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Mists of Pandaria Zone Preview: Kun-Lai Summit
on 2012/05/09 at 4:29 PM Pacific
is a vast area with Pandaria's highest mountains, autumnal plains, royal underground tombs, a lush coastal area, and the dungeon
. There's also the Temple of the White Tiger, and a monk-only area, Peak of Serenity. It's a zone intended for level 87+ players to quest in.
Kun-Lai is different from the other zones in that there's a ton of scenic variety between the quest hubs, from snowy mountains to forests. Lore-wise, there's something for everyone with the invasion of the Zandalari, Yaungol attacks, the return of the Mogu, Pandaren monasteries, and the threat of the Sha.
We also found the
Sha of Anger
, a new world boss, towering over a village.
We have a visual preview below as well as a Blizzard Q&A about the zone!
Zouchin Village, North Wind Tavern, Isle of Reckoning, Thunder's Call
The Zandalari have attacked the Zouchin, an unarmed village located in the most fertile part of Kun-Lai Summit. As they have weak reinforcements, they need your help. Nobody has ever seen trolls before, so the Zandalari attacks are even more shocking.
To get to Zouchin Province, you ride a hot-air balloon with Shomi, the blacksmith's daughter who is more interested in being an adventurer than having a traditional life at home. While talking to her, you notice attacks from the coast.
Temple of the White Tiger
Whispercloud Rise, Temple of the White Tiger, Prankster's Hollow, Muskpaw Ranch, Lao and Son's Yakwash
The Temple of the White Tiger is a shrine to Xuen, the spirit of strength, who guided Emperor Shaohao in his battle against the Sha. Currently, it is home to young monks training to prove their battle prowess--with adorable spectral kittens running around.
It was at this very location ten thousand years ago that Shaohao, the Last Emperor of Pandaria, defeated the Sha of Anger, the Sha of Hatred, and the Sha of Violence.
From the Book of Burdens, Chapter 19:
Confident and Fearless, Emperor Shaohao thought nothing could stop him. But at the urging of the Red Crane, he sought out the counsel of the White Tiger, the spirit of strength.
The White Tiger saw in Shaohao a dangerous recklessness that often accompanies those with no fear. He gathered together the greatest warriors of Pandaria to test the Emperor.
Emperor Shaohao was given a ten-fot pole, and was challenged to strike one of the warriors. For hours they fought, but the warriors were too quick and too nimble for the untrained Emperor. He grew angry, he cursed, and finally broke the staff over his knee.
Humbled, the Emperor asked the White Tiger what was wrong, and learned that his own passions made him weak to save Pandaria. Shaohao would have to combat his own anger, hatred, and violence.
The Monkey King sprang into action and carved three masks. The Emperor wore each mask in turn, and with the help of his friends, as well as all the greatest warriors of Pandaria, the Sha of Anger, the Sha of Hatred, and the Sha of Violence were defeated and imprisoned beneath the ground.
The Emperor was forever changed, and as he set forth of the final leg of his adventure, he was a creature of patience, love, and peace.
The Yaungol Advance, Auburn Bluffs, The Autumn Plains, Chow Farstead, Westwind Rest, Eastwind Rest, Fire Camp Yongqi, FIre Camp Ruin, Fire Camp Order
The Yaungol, loosely related to the Tauren, have been pushed out of their villages in Townlong Steppes by the Mantids. They want their ancestral land back and have created a violent offensive in Kun-Lai Summit instead, burning fields and towns.
All of this negative energy has summoned a world boss, the
Sha of Anger
. Encounter details below.
Shado-Pan Fallback, Shado-Pan Monastery, Peak of Serenity, Grove of Falling Blossoms, Neverest Base Camp, Seeker's Point
The Shado-Pan order was founded ten thousand years ago and guards the evil spirits of Pandaria. They are the watchers of the wall that separates the hostile Mantids from the Pandaren as well as protection against the Sha.
High in the mountains are also the Neverest Base Camp with a frost obstacle course guarding a high peak, as well as the Peak of Serenity, a secluded monastery where Pandaren train various traditional ways of combat, such as the Crane or Tiger.
From a monument at Shado-Pan Monastery:
The Shado-Pan order was founded ten thousand years ago under a charter from Shaohao, the last emperor of Pandaria.
Emperor Shaohao knew that the dark energy of the Sha - the physical embodiment of negative emotions like anger, fear, hatred or doubt - represented a great threat to the pandaren if allowed to fester beneath the land. He tasked the greatest warriors of Pandaria with the duty to restrain and control the Sha.
On this very location, mere hours after Emperor Shaohao bested his own anger, hatred, and violence, the first of the Shado-Pan took their knee and spoke an oath to the Last Emperor.
Kun-Lai Pass, Binan Village, Inkgill Mere, Chow Farstead, Fire Camp Order, The Spring Road, Forgotten Legacy, Chow Farstead, Mogujia
The Pandaren of Binan Village are fighting back attacks from the Yaungol, while to the west in Mogujia, it appears the Mogu are back to imbuing stone statues with occult magic to turn them into brainless soldiers.
To the east, a reclusive Jinyu tribe is dealing with corruption among their own and the resulting tragedy.
Valley of Emperors
Tomb of Secrets, Shrine of the Merciless One, Temple of Elements, Tomb of Shadows, Valley of Emperors, Howlingwind Cavern
The Valley of Emperors is located high in the mountains, where the Mogu and the Zandalari conspire to perform rituals and awaken General Sho'Lien. The Temple of Elements has an intricate floor--fire, lightning, or wind gusts blast players if they're standing on the wrong tile.
From a funerary urn:
The Mogu view their dead as a collection of parts. Souls could be bound to stone for later use. Flesh and blood could be reforged to extend the lives of those loyal to the emperor. To be buried intact was a symbol of great power and respect.
Here lies the Valley of the Emperors, the resting grounds of a hundred generations of warlords, kings, and emperors who once ruled this land.
Grave-rob at your own risk!
The Grummel Bazaar, The Burlap Trail, One Keg, The Deeper, The Burlap Waystation, The Dookerdome
The Grummels are a race long used to serving as trailguides and supply-carriers. They provide Shado-Pan Monastery with supplies, but there are great dangers on the road now thanks to the yaungol blockade.
Why we are the grummles! The mountain ferries. The packers of the trails. The guides through the mountains, and the deliverers of supplies. We are the people who keep the defenders of the wall fed, and we are the people who travel the Burlap Trail since the time of the mogu dynasties.
We also have the most best noses for smelling luck!
Kota Basecamp, Kota Peak, Shado-Li Basin, Winter's Blossom, Firebough Nook
This is the aftermath of a great battle where many Pandaren were lost. Those protecting the wall and pass are short-staffed and mourning their dead.
Zhiyao dead. Shiya dead. Liu dead.
Suna councils me to calm, but honor demands otherwise.
Taran Zhu sits safe in the monastery while we defend the pass alone? Why shut us out? Why not send reinforcements? These questions trouble me.
Blizzard Q&A with Dave Kosak
Q. Could you name three places you feel players shouldn’t miss on their first trip through the zone?
A. It’s hard to name just three! Kun-Lai Summit is one of the largest zones in the expansion, and it encompasses a huge swath of terrain. Starting from the highland steppes you’ll make your way into the piedmont of an enormous mountain range, home to terrible tribes of mountain hozen and the site of a yaungol invasion. Keep on trucking up the slopes and you’ll find yourself among the blistering cold of the peaks. There’s even a small forest along the northern shores – so there’s definitely a lot of variety.
But if I were to play tour guide, there are definitely some highlights to call out.
First, just getting to the zone is an adventure. You’ll traverse the Veiled Stair, carved directly into the mountainside north of the Valley of Four Winds. Be sure to read about the history of the stair at a resting spot a third of the way up, then stop for a drink in the Tavern in the Mists. You’re almost there! Try not to look directly at the albino saurok as you navigate an underground river on your way to Binan Village, the most major pandaren settlement in the zone.
If you fancy some mountain climbing, there are a couple peaks of note. Kota Peak is famous for its berries, as well as for the angry yeti that eat them. There are rumors of a pandaren pet master who lives near the summit. Hint: the rumors are true. But even majestic Kota Peak pales in comparison to its neighbor, Mount Neverest, the highest peak in all of Azeroth (we measured). I would say that the view is tremendous as you’re pretty much above the clouds up there. It’s breathtaking. Legend has it that the last pandaren emperor ascended the summit to seek the wisdom of the Jade Serpent . . . you’ll have a few reasons of your own to ascend the slopes as well.
And if I had to stick to just three locations, I suppose I couldn’t leave out the Shado-Pan Monastery. It’s the headquarters of Pandaria’s first and only line of defense: the Shado-Pan. They were given a sacred charge by the last emperor to protect the land from the dark energy of the sha. They also man the Serpent’s Spine wall and protect the common-folk from the terror of the mantid. It’s a lot for these guys to handle, so as you can imagine their Monastery is both a fortress and a place of deep contemplation. Nestled into the mountain peaks, it’s absolutely beautiful. The Shado-Pan will need your help when their Monastery is overrun with the sha – you can probably score some points with the faction if you go into the dungeon and help ‘em out.
Q. From a story perspective, what are the major things happening here?
A. Quite a bit! One of our goals with Mists of Pandaria was to feature more non-linear zones, and Kun-Lai, more than any other, embodies this. So there’s a lot going on, and a lot to explore and discover.
The Sha of Anger has broken loose from his prison in the Shado-Pan monastery, and he’s wreaking havoc all over the zone. Put together a raid group and you can pummel it back down into the ground, but otherwise, you’d best avoid that thing. It’s whipping up all the locals into a frenzy.
For example, the aggressive mountain Hozen who live up in the highlands are raging out of control. The local grummles who push their goods back and forth on the “Burlap Trail” are getting massacred, so if you have the time they could really use your help.
Meanwhile, events in the Dread Wastes have pushed the yaungol out of their native homelands beyond the wall. Once they break into pandaren lands, they just start annihilating the place. Their roving warbands have left a trail of destruction in their wake. The Alliance and Horde can both pitch in to help reverse the tide of battle, and in the process they’ll be able to lay claim to a couple of key towns in the center of the zone.
The Zandalari trolls are up to no good. They’re ancient allies with the boogeymen of Pandaria, the mogu. Tracking down the Zandalari will require delving into the Valley of Emperors, a sprawling ancient burial ground up in the mountains, and ultimately concludes with a desperate last-ditch effort to save a stranded pandaren village on the coast.
Finally, this zone features an event that I consider to be the emotional heart of the whole expansion. The White Tiger – one of the four August Celestials that guard Pandaria – is waiting for you in his temple here in Kun-Lai. A debate is raging over the sacred heart of the pandaren empire, and whether or not the other mortal races from beyond the mists should be allowed within. Maybe you can help sway his decision?
Q. You mention all sorts of new factions and races – Yaungol! Mogu! Grummles! Who are they?
A. Our goal all along was to make Pandaria feel like a new place, with an ecology all its own. There are definitely some clashing cultures here in Kun-Lai.
The yaungol are an offshoot of the tauren race. They were trapped on pandaria when the continent broke free during the Sundering ten thousand years ago. They’re a proud people, and they wanted to retain their nomadic lifestyle – they didn’t want to submit to any emperor’s authority. They’ve been forced to survive in the harsh lands beyond the Serpent’s Spine wall, where they’re in continual conflict with the mantid. This has made them extremely tough.
On the opposite extreme you have the humble grummles. These little guys have been merchants, messengers, and traders since the time of the ancient mogu empire. They’re able to carry many times their own weight. Their main trading route – “The burlap trail” – is a lifeline to the Shado-Pan Monastery. When you first arrive in the zone, the trail is under assault from the rampaging mountain hozen, and those little grummle guys sure could use your help. Oh! While you’re here, be sure to visit the Grummle Bazaar, a tremendous marketplace and the home to one of the most luxurious mounts in pandaria: The Grand Expedition Yak.
We’ve talked about the brutish mogu elsewhere, but you can really delve into their history here in Kun-Lai, home of the Valley of Emperors. Thousands and thousands of years ago, the mogu were broken up into tribes and warring kingdoms. Then, along came Lei-Shen, “The Thunder King.” He cracked some skulls until all the mogu bent their knee to him. Then he proceeded to conquer and enslave all of the other pandaren races, unite the language, and create the first empire. It was Lei-Shen who started construction of the Serpent’s Spine wall, and it was likely Lei-Shen who first forged an alliance with the ancient Zandalari. The mogu empire was overthrown in the pandaren revolution long ago, but if someone were to come along and unite the mogu once again . . . well, it wouldn’t be pretty.
There’s also an important faction that you’ll meet here in Kun-Lai. The Shado-Pan need your help; first, your help pushing back the yaungol invasion and re-securing the wall. Then, you can help them cleanse their Monastery from the evils of the sha. Once you earn their trust, you can roll up your sleeves and help them out in their campaign across the Townlong Steppes . . . ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. That’s another zone and another day!
Mists of Pandaria Zone Preview: Kun-Lai Summit
2012/05/09 at 4:29 PM
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