There's still life in the ol' girl but, yes, I agree that this is much like the 'lock in' plans you get from cellphone companies. That said, I'm willing to risk a year's worth of payments. Arguably, this is a very nice perq for people who are in it for the long haul to begin with.
IMO, though, the Pandaren expansion is a lost opportunity: I really think that the game needs a third faction. Us vs. Them gets very old, very fast. Three-cornered fights are much more interesting even if the three sides are basically identical in terms of abilities. Put pandas, YAER (yet another elf race) and maybe two more new races in their own faction and then let the fur fly!