Pandaria is one of the most fully-realized places on Azeroth to date. A lot of this has to do with quests and stories, but far more of it can be attributed just to the design of the continent. Pandaria feels like a place that people live in, a place that people have been living in for years. Small details like buildings atop hills, hidden cubbies stuffed with books and collected items, and the simple placement of objects as if they were meant to be there really gives the whole continent an overwhelming sense of life.
And for a roleplayer, Pandaria is a mecca of roleplaying locations. Not all of these buildings scattered around Pandaria are occupied, leaving them open for a roleplayer to claim. But beyond the deserted buildings, there are plenty of other places perfect for becoming a hot new roleplaying hub. The best part? None of these locations are faction-specific, which means both Alliance and Horde can feel at ease.
1. Greenstone Village, Jade Forest
This tiny, tranquil town in the heart of the Jade Forest is occupied by NPCs, and it includes several different buildings. Greenstone Village is actually one of several new scenarios offered in Mists of Pandaria, and it also exists as a lovely little town in the game as well. There really aren't many quests offered from the town itself, other than one that leads you to the scenario -- all the action is farther north, where the Greenstone Mine, Emperor's Omen, and Terrace of Ten Thunders wait for those questing through the area.
This means that there's nothing really going on in Greenstone Village, and it's a perfect spot for a roleplaying hangout as a result. It's far enough off the beaten path that you aren't likely to be interrupted by non-roleplayers, yet the NPCs make the place feel just as busy as a player-inhabited space. It's a perfect, quiet community -- the NPCs don't run around speaking aloud. In short, it's a great hangout spot for those that want to feel like their characters are becoming a part of the pandaren community.
Located at coordinates 48,35 in the Jade Forest, Greenstone Village is just north of the far busier quest hub Dawn's Blossom. Unlike Dawn's Blossom, Greenstone doesn't have a flight path, nor does it have the abundant and sometimes overly-chatty NPCs and traffic. Fair warning for level 85 players, however -- you'll want to avoid heading to the buildings up north. The closer you get to the Greenstone Mine, the more likely you are to inadvertently wander into hostile mobs.
2. The Secret Aerie, The Veiled Stair
This interesting location was one that I found while wandering through the beta server, and quite happily, it's still available on live servers as well. Home of the reclusive hawkmasters of Pandaria, this hidden getaway is perched high above the cliffs overlooking the Jade Forest and the Valley of the Four Winds. At the present time, there is no purpose to this area -- it's not part of any scenarios or quests. It's simply there to discover, and for a roleplayer, a perfect spot to hang out and roleplay undisturbed.
There are a few NPCs in the area, but as with Greenstone Village, none of them are terribly chatty. They're simply pandaren living out their lives and doing whatever it is that a hawkmaster does every day. As with pretty much any pandaren you run into in Pandaria, the NPCs are friendly to both Alliance and Horde, and so are the hawks that swoop endlessly around the area. Unfortunately, the area only offers a couple of buildings -- but the views are spectacular, and worth the journey.
The Secret Aerie is located at coordinates 52,14 in the Veiled Stair. Getting to it on foot requires traveling through saurok-infested caverns, so I'd recommend waiting until level 90 and flying over instead, unless you're adept at sneaking around. Speaking of the saurok -- they're mean, they're nasty, they're level 90, and they are all over the tunnels just below this hidden location. Keep that in mind if you visit the spot and feel like exploring.
I know what you're thinking. Isn't this a questing zone? Well it is and it isn't. Zouchin Village is one of those areas that phases over time. When you first encounter this village, it's under attack by the encroaching Zandalar. As you complete quests, the attacks culminate in a huge battle and a journey by the player to put an end to the root of the problem. Once the questing in this area is complete, it phases back out to a pretty idyllic little spot with no trolls in sight.
It's that last phase that is ideal for roleplayers. Once a non-roleplayer has quested through Zouchin, they have no reason to return, other than to fly up to the nearby Mogu'shan Vaults raid instance. But a minor amount of traffic is no reason to turn away from this scenic little village, especially once that troll problem has been taken care of. There is an inn as well as several other buildings available for roleplay, and a flight point directly to the village. Besides, after you went through all the heroic saving the village, it's only appropriate you hang out and relax for a while, isn't it?
Zouchin Village is located at coordinates 62,30 in Kun-Lai Summit. Because this is a phased area, you'll want to make sure everyone you're roleplaying with has completed all the quests in the area -- otherwise you may not be able to see each other, which defeats the purpose of roleplay altogether. Be warned however -- even though the trolls have been pushed back, they are far from gone. Don't explore too far outside the village, unless you feel like beating up some hostile mobs.
4. Hidden nooks in the Temple of the Jade Serpent, Jade Forest
The Temple of the Jade Serpent is a major quest hub for players at level 85. At level 90, the Temple is offered as one of four possible quest hubs for gaining reputation with the August Celestials. Despite all the bustle and activity, the Temple grounds are huge -- and they're riddled with small locales for roleplay, like the one pictured above. This cozy little library comes with its own secluded cubby complete with table and chairs for quiet conversation or secret plotting.
But it's only one of many buildings in and around the Temple grounds. A trip to the nearby bridge will reveal a full-out tavern hidden in the middle of the bridge supports. And the house at the very end of the bridge is nothing more than a cozy hole in the wall with a bed, books, and a row of shoes lining the entrance. There's just enough room for your character to crawl in, kick of their shoes, and curl up with a good book.
The little den pictured above is located at coordinates 56,62 in the Jade Forest. It's at the south end of the Temple of the Jade Serpent, near the spawning point for the Shadow of Doubt, a quest objective for the August Celestials dailies. It's out of the way of any sha invaders, but the /yell spam from the Shadow of Doubt may get annoying on days where the Temple spawns as a hub. On those off days however, it's a great roleplaying location, and it's far enough out of the way that both NPCs and non-roleplayers shouldn't be an issue.
Is your character a fan of life on the high seas? Does he long to live a pirate's life, or does he just want to be sailing away on the open seas? This location is absolutely made for you. You know how the Alliance and Horde ships were attacking each other off the northwest coast of the Jade Forest? Well the NPCs are all gone ... but the ships sure aren't. In fact, there's a good handful of ships to pick from, both Alliance and Horde themed. With nary an NPC in sight, this makes it an absolutely ideal location for anyone that likes their roleplay with a more nautical flavor in mind.
The ships themselves are emblazoned with Horde and Alliance logos, but don't let that influence your choice in naval vessel. Because there are no NPCs of any kind, you can choose whichever ship you want, regardless of faction. Just consider it part of the spoils of war! And if your character is inclined to enjoy a life of piracy, that makes the explanation even easier.
Located east of the Temple of the White Tiger at coordinates 78,50 on the Kun-Lai Summit map, these ships are nestled in the waters between the Jade Forest and Kun-Lai. While you can try making a leap to get to the ships, I'd recommend flying there instead, which means level 90 is a necessity. However, there don't appear to be any hostile mobs at all in the surrounding area, so feel free to have a swim in the ocean while you're playing pirates.
This is just a small handful of roleplay spots out there.Pandaria is full of unexplored locations and potential roleplay hubs waiting to be found. As you're traveling Pandaria, keep an eye out for places with hidden potential. You may find a new home for your character, your guild, or even your server's roleplaying community somewhere in those hills.
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