you make a premade on the character select screen now. it's really awesome, just wish they would go back to giving you the full gear when you log in. there are gear vendors at the shrine you start at, and at the valor vendors at niuzao temple.
the gear you come with is heroic blues. the gear you can buy is the new pvp gear and the gear i get from the pve vendor has the same model has ToT gear, but it's stats were a good deal higher than the gear from last ptr.