The beta testing for the next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists-Logo-Small Mists of Pandaria, is underway. It began last week, and lucky members of the Warcraft community were invited in the first wave. Here we begin our ongoing beta testing coverage, offering a sample of what to expect once the expansion is released.

We began our journey on the Wandering Isle, the giant turtle that the player-created pandaren call home. Wandering through the seas, it has grown to enormous size, and is now a full-fledged floating continent in its own right, complete with rivers, lakes, and breathtaking views. Our training begins at the Shang Xi Training Grounds, located in the northern section of the island.

We can't get into the temple right away, as our training hasn't progressed far enough. We are greeted by Master Shang Xi, sitting serenely before us, and he offers us the first of many quests to come. Our initial tasks all have to do with training, which comes as no surprise. Find a weapon, beat on some training targets, and we're ready to walk through the temple doors!

Here we face off against other students, honing our skill in a remarkably short amount of time. Shang Xi then tasks us with snatching a flame from his hand, then burn an ancient scroll. The scroll is a bit of wisdom, but wisdom that is meant for peaceful times, not for the dark times to come.

Once we have proven ourselves in this way, we then proceed to challenge and duel one of Shang Xi's oldest students, Jaomin Ro in the Tranquil Grotto before proceeding into the Dawning Valley.

The Dawning Valley is where we will meet the future Alliance and Horde pandaren leaders for the first time, Aysa Cloudsinger and Ji Firepaw respectively. It is also where we encounter elemental sprites and the hozen.

And in other beta news...

  • An eleventh character slot has been added to the character screen.
  • The character creation interface has been revamped! Players can choose their race and class on the first page (complete with a class video), and then choose their features on the next. Clicking on a particular feature will show all options for that feature.

Don't miss Beta testing: Day two!
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