I suppose that it was only a matter of time before we got a hard date on Mists. Whether that hard date will hold (or slip like Diablo III did) remains to be seen, but for the moment we have September 25th as the drop date.
Given the way things work out, I guess we're looking at late August for the pre-release patch.
The guild Soul and I are in is on hiatus and has been since earlier this year, so I presume that people will start trickling back in over the next month or two. What I'm not sure of is a) how many will return and b) how long people will stay.
As for me, I think I'm going to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward Mists.
This isn't exactly a new position, as I've been on the fence ever since Mists was announced, but I'm going to follow through on my idea to retire my current two mains and have them join Quintalan relaxing by the Dal Fountain. However, I'm not going to promote my Lock, Adelwulf, to main status. In fact, I may get him to L84 and make him a twink for the time being.
So, if not a toon I've got right now, what have I got in mind?
Having leveled an Affliction Warlock through BGs (and their graveyards), I sure do have ideas. And the best way to study the biggest enemy that a Lock has is to create one.
Yes, I'm going Rogue.
By my estimations, if I created a Rogue in the next few weeks and leveled that toon via BGs, I'd probably reach L85 sometime in December. That's a long time before I'd actually need the Mists expac, which should work fine for my finances. By the time I'd be ready to set sail to Pandaria, the new zones will already be devoid of life, just like Cata's were by the time Neve and Tom got there a few months after release.
Will I miss out on the chaos and insanity of everyone getting to the new zones? Oh, I'm sure I will, but that also means that my older PC won't feel the strain of too many toons nearby. It also means avoiding the fights over resources. And, for this ex-PvP server player, it means fewer flashbacks of the inn at Tarren Mill.
One thing that will happen, however, will be a huge wave of Pandarens entering BGs, all of which will have Asian ripoffs for names. ("Mr. Tauren Bullburgers, meet Mr. Pandaren Chopupyoursuey".)
And I'm absolutely certain I'll be on when the release drops with a big bowl of popcorn, because I sure wouldn't want to miss the collective angst of the Trade Chat crazies.