Do you know if the Panda Storyline carries on past the starting area? Or would a Panda have to gain 80 levels to continue their story?
No , the Wandering Isle is till level 10. Then you have to choose Alliance or Horde faction and can recieve mail and join a guild.
Then you have to take the 'normal' route to lvl 85 , myself I haven't played much during Cata so loads and loads of the new ' old' world is still new to me.
I read that with patch 5.0.4 all races , including the Pandarian, are made available to everyone so you can play them if you did not get the expansion but I am guessing not the Monk class.
The expansion seems a lot more dark and intriguing then I expected, great.
I was very skeptical about MoP but I have to say it has been a very long time I have been so captivated by a game.