I promised you notifcation, and as your spy across the pond that's exactly what I'm doing. I can report that the Mists of Pandaria launch went off just as described, until a certain point which surprised me.
As I stood in Stormwind, a quest popped onto my screen, with an accompanying message in chat. "Mists of Pandaria has launched! Visit Stormwind to begin your adventure." The quest, The King's Command, sent me to Stormwind keep immediately for a briefing with King Varian Wrynn.
I proceeded as instructed, worried that I would encountered Varian, coated with so many players that I could not possibly pick up the quest, or hand in my automatically collected one. I was pleasantly surprised that, as I walked into the Keep, I was immediately taken into a cut scene. My screenshots of said cutscene unfortunately don't appear to have worked, but trust me, there's a cut scene. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but after the cut scene, I was teleported outside the keep, where this happened.
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Now, the fact that I've had to smudge out every name for ethical reasons kind of spoils the impact, but somewhere under that pile of nameplates is the one, single questgiver that everyone needs to visit to actually progress.
Fortunately, on my server, the crowd soon disappeared, and I was sent beyond Stormwind harbor to the Skyfire, where I spoke with Admiral Rogers to begin my adventure to Pandaria. The delay on the map once I'd begun my journey was considerable, but the dots eventually began to extend slowly towards Pandaria. Once they reached the X on the southern continent, the wait became even longer. Finally, my screen ticked over onto another cutscene, at the beginning of which I heard the tell-tale "Fatality!" of Bug Grabber, an addon that watches UI errors. A few moments later, I was disconnected from the server.
Thinking on my feet, I logged straight back in, successfully, and disabled all my addons. The loading screen sat for an inordinately long time trying to get me into Pandaria, stopping at 90%. It's 23:22 here now, Mists has been live for 22 minutes, and I'm still waiting to enter Pandaria. I'll keep you informed!
Update: 23:28 UK time -- I'm in! Definitely disable your addons before embarking on the trip on the skyfire, or the Horde equivalent. They probably work just fine, but they're only going to slow you down. Now, I'm trying to pick up quests and quest items. It's insanely laggy, but I'm in Pandaria, where the Mists have well and truly risen!
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!