Mists of Pandaria travelogue: Fun farming faction

Shacknews Managing Editor John Keefer returns to World of Warcraft to explore the new world of Pandaria. Read his travelogue to discover more about his ongoing journey.
It was a long row to hoe, but my hunter finally reached his limit in the new World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria. Now that I finished all the basic quests, I inevitably asked: "what do I do now?" As with previous expansions and content patches, there are daily quests to earn standing with the various new factions and earn better gear for raids and heroic dungeons. But aside from the usual errands the factions have you run, Blizzard has included a new minigame that would make Zynga proud: Farming. The group is The Tillers, and while they have you doing various quests for them each day, you are now able to plant crops and curry favor with key people in the faction. This favor is gained by bringing them gifts of food or objects you find. Granted, if you don't want to farm, you can always buy things you need to get get the buff foods you want for raids, but for some, the new game within a game can be a fun diversion. Personally, I have expanded my farm once already to eight plots, where I can grow things such as carrots, beets, pumpkins, cabbage or other veggies needed for the various cooking recipes. It is a vicious cycle, however, because no sooner do I have the new crops (I can harvest each day), and I am making the gift foods to become best friends with members of the Tiller community. Blizzard has divided cooking into six different branches, each with their own recipes and masteries. Granted this acceptable way of farming (food and gold) doesn't take that long each day, it does provide an interesting distraction from the tedium of the daily quests.

Want to ride a cloud serpent?

Another faction that has proven to be entertaining is the Order of the Cloud Serpent. The idea here is pretty much the same as the Netherwing faction in Burning Crusade, but you really couldn't have a game with a Chinese theme without having the chance to be able to ride a cloud serpent as a mount or get one as a pet. The rewards here are purely vanity, mostly mounts and a few recipes, but the quests that require you to play with your serpent (or clean up after it) have also proven to be a nice respite from the grind. If you aren't up for a what may seem like a never-ending grind, hunt a few onyx eggs to make it go by faster. The last faction that has kept me a little too engrossed is the Anglers. As the name suggests, these fisher folk offer quests requiring you to do things in the surrounding waters. The group is headed by the legendary fisherman of Azeroth, Nat Pagle, and doing these daily quests will also get you vanity items. If you are like me and spent a lot of your idle time in-game listening for the familiar splash of a fish grabbing your lure, then you may have a few similar items to the rewards that the Anglers are offering. But it's just another fun faction that alleviates the seriousness of the heavy storyline going on with the main factions in the game. It is nice to see Blizzard trying to offer a bit more personality in its daily-grind quest design.