Still, it would be nice to hear about some active alliance PvE realms with good PvP.
Ah, I see! It looks like "posting from" went away and I hadn't noticed. The good news is that although I'm Horde, I have characters on Emerald Dream. The bad news is that it is a server on the Chinese server groups.
I can't comment firsthand on PVP for NA/EU servers, but if you're looking for world PVP that is said to be a mess. That's one of the things Blizz is going to be working on for next expansion. Aside from world PVP, I gather most of the other stuff has been cross linked to balance the factions some. I'll leave it for someone else to comment on how that's working out, I'm just not a PVP fan.
So with the new expansion, are you saying that I could essentially take a level 1 character and have it boosted to 90?
Yep! It is intended as a catch up mechanism for returning players, so that you're ready to launch into the next expansion with the rest of the pack. From there, you go to the next catch up phase, the last zone added in this expansion (Timeless Isle) gives you the chance to collect gear that will be much better than a fresh level 90 and it gets you ready to start doing basic raiding. The LFR raids are fairly forgiving in terms of the way the bosses behave, but they'll at least let you see how things look and get that part of the expansion's story. They'll also give you a shot at upgrading your weapon so that you don't hit quite so much like you're using a wet noodle.
On the one hand it is nice that a lot of the talent based spells are available to all, on the other hand it seems that the new talent system reduces variety and customization. Maybe that is just an incorrect perception.
There is some truth to that in a broad sense. The old talent trees had lots of choices, but there wasn't much actual choice if you were expected to optimize your build. For optimization, sites like EJ had everything min/maxed and if you didn't follow that pattern you were Moon Moon. Talents are still min/maxed, but they are more flexible and that can come down to switching things up for different bosses.