Blizzard gave us pre-made level 85 characters to use for leveling through the Jade Forest with fairly high level gear (Firelands normal raid gear). The quests started off with sieging the coasts of the Jade Forest and having to put out fires that started during the assault and killing off some of the invaders. You then are sent on various tasks to help rescue some of the lost members of the Alliance.
The initial quests used some pretty heavy phasing as I tried to group with some of the other press members and immediately we were in separate phases, only a few quests in. The quests were varied though and brought in a variety of gameplay elements similar to the quest design in Cataclysm.
There wasn’t anything that stood out as far as questing in the first few hours of questing in the Jade Forest, but it felt more like an extension of Cataclysm design and very well done as quests were in Cataclysm.
While this wasn’t talked about or announced, we saw in the version of Mists of Pandaria that we were playing on that the character creation screen was completely revamped. While we don’t have any screenshots, the new interface breaks down their character creation into multiple screens where you first select your race and class, also included in the bottom right was a video box, which we assume will be showcasing the character class you select, currently the WoW intro video was there as a place holder.
You then select how your character looks, and instead of like before, there is a visual representation for the options you have to change your characters look (ie. you have all the options laid out visually for you in a preview box instead of having to select each one to see what it looked like). While it wasn’t fully implemented, the idea was there and it looks gorgeous and it is a huge improvement over the previous character creation interface.
Overall the new leveling area (which is unique for horde and alliance players) looks to be a good leveling experience for new and veteran players. With what they detailed in the expansion as far as end game content there will be a long time before there is shortage of things to do for players. I am definitely looking forward to the new experience in Mists of Pandaria.