First off, I want to mention that my favorite blogger “The Big Bear Butt” has a post on his blog where he discourages people from starting a pandaren first off in the game, since the initial rush will probably be pretty horrible. I can see the point.
From a financial standpoint, I will hold off on leveling my pandaren monk at the very beginning. It will be more important for me to play the market and benefit from the crazy spending that will be rampant in the new expansion than it will be to level my pandaren monk. I am considering to do RAF shortly before MoP so I can grant my panda levels and move along fast that way, but I don’t know yet. My first business of order as MoP is released will be to get my paladin and possibly my druid to level 90, and work my way slowly to the top on my monk. From a financial standpoint this makes more sense.
However, I don’t want to discourage you from creating a monk the very first thing you do. In the beta, approximately the five first quests are absolutely horrible. People are standing on top of eachother and especially the questgiver, and it isn’t until you have completed the quest “The Lesson of the Burning Scroll” that you separate yourself from the pack and can really start to enjoy the starting area.
That said, the servers are completely swamped right now in a way that the live servers won’t be, since there aren’t as many people on them. And while the initial quests might still be horrible unless Blizzard does something about it before release, I’m confident that once you’re past those five quests you will really enjoy the zone.
I’m not going to give anything away in terms of story, but the story arc concerns helping the giant turtle that the starting zone is located on.
Now, I really like my monk. Love the animations, although I decided to hide his cloak that was flapping all over the place. The roll is now my new favorite move. I named him Tedronai, and he will have that name on live servers as well. You get a few skills early on, and you stick to those until you hit level 10 and make a spec choice. I was a bit of a sad panda because I got my skills so early, and then from 5-10, essentially nothing happened. I like getting a new skill every now and then and work it in to my rotation, so I really think getting one right there would’ve been beneficial.
I also left the starting area feeling a little underpowered when it comes to gear. I want to play with either a staff, or two one-handed swords (preferably). But through the starting area, I only received one sword. And when I arrived in Stormwind by level 11, I didn’t have a single green item on me. So the first thing I had to do was to hit up Elwynn and our old friend Hogger for some quest rewards to not feel as underpowered when I headed into Westfall.
So, that’d be my spoiler-free first impression of the starting area!