I understand completely where the detractors of the Pandas are coming from. I used to play all the time, now I just cant play, I dislike the pandas, I'm 44 years old, I've been playing WoW since 100 gold was a fortune and you couldnt ride anything until 40 and 60 was the cap. I've been an avid player for a long time is the point. Now, since the pandas have been forced on us, I only play maybe an hour a month, and sometimes that is more than I can take.
I've played that long as well, and I haven't found the race to be 'forced on us'. Yes, in RP, you tend to interact with people of said race - but you aren't forced to play the race. Any race, barring worgen and goblins, can be a monk - you do have to go to Pandaria for your monk training but that's every 10 levels or so after 20 - no big deal on that, as you only pop in then pop out, and you get a nice experience bonus.
Though you don't have to do it. You can get gear that equates to what you get from going there quite easily. And you don't need to go there to train skills, so... you really only go there if you want an experience boost. You aren't forced to get one.
I was ok with DKs, they were a little over the top, and at first every 12 year old was so obnoxious it was tough, but, and I cant stress this enough THEY FIT THE LANDSCAPE OF THE GAME ! ! ! !
Eh, not really - Death Knights don't much mesh with Elwynn or Lakeshire. Both places are too sunny and cheerful.
Worgen and Goblins the same thing, I didnt care that much for them but ok, no big deal, you didnt have to play one, you didnt have to play in Gilneas or on the Goblin's island.
Well, you did. You had to level out of both zones to play them with the Alliance and Horde.
With the monks, you have no choice but to play in Panderia or Pandaria or whatever if you wish to progress past 85, get that people? YOU HAVE NO CHOICE.
You had no choice but to go to Outlands to level past 60?
You had no choice but to go to Northrend if you wanted to level past 70? Admittedly, it gave you the choice of Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra.
Cataclysm you had a choice of Hyjal or Vashj'ir - but you still had to play in Cata zones to level past 80.
I don't see how Pandaria is any different - all classes have to go to Pandaria to level past 85, not just monks.
So all the years of Warcraft have come to a stop for me, I still play some lower level toons, I still have freinds I run with, I still try mightily to enjoy the game, but I miss the days of Draenai and Worgen and Goblins and other races that didnt force you to accept the lore.
They did force you to accept lore. The Draenei forced you to accept an entire race that was retconned to be different from their first introduction, and changed quite a lot.
Worgen forced you to accept the fact Gilneas was infected by the Worgen Curse instead of being regular humans.
Goblins forced you to accept the existence of a named Cartel and Brooklyn/Jersey accents.
Look at the expansions, ok? Outland: fit the lore, nothing too outside the premise of the game we all decided we liked, nice to have new areas to explore. Northrend: a little cold, a little scurgy, a little weird, but still, within the premise of Warcraft and not out of the ordinary. Even the Draenai, Goblin and Worgen starting areas fit the landscape of Warcraft, and you could play the game and not go there.
You don't have to go to Pandaria after you hit 90, actually. You can if you want, I do because I think it's quite lovely, but I also generally stick to Stormwind for RP. I guess if you decide to raid you need to go to Pandaria... but you aren't forced to raid.
Thats what we lost with MOP, you WILL like Panderia, you WILL play in Panderia, you WILL accept the farce of Jackie Chan Meets Charlie Chan or you WILL stop playing.
That's what it was like in all expansions. You'll like Outlands and you'll play in it or you'll stop playing.
You'll like Northrend, and you'll play in it, or you'll stop playing.
You'll like Cataclysm, and you'll play in it, and you'll deal with Metzen everywhere, or you'll stop playing.
Pandaria didn't change anything.
For me, personally, it seems Blizzard left me very little option.
Clearly they did, considering they gave you an entirely different game than all of us were playing prior to Pandaria.