First up, getting some heirloom items is the obvious starting point. Each heirloom armor piece will give you an XP bonus, and heirloom weapons contribute significantly to your damage output, which gets you through things faster. You've got two choices, agility leather for aspiring brewmasters and windwalkers or intellect leather for potential mistweavers. As it stands now, though, I'd highly recommend sticking with agility leather, at least for leveling purposes, because the offensive spell selection for mistweavers is limited and isn't available until late.
Either way, you'll have six main slots that heirlooms can fill, four armor and two weapon (either a main hand plus off hand or two-hander). Below, I've listed the primary choices for each slot. Note that the chest, shoulders, and weapons require JPs, Champion's Seals, or Darkmoon Faire rep, while the cloak and helm require a level 10/20 guild.
- Agility chest Stained Shadowcraft Tunic
- Intellect chest Preened Ironfeather Breastplate
- Agility shoulders Stained Shadowcraft Spaulders or Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders
- Intellect shoulders Preened Ironfeather Shoulders or Lasting Feralheart Spaulders
- Agility helm Stained Shadowcraft Cap
- Intellect helm Preened Tribal War Feathers
- Agility cloak Inherited Cape of the Black Baron
- Intellect cloak Ancient Bloodmoon Cloak
- Agility weapon Dual Venerable Mass of McGowan or Burnished Warden Staff (not yet available in-game; may be available in 5.0)
- Intellect weapon Dignified Headmaster's Charge
That covers half your gear slots. The other half will have to be filled in by quest rewards or boss drops, depending on how you choose to level. Quest rewards should cover you pretty solidly, but if you're planning on full-time dungeoneering, you may want to buy a few greens in case RNG is not your friend. Jewelry, especially, seems to be fairly hard to come by in dungeons.
Gold The shiny stuff! Even if you pre-buy all the items I've mentioned already, you're going to want lots of gold to pay for riding training, a new set of glyphs, and any other incidentals. Training all the riding skills will cost between 10k and 13k (depending on how much effort you put into increasing your faction reputation), so I'd want at least 15k to 20k stashed away to feel comfortable. Obviously, if you'll be buying things like dungeon/raid BoEs, you'll want much more.
Bags Just depends how much you want to spend. Netherweave Bags, the bargain basement option, will get you 16 slots for 15 gold each. Frostweave Bags, my recommendation, will get you 20 slots for 100 to 120 gold, or you can upgrade a bit and grab 22-slot Embersilk Bags for about 300 gold these days. If you want the best of the best, though, be prepared to spend; 26-slot Illusionary Bags still run north of 3k gold on my server.
Profession mats If you're planning on a crafting profession or professions for your monk, now's the best time to set aside the mats you'll need to level it, because prices will likely rise significantly once Mists is actually released. If you're just buying everything in one go, you'll likely spend 10k to 20k per profession, but you can bring this down substantially by not overpaying for certain items or farming some things yourself.
The gear I already mentioned is going to be the best investmest you can make -- but c'mon, this is the first new class in four years! Let's splurge and get him/her to 90 in style.
Food If you're rolling a pandaren, you're definitely going to want some buff food to maximize your racial. If not, it still helps. I'll understand if you skip the old world and Outland foods, but definitely consider laying in some Blackened Dragonfin/Skewered Eel, or Firecracker Salmon/Severed Sagefish Head for the mistweavers.
Flasks/elixirs Mistweavers can use Flasks of Distilled Wisdom, which are very powerful for their level and will last you until you can use Frostwyrm Flasks. The agility classes, in contrast, will be stuck with Elixirs of Major Agility/Mighty Agility, though attack power consumables will work as well. If that's too expensive for you, Scrolls of Agility/Intellect are a cheaper alternative. Of course, if you have some leftover Cataclysm flasks, throw those in for levels 80 to 90.
Potions Monks are already pretty mobile, but a stack of Swiftness Potions never hurts, especially to get through the early levels. If you're questing, a few Swim Speed Potions will also come in handy for those annoying underwater finding expeditions. Healing Potions are always helpful to prevent time-consuming corpse runs.
Weapon enhancements Everybody always forgets about weightstones, but these are very nice for bumping up your damage for the agility-based monks. Mistweavers aren't left out; Wizard Oil will give you a nice intellect boost.
Adventurer's Journals These items are typically overlooked, but they can be pretty powerful starting at level 75. You have roughly a 50-50 chance you'll proc a helpful buff, but just the chance at a 10% XP buff or a self-heal proc is worth it.
One final note: To my knowledge, no official word has been put out about how the Recruit-A-Friend program will interact with the achievement. I know of several people who already have 79 levels "banked" that they plan to use to get an instant 80 monk, so bear that in mind if you plan to compete for realm first. Personally, I will likely be rolling as a brewmaster and queueing up a lot of dungeons. What's your plan?
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!