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Mists of Pandaria Beta: The Jade Forest

Anne Stickney

Beta testers have been getting a peek at what Mists of Pandaria has to offer for a few months now. The quest chains, storylines, new features and individual rewards in Mists of Pandaria are amazing enough, but what really sets this expansion apart is the scenery. Pandaria is nothing like anything we've seen in Azeroth to date. While it doesn't have the stark, alien landscapes of Outland, Pandaria's got the kind of lush green scenery I love to see, offering a much more relaxing quest backdrop than Cataclysm's shattered landscapes.

The first zone both Horde and Alliance players will encounter is the Jade Forest. Unlike the prior two expansions, players of both factions will start in the same zone, albeit at opposite ends. Don't worry about being cramped, however; as you can see from our gallery, the Jade Forest is huge. Featuring dozens of new quest areas that stretch the length of the zone, the expansion presents players with little problem being drawn into the first arc of Pandaria's story -- nor, as evidenced by the small smattering of images in our gallery, will players have a lack of incredibly beautiful things to look at.

Gallery: Mists of Pandaria Beta: The Jade Forest | 34 Photos

I don't know about you guys, but there is something so foreign yet so familiar to Pandaria that I can't help but fall in love. I haven't gotten to level in a lush green area since Sholazar Basin, so I'm terribly happy with what I've seen so far, and I can't wait to play through it once it's released.

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!

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