The newest World of Warcraft (WoW) pack, Mists of Pandaria, has launched today in mainland China, just a week after its international rollout began. Despite the slight delay for local gamers, it arrives at a good time, towards the start of the “golden week” public holiday.
The developers, Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI - News) - and its Chinese partner, Netease (NASDAQ:NTES - News) - will be hoping that the China-themed new WoW land will be a boost to the aging MMORPG, and that the pandamonium-filled game will be a particular hit with gamers in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. 25% of Activision Blizzard’s revenue comes from WoW, so it’s a cash cow that the company cannot allow to go lame.
The expansion pack - available as a box set or a digital download - brings a whole new race of people to the game, the “pandaren” anthropomorphic giant pandas. Which explains the official Chinese name, World of Warcraft: Panda Man of Mystery . There’s also a new monk class, with plenty of mystical powers, and a lot of temples, monasteries, and forests as new backdrops.
Judging by the fairly constant chatter about Mists of Pandaria on Sina Weibo all morning, the launch has not gone unnoticed, with lots of gamers showing off screenshots as well as their own pandaren. In a neat bit of social marketing, the auto-maker Mini even got into the spirit, and tweeted out the image below of a custom, steampunk-style panda-man Mini: