World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Arrives September 25

By Paul Hunter

The World of Warcraft is preparing for another huge expansion, the largest one yet says publisher Blizzard Entertainment, and the millions of fans around the world have just a few days to wait.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is arriving on September 25, says Blizzard in a press release last month. The huge game expansion brings with it an all-new race called the Pandaren, which resemble giant anthropomorphic panda bears (see headline photo above). The Pandaren are among the most ancient of creatures that live on the planet Azeroth, and their history, while rarely understood, stretches back for thousands of years.

To see this new race in action, have a look at this BlizzCon 2011 Trailer:

With the new race other comes a brand new continent, aptly named Pandaria, located to the south of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. The land features lush rainforests and farmlands, highlands surrounded by mist, and dark forest where few dare to tread. A map of the new continent can be seen below:

Along with a level cap increase to 90, Mists of Pandaria will also introduce the Monk class which joins the available roster of classes in World of Warcraft. Monks are masters of bare-handed combat, and have three specializations: Brewmaster (for defense), Windwalker (for damage), and Mistweaver (for healing).

Fans looking to get their hands on this new expansion set will have a few options available, including a standard edition with an optional Digital Deluxe upgrade (more on that later), and a special Collector's Edition only available at retail. The Collector's Edition is packed with exclusive items including:

- 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.

Furthermore, the Collector's Edition also features the following in-game exclusive items:

- World of Warcraft In-Game Mount: Take to the skies of Azeroth astride the mystical Imperial Quilen flying mount.

- World of Warcraft In-Game Pet: Journey across Pandaria with the Lucky Quilen Cub at your side.

- StarCraft II Portraits: Bring the Horde and Alliance rivalry to the far reaches of the Koprulu sector with exclusive Infested Orc and Night Elf Templar portraits.

- Diablo III Banner Sigil and Accent: Display your status as a hero of Pandaria with the iconic markings of World of Warcraft's newest playable race, the pandaren.

Here's a visual of all the bonus items included in the Collector's Edition:

For people who purchase the standard edition, there's an optional Digital Deluxe upgrade that can be purchased for an additional $20 USD, which will net you all the digital in-game exclusive items mentioned above. Information on how to upgrade your standard edition can be found on the official World of Warcraft website here:

For more information on World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, check out Blizzard Entertainment's official website here:

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is releasing on DVD-ROM for Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 and Macintosh on September 25, 2012. The expansion pack is being developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is rated T for Teen.

[This article originally appeared on the Future Shop Tech Blog]