World of Warcraft's latest expansion Mists of Pandaria launched last week and Blizzard is already preparing new content. Todya they announced that Patch 5.1, the first major update, will be arriving on the public test realm soon.

The expansion introduced a new continent called Pandaria. This land, previously isolated to the world, is the ancestral home of the Pandarens. In Patch 5.1, the Horde and Alliance will expand their presence on the continent and continue their war. Players will be able to participate in this struggle with new daily quests, and gain rewards by grinding new faction reputations.

Patch 5.1 introduces other PvE content as well. The Brawler's Guild will open underground fighting rings in Orgrimmar and Stormwind. In this arenas, players will fight one-on-one against a variety of monsters. The patch will also continue the Legendary item quest chain, with Wrathion offering new tasks for players. Furthermore, a new item upgrade feature will let players improve their gear by spending spare Valor Points.

One of the likely reasons that WoW lost subscribers during the previous expansion pack (Cataclysm) was that content updates were slow. They were spaced several months apart, with the first arriving five months after Cataclysm's launch. With Pandaria, it looks like they intend to release smaller patches at a quicker rate. With a monthly subscription game, players are constantly evaluating whether or not they're getting their money's worth. If Blizzard can offer these players new diversions at a steady pace, perhaps they'll do a better job of retaining subscribers.

Blizzard didn't provide a timeframe for Patch 5.1's release on the PTR. The PTR won't have all of the new content all at once, though, so Blizzard can start testing the patch sooner rather than later.

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