be awesome for this, but really wouldn’t make sense as a permanent feature on World of Warcraft.”

An image showing the upcoming WoW Remix Mists of Pandaria item Cloak of Infinite Potential

“We look at these events as a way to shake it up,” he concludes, and I love that philosophy. Apart from the fact that Mists is my favorite expansion and Diablo is one of my favorite videogame series, this mode feels like it’s actually going to be fun. 

It maintains the core PvE essence of World of Warcraft while integrating the chaos we’ve seen thrive in WoW Classic’s Season of Discovery. Blizzard has been playing it safe since Legion ended, and now they’re throwing caution to the wind – and it’s slowly but surely luring me back to Azeroth.

If you, like me, are excited about Warcraft’s new chapter, we have a list of all the best WoW addons. Trust me when I say you’ll want to install them ahead of the WoW The War Within release date. I didn’t have them for my alpha preview, and I missed them.

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