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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria?

No it's not April.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Are those pesky panderan panda-people finally coming to World of Warcraft?

A new trademark registered yesterday by Blizzard to protect the Mists of Pandaria title has rekindled hope.

The pandaren people, who live in the land of Pandaria, are cuddly, drunken and very deadly martial arts masters.

The pandaren began life as an April Fools joke for Warcraft 3, but such was the fan response that Blizzard soon added them, via an expansion, to the game.

In 1st April 2005, Blizzard announced the Pandaren Express for World of Warcraft. This was an April Fools joke parodying EverQuest 2's order-a-pizza feature, but with Chinese food instead.

The pandaren were also strongly rumoured to be the new playable alliance race in the first World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade. Rumour has it that Blizzard had intended this, but at the last minute opted for the draenei race because of Chinese laws protecting the portrayal of the revered panda. And China, remember, is one of WOW's most successful territories.

Blizzard has not announced what the fourth World of Warcraft expansion will be, but we do know the developer aims to decrease the amount of time before we see one. The infamous leaked Blizzard release schedule claimed that the next WOW expansion will be released in Q2 2012 - a year and a half after Cataclysm.

A fifth expansion will be supposedly released in Q4 2013.

World of Warcraft patch 4.2.

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