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Blizzard trademark "Mists of Pandaria", possible title for next WoW expansion?

Blizzard filed a new trademark yesterday for the name "Mists of Pandaria," and the World of Warcraft rumour presses are already turning. Could this be the title for the next WoW expansion, or is Blizzard playing an elaborate hoax?

Pandarens are a fan-favourite race of cuddly panda people who were originally introduced by Blizzard as an April Fool's joke, but then incorporated into Warcraft 3. They have always been regarded as a joke, which does not on its own seem to justify being the subject of a full expansion. Blizzard also commented during a Blizzcon panel in 2009 that the Chinese government had raised issues with Pandarens, due to the fantasy race being based on Chinese animals with Japanese-influenced culture and gear. The recent Pandaren Monk pet shows how Blizzard have been adapting the race to a more Chinese style.

Both last year's leaked Blizzard release schedule and usual inter-expansion timings suggest that an announcement will be made at Blizzcon this year about the next expansion, which will be released in 2012. Will it be pandas all round?

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