Sealed shut for many years to outsiders, the Vale of Eternal Blossoms has been the physical and spiritual center of Pandaria and a place of great beauty and reverence—but something has gone horribly wrong, and this once beautiful, seemingly untouchable land has been deeply and irrevocably scarred.
With the war between the Alliance and the Horde in full swing, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream ordered a goblin dig team to set to work searching for an artifact buried deep within the heart of the Vale (see the Dark Heart of Pandaria Scenario). Ignoring the warnings of Taran Zhu, they began to dig within the Big Blossom Excavation site. What they found there may have been more than they bargained for.
Deep within the site, in a long-buried secret vault created by the Titans, Garrosh discovered a power that had long been thought locked away and untouchable: the heart of Y’shaarj. The story of what happens next unfolds in the upcoming content update, Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar.
Perhaps Not so Eternal
The events brought about by the discovery of the artifact have drastically and dramatically changed the Vale. Where Whitepetal Lake once glimmered like a jewel, now there remains only a dried, dusty husk. With many of the lakes and rivers of the vale now devoid of water, even the Jeweled Danio have gone. (Though never fear! The industrious cloud serpents have rescued them and relocated them to the Timeless Isle, where they can thrive once more.)
The Lay of the Land
In the wake of this destruction, the process of entering the Vale of Eternal Blossoms for the first time remains largely the same, though the quest leading there has been slightly updated to reflect the changes that have occurred. Adventurers will no longer be ushered into the full splendor of the Vale as it once was, but will instead bear witness to the tainted landscape the war between the Alliance and the Horde has left behind.
Beyond just the physical appearance of the land changing, new residents have taken root in the Vale, and old ones have gained more ground. Within the Summer Fields, Big Blossom Excavation, and the Emperor’s Approach, Vestiges of Pride ooze and slide over the land.
Within the Guo-Lai Ruins, Manifestations of Pride fight mogu. Even the Golden Stair lay in smoking ruin, and the mogu have moved north to Ruin’s Rise and into Winterbough Glade, ousting the sprites and spiders that once lay in wait. (Congratulations arachnophobes, the spiders are gone, save for one . . . a big one. You thought you got rid of her? The Ashweb Matriarch Bloodtip is not so easily ousted.)
Mistfall Village still stands to the southwest, and the spirits of the pandaren monks and the mogu continue their eternal battle within the Tu Shen Burial Grounds to the south, seemingly untouched by the events Garrosh’s machinations have wrought within the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
Questing in the Vale
For those continuing their adventures within the Vale, there remains little evidence of the grand pagoda where the Golden Lotus once set heroes to task. No longer do they stand in watch against the mogu, and their enemies have spread even farther into the Vale. There is a way to continue earning reputation with these stalwart defenders, though. By killing many of the creatures within the Vale and taking on rare monsters, you’ll continue to earn reputation and Guo-Lai cache keys to unlock treasure chests within the ruins.
For those who have yet to earn the Achievement “Eternally in the Vale”, time is running out! Once Patch 5.4 is launched, this Achievement will become a Feat of Strength and will no longer be possible to earn. This is also your last opportunity to experience the Golden Lotus reputation story line, advanced at Honored, Revered, and Exalted.
Daily quests will still be available from the Setting Sun Garrison, though there were will be fewer of them as the Shado-Pan continue to train and fight the mantid at the wall as is their sworn duty.
What has happened in the Vale has left a scar, but the threat that lies within Garrosh’s discovery will spread beyond Pandaria’s shores.