The Whimsy of WoW’s Cooking: Impossible
This periodic week-long event demonstrates how colorful and fun the MMORPG can be.
Agricultural affinities may make me a bit biased, but my favorite of World of Warcraft’s unique, rotating, week-long player-versus-player or “PvP” events is “Cooking Impossible.” Though a colorful game, most of its PvP content focuses on the Alliance and Horde’s bitter and bloody war over resources or smaller arena-based battles. Cooking: Impossible is about chili
The past week, Nomi, a pandaren — that is, an anthropomorphic panda — chef has challenged the Horde and Alliance to race to gather ingredients from the fertile fields of Pandaria, his homeland. Everything from plump pumpkins to crunchy, cruciferous cabbages can be carted back to your team’s pot to help fulfill its ingredient needs. The first to gather thirty of any sort wins.
Past readers are no stranger to my love of cooking shows, and this brawl, rather brilliantly, transforms WoW into one — not based on actual merit or taste, of course, but the spirit is there. Ever since The Frozen Throne, the expansion pack to Warcraft III — even before the arrival of World of Warcraft itself — Warcraft wants have taken delight at the goofy, hearty spirit of the pandaren. This was realized even fuller with Mists of Pandaria, the WoW expansion in 2012. In it, you witness — and assist — Nomi’s ascension to master chef.
When I first played Mists, I was taken aback at the stunning beauty of the Pandaria heartland, which elevated the graphics used in the game to a new level, with stunning vistas full of farms overflowing with every sort of food. Cooking: Impossible brings you back here to an abridged segment of it, which, though it will leave you missing the scale, will not leave you longing for the beauty.
A common — and extremely justified — criticism of MMOs is how grindy they often are. In WoW, one of these is for “Honor,” a currency that is rewarded for various PvP objectives. Though there are other ways to obtain powerful gear, it provides an easy way to buy and, in this expansion, upgrade, some of the better gear available. Cooking: Impossible provides a particularly fun way to earn this precious point.
This past week’s version of the fantasy chili cook-off took place at the tail end of the Shadowlands expansion’s first PvP season, which means players will be limited in the amount of Honor points they can carry over. All Honor point gains were increased by 50% for the occasion as well. However, being able to nab a few better pieces of gear right off the bat once the new season starts is still a plus. Next time Cooking: Impossible comes around, maybe it will better boost a grind — as it has in its past.
Though it is available only a week at a time, players can experience PvP in Pandaria year-round in “Temple of Kotmogu” and “Deepwind Gorge,” the latter of which semi-recently got an overhaul to make it more like another PvP area, “Arathi Basin” — also, much to my delight, to add a lot of cherry blossoms to the middle. Neither, though, offers the unique and whimsical charm of Cooking: Impossible. Resources are gathered in Kotmogu by controlling special, magical orbs, but both still represent fairly military, not culinary, war.
With the announcement that the v9.1 “Chains of Domination” coming on Tuesday will make these week-long events more frequent — every week instead of every other — I hope to see my favorite back faster than usual — what was once a twice-a-year affair might become more. Many are repurposing of existing PvP maps, but Cooking: Impossible is its own design — clearly inspired by visitable regions in-game but itself wholly unique.
World of Warcraft is an old game, turning seventeen later this year. Its success is enduring and many have credited its robust PvP content as a major reason why. While Cooking: Impossible is hardly the crown jewel of WoW’s PvP experience, its charm is built on a battle-tested battle platform — an MMO whose legacy is only trumped in enduring length by Everquest and Runescape. While the combat evolves from expansion to expansion, the core experience stays the same with these varieties of combat.
Cooking: Impossible is not some masterpiece of gaming, but it is a treasure trove of cooking-based combat that is the closest option we currently have to fantasy Food Network. As long as WoW is around, I will continue to play Cooking: Impossible every time this curious carnival of cookery comes to town.
This instance of Cooking: Impossible’s current event runs until the morning of Tuesday, June 29th, 2021, and is open to all level 60 Shadowlands players.