According to a post on MMO Champions, the next WoW expansion could be called “Mists of Pandaria”.
For those who don’t know, there’s the Pandaren Brewmaster in Warcraft III. So players have been curious about their possible implementation in WoW. I’d read different reasons for why they cannot be implemented and decided to hunt them down now.
1) Pandaren are Chinese but wear Japanese armour which insults China.
– There’s some truth there. WoWWiki has a detailed entry about Pandaren which also mentions the confused armour: “[...] in WC3 beta, pandaren wore samurai armor, but this was soon fixed.” You can see the two versions here.
2) China doesn’t allow the depiction (and killing) of virtual pandas.
– I don’t think that’s true. Somebody on MMO Champion mentioned “Perfect World” which apparently has Pandas. I tried to verify that but failed – until I realised that “Perfect World” as we know it in Europe and the USA is apparently “Perfect World II” in Asian countries. I looked for “Perfect World” in China then and was more successful: Here is a picture (the website is Japanese but still… panda!). Or look at this video of a panda race. Since the developers are Chinese, I doubt there’s a law that prohibits Blizzard from implementing Pandaren.
So all in all: Why not? The WoWWiki page also mentions that they have previously hinted at maybe implementing them – or at least, they didn’t say they wouldn’t. ;) On the other hand, they have also said that there are legal issues with China.
I’m curious now but doubt that we’ll hear anything about it until Blizzcon which will take place in October. Although we might get some rumours that turn out to be true just like we did before they showed us the Cataclysm expansion. ;)