Field Photographer Friday is a weekly look at the lore and history behind locations around World of Warcraft. This week, we're taking a look at the Vale of Eternal Blossoms!
In the ancient times of Azeroth, the Vale of Eternal Blossoms was created by the Titan Freya as one of several locations where she could experiment with creating life. The waters of the Vale held the same power as the Well of Eternity itself. From these waters the Wild Gods came to be, including the four August Celestials who watch over Pandaria. It was this power that drew the Horde and Alliance to the Vale during the Mists of Pandaria expansion.
During the time Freya created the Vale, her and the other Titans were fighting against the mantid, a bug-like race that served the Old Gods. To help preserve the Vale, the Titans created large humanoid-creatures made of stone, called the Mogu. After the Titans defeated the Old Gods, the Old Golds released the Curse of Flesh onto Azeroth. This affected the Mogu and turned them from stone to flesh and blood. Lacking direction and a leader, the Mogu began forming clans and fighting against each other. Not long after, a Mogu named Lei Shen united the clans and became the first Mogu emperor. Under the new leadership, they enslaved the other creatures of Pandaria and forced them to build the Great Wall. The Great Wall helped keep the mantid out of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms where the Mogu had set up their palace.
At some point between the fall of the Old Gods and the rise of Lei Shen, a race of fish-like people called the Jinyu ruled Pandaria from the Vale. The Jinyu evolved from murlocs who were fortunate enough to live around the powerful waters in the Vale. Under the leadership of Rassharom, the Jinyu held strong against the Mogu’s attempts to take the Vale. They eventually fell after being betrayed by the Hozen, a monkey-like race who at the time believed they would be given special treatment if they helped the Mogu. The Hozen never received their special treatment and were enslaved like the other races.
Thousands of years later, and still before World of Warcraft’s time, the Pandaren started an uprising against the Mogu. Inspired by Kang, the first of the Pandaren monks, and utilizing his new form of unarmed combat, the Pandaren enjoyed easy victories against the Mogu. The Mogu’s new emperor, Lao-Fe, eventually barricaded himself inside the Vale, but this only delayed the inevitable. With the Mogu emperor killed, the remaining Mogu were ousted from the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and the gates were sealed. Over the next several thousand years the Vale became a mythical place in the Pandaren culture. No one entered or left the Vale, and only members of the Golden Lotus and Shado-Pan factions remained inside to keep it pristine and safe.
It was not until The Sundering that the gates were opened again. The Pandaren Emperor Shaohao was allowed to enter the Vale. Having purged himself of his burdens, he became one with the land in order to protect Pandaria from The Sundering. This act and The Sundering itself gave way to the Pandaria that exists in World of Warcraft today.
The Vale of Eternal Blossoms was not disturbed again until shortly after the Horde and Alliance landed on Padaria in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. It was around this time the Golden Lotus started noticing Mogu forces assembling in the Vale. The Golden Lotus reluctantly call on the aid of Horde and Alliance heroes, realizing that they needed more help than just the Shado-Pan warriors. The heroes worked to clear out the Mogu from the Vale (through a series of daily quests) and to once again remove them from the Mogu’shan Palace (through a 5-man dungeon).
The deeds of the Horde and Alliance heroes earned each of the factions a place inside the Vale. The Horde reside in the Shrine of the Two Moons and the Alliance reside in the Shrine of Seven Stars. Unfortunately, this unfettered access to the power within the Vale was too much for Garrosh Hellscream, the Horde Warchief at the time. He had parts of the Vale excavated in search of powerful artifacts. After unearthing the Heart of Y’Shaarj, Garrosh used the powerful waters in the Vale to restart it. This caused the Vale to erupt in corrupted Sha energy, extensively damaging much of the eastern side and tainting the once pristine water.
After Garrosh’s defeat in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, the August Celestials vowed to work together to restore the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to its pristine glory. By the time of the Warlords of Draenor expansion, they had succeeded. The eternal blossoms of the Vale were once again in full bloom. This restoration of the Vale isn’t reflected in game, most likely for gameplay purposes.
I don’t expect we’ll be back to Pandaria or the Vale of Eternal Blossoms any time soon. After the events that took place there, I’m sure the Pandaren are relieved. The Vale deserves to be left in pristine glory as the Titan Freya herself no doubt intended.
Additional Lore Resources for the Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Recommended Reading related to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Freya - +
Lei Shen - +
Rassharom - +
Kang - +
Lao-Fe - +
Shaohao - +
Garrosh Hellscream - +
Join me every Friday as I work to expand my lore knowledge while completing the Field Photographer achievement. Read lore summaries for each location and follow up with resources where you can go more indepth! I encourage you to share your own selfies and any additional lore resources you know of in the comments below, or tweet @PrestonDvorak. Bonus points if the selfie is somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as an Alliance player in Orgrimmar)!