Sounds suspiciously like the Isle of Quel'Danas, doesn't it? Well, there are a few notable changes to the dynamic. Because the Horde and Alliance are working separately this time, instead of united under the banner of the Shattered Sun Offensive, each faction gets their own progress bar towards unlocking goals. You can see a glimpse of the progress bar above. As players complete daily quests and objectives, the bar will fill up. Once it's full, another section of the Isle will unlock for players to explore.
Blizzard recently released an Under Development guide to patch 5.2 that clarifies this concept a little further.
There are a few interesting items to note with the summary -- first, players will progress the capture of the island by completing daily quests. But these dailies are both PvE and PvP in nature, which implies that players can choose whether or not they'd like to be flagged -- and that PvP players will have PvE content that may be a bit more appealing than tending a farm or collecting bits of ore.
Second is the mention of a single-player loot-grabbing scenario. Scenarios have always been three-man content, so the idea of a scenario crafted for a single player is pretty intriguing. Will it have a story involved, or will it be flat-out loot grabbing? Will it be more errands to run for NPCs, or will it be a Tomb Raider-esque dungeon crawl with plenty of puzzles to figure out?
The only real concern I have regarding this content is the fact that it is both faction-based and tied to the daily quest system. This worked wonderfully on the Isle of Quel'Danas, and turned the entire server into a united front, determined to unlock all the goodies. But on servers where faction balance is an issue, how will this affect the progression of the Isle of Thunder? Has Blizzard taken into account server population and how it will effect the process, or does this mean some servers will unlock the content rapidly, and others will trail far behind -- much like the unlocking of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj?
Regardless, this looks like an interesting spin on an old, familiar friend. I can't wait to see what the Isle has to offer, and see how the whole experience works on live servers. For more on patch 5.2 and what it has to offer, be sure to check out Blizzard's official Under Development preview of the next patch.