The Kun-Lai Summit is located in northern Pandaria and The White Tiger, Xuen, is the August Celestial that watches over it. Several species will be here for players to interact with: Pandarens, Zandalari, Yaungol, Hozen, Sha, and Grummles. Mount Never-Rest, the tallest mountain on Azeroth, is here and supposedly dwarfs the Temple of Storms in the Storm Peaks. Blizzard describes it thus:
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.
This zone is not yet open in the beta, but some people have pulled code and created the following fly throughs for us. One is of different parts of the zone and the second is of the Shado-pan Monastery where the new dungeon is also located:
As stated previously, the White Tiger August Celestial lives in the Kun-Lai Summit, along with several different races. Originally, the Summit was the home of the Pandaren Shado-pan and White Tiger clans as well as the Grummles, but due to the Mantid, the Yaungol were chased out of their native Townlong Steppes. Instead of trying to chase the Mantid out of their homes, they’ve decided war with the Pandarens would be easier and are trying to make the Summit their new home even though it’s inhabited already.
The Yaungol are relatives of the Tauren from before the Sundering (note, not the Shattering) and got trapped on Pandaria when the Sundering occurred. They are literally yak Mongols, just missing their Genghis Khan, and while the models are available, there is speculation that they will be replaced later because they do not look much like yaks:
Another race in the Kun-Lai Summit, and one that is presumably not hostile to players, is the Grummles. These are sherpas that the Mogu created back when those giants still ruled Pandaria. These little guys help everyone navigate the treacherous terrain of the Summit, though how is currently a mystery.
In the peaks of Kun-Lai Summit, the Shado-Pan Monastery houses the Shado-Pan Clan while the White Tiger Clan lives and trains at the Temple of the White Tiger. The White Tiger clan is and “elite force of martial priests” dedicated to protecting the Temple and the August Celestial, Xuen. Their fighting prowess doesn’t hold a candle to the Shado-Pan, who are dedicated to protecting Pandaria and locked in a timeless struggle with the Sha. They have trained to keep their emotions in check so they do not feed or create Sha, which are the demonic physical manifestations of negative energy that apparently only exist on Pandaria.
The Shado-Pan Monastery dungeon is within the Shado-Pan Monastery, which is also a questing hub in the Kun-Lai Summit. That isn’t going to be confusing at all. Apparently, the Horde and the Alliance have once again screwed everything up (learning nothing from the Jade Forest, unless this is another repercussion from there) and players have to fix it. Sent into the Monastery by the Shado-pan Clan (even though they’re the best the Pandaren have to offer, they can’t fix it) to defeat the Sha that have taken over the Clan’s base of operations.
While it doesn’t seem to be a very large instance, it is also set out in the “real world” for players to see even before they go inside. We do not have access to the dungeon yet, but assume to see something similar to The Jade Serpent Temple with lots of corrupted/possessed Pandarens and Sha running around (I’m sensing a theme). This is what it looks like from the outside:
Players visit Kun-Lai Summit because the Pandarens living there are threatened by Yaungol from the west and Zandalari trolls invading from the north. Since they have allied with both the Alliance and Horde, they ask them for help and so, this zone will have several quest hubs. Both the Shado-Pan Monestery and Temple of the White Tiger are quest hubs, but beyond that we don’t know anything.
The Shado-Pan are a reputation faction, though, so players will probably have daily quests with them. Blizzard has said we can “move through their ranks and become an elite Shado-Pan warrior,” but the only rewards we have been promised are armor sets. I’m hoping for some awesome titles (Ninja Janaelle sounds pretty wicked awesome), but time will tell what we really get.
This zone holds potential to be a complete cock-up and an amazing zone, depending on the amount of phasing and reused themes Blizzard puts into it. I am more than displeased that the Zandalari are involved once more (haven’t we killed them TWICE?), I think the Yaungol would have been better as a new kind of Centaur, but the Grummel and Pandaren Clans seem like they’ve got a lot of lore and interesting quest chains. The Sha, which a very interesting concept, seem to have only one theme – Players did a bad thing, made Sha, now must kill Sha. For an evil demonic presence that has an entire elite force dedicated to destroying it, they’re very predictable and easy to dominate.
The zone itself looks like a mix between the Storm Peaks and the Barrens, which could end up both very bland or insanely awesome. This will depend on how high your settings are turned up and especially what your draw distance is especially since Blizzard spent all that time making the mountains look pretty instead of giving us new character models.
Kun-Lai Summit also seems like it will be a Horde and Alliance quest zone with the Pandaren hubs dedicated to both factions. I, once more, expect a ton of world PvP to crop up in the zone within the first month as players will be killing the same mobs and working on the same quests ala Sholazar Basin and Deepholm. For those of us on PvP and RP-PvP servers, remember to quest in pairs or groups and bring the pain. We’re at war now.