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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria release set for September 25, pre-sales now live

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, the fourth expansion for Blizzard's popular MMORPG, finally has a release date. Announced today, Mists of Pandaria will be available in stores and online on September 25, 2012.

The new expansion adds a ton of new content that will appeal to new and returning World of Warcraft players. Some of the highlights include a new playable race (the pandaren) with its own starting zone and quests, a new playable Monk class, an expansive continent for players toe explore, and an extended level cap up to level 90. In addition, there are a variety of new gameplay elements designed to give players a new way to experience the World of Warcraft universe. These include scenarios -- a flexible new kind of cooperative PvE trial; challenge modes, which offer high-prestige rewards for mastering Mists of Pandaria's 5-player dungeons; and an all-new pet battle system.

"Mists of Pandaria contains the biggest variety of new content we've ever created for a World of Warcraft expansion, with features that will appeal to new players, veterans, and everyone in between," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We've received a lot of great feedback from players during our most extensive beta test yet, and we hope they enjoy exploring everything Pandaria has to offer when the expansion comes out in September."

While the suggested retail price for the standard edition of the expansion is $39.99, Blizzard has also revealed a special boxed Collector's Edition as well as a Digital Deluxe Edition.

The Collector's Edition of Mists of Pandaria, which will be available exclusively in retail stores for $79.99, includes the full version of the game on DVD-ROM and contains the following exclusive bonus items, in addition to the in-game content from the Digital Deluxe version:

  • Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-Ray: Learn about the creation of Pandaria with this two-disc set featuring over an hour of commentary, insider interviews, and developer roundtables.
  • Collector's Edition Soundtrack CD: Experience 20 orchestral pieces from Mists of Pandaria.
  • The Art of Mists of Pandaria Book: Explore this 208-page hardcover tome featuring never-before-seen pieces from the expansion, from early concepts to final 3D renderings.
  • Chen Stormstout Mouse Pad: Equip your desk with this special-edition mouse pad featuring the legendary pandaren brewmaster.

For the first time, players will also have the option to purchase a special Digital Deluxe version of the expansion which contains just the in-game bonus items from the Collector's edition. This version is available directly from Blizzard's World of Warcraft site for $59.99. Players who purchase the standard edition digitally or at retail will have the option to upgrade to the Digital Deluxe at any time for an additional $20.

Pre-sales for both versions of Mists of Pandaria are now live. You can purchase either version by visiting the official World of Warcraft website.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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