World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Hands-On Preview

The Temple of the Five Dawns, shimmering gold, red and blue in the distance, rises out of the gently rolling hills as you step out into one of Mists of Pandaria’s more open areas, and it’s striking how bright, colorful and beautiful the world is.

This is World of Warcraft with something of a different light cast on it. Gentle, soft colors complement the Asian architecture of the Pandaren architecture. Already, it seems like the new starting zone for WoW’s next expansion wouldn’t be so bad a place to live.

What’s not immediately apparent is that you’re standing on the back of an immense turtle. Things in Pandaria are a bit weird.

Technically, when you start as a pandaren character after the release of Mists of Pandaria, you won’t be starting in Pandaria. In fact, you’ll (eventually) find yourself in either Azeroth or Kalimdor, as befits your faction. These pandarens, the ones who live on the back of a giant sea-going turtle, are those infected with something of a wanderlust. They’ve left their native, panda-begetting island in search of new places to explore – and they did so on the back of a huge turtle.

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