Phew, we almost went more than three days without a crumb of a clue of the Mists of Pandaria release date. It's definitely not before August 16, as that would render the Gamescom reveal of the World of Warcraft expansions opening cinematic ridiculous. But it's definitely soon: Blizzard are about to begin public beta testing of patch 5.0.1, which precedes the Mists of Pandaria launch by introducing some new features and functionality.
There are a few caveats for those looking to beta test the patch. They're not as interesting as, say, "a glitchy vestigial panda may float through the floor and nip at your ankles". Rather it's boring stuff about keeping current Mists of Pandaria beta players and 5.0.1 testers in separate realm-paddocks. You can read the patch announcement here.
So when does 5.0.1 go live? That's "soon" too. Everything is "soon" these days. Remember when we collectively dropped our teacups when George Broussard forewent release dates and said "it'll be done when it's done"? Innocent times. Have a preview of the Mists of Pandaria starting zone.
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