Why does the Jade Forest anger me?

| Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I think I've finally narrowed down about half of my problems with Mists of Pandaria to one place: the Jade Forest. It's simply a stupid, terrible, awful place that sets up a negative vibe for everything else.

To begin: I do not like the hozen. I would have preferred that we killed all of them. Ditto for the fish people that the Alliance get stuck with. These are not new local allies. They are instead a collection of villages of idiots and are of debatable usefulness. Maybe things are better for the Alliance.

Jade. Everything's about jade. Jade this, jade that. The local pandaren don't seem to grow any food, despite eating constantly. They gather no resources beside jade and fresh flower petals. I've found no mentions of food caravans from the valley. The only useful export is its fighting pandas, who then go off to protect areas that are actually worth protecting. And, of course, lots of jade. There's a line between a theme and a total lack of creativity.

The Timeless Isle is not part of this, due to it being its own, not-terrible place. That's for another post.

Any zone will tend to get worn out when it is the only one available. Hellfire Peninsula wore out. Wrath of the Lich King had two zones to start with, which helped. Cataclysm had two, except one was underwater and therefore I hated it, so Mount Hyjal has gotten very old for me. Level 80 has turned into something of a parking lot for alts. And now there is the Jade Forest. Somehow it has worn out sooner than others. I blame the hozen.

In the run up to Mists of Pandaria many people complained that a "joke race", that is, the Pandaren, were being made into an entire expansion. They have not turned out to be a joke race. They've been given a history, a culture, and even some bits of nuance, such as the divide between the big brewers and the small wanderers. Even the Sha works well, as it can function the same as the classic "they went insane and now we have to kill them" procedure for generating bosses, yet it offers something closer to a reason. Granted, I am still a bit bothered by the notion of fighting the physical manifestations of things like anger and violence.

Instead it is the hozen who are the joke race. They're an absurd lot of stupid monkeys who talk like idiots. And that's all they are. They're central to the plot of the starting zone, heavily involved in the faction-based quests. It turns what could have been a great story of two invading forces struggling to survive, and if they're lucky, conquer, into a long-running joke. This is why I've concluded that the single biggest problem with Mists of Pandaria was that it was founded on a joke race, not the Pandaren, but the hozen. Though it might have helped if our introduction to the Pandaren didn't involve so much kung fu and jade.


Injera said...

Having only played through the zone as Alliance, it never occurred to me how annoying it must be having to deal with all those hozen. The jinyu are incredibly boring, but they're reasonable and competent- they have oracles and watersmiths, whatever those are. Hell, even the least competent jinyu, Jogu, can earn a living by accurately forecasting crops.

I agree with you on the one starting zone thing, and it's unfortunate that WoD isn't going to be any different unless you play both factions. Even in Pandaria where you aren't forced into a ton of mandatory content at the start it's still frustrating.

More flippantly, you're not giving the Jade Forest economy enough credit. They don't grow anything or export much because they're the main urban area of Pandaria- it's where that citypaw Yoon comes from. Want an education? The Jade Serpent temple has the main library and archives, so all the bureaucrats, priests, and scholars are going to study there at some point. The monastery trains new monks, the starting villages have all the professional trainers, and don't forget about the Arboretum- not only does it produce inks and train scribes, they also raise, race, and train people to ride the ultimate luxury in Pandaria, cloud dragons. Presumably they ask non-adventurers for gold rather than slaughtering things.

Also, there are at least four craft breweries there. Sure, Stormstout is fine for the masses, but the good stuff comes from the Forest. And think of their trading opportunities- they can sail to Zouchin and Binan village, bypassing expensive travel via balloon, giant staircases, and a dangerous tunnel. They can import fresh fruits, veggies, and silk from the Valley and sail that to the fishing villages and temple in Krasarang Wild, avoiding the perils of hidden tigers and saurok traps. There's no other region in the right location to handle that trade that isn't backwater.

Wow, I spent way too long thinking about that. It was fun, though.

Clockwork said...

From the experiences I have had as Alliance it is basically the same but with less ookin-dooker-ing. Given the look of the zones, I'd imagine it's about the same. Land on Pandaria, shove opposing faction out of nearby tower, meet faction-ally, make friends, go fight opposing faction with them. But I'd agree with Injera that the Jinyu are at least reasonably interesting and competent....maybe a slight step up from the hozen. I also liked Jade Forest the first time, second was okay...third was....the third time.

Dàchéng said...

The Hozen are indeed a joke race, but at least they steal your trousers!

Dàchéng said...

In fact, I assumed that was the whole point of the race (what's the German for 'trousers', do you think?).

Klepsacovic said...

Don't their gargling voices get annoying?

So it's a giant university town. That explains the excessive number of artists, drinking, and fighting. Maybe the problem was one of presentation: the "main city" from the player's perspective is in the Vale. I wonder why they didn't put the main hub in Jade Forest if it is meant to be the urban area.

I still worry about the lack of workshops for useful tools, machines, or weapons. Where are they? They're not in the urban area with the population density, they're not in the farm area with cheap labor, and they're not near the wall where the need is presumably very high.

So it's settled then, the Horde got ooked.

I'm going to start calling them Dieben.

Injera said...

Heh, I always associated the name with "hoser" ala Strange Brew. "Stop it ya hoser!"

It's also where the old hippie professor Cho lives and cooks up his various hallucinogens.

Having just leveled a blacksmith I know that while there are two panda blacksmith trainers, one associated with the Shado Pan, neither of them can teach anything useful. You need to learn those from the Klaxxi or self-discovery. The best they can do is repair your gear and teach the various training projects of which the two most complex are ghost iron statues and pans. They can't work with trillium at all. So... I'm thinking they simply can't produce any advanced crafts involving metal; they need to get jinyu watersmiths to do it or reappropriate Mogu things.

Klepsacovic said...

The Pandaren are a race that overthrew its masters and survives in their ruins, but is unable to build upon them. That sounds like a science fiction premise.

Anonymous said...

I really agree strongly. I dislike the Hozen. They do not further the story for me. I play Horde primarily. I do have an Ally at 90 as well. The Alliance quests with the Jinyu are better. Yes they are not exciting but they seem rational. Especially when comparing them to the Hozen.
I disagree about the Jade Forest. I really liked it. So far no zone has displeased me for either side. The art and music is spectacular. I had left WoW for several months and came back one day to play and plan on staying.
Especially since I play Trolls and Vol'jin is the Warchief. Taz dingo, y'all.

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