A reader sent me this question: "I am facing a dilemma and I was wondering it might be an interesting topic to explore on your blog:
I got notified today that I've been allowed into the Burning Crusade beta. I am really enthusiastic about this, but I am also in doubt. I originally wanted to PvP until the expansion comes, thereby obtaining some nice gear which will make for easy/easier levelling. Since my time is limited, I obviously can't do both... hence the dilemma.
Maybe you could shed some light on this in your blog?"
My take on that is that it is the dilemma between playing for the fun of it, and playing for the loot. Playing the beta is fun, but it doesn't get you anything, all your beta achievements are going to be erased at the end of the beta. Doing PvP on the real servers is maybe a bit repetitive, if you need many points for the reward you want, but you'll get to keep the rewards.
I have the same option, and what I did is play the beta until I had a good look around the first couple of zones and dungeons, and then went back to the real servers, where I am now doing PvP to get an epic weapon. I would definitely recommend having at least a look around Hellfire Peninsula, do a couple of quests there and explore the land. Because I'm afraid that when the expansion goes life that zone will be so overcrowded, that you better know in advance where to find those mobs. You might ride past their spawn three times and never see one alive, there will be so many players hunting all quest mobs. Knowing where all the flight points to tag are, and how to get to Shattrath, is definitely something that is going to be useful.
I never planned to play the beta until level 70, especially not since they made leveling so much harder in the middle of the beta. If I already knew everything about the Burning Crusade content, there would be nothing left to look forward to. So I was planning to take a break, when Blizzard came up with the 2.0 patch and the much improved PvP reward system. I'm still playing less than I used to, but when I play I mostly do PvP, with a clear goal of a High Warlord 1H weapon ahead of me. Of course there is a risk that the first time I enter Hellfire Citadel I find a better weapon than that. But for me PvP is nearly new content, I did it so little, so playing something I don't usually do, with a decent reward, sounds good to me.
Your time might be limited, but you *can* do both. Just set yourself realistic goals for what you want to achieve in PvP, play a bit of PvP every day towards that goal, and when you get bored of it (or the bg server starts lagging in the evening), you play around a bit with the beta instead. In the end all the rewards in WoW are just temporary, and the whole game is just for fun. You don't "need" epics, from PvP or raid, to level in the Burning Crusade. You'll be fine with whatever you manage to pick up while still having fun.