I own A MES 30 inch, and after you season it, to soak the chips or not is much a personal choice. When i got mine this past June, I soaked the chips for the first 2 or 3 smokes, then read some where on this forum, that it makes no difference soaked or not, so since then, I have not soaked a single chip of wood. And they were right, seem to make no difference, except more work created by soaking it.
As for the water pan, that depends on what your smoking. I have picked up on this forum, some folks put sand in their dish, others nothing. I usually Wrap my water pan, my drip pan and the top of the chip burner with foil. Then if it a moist smoke, like for example a turkey, I will put water and Apple juice in the pan. Doing something that needs a dry smoke, I leave the pan empty.
Like others have said here, season it and then read a few of the many posts in this forum, we are all here to help you.