World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment released patch 5.2 for Mists of Pandaria last week, and the update was partly intended to bring back elements from earlier expansions, said lead systems designer Greg Street in an interview with IGN.
"We felt like since [2010's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm], we'd lost our way a little bit," said Street. "We had some really epic quests and we've told some great stories, but the second-to-second combat out in the field wasn't as interesting." With patch 5.2, "The Thunder King," Blizzard wanted to "make a lot of cool stuff for players to do out in the world," Street explained.
Some of that cool stuff exists on the isolated Isle of Giants. It's a new zone in which flying mounts are disabled, so players have to be wary of the elite devilsaurs roaming the island.
"Somewhere along the way, we'd lost the sense that being outdoors in the world was kind of a dangerous thing," Street told IGN. The Isle of Giants brings that sense of danger back, and makes it fun for players, according to Street.
Blizzard also implemented a new quest hub called the Isle of Thunder, where the quests are unlocked gradually as server participation increases. It's similar to a hub from World of Warcraft's Burning Crusade expansion, and Street explained that Blizzard's also hoping to encourage lapsed World of Warcraft players to return due to nostalgia.
Mists of Pandaria originally launched last September.