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5 great group roleplaying hangouts in Mists of Pandaria

Anne Stickney

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Are you ready for Pandaria? I don't think I can really repeat it enough: Pandaria is beautiful. The locations are gorgeous, and the amount of detail that went into simple things like leaves and trees is just phenomenal. Even if I don't have any quests to complete, simply running around and soaking in all of the scenery while snapping as many screenshots as possible is a lot of fun, particularly since there are hidden shrines with bits of lore all over the place now!

Since last week's jaunt into the wilds of Pandaria seemed to go over well, I decided to point out a few more places that are suitable for roleplay. Only this time, we're going to take a look at some really large areas where guilds or groups could hang out or large events could take place. Group events can be a lot of fun, even if they're a little harder to coordinate. Having the perfect backdrop for an event makes it even more fun -- and Pandaria is full of perfect backdrops.

1. The Southern Islands

How about a beach party or a tropical getaway for your roleplaying guild? These tranquil, lush, Imagetropical islands are located just off the southern coast of Krasarang Wilds. While some of the islands feature NPCs and quests for players, many of them have nothing on them at all -- just gorgeous scenery and cool ocean breezes. The island pictured above is a larger one, southwest of Dawnchaser Retreat, the western Horde encampment in Krasarang Wilds. There are others as well, scattered all along the southern coast.

At the present time, there are no angry mobs on the island, nor are there any NPCs -- just a few stray bugs that aren't out to get any characters. While this may change as the beta moves on, this is not the only southern island out there. It just happens to be the largest uninhabited one at the present time. Even if Blizzard does put quest mobs on this island, there's still a good handful more to choose from. The Southern Islands offer plenty of space for a roleplaying group to hang out, roast marshmallows over a fire, tell stories, and simply take in the scenery from this gorgeous and entirely unfamiliar land.

2. Tian Monastery

High above the rest of the Jade Forest, perched among the mountain peaks, is the Tian ImageMonastery, a training ground for pandaren of every shape and size. But the place isn't restricted to pandaren only, of course -- it's also a quest hub for players leveling through the zone. When you're done playing through the quests, however, the area is an ideal spot for group events. There's even a group of tables in one section of the zone perfect for a group feast with your new pandaren buddies.

Tian Monastery is easy enough to get to and has a convenient flight point for those who want to make more than one return trip. With all kinds of NPCs from food and drink vendors to groups of pandaren practicing their fighting techniques, the place has a very busy, yet jovial atmosphere. There is some phasing involved with the quest hub, but it shouldn't interfere with roleplaying at all. Most of the buildings and other areas seem to be static. There are just a few spots that change as you quest.

And did I mention it's gorgeous, too? The hills are dotted with scarlet trees, and there's even a few orange groves nearby. I wouldn't recommend heading too far into the grove, however -- there are some hostile critters out there intent on nabbing oranges that might not play nice with leveling roleplayers.

3. Temple of the Jade Serpent

The Temple of the Jade Serpent isn't just a temple -- it's an entire training facility. Boasting a Imagesprawling set of training grounds as well as taverns and inns, the Temple of the Jade Serpent is a fantastic place that can hold a guild group of pretty much any size. The centerpiece of the temple grounds is the Temple itself, pictured above. However, the actual Temple is a dungeon rather than someplace you can happily run around in.

This doesn't really matter though, because the grounds are huge. Located on the eastern side of the Jade Forest and just south of the Arboretum mentioned last week, the Temple grounds are sprawling and bustling with pandaren activity. In addition to the inns, taverns, and other assorted vendors, be sure to check out the Windspire Bridge to the east, complete with its own mini-tavern hidden in the middle spires. Whether your group would like to train, dine, or simply sit among the willow trees next to tranquil pools, the Temple of the Jade Serpent is a lovely spot for any roleplaying group or get together.

4. Sri-La Village

Sri-La Village is a bit of a mystery at the moment. In the first few days of beta, the village was Imagea ghost town with nothing but a flight master to mark that it was there. Now there seems to be a bit more activity, but all of the NPCs are associated with the Anglers, the fishing faction in Mists of Pandaria. We mentioned Angler's Wharf last week, located off of the southern coast of Krasarang Wilds -- it's a lovely little area, but it's also very, very small.

Sri-La Village is far larger and encompasses not just the coast but a few small islands off the coast as well. There's a full-fledged inn, a mailbox, food and drink vendors, and the previously mentioned flight master, making this a pretty convenient spot for a group event or even for a roleplaying guild to just hang out in as a temporary home of sorts.

Although this area seems to be associated with the Anglers at the present time, this may change over the course of the beta. For now, though, it seems as though this will be one of those ideal homes away from home for roleplayers, with no hostile NPCs or enemy activity to worry about whatsoever.

5. Temple of the White Tiger

The temples in Pandaria are truly gigantic, and the Temple of the White Tiger is no exception to Imagethis. Much like the Temple of the Jade Serpent, the Temple of the White Tiger contains both the Temple itself, pictured above, and a sprawling set of temple grounds for roleplayers to wander through and gather in. Located high in the mountains, the Temple of the White Tiger isn't for everyone. The snowy landscapes and chilly air might not appeal to roleplay groups looking for a more tropical climate. However, there's a certain charm to the place that should appeal to plenty of people looking for a unique space to get together.

This sprawling Temple is located in the northeastern peaks of Kun Lai Summit. The zone does have some quests available for players, including Pandaria's version of the Ring of Blood event, so you'll definitely see some activity through here as the expansion goes on. It also has its own flight path, so you'll never have to worry about finding your way back. Although it doesn't appear that the Temple has a proper tavern just yet, there are food and drink vendors wandering around and plenty of neutral pandaren NPCs training in and around the temple grounds. While it doesn't have the lush tropical flair of the other locations mentioned above, the Temple of the White Tiger is still a pretty good place for big group gatherings.

Remember, group events don't have to be major planned events if you don't want to get into all that planning. You can just as easily designate a spot for your guild as a group location to hang out in and let the roleplay happen spontaneously. With the exception of the remote Southern Islands mentioned above, all of the areas mentioned today should see their fair share of player traffic throughout the expansion, so any roleplay activity ought to generate interest in other roleplayers, whether they're seasoned or brand new.

And if you think this is all that Pandaria has to offer, well, you'd be very, very mistaken. Part of the fun of being restricted to ground mounts is the sheer joy of exploration. And hidden around the peaks and valleys of Pandaria are plenty of hidden hideouts that could make for some great guild spots or simply quiet places for your character to get away from it all. Next week, we'll be taking a peek at some of the secret places Pandaria has to offer.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!

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