To help keep things simple, I’m going to try to dilute the information coming out of the Beta and Press Release for the new content by tackling each zone on its own, including the instances and raids that are (as of the time of writing) going to be there.
To start off, we’re going to learn about the Vale of Eternal Blossoms because the Alliance and Horde hubs will be located here. It is located in the central part of Pandaria along with the Mogu’Shan Vaults raid, two dungeons, Mogu’Shan Palace and the Gate of the Setting Sun, and the Temple of Power battleground. It is a level 90 zone that Blizzard describes as:
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?
I’m really hoping this legendary Valley isn’t going to be as brown as the Barrens like the map makes it look. Not to mention the screen shots. I demand color, Blizzard! Pink, purple, blue! Where are the FLOWERS?! Ahem, moving on…
The Vale of Eternal Blossoms was the original seat of the Mogu Empire where the Mogu harnessed the power of the Vale’s magical waters. This power they used to rule the continent until the Pandaren overthrew them. They then walled up the Vale to prevent its power from being abused.
With the Mogu returned, the Vale is in more danger than ever, and the Order of the Golden Lotus (the Pandaren chosen by the Celestials themselves toprotect the Vale) are looking to the players to keep it safe. That’s why the Order sets up hubs for the factions on either side of the Vale, apparently because the Horde and Alliance can’t get along for two fucking seconds. I’m starting to think that whole Dalaran and Shattrath thing was a fluke.
The Lorewalkers, the faction of scholars who keep track of all the lore of Pandaria, have set up their archive in the Vale. After players bring them artifacts, they’ll tell stories about the objects which are supposedly repeatable. Personally, I think this was a cop-out for more hunt and gather, but the quality of the lore presented will be the only way to know for sure.
Mogu’shan Vaults is a six boss raid and that’s about all we know about it right now. I think it looks gorgeous and it’s not as purple and red as I expected. It was originally called the Mogu’shan Palace, but that is a five man dungeon now. Below are some screen shots to give some additional information about the raid.
Because of the name change, I have been unable to find anything on this dungeon except it’s a level 85-90 dungeon. Well no shit. Thanks to the person who actually was dumb enough to write that. News flash, obvious information is not useful information.
The Gate of the Setting Sun
Players will be dispatched to meet up with the Shado-pan clan who were sent to the gate of the Great Pandaren Wall to contain the Mantid expansion before they can launch a full-scale attack. I predict we will be battling waves of Mantid as they tried to cross the wall and into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. As gauntlet dungeons are my favorite, I’m expecting great things (which means I’ll probably be let down again).
Apparently this temple looks just like the Uldum temples? I don’t understand this, but sure okay, why not. Hopefully the images are just placeholders and this battle ground won’t be more reused skins.
The Temple of Power is set in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Why are the Horde and Alliance fighting over it? Well, supposedly it contains an artifact that could turn the tide of war (but since this is a battleground, no one will ever get their hands on it). This artifact sits in the center of the map. Whoever claims the artifact must hold onto it as long as possible the opposing faction trys to kill you and the artifact is trying to kill you by increasing the amount of damage it deals the longer you hold it.
Yes, this is Murder Ball from Warhammer Online and Black Garden from Rift. The rules are exactly the same except artifact carriers earn more points when they hold the artifact in the center of the map than if they carry it around the outer rim. This busts up the tactics from War and Rift where the artifact was held by your spawn place for quick reinforcements. Of course, we can still do this, but points will accumulate much more slowly.
I didn’t see any word as to whether this would also be an RBG, nor how many people would be playing against each other, but I still think this battleground will be a lot of fun. Black Garden in Rift was my favorite and I’m excited by the new twist in the rules. Bring it Horde!
All that we know so far is that this entire zone will be a level 90 daily quest hub to gain reputation with the Order of the Golden Lotus. Whether there will be other quests, is unknown and I honestly hope there won’t be. The idea of a zone dedicated solely to endgame questing is something I’m excited to try out and the concept so far has potential.
Everyday, the Mogu will be attacking different parts of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and players will be sent to defend it depending on their reputation level with the Order of the Golden Lotus. If you are Neutral or Friendly with them, you will not be sent to the front lines (I would think that if they don’t like you, they would send you there, but hey that’s just me), but will instead take less important missions around the zone. These daily quests will change every time you increase in reputation, with a supposed wrap-up quest once you become Exalted.
If the story is good enough, I am more than willing to take on the Mogu day after day until I’m Exalted, especially if I get a “story end” along with my reputation rewards. One consistent gripe of mine in WoW has been how the stories just don’t end. Westfall and the Defias went on for three expansions before it changed in Cata (and who wants to be there’s no wrap up in MoP?) and that’s just the tip of the ice berg. I could go on and on about how this frustrates me. But I won’t because this could be a solution finally.
There’s some highs and lows for the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. It has potential and it could be shit, but for now I’m looking forward to getting in here. It could be more colorful, but perhaps Blizzard thought the other zones made up for the color and wanted a more Autumn theme going on. Only they know, and they’re not saying and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for bright colors.
The highlight has to be the new battleground which is a fresh breath of air to the old battleground rulesets. More than anything I want to dive in here and beat up some Hordies, but that’s just my violent tendencies getting the better of me. The biggest question I have is how World PvP is going to fair in a main Daily quest zone where the Alliance and Horde hubs also have a place. This could be epic scale PvP, reminiscent of our lost Southshore and I for one, am all for it.
Come at me bro!