When Blizzard releases forthcoming patch 5.0.4 for World of Warcraft, race choices will no longer be restricted by which expansions you own. If you fancy playing as a Panda, but don’t want to purchase the actual Mist of Pandaria expansion, you can (or at least, you will be able to when it’s released on 25 September).
The same goes for races previously locked to other expansions. As Blizzard puts it: “We want the entire World of Warcraft community to be able to embrace their inner goblin, blood elf, worgen, draenei, or pandaren from the moment they step foot into the world of Azeroth.”
Classes tied to expansion packs (such as the Monk) will remain unavailable, and of course if you wish to explore the realms unlocked by the add-ons you’ll still need to buy them. Still, it’ll be an easy way to step into some unfamiliar skin (if that’s not too creepy sounding).
Patch 5.0.4 is scheduled for 28 August.
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