While there are options for premade characters on the beta servers, it may not be the right option for you. After all, most players are far more comfortable with their own characters than they are with a random level 85. Plus you get the added insight of just how far your current gear, enchants and gems will take you when the game goes live. Blizzard has a feature that allows you to copy your characters over to the beta servers for just that purpose -- but before you do it, there are some things you should prepare for.
- Empty your mailbox. If you have any outstanding mail sitting in your mailbox, take it out. Mail can muck up the character copy process, and you don't want that.
- Take all the gold you can carry. You don't exactly need a ton of gold on the beta servers, but it certainly helps when you have to pay for incidentals. If you have multiple characters on your account, you can send all your gold to the character you're going to copy. Once the character has successfully copied over, you can redistribute your gold back to your stable of alts without worry.
- Your addons will not move with you. Addons that work for you in current content won't necessarily work on the beta servers. You're going to be dealing with the standard WoW client, including the standard action bars. If it's been years since you've worked with the standard UI, you may want to try turning off your addons in Cataclysm and experiment with Blizzard's UI to see where all of your various buttons will go.
- Copying keybinds and macros. While you can't have your addons, you can certainly have your keybinds -- but you have to copy your character to the beta first. Log into your character once it's copied, and then log back out again. Now open your World of Warcraft folder on your computer. Go to the WTF folder, then Account, then the realm your character is on, and then that character's name. You'll see a folder labeled SavedVariables, as well as a list of various documents. Copy all the contents of that folder, then go find your World of Warcraft beta folder. Use the same path as before, WTF /Account/Realm/Charactername -- this time, the name of the copied character on the beta server, if you didn't get to use your real character's name -- and paste everything in. When you log into the beta, you'll see all your familiar macros waiting for you.
- Ditch everything you don't need. Once you're on the beta servers, get rid of everything that will not help you level. I'm completely serious. You aren't there to show off all your trinkets and toys; you're there to test content. That's way easier when you've got lots of bag space. So ditch all trinkets, baubles, archaeology prizes, transmog gear you may have stashed for a rainy day, anything that isn't going to serve you any use.
- Be prepared for change. Because this is a beta server, nothing is ever constant. When you log in, you'll notice you need to choose your new talents -- don't get too used to them, because talents can and will probably be reset every now and again. Blizzard can also completely wipe all characters at any given moment. This isn't to punish anyone; it's to keep the flow of testing where Blizzard wants it to be. I don't recall Blizzard ever doing this in any previous Warcraft beta, but this has happened more than once with Diablo III beta testing. If it happens, don't panic.
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!