Pandaren are a humanoid race which closely resemble giant pandas although the player can choose characters resembling the red panda. The pandaren occupy their own continent, Pandaria, which split off during the Sundering and was magically shrouded from the rest of Azeroth until the release of Mists of Pandaria. The pandaren were originally introduced as an April Fools' joke by Blizzard's art director Samwise Didier as a playable race in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne; in the "bonus" campaign centered around the Horde, the pandaren brewmaster Chen Stormstout is a supporting character, marking the first appearance of the race in World of Warcraft.
The playable pandaren in Mists of Pandaria are currently the only race in World of Warcraft that begins neutral, choosing between the Alliance or the Horde at the end of their starting area, around level 10. The playable pandaren hail from the Wandering Isle.
Pandaren are able to play as Hunter, Mage, Rogue, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, or Monk. Owing to timeline conflicts, the pandaren are the only race in World of Warcraft that cannot be death knights as the events on their starting area of the Wandering Isle occur well after the death knights' storyline in Wrath of the Lich King.