Preview: Isle of Thunder
There’s a storm brewing on Thunder Isle in the form of the newly risen Thunder King: Lei Shen and the invading Zandalari forces who support his bid to regain his seat of power over Pandaria. Once more the heroes of the Horde and Alliance are being called forth to take on this threat, but they do so in the midst of their own dark and bloody war reignited by the decimation of Theramore and the betrayal that split the Kirin Tor. Waging war on two fronts isn’t easy and the Shado-Pan have no interest in anything more than using the power of both factions to put down a more clear and present danger.
With the release of patch 5.2: The Throne of Thunder, a new island will open up off the coast of Townlong Steppes and add a bounty of new daily quests, rare spawns, summonable bosses, hidden treasures, and more.. Taking part in these daily quests will lead up to an epic showdown between the last emperor of the mogu, Lei Shen, the Zandalari, and those who would stop them – the Shado-pan and the heroes of Azeroth.
Where do we go from Here?
First things first, how do you get to the island to begin with? At level 90, players will get their first quest in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms where they’ll automatically get the quest “Thunder Calls” or you can go directly to the Shado-Pan Garrison in Townlong Steppes to get started. From there you’re on your way. This isn’t a walk in the park and while flying seems like the easiest way to get where you need to, these are definitely not friendly skies. Flying won’t be available on the island as much as the invading forces would like it to be. A portal between the Shado-pan Garrison and the Alliance or Horde quest hubs will be available after your initial flight to the island so that you can get back into the action quickly.
Once More Unto the Breach
Similar to the War Effort with Ahn’Qiraj or the Isle of Quel’Danas, the effort of the overall realm population’s participation and activity will affect the progression toward unlocking the various stages of the Isle of Thunder as you and your allies push further into the island. You’ll be able to contribute by taking part in the daily quests that are made available at various points of interest on the island. Once established on the beach head, you’ll also have a choice between PvE or PvP oriented quests. (Warning, choosing the PvP option will flag you for PvP automatically.) Each will provide slightly different rewards and faction with your chosen allies. If you’ve missed unlocking a section of the island, don’t panic. You’ll still be able to experience the story by taking part in the solo Scenarios that will be available as you progress through the island.
Who's the Boss?
The Horde and the Alliance will be working for some familiar faces as they make their way through the island. Each faction's finest are spearheading the assault: the Kirin-Tor Offensive led by Jaina Proudmoore and the Sunreaver Onslaught led by Lor'themar Theron. Earning reputation with these new factions offers heroes the opportunity to gain new tabards, banners and an intimidating new mount.
But Wait, There's More!
The island isn’t just about unlocking new quests and earning some reputation. There is also plunder to be had and foes to be vanquished.
- Summonable Bosses: On occasion, you may come across an item that will allow you to summon a five-player boss for an extra challenge and some loot. Shan’ze Ritual Stones can be gained from a variety of sources on the island and when combined can be used to summon one of these bosses.
- Rare Chests: You may just come across a rare chest that can be looted once a week which can also provide Shan’ze Ritual Stones. These stones can be combined to bring forth a summonable boss.
- Rare Spawn Bosses: You’ll be able to meet new and interesting rare bosses and (attempt) to kill them. Like the Rare Chests, these have a chance to provide a Shan’ze Ritual Stone as well as other great rewards.
- Troves of the Thunder King- Treasure Room: Who doesn’t love free loot? You’ll have an opportunity to get your hands on a key that will let you put your speed looting to the test. With five minutes on the clock, you’ll be able to dive into one of the infamous mogu treasure vaults and raid Lei Shen’s treasure. There are obstacles along the way that may slow you down, but if you plan well, you just may pad your own treasure stores a bit more with some amazing new items from the chests toward the end of the treasure room
- Nalak the Storm Lord: Once the Isle of Thunder has been conquered, the gate guardian of the Thunder King’s citadel will appear. This new world boss is similar to the Sha of Anger and offers the opportunity for the strong of heart to defeat him and gain fabulous new loot.
- Transmogrification Items: If you’ve been looking for a classic look for your weapons this could be your opportunity. Zandalari may occassionally drop green items that have the same visuals as classic troll weapons from the past.
- New Lorewalker Scrolls: You’ll be able to discover new Lorewalker scrolls and hear these tales from Lorewalker Cho.
- The Isle of Giants: The Isle of Giants isn’t a place you can just stroll into, but for those who fear nothing, it may be an opportunity to discover new creatures and potentially, tame or capture them. Mist shrouded and dangerous this island is home of the new world boss, Oondasta, a fearsome Devilsaur of epic proportions.
We don’t want to give everything away here, but the island holds many secrets and opportunities to test your mettle. Your realm and your faction are counting on you to take the island by force and stamp out this new threat. Can you survive the trials of the Isle of Thunder? The Thunder King comes, the Thunder King comes...
*Danielle “Nethaera” Vanderlip is a Community Manager for World of Warcraft, and owns her own real life elite dinosaur. (Bearded dragons count, right?)