The Townlong Steppes is located in the northwestern part of Pandaria and the zone borders both the Kun-lai Summit and the Valley of the Fourwinds. Once home to the Yaungol, it is the ancestral home of the Mantid, the race that forced the Mogu to build the Pandaren Wall to protect Pandaria. As the Mantid have attacked 100 years too early, the Wall is under attack once more.
The zone contains two dungeons, the Gate of the Setting Sun and the Siege of Niuzao Temple. Blizzard describes it thus (even if they get the name of their zone wrong):
Separated from the rest of Pandaria by the Pandaren 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 Pandaren 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.
Townlong Steppes in game map
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: Continue reading
Click to zoom in; it's worth it.
Next up on the Zone Wrap Up is the Jade Forest, picked because it is the only zone on the new continent that has been opened in beta so far. That is also why there are two videos this time. The first is of an Alliance character running from the starting area, all the way to the Horde starting area. It gives a good idea of how huge the zone is, shows how areas transition and change, but it’s rather boring. The second is the Blizzard video from the press release, which is much prettier, engaging, but doesn’t show as much.
The Jade Forest is located on the far eastern edge of the new Pandaren continent and is the starting zone for both Horde and Alliance 85s. The August Celestial Yu’Lon, the Jade Serpent, resides here, along with the Jinyu and the Hozon. The Temple of the Jade Serpent dungeon is here (thanks to the August Celestial), the Order of the Cloud Serpent (those guys who help you raise/train your own personal Cloud Serpent mount). Blizard describes the zone thus:
“After a naval battle between the Horde and the Alliance leaves the survivors stranded on the beaches of Pandaria, rescue parties of those factions’ elite soldiers set out explore the mysterious, fog-shrouded island. You are among them.
As one of the first explorers to set foot on Pandaria, you’ll begin your investigation in the midst of the emerald bamboo and coastal marsh of the Jade Forest, where two of Pandaria’s most prominent races make their homes. The monkey-like Hozen and the Jinyu fish-people thrive near the rivers of the Jade Forest, and your first encounters with them are likely to be hostile. Yet, ultimately, your lack of allies and guidance in this unfamiliar land will make befriending the natives your only option”
The Jade Forest map
The second zone in my Zone Wrap Up is the Valley of the Four Winds. It is located on the southern edge of the new Pandaren continent and seems to be just a questing zone. The Tillers farm will be located here along with at least one Brewmaster scenario and the new Stormstout Brewery dungeon. Unfortunately, the only screen captures so far are from the video above, so I’ll leave you with just the video.
Blizzard has described it as:
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 Chen Stormstout and his niece Li Li hope to journey to discover the whereabouts of their long-lost ancestors.
Unlike the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, this Valley looks exactly like I wanted the entire zone to look. Green, flowers, animals, growing things; I am more than pleased. This zone appears to be a cross between the Wetlands with water, cliffs and trees and Nagrand with its bright colors, multitude of animals, and plenty of growing things. I am loving it. Continue reading
Screen shot from the Vale of Eternal Blossoms
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.
Vale of Eternal Blossoms World Map
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… Continue reading