in your browser.
Mists of Pandaria: Zones, Questing, and Scenarios
Mists of Pandaria
Guild and General Changes
New Race: Pandaren
New Class: Monk
Talents and Calculator
Dungeons & Raids
Models and Items
Zones and Questing
Player vs Player
Factions and Lore
Mists will feature
seven distinctive leveling zones
introducing the lore and philosophy of the pandaren to players, as well as a
new starter zone
for the pandaren. (Remember, you
won't be able to fly
in these zones until you're 90!) There will also be some questing improvements and the addition of
--large quests and events players can queue up for in groups, aptly described at BlizzCon as "PvE battlegrounds." Questing in 5.0 will be
than it is now, with multiple quest hubs per zone.
tons of quests
--feel free to leave your comments if you're questing on beta!
Zones and Maps
There will be seven new zones that feature the Pandaren's Asian-inspired landscapes, as well as the starting zone and a central quest hub. There were originally five, but two more were unveiled at the March 2012 Press Event!
Here's the descriptions of all the zones from Blizzard's previews.
: Level 85-87
High-level adventurers will make landfall in the lush Jade Forest, where they’ll meet some of Pandaria’s indigenous races, such as the fish-like jinyu and monkey-like hozu.
After a devastating naval battle, survivors from both the Horde and Alliance wash up onto the tree-lined shores of the Jade Forest. Surrounded by wilderness, they must form alliances with the natives if they wish to survive. Along the way, they will meet the pandaren... along with some of the greater powers that protect and shape Pandaria.
One of the level 85 questing zones, but also content players can do at level 90--training a Cloud Serpent mount. Players will meet the Jinyu and Hozen here, clashing in a terrible battle at the feet of a heroic ancestral dragon statue.
is a 5-player dungeon located in this zone, sacred to the Jinyu.
: Level 86-87
Playing home to both farms and rainforests, the Valley of the Four Winds is also where travelers will find the legendary
A tranquil plain of lush farmland, bordered by dense mysterious jungles along the south and impassible mountains to the north. The valley is considered the "breadbasket" of Pandaria, but the year’s harvest is in jeopardy and a terrible malaise has overcome the pandaren that live along the coast. The valley is also the home of the legendary Stormstout Brewery, where
and his niece Li Li hope to journey to discover the whereabouts of their long-lost ancestors.
Considered the farming heartland of Pandaria, this is where players will be able to gain reputation with Artisan factions, such as the
--allowing them to create their own farm.
: Level 86-90
One of two new zones revealed in March 2012.
A dense strand of jungle occupying Pandaria’s southernmost shore, the Krasarang Wilds are home to lost ruins and a chain of dangerous islands.
The Krasarang Wilds along Pandaria's southern coast conceal many ancient secrets of a lost dynasty that have drawn the attention of prophecy-seekers among the Alliance and Horde. The Wilds are also home to the vicious, domineering Mogu, and a more insidious danger still: the Sha of Despair is believed to have escaped from its bindings in the Temple of the Red Crane, and stifling gloom has begun to blanket the land in its path.
The M'ogu were the original rulers of Pandaria over 10,000 years ago and they really want their lands back. Part of the shore area looks unassuming, but it will be the location for future Alliance/Horde settlements in future patches.
: Level 86-88
Amid this treacherous mountain terrain, players will encounter the Shadowpan, a clandestine sect charged with keeping one of Pandaria’s darkest secrets.
High atop the frigid northern peaks of the Kun-Lai Summit looms the Temple of the Tiger, an ancient training ground protected by an elite force of martial priests, along with the spirit of the White Tiger itself. Deeper into the mountains is the hideout of the Shado-pan: a mysterious order charged with protecting Pandaria from the dark things buried beneath its surface. When the isolated people of Kun-Lai are threatened by marauders from the west and a Zandalari troll menace invading its northern shores, they turn to the Alliance and Horde for help.
Also the home of the Yaungol, a sub-race of the Tauren.
: Level 88-90
Here, a tremendous wall separates Pandaria’s verdant forests and plains from the desolate wasteland left in the wake of the ravenous, all-consuming mantid.
Separated from the rest of Pandaria by the Great Wall, the rampaging mantid people of the Townlong Wastes devour everything in their path in order to build their own crystalline empire of ruthless warriors and scheming feudal lords. The pandaren are left reeling when the mantid's thousand-year cycle of aggression kicks off a hundred years too early and their greatest warriors burst through the great wall. The beleaguered pandaren must now face the worst swarm in recorded history while trying to isolate the cause of the mantid's erratic behavior.
: Level 89-90
One of two new zones revealed in March 2012.
The mantid homeland, now overrun by the Sha of Fear, has been corrupted into a horrifying wasteland of swamps and scorched earth. Players will have to fight their way into the lair of the mantid queen herself to rout out the source of the corruption.
: Level 90
This lush valley in the center of Pandaria hosts a secret power dating back to the time of the Titans. The city complex at its heart will be players’ home away from home, but max-level players will need to defend it against constantly changing daily threats.
The ancient seat of the pandaren empire has been hidden for generations, shrouded in mists and walled-off by impassible mountains. The waters of the Vale are believed to have mystical powers... which has attracted the attention of ancient enemies as well as power-hungry factions within the Alliance and Horde. What secrets lie buried below this mystical font of power?
This is the sacred heart of the Pandaria empire and the original seat of the Mogu empire. Ancient majestic temples are still intact--lots of gold scrollwork and epic buildings here.
are especially keen to control it again because they draw their power from sacred pools in the center of the zone.
Alliance and Horde player hubs are located here--they are really ornate, putting Dalaran to shame.
are also located here.
: Level 1-10
Pandaren adventurers looking to explore the world outside Pandaria begin their journey here, on a mysterious island that never seems to settle in the same place for too long.
Separated from Pandaria for millennia, the Wandering Isle meanders the oceans of Azeroth. When the weather changes unexpectedly on the Isle and it begins erratically spiraling toward the Maelstrom, the elders at the Temple of Five Dawns request the aid of four elemental spirits to unravel the mystery. Heroes must figure out the cause of the land's illness before the entire island plunges into the abyss!
Read about our impressions of The Wandering Isle
Scenarios are Blizzard's answer to dynamic questing that has been cropping up in many newer MMORPGs. It also replaces group questing. They will reward players with Valor Points.
Scenarios allow you to quest in a controlled location--meaning various groups won't be competing in a crowded area for objectives.
All factions will have associated scenarios.
Sample scenario shown: players are tasked to help a Brewmaster find a spice that's only useful when it rains. At first, players save some villages and buildings. You then help the Brewmaster create the lager as it's raining, while she's besieged by Sauroc. In the final phase, you defend the brewery while putting out fires--a giant Sauroc with a huge sword is trying to destroy the building.
Fights have a different feel than an instance that requires a tank and a healer--with all dps it's quick and unpredictably chaotic.
A "Scenario Finder" similar to the Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder will let players find groups easily. Queue times are expected to be low as there are no class requirements.
Completing scenarios will reward players with Valor Points and gear.
Quests from possible Scenarios
This scenario chain seems tied to political problems in Azeroth and the destruction of Theramore.
Possible scenarios (currently classified as zone dungeons):
Quest achievements will track progress by story lines, not by number of quests completed. From early beta:
Walk the Land
: Complete the following shorelines in the Valley of the Four Winds:
The Hidden Master
The Salvation of Stoneplow
The Stormstout Brewery
The Crane Temple
List of achievements:
Learning from Cataclysm: Blue Posts
Many players found that experience was bloated in Cataclysm, and that zones were too linear. It seems like Blizzard has taken these complaints to heart and is working on a less linear experience for Mists.
Q. What do you think worked best in Cataclysm?
A. We’re really happy with the 1-60 revamp. Each zone looks amazing, we improved their quest flow, and they all have a story that has a (hopefully) meaningful climax, often with a blue item reward. Zones that didn’t have much going on before have an actual plot now, many of which are related to Deathwing’s return. We also did a better job of integrating the dungeons in a zone into the questing experience for that zone, so you feel like you have a good reason to explore them.
Q. What didn’t work out as planned?
Everything else! Seriously though, we tend to be our own harshest critics, so it’s actually easy for us to point out things that didn’t work out as expected.
While zones like Uldum and Deepholm look fantastic, they didn’t fit together as well as we’d have liked. In the planning phases, we didn’t think that having scattered end game zones would be a big deal. It turned out to feel a lot weirder than expected. Players ended up teleporting to nearly every destination, and it gave Cataclysm a disjointed feeling, detracting from that feeling of exploration and discovery. We learned that giving players a land to explore, a sense of place, is valuable. Ultimately, the scattered zones and the portals both served to kind of shrink the world, when we want to make the world a place you want to go out and be in. We’re definitely looking forward to getting back to a continent in Mists. We underestimated how important that was.
In addition, while we liked that each zone has a story, questing ended up being too linear. It didn’t feel like you could fly into a zone, find some quest givers, and explore. Instead, you kind of had to start at the beginning and follow all the quests to the end, and if you didn’t like a quest, well, you had to stick with it to get to the next one. We want zones to have an identity, flavor and a story, but we don’t want to railroad players through a zone either.
Lead Quest Designer Dave "Fargo" Kosak wrote a Cataclysm Post Mortem on questing highlights and moving forward in Mists. Click to expand and read the full blog.
To kick-off our World of Warcraft: Cataclysm post mortem series, we sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Quest Designer Dave “Fargo” Kosak to discuss his thoughts on questing in Cataclysm.
Q: What were your main goals going into Cataclysm?
Certainly from a quest design standpoint our primary goal with Cataclysm was to remake the old world, specifically the 1-60 questing experience. World of Warcraft was released in 2004, and we've learned so much in the years since about what constitutes good MMO gameplay. We wanted to make sure that the game was relevant to new players coming in, and walking up and down the length of the Barrens on foot over and over just didn’t do it for us anymore.
Remaking the entire old world -- 46 zones! -- was ambitious. Actually, it was ludicrous. It was like re-releasing a whole game in the course of an expansion cycle. Then we added a couple new races and their starting zones on top of that. I’m not sure how we convinced ourselves we could make it happen, but somehow we pulled it together.
Q: Are you happy with how the old world re-vamp turned out?
I am. Leveling up a new character to 60 nowadays is a great deal of fun. Every zone has stories to play out, with interesting nooks and crannies and plenty of hidden gems or references for players who remember the pre-Cataclysm world. Zones like Ashenvale now live up to their premise (intense Horde-vs.-Alliance combat), and previously empty zones now have a lot of character (see: Azshara). The content just flows. It's still World of Warcraft, but the quests have a modern feel, with lots of action and storytelling.
Q: But what didn't work out so well?
We really spread ourselves thin and taxed the team. The original plan was to totally re-do a handful of high-priority zones, but to leave a lot of the zones that worked mostly alone. We categorized them into "red," "yellow," and "green" zones. The idea behind the green zones (for example, Loch Modan) was just to tweak the quest flow to be a little smoother, but not to make any major changes.
The reality is that even the green zones really needed a lot of love. Once we got in there, it was all or nothing: we ended up completely re-doing a lot of green zones so that they met our new quest design standards. We came up with a nickname: "watermelon" zones. They were green on the outside, until you got in there and started poking around. . . .
Where that hurt us was when it came time to do the max-level content, the 80-85 zones. The content there turned out well, but the experience is inconsistent across the board -- Uldum feels totally different from Hyjal, which in turn feels different from Vashj'ir. The design decisions and efforts we made didn't always yield the desired results.
Q: Tell us more about the level 80-85 zones -- what worked and didn’t?
We were aiming for a really global feel with Cataclysm, so we set the max-level zones in varied environments all over the world (underwater, across deserts, in the elemental plane of earth, etc). However, as a result, they ended up not feeling as connected as we'd like. You get widely different experiences in zones that aren’t geographically related to one another. That's something important that we're keeping in mind moving forward – World of Warcraft works best when there's a sense of place. A connected world to explore.
We feel the storytelling in Cataclysm was strong. Whether assembling the ancients in Hyjal, rescuing your drowned crew in Vashj'ir, or reassembling the world pillar in Deepholm, there’s a strong sense of plot in every zone. Players participated in stirring stories, like bringing the Dragonmaw into the Horde via a violent coup or reuniting the Wildhammer Dwarves with a crazy wedding. These were memorable moments and shared experiences.
The downside to creating these stories is that the zones on the whole ended up being way too linear. For example, because we wanted to show your character re-growing the burning devastation of Mount Hyjal, there was really only one way to play that zone: you started at point A, and you worked your way through to point Z. Pretty glorious the first time, but frustrating on your second or third character because there's only one way to do it, and no way to skip around. That's a lesson we’re going to carry forward for sure. We want big sweeping stories, but we want to give players the freedom to explore those stories on their own terms.
Q: Places like Hyjal also used a lot of phasing to show the world changing.
We have a massive phase shift halfway through the story that changes the terrain for nearly a third of the zone. It's epic, right? But it can be a real pain for players when so much of the world changes like that. Phasing is like a story sledgehammer: it gets the job done, but at best it splits up players and at worst it totally confuses them.
We're going to be a lot more careful going forward. The Firelands dailies in patch 4.2 gives you a much better idea of our future direction. There were sweeping visual changes to the world as you progressed, but there’s very little actual phasing. For the most part, everyone is playing together on the same map. That’s important to us. Looking ahead, we’re going to be a lot smarter about how we show changes to the world, and we’re going to do everything we can to avoid splitting players up.
Q: Talk more about the 4.2 patch. Were the Firelands dailies a hint of what’s to come?
Definitely. With those dailies we were able to engage a lot of players, myself included. (I was the first quest designer on the team to get the mount and all the achievements on the live servers -- suck it up, slackers!) Previously, "doing dailies" meant hitting the same quest givers for the same three quests, usually in a static place. Here we were able to deliver a sense of progression and a story that unfurled over the course of a few weeks, all as you did a constantly changing set of quest objectives in a dynamic environment. We think that worked out well.
Moving forward, we're going to look for more opportunities like this -- ways to keep people engaged and cool things to do solo with your max-level character. We've got ambitious plans.
Q: Patch 4.2 also had the Aggra and Thrall questline, "Elemental Bonds." Did that meet your expectations? How do you feel about Thrall's character development?
That's a tricky one -- we’ve got mixed feelings. The essential story is a good one, and we really wanted to portray all the inner struggles Thrall is going through. Here’s a guy that stepped down as Warchief and had to rediscover himself as a shaman in order to save the world. And he's haunted by his decisions: he’s afraid of what’s to come, paralyzed by doubt, angry at what Garrosh did to Cairne . . . the guy's a mess. We figured out a way to show all that internal tension, and we wrapped it up in a story that demonstrates how his mate, Aggra, will literally go to the ends of the world to pull him through this. It's a powerful love story, and a story about finding one’s inner focus.
But we had to do a lot of things to make it work in the game. We needed to make a quest that 500 people could do simultaneously without getting in each other's way. We wanted a quest that players could do solo, no matter what their skill level. We didn’t know if the player was decked out in raid gear or level 85 greens, so we had to keep it simple. We somehow made all of it work under those restrictions, and we filled the screen with some killer imagery (I love the vision of Thrall immersed in the Abyssal Maw). But ultimately the quests themselves ended up not being as compelling from a gameplay perspective as we would have liked. Many players blew through them once and never looked back.
I really think we can do better. Cataclysm was in many ways Thrall’s story, but it was hard for players to follow his development over the course of the expansion. Going forward we want to convey a clearer narrative, delivered in the context of solid gameplay. We have some ideas on how to do that, and we’re also going to keep experimenting. This is important to us -- we talk about ways to tackle this problem all the time.
Q: The Cataclysm patches also saw the debut of some legendary weapons: Dragonwrath and the Fangs of the Father. Will future legendaries be this, uh, legendary?
Good question. We love class-specific content, but quest lines like those are very resource-intensive. Each sequence involves weeks of development focus that takes content away from dungeons, dailies, or outdoor zones.
The feedback from players (and from our own team) has been overwhelmingly positive. Dragonwrath proved to be extremely popular, and allowed caster classes to get a front-row seat for major lore moments otherwise reserved only for dragons. Meanwhile, Fangs of the Father was pure rogue, from the theme to the mechanics. It was super-targeted and extremely fun -- it proved to us the value of focusing in on a specific class and tailoring the content to their abilities. Given that the audience for these weapons consists of badass raiders, we didn’t hold back on the difficulty either, so these quests were great for people who wanted a real challenge.
The short answer is yes, we'll definitely continue doing these moving forward. Most likely future legendary quest lines will be built similar to the rogue experience: a couple key story moments, a lot of flavor, and some very specific challenges. But I wouldn't expect very many quest lines like these. Like legendary weapons themselves, they're going to be rare and special.
Q: We haven't even talked about goblins and worgen yet. What lessons did you take away from the new racial starting zones?
In both cases, the starting areas really sold the character and tone of the new races. The worgen area is so marvelously gothic, and Kezan is unmistakably unique and gobliny. The art and the quests all work together to establish a racial character. So that’s a big win.
As for the mechanics themselves, I’m glad we were so experimental, but our general feeling now that all is said and done is that we went a little too ‘gimmicky’ with the player’s initial experiences. Everyone can agree that the goblin experience gets pretty wild in places.
That's a big lesson we're carrying away from the expansion as a whole.
Q: Can you elaborate?
Overwhelmingly, players have told us that they want more quests where you have to flap a giant bird around a cave while targeting creatures in a 3D space.
Maybe not . . . But moving forward, we're re-focusing on core gameplay mechanics. World of Warcraft works best when you’ve got your boots on the ground and you get to play your class. To that end, we’re concentrating on giving players lots of fun combat challenges in continually changing environments, wrapped up in a terrific story that’s propelled forward by the quests. Whenever we do special mechanics, we want them to feel special, and they’ll never tear you away from combat for very long. Our goal is to load up the world with lots of interactive spaces, cool encounters, great characters, and neat spaces to explore. That’s part of the reason we’re keeping you grounded (literally) in Pandaria, and why we’re focusing on a single continent. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll talk more about Pandaria soon enough.
Q: Looking forward to it. Thanks for your time!
Not a problem!
First Impressions: The Wandering Isle
Pandaria starts off in a similar manner to the Deathknight starting zone--defeating initiates, learning more about the philosophy, completing quests for a master trainer.
Players read four scrolls explaining the philosophy of the four elementals.
You're tasked to fetch a wilting lotus--the first sign of death in Pandaria.
This leads to an epic series to seek out the four elemental spirits, who are faded and must be reunited to be saved.
Huo, the fire spirit.
Master Li Fei teaches you to meditate and strengthen your character--instead of just focusing on physical training to succeed.
Once your character has sufficiently meditated and adjusted, you are able to summon and defeat Huo, who then escorts you to the Temple of the Five Dawns in the center of the zone. It's a gorgeous temple reached by winding staircases.
She, the water spirit.
You'll need to purify her cursed pools, meditate, and find companions for her to play with.
There's some creative questing in there. One quest makes the player hop between poles over water, taking care to watch out for balancing Pandaren hopping around on other poles. Another quest makes you wait patiently for a darting spirit to come over in the water--if you follow it, you will be unable to catch it, but if you learn the spirit's spiriting patterns, you can grab it easily.
Wuguo, the earth spirit
After you fight verming, the Pandaria equivalent of kobolds, you're tasked to wake Wuguo up--but nothing works, including ringing gongs and slapping oxen, until the water spirit helps.
At this point, there were some placeholder quest summaries that hint at fun cutscenes to come.
Dafeng, the spirit of air.
As you reach his secret hiding place, you learn that the Hozu, a type of hostile monkey, have defiled many of the scrolls of wisdom at Morning Breeze Village.
You destroy the bad scrolls the Hozu have instead written with funny sayings like "Peel Banana, Eat Second" and "Wet Fur Not to Sleep On."
This really shows off the use of the Spinning Crane Kick--as mobs are grouped together that have low HP.
After destroying the Hozu in Fe-Fang village, you are ready to reach Dafeng who is scared of the Onyx Serpent.
In reaching his inner sanctum, you learn to be patient and wait for harsh winds to part, which would damage and eventually kill you otherwise. This seems to be a decent way of introducing new players to raid mechanics.
(At this point, I got the special Blizzcon 2011 achievement, Panda Express, for having my Pandaren roll 100 times!)
You defeat the Onyx Serpent, perhaps a bit anticlimactically, by shooting fireworks into the air.
At this point, your trainer returns and you escort him to the Western Grove.
You cleanse the area of bad spirits and hear him talk how his time has come to pass his knowledge down and step down in an extended dialogue.
You learn that Shen'zin Su, the great turtle, is in extreme danger--but nobody has spoken to him for years.
You accompany Aysa and Ji, past questgivers, in a hot air balloon over the water, listening as they ask Shen'zin what ails him. He's in pain, but glad generations have not forgotten him. He talks how a pain is in his side--and the thorn is in the forest.
The Alliance and the Horde enter. The Skyfire has crashed and you're tasked to accompany the curious Pandaren to see what these new invaders want.
I was asked to stop playing at this point to let others in the queue have a chance, but we know that at Level 10, you eventually choose which faction to join--which cannot be reversed.
Can Blizzard create a starting zone that remains immersive while introducing radically different lore and aesthetics?
Emphasized philosophy and lifestyle of the Pandaren, with many quests that emphasize the importance of balance, patience, and strength of character.
Sample quotes include: "Train as if the air, always present, ever flowing," "life is about creating yourself, not finding yourself," "forget injuries never forget kindness."
Appearance: lush groves interspersed with shimmering waterfalls and rustic towns. The zone is rich in primary hues--the temples are bright blue and red, while the plant life is emerald green, uncorrupted by many of the evils of Azeroth.
First Impressions: The Jade Forest
The Jade Forest is now available to play on beta. We made a video of some Horde-only quests and completed the entire zone as Alliance.
There's a return to non-linear questing in Mists of Pandaria, as well as a wider array of daily quests available to choose from.
The non-linear model was instantly apparent in The Jade Forest--it was possible to have up to 10 quests at the same time.
Goal of Pandaria zones is to have less-linear questing. Players aren't expected to complete all questlines when leveling for the first time, but it will be less repetitive on alts.
Initial quest rewards were ilvl 372 and ilvl 384, but not every quest rewards gear. Artwork for these quest items still in progress.
New common-quality drops from mobs included
(possibly new tailoring cloth),
Four Wind Soju
(a weak alcoholic beverage), and
Boiled Silkworm Pupa
(restores 100k health).
Jade Forest Quest Chains
After arriving at
, a makeshift outpost on the southern beach, the Alliance are both looking for their wounded, as well as seeing what happened to the mysterious "White Pawn," aboard a missing ship. When several members are taken hostage by the
, a fierce tribe of monkeys, the Alliance meet the peaceful
and strike up a parternship. The Jinyu want their help against the Hozen, and the Alliance want their help against the Horde. You help the Jinyu train for battle, and learn about a failed rescue mission that the Alliance and Jinyu collaborated on. Finally, the mystery of the "White Pawn" in the missing ship is revealed--it's
, who has befriended the pandaren, wants to learn more about the Sha and Sacred Waters, and resists the Alliance's attempts to convince him to return with them--going so far as to mindcontrol a member of SI:7.
If you want to see the initial Alliance cutscene, we posted it a few days ago
Blizzard wanted dungeons to feel like important parts of an outdoor questing experience, and the Temple of the Jade Serpent is strongly integrated into solo questing. Players begin by tracking down jade shipments for a sassy pandaren, Foreman Mann. (Sample quote: Jade veins run through this land like... <Mann scratches her head for a moment in thought.> Well, like something that runs through something else in veins. Look, I ain't a poet.)
Once enough Jade is collected, you're tasked to send word of the progress to Yu'Lon, the Jade Serpent. Yu'Lon will put you through a series of tests to prove your honesty before talking directly--you'll do quests in the Heart of Jade, Scrollkeeper's Sanctum, and Fountain of the Overseeing subsections of the Temple. Finally, Yu'Lon will fly you around the jade statue under construction, talking about her hopes to fuse her spirit with the finished product. However, there's still a few unsolved mysteries to solve--most importantly, the increased presence of the Sha, the physical manifestation of negative energy.
This quest series ended abruptly when I was flown to the Valley of the Four Winds and then immediately ported to the starting hub in the Jade Forest. However--the March 2012 press event revealed that the storyline behind this key statue would end in a massive battle.
This is a major hub for both the Alliance and Horde, with portals back to Azeroth, an Inn, profession vendors, and currently on beta, a vendor who sells ilvl 372 greens.
This was also the questhub for a lighthearted chain involving two pandaren from rival brewmaster families, the Goldendrafts and the Wanderbrews, falling in love and winning the blessings of the pandriarchs, ancestral spirits.
Cloud serpents were previewed at the March 2012 Press Event as a new mount players could acquire after several weeks of daily quests. You'll come across this area as you track down the wayward lovers from Dawn's Blossom--the mounts look really stunning.
The Chun Tian Monastery is an optional questing series in northern Jade Forest. It's set high in the hills, with narrow bridges, tiered buildings, and stunning scenery. You'll meet a wide cast of characters as your character trains under the monastery Masters--both via traditional combat means and also by purchasing beer and breaking up banquet fights.
As one of the NPC initiates describes it: "The monks here at Chun Tian Monastery specialize in teaching young pandaren - like me - how to fight. All the great fighters started here: Yu Ming the Blade. Liang the Unbreakable... even the great emperor Shao Hao studied at this very Temple. Or so the legends say."
In addition, there were several empty nearby areas with a similar look--high bridges and mountains--perhaps they are tied to later phased quests, or Horde-only areas.
In this side-quest in northern Jade Forest, players assist an ancient Monk, Pei-Zei, in fighting the Mogu and their questionable magic practices, such as spirit-binding. You help purify the corrupted spirits the Mogu have formed and return them to their resting place. However, these rituals enrage the evil spirit Shan Jitong and the quest series culminates in freeing Pei-Zei from darkness.
The Mogu have attacked a tranquil cherry blossom orchid. Players help Shao the Defiant round up traumatized farmers, put out fires, and destroy a Mogu camp and their leader. The Mogu have been absent for years and the pandaren are terrified.
"We have swept the wreckage for days, Your Majesty. There is no sign of Admiral Taylor or his ships."
"Five hundred ships at my disposal, yet the one that holds the key to the kingdom is missing. How can this be?"
"...west of the planned rendezvous...Horde airfleet......casualties! ...Thick fog bank to provide cover...retreat...uncharted land...hostile creatures. But the White Pawn is accounted for. Repeat: the White Pawn is safe."
"Did you hear? They're safe somewhere!"
"......immediate danger! Reuqesting rescue, requesting - "
"Sir, we can have the entirety of the seventh fleet on the scene within the month--"
"No time! We'll send a small team immediately. An elite force. Rescue the survivors, AND their precious cargo! You, meet up with Commander Nightwind at the harbor, immediately. Once the White Pawn is recovered, the full might of our navy can engage the Horde. On OUR terms."
Alliance Quest Hub
Horde Quest Hub
While I quested as Alliance, Krelumian made a video of his Horde experience!
First Impressions: Valley of the Four Winds
is the heartland of Pandaria and the location of the Tillers, a faction that allows you to build your own farm as you gain reputation.
We noticed an elite boss-level dinosaur with shoulder rocket packs,
, wandering around the eastern part of the zone, as well as a modification to the reputation UI. Above certain NPC's dialogues, you'll see a reputation bar and faction information when you mouse over the icon.
Thunderfoot Acres, Pang's Stead, Thunderfoot Farm, Thunderfoot Ranch, Grassy Cline, Shang's Stead, Mudmug's Place
Players begin questing in the eastern part of the zone--meeting up with retired farmers, NPCs from Chun Tian Monastery, and Chen Stormstout and his impatient niece Li Li. As you quest through the zone, the four NPCs from the monastery will show up in other parts, each on their own quest to discover a secret in the Valley of the Four Winds.
Pang Thunderfoot, retired farmer:
"I've put my song, Ang, in charge of my vegetable farm, just down the hill. My newphew Liang runs the pig farm down to the west, and his father - my brother- maintains a small sheep ranch to the south of that.
My farming days are over. These days, I just gather the harvested crops and sell them to folks headed down this road. Less time on my feet, more money in my pocket.
Xiao, from Chun Tian Monastery:
The long walk from the monastery was murder on my feet - and on my appetite. I think I'll spend a while here loading up on energy before I think about standing up again.
Pools of Purity
New Cifera, Pools of Purify, Sunsoaked Meadow, Gilded Fan
Clever Ashyo, a wise Jinyu, is investigating the magical properties of the central waterfall that makes the Pandaren vegetables grow so large.
Halfhil, Halfhill Market, Sunsong Ranch
Halfhill is the central village of
, a faction that will allow you to plant and cultivate your own farm as you gain reputation. You'll be able to take part in a farmer's market and complete quests involving farming and fishing.
Silkmasters and Grand Granary
The Silkmasters, Grand Granary
The Silkmasters own Pandaria's most ancient and respected silk farm--except it looks like there's a killer moth.
You can tell a lot about a designer in how they weave their fabric together. Yours has the look of function over pride.
Tightly sealed with mana infused right into the fabric. Impressive, though it could benefit from an artistic hand.
Stormstout Brewery, Thirsty Alley
Chen Stormstout is investigating his namesake brewery, which has been taken over by drunk hozen and angry alementals. Players will interact with this outdoor version of the instance while questing, similar to the
Temple of the Jade Serpent
Fruited Fields, Springtail Warren, Cattail Lake
The Fruited Fields are the location of Pandaria's bumper-crops of oversized and vibrant vegetables, watched over by Haohan Mudclaw, the head of the Tiller's Union. However, hungry virmen are loose in the fields, threatening to eat and destroy the crops.
Stoneplow, Stoneplow Fields, Paoquan Hollow, Singing Marshes
Stoneplow has been attacked by the Mantids that have swarmed over the wall, and you must evacuate the villagers with Liu Tenderpaw. However, the Spadepaws prove stubborn and won't leave because they are "proud...strong...the blood of the Tiller himself." To the north, there's also the shadowy Paoquan Hollow.
Nesingwary's Safari, Cliffs of Despair, Wild Plains, Torjari Pit, Dustback Gorge
Nesingwary is back with more animals to kill and corpses to skin--this time his camp has a hot air ballon, the Killem'Jaro. The camp is located by the wall the Pandaren built to keep the mantids out, as well as on steep cliffs overlooking the Krasarang Wilds.
is a coastal jungle with tranquil beaches and dense rainforests. It used to be the center of the sinister Mogu Empire, but now it houses the sacred Temple of the Red Crane, revered as a place of wisdom.
Originally intended to be part of
, the decision was recently made to turn this area into a full-fledged zone. While some of the quests do take players back into Valley, Krasarang has a distinctive look and unique quest sequences involving the spirituality of the Red Crane and destructive presence of the Sha. There are plans to develop the coastal area further in 5.1 with Alliance and Horde fortresses, and it is also currently home to
, a faction perfect for those who love to fish.
We also took screenshots of a small connecting zone,
, that has
from Dragon Soul chilling with some Pandaren high in the mountains.
are a group of Pandaren fisherman that hope to feed their people and grow their knowledge of fishing. They've set up base in a series of wooden houses perched over the water on sandy coastal islands. You'll also find a variety of NPCs drawn together by their love of fishing--Pandaren, humans, Tuskarr, Jinyu, Hozen, and goblins.
All rewards are sold by
Angler Daily Quests
These quests also grant +1 fishing upon completion.
Zhu's Descent, Zhu's Bastion, Wild's Edge Inn
Zhu Province, formerly a successful area founded by the legendary Zhu Longbrow, is plunged into despair after the Sha drained the pools, filled them with horrific elementals, and created endless rain. With the help of Ken-Ken, an optimistic Hozen from the monastery, you try to find the root of the corruption and restore happiness to Zhu Province.
Mei Barrelbottom, the one pandaren not affected by the Sha, explains the history of the area:
Centuries ago, this land was still part of the wilds. Reaching the coast was a perilous journey, and many pandaren were lost to the beasts which roam Krasarang, nest of the great crane.
That is, until the famous hunter Zhu Longbrow came along. Tired of the needless loss of life, Zhu, along with his wife Rin and their son Po - both formidable hunters in their own right - carved out and settled a corner of the wilds.
Zhu did not want to settle the wilds entirely, though many begged him to do so. In his wisdom, he understood that they, too, served a purpose: protecting the great crane.
Thus Zhu Province was born, and Zhu's Bastion to protect it.
Domain River, Ruins of Dojan, Thunder Cleft, Rumbling Terrace, Field of Korja, Ruins of Korja, Pools of Youth
The night elves and Kang Bramblestaff are investigating the Mogu artifacts and their strange arcane magic. Kang Bramblestaff is suspicious of the Mogu using arcane magics--they haven't used sophisticated magic for years. He's also perplexed by the night elves and their foreign culture, who suddenly appeared from a Darnassus portal and cannot return.
Some of the night elves, on the other hand, are initially interested in the arcane magics--Lorekeeper Vaeldrin thinks it can restore immortality. His daughter, Lyalia, is less certain and wants to simply protect her fellow Sentinels and carry out Tyrande's orders.
From a Night Elf Sentinel:
High Priestess Tyrande was hesitant to approve this mission.
She seemed to believe the source of Vaeldrin's research to be a double edged sword.
After spending days in that arcanic oubliette, I am beginning to think she might not have been wrong.
My father would tell you were are here for the Pools of Youth.
The real story is that our lady Tyrande Whisperwind has had visions of a great light we would... will... find on this journey. A light that will need to be found and defended.
My father insists it is the Pools of Youth.
I think he is blinded by a decade of obsession.
Turtle Beach, Krasarang Cove, Narsong Trench, Sandy Shallows
Krasarang Beach will be the location for future Alliance and Horde fortress as part of war developments and an invasion in 5.1.
Temple of the Red Crane
The Pandaren rely upon the wisdom in the Temple of the Red Crane to explain the strange visions they've been having of Mantids assaulting their homes. Unfortunately, it's been infested by the Sha. You must help the Redwings protect the temple and their refugees. This area still seems to be in development with incomplete textures, but it has the makings of something epic.
We also meet up with Anduinn Wrynn again:
If you've come to return me to my father, I must ask that you look around us first - can we truly walk away from these people in their time of need and still claim to represent the Alliance?
Unga Ingoo, Marista, Marista's Bait and Brew, Kea Krak
The Nayeli Lagoon is bordered by several large islands, including Marista, run by fishermen. There's also enemy ships nearby, and it's the location for one of the optional side-quest chains in the zone.
The Forbidden Jungle, Cradle of Chi's, Angkhal Pavilion, Pedestal of Hope, Dome Balrissa
This is a sacred area to the Pandaren--the birthplace of the Red Crane.
Thelonius (of course, a Monk):
This is the hallowed birthplace of Chi-Ji, the Red Crane, the Southern Celestial. Followers and acolytes of Chi-Ji gather in this palce to train their bodies, to hone their minds, to duel one another, and to better themselves in the eyes of the Red Crane.
You are welcome to join us in our training, rogue. Bring with you a stout heart and a stout staff.
Krasari Falls, Domain River, The Deepwild, Sentinel Basecamp, Fallsong Village, Dawnchaser Retreat, The Incursion
Many quest chains take part in this central area, a river with shallow pools teeming with wildlife. There are Alliance and Horde settlements, as well as a Jinyu base.
Always Loremasters, the night elves have uncovered and translated a book explaining the history of Krasarang:
The Dungeons of Dojan
--Translated by Lorekeeper Vaeldrin--
It was the Sovereign Emperor, Dojan Firecrown, who brought the legions down upon the Krasarang Jungle, crushing its defenses and adding it to the empire.
Krasarang was the last of the freeholds, a festering jungle of brigands and rebels, seeking to hide from his grace's wrath.
The true prize though was the legendary Pools of Youth. The FIrecrown was late in his years and dreamed of the power such pools could provide if under his sway.
The Veiled Stair
This small zone connects Valley of the Four Winds to The Jade Forest, as well as provides an entrance to
Here you'll find Wrathion, of Fangs of the Father fame, resting at an inn--looks like he's making good on his promise to explore and travel. The area is very steep and misty, leading to breathtaking views as you head north. You'll also find a dark cavern that will eventually lead to Kun-Lai Summit (which is currently closed off).
© 2014 ZAM Network LLC