The Pandaren have lived in harmony for centuries ignoring the plight and savage war between the Horde and Alliance in the neighbouring lands. Even with the invasions of the Burning Legion beforehand, the mysterious anamorphic race didn’t make themselves known to stand up for the world they shared land with. The gaping hole left from the breakout of Deathwing The Destroyer and his malintent to reduce Azeroth to nothingness was also seemingly brushed off by the Pandaren. They seem like a selfish bunch, or maybe just like to live their lives carefree, either way I jumped straight into their Wandering Isle with a Pandaren Monk of my own to learn their ways and cherish their lavish land.
Jet Noodle was a bouncy Pandaren all his life, but what he lacked with his chubby outer skin he more than made up for in his heart. Once old enough to firmly grasp a might oak stave he vowed to train in the ways of the Monk with the Isle’s wisdom touting Elder, Master Xi.
Beginning his training with Master Xi, Jet Noodle retrieved a staff from the armaments of the School’s training grounds edging to prove his already well-established skill to the Elder. Using every last ounce of his ever-regenerating focus he burst each of the punching bags hanging in the courtyard impressing his new sensei enough to warrant a fast track to more intense training.
Xi’s eyebrows were raised by the appearance of this new aspiring Monk. He knew lands centuries of peace were coming to an end and the events seemed to have thrown a hero his way. He was keeping quiet until the Monk continued to confirm his suspicions, or hopes.
Pressing on, Jet Noodle bested Xi’s top students without batting an eyelash and handled the sacred fire through his first attempt. Under Xi’s wish, he left the elder’s school tasked with uniting with his golden pupils. The Master had entrusted his eager martial artists with bringing together the Isle’s great elements. No mean feat indeed, but one entirely within woven into the destinies of the Panderan hopefuls.
One by one the Elementals were located by the group with each taking an intriguing liking to Jet Noodle. The fights had been dire as the as still in training Monk aided the Pandaren who had fallen victim to the erratic change in behaviour of the Isle’s wildlife. Focusing on a mix of Focus and Chi energies in his attacks, Jet Noodle gained both Strength and Wisdom during his errands as he reunited the Elements from across the Wandering Isle.
The group were slowly being taught of the perils of the land. Master Xi fed them the information during their trails and soon they knew their Element task was for a greater reason that proving their worth. The island’s elements would allow the band to break the silence of the Wandering Isle’s communication and gain them the knowledge of what was causing the ancient wandering turtle, Shen-zin Su’s, moans of pain. The cause being the constant brawl between Azeroth’s warring factions.
Ailed by the splinters of the faction’s crashed war machines the trio pass by the Temple of the Five Dawns yet again to report Master Xi’s passing at the Wood of Staves and the pressing issues of the Shen-zin Su’s ill health. They make haste to the crash site on the lands southernmost forest following reports of unknown creatures residing in the trees. Ji Firepaw arrives at a Horde camp while meeting a fellow Pandaren already part of their group. After explaining the situation to the stranded troupe, Ji cracks the plan to use the salvaged explosives of the war effort to blow the crashed ship clean out of the Turtle’s troubling wound, much to the disarray of Aysa’s non-forceful hopes.
With no time to spare and no contingency plan, Ji triggers the pile of explosives and succeeds in sending the shattered remains of the Alliance ship clean into the rippling ocean. But the amphibian god’s cries grew louder. Cries that not only echoed the sound of its life’s end, but that of the island itself.
Beneath the cloud of smoke and falling debris of the explosion, a gash the size of the creature’s own fin was left behind. Aysa wept for not only the god but for the the fate of the Pandaren onboard as blood gushed out of the wound as if it were an underground water network flowing from a cave.
With time running short the Pandaren, Alliance and Horde banded together to fend off the attacking creatures startled by the blast and focus enough of their people’s healing were on the gruesome hole left in the wake of their last medical operation. Jet Noodle fought to free the seiged Druid’s from the wreckage clutching them to the ground and the monsters blocking their path to the wound. Through the combined efforts, however, the blood flow was slowed and nature quickly began to work its magic to patch the damaged gentle giant.
Jet Noodle and his group had managed to bring their good intentions and well taught wisdom to both the alliance and the horde through their sudden quest of peril. The spirit of their sensei told them of the war that wages on in the distant lands. Struggles for power and freedom. Thinking his pupils intentions and aspirations will guide the opposing factions, Master Xi gave Jet Noodle the opportunity to part ways with the Isle following his completed training and join the efforts of the Azeroth’s finest; for which he chose to side with the noble Alliance.
Blizzard have finally started to use their cinematic prowess to power the storytelling in their games. Ever adored for the cinematics of an expansion’s opening scene, they’ve only recently begun to use cenematic cutscenes to progress the story of World of Warcraft, for which they couldn’t have chosen a better time. The opening story of the Pandaren tells a tale of ideals. The relaxed nature of the race becomes challenged by the more rash natures of their surprise visitors and a select few of their kind are sent off to uphold their own beliefs within the waring lands. Without the use of cutscenes, Blizzard’s ability to tell the story would have been bound to real-time scripted sequences of their now aged game. Something which can’t quite convey turmoil like a good old pre-rendered frowny face.
I’ve included a select few of the screenshots I took throughout the Wandering Isle across the 12 levels it took my Monk, Jet Noodle, to get to the point where he was able to choose his faction and leave the land. I’ll be writing up similar little stories to document my journey to the game’s increased level cap and across the new zones from levels 85-90 each week for a month, much like what I did for TERA. They’ll come every Thursday for a month from now on!