World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Remix players went on a frog-killing rampage, Blizzard put a stop to it, and now nobody is happy

 Big frog.
Big frog.

Mists of Pandaria Remix launched late last week, kicking World of Warcraft players back in time to hang out with some chill pandas. Unlike Chromie Time, which lets players pick an expansion to level up in, Remix requires you to roll a new timewalking character who won't be able to leave Pandaria until the end of the event in a few months. During this sojourn, you'll find new ways to earn transmogs, toys and mounts, including some rewards that used to be incredibly hard to unlock.

It's a fun diversion while we wait for The War Within, but it's also generated a fair share of drama and is proving to be just as divisive as the original expansion. At the heart of this is the much-touted accelerated levelling, the expectation that we'd all have god-like power, and lots of frogs.

See, one of the unique mechanics introduced in Remix is the Cloak of Infinite Potential. Given to players right at the start, this cloak offers XP and stat buffs that grow as you earn threads—spat out by all sorts of things, from quests to raids. Before launch, players in the PTR were blasting through everything, becoming gods, and then passing that power onto their alts. In the live version, things are a bit more scaled back.

The cloak doesn't feel as powerful as it once did, partly because most of the advantages it gives you aren't account-wide, meaning your alts will only benefit from some of the work you put in. By running normal raids, for instance, you can end up with a more than 300% increase to XP, as well as stat buffs that make you laughably strong, but no matter what you do, your alt's XP boost will be capped at 100%, and most of the other stats aren't increased at all. There's also not much point in making an alt until you've hit an achievement after gathering thousands of threads. Which probably explains why so many players took advantage of an exploit over the weekend that saw them farming frogs. So. Many. Frogs.

The frogs of the Timeless Isle net farmers currency like bronze, timeless coins and charms that can be turned into yet more bronze. All handy stuff. They also drop epic threads, which increase your cloak's stats by 12. So yeah, these frogs demand to be farmed. And players gladly embraced the chore to speed up their gains. Searching for premade groups over the weekend, it was nothing but frog farmers.

It's a group activity, you see, because the goal is to activate hyperspawning. Hyperspawning is when the game thinks the area is full of players, resulting in increased spawns. So a group of five can draw all the frogs into a small area, murder them instantly, and trick WoW into thinking there's an army working away.

Since bronze is required for upgrading gear, as well as unlocking cosmetic goodies, it's invaluable. And between the bronze and thread gains, players were finally achieving the god-like power they'd expected from Remix. This damage chart showing how a frog farmer compared to everyone else in a raid really says it all.

The fun times tragically ended on Sunday. Blizzard snuck out a stealth fix and reduced the froggy rewards, which no longer dole out charms. They can still be farmed for bronze and gems, but it's definitely no longer as lucrative. This has frustrated just about everyone. The frog farmers can no longer get their kicks, while the players who never took advantage of it now have no reasonable way to catch up to the early birds. The mantra of "exploit early and often" is very relevant here.

There's an argument that Blizzard has only treated a symptom. Obviously, when there's an exploit, people are going to use it, but this time the eagerness for players to take advantage of the frog farm can be partly attributed to their dissatisfaction. I'm personally having a great time in Remix, but Blizzard absolutely framed the event as a way to rapidly level up and become stupidly overpowered. And that's what we got in the PTR. So naturally people are going to feel a bit cheated when their gains are diminished.

Players are arguing that it's actually quicker to level through regular WoW but, while they aren't entirely wrong, there's a big caveat. If you've perfectly optimised your levelling route, you can speed through the game and get to the newest expansion, Dragonflight, in a few hours. But that's a very specific way to play. If you just play through an expansion normally, not trying to optimise everything, Remix will definitely feel faster.

It's also worth noting that things do pick up the pace considerably on an alt, even with the initial 100% XP cap. After running through Remix on my Monk, I'm now working on a Warlock, and I'm frequently levelling up twice when handing in quests. It's undeniably brisk. And since alts can earn achievements and threads all over again, the XP buff is only going to become more powerful.

And this is still early days for Remix. There's still time to make tweaks and give players a leg up. Indeed, that's already been happening. Before the fix, LFR raiding was pretty pointless compared to normal raiding, which increased the potency of your cloak for every boss killed. Post-fix, LFR now gives a 7% experience increase per wing, making it a more viable way to empower your cloak. Meanwhile, bronze caches, which can be earned from achievements and daily quests, now give 25% more bronze. So it's not all bad news. And it's certainly good news for the frogs, who now get to live their lives without being perpetually murdered by power-hungry adventurers.