The Battle for Azeroth beta is here, at long last, and it feels like it might have come a little early in the process. Usually beta testing is mostly for when you have all of the core stuff in place, but this feels like it’s just officially being called a beta when some of the pieces are still being moved into the right direction. That might be more nitpicky than anything, so I’m not going to spend too much time on it; World of Warcraft has had a tricky relationship with “alpha” and “beta” terminology, but it’s still not even in the list of the worst offenders.
I got my beta invite (at the same time the official changeover happened, even), but I haven’t yet gotten a chance to actually play around in it. However, I think now is as good a time as any to talk about the things that I am actually nervous about when it comes to Battle for Azeroth. Yes, I’ve been a pretty big advocate for the expansion and what we’re hearing so far, but there are things about the expansion that still make me nervous now that we’re moving into the beta phase. So let’s talk about that.
Can you beta test a battle? Don’t see why not. Just ask everyone to attack very, very carefully and memorize where their starting positions were for the inevitable reset.
The alpha phase is over and dead, and the Horde has gathered at the gates of beta for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. This morning, Blizzard wiped the test servers and booted up a new build while activating the expansion’s beta status. New waves of keys have been sent out, so check your email if you’ve been trying to get an advance look at warfronts, island adventures, and all of the rest.
According to Wowhead, no further character wipes are planned for the test phase, and the character copy service is going to be turned on real soon now. A Q&A session on the beta will take place this Thursday, beta forums are live, the beta level cap is set at 120, and beta beta beta.
Among the various features and additions coming with World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth this summer, communities has gotten buried in all of the excitement. Yet this tool may generate some excitement when players experience it in action.
Blizzard Watch has a preview up of how communities work now that an early version is up on the alpha server. Communities will allow players to create cross-realm groups in addition to regular guilds (guilds will automatically become their own communities as well). The idea is that players can fashion specific types of communities and keep everyone in touch across the game.
There is also an option to create groups based on Blizzard’s BattleTags, in case you want a community that spans multiple Blizzard titles.
The article notes that many of the community features have yet to be activated, so there is a lot that we have yet to learn about the flexibility and function of this system.
Beta testing for Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset expansion – as well as the free update 18 that’ll launch alongside it – began this week as the chapter rolled out to the PTS, with plenty of glimpses at new housing and wearables on the way. What else is new in MMORPG testing this week?
- Defiance 2050’s big PC closed beta is live for the weekend – though console players have been put off a little while longer.
- Old School RuneScape has begun testing its mobile client. That’s not very old school, but we’re not complaining.
- WoW’s Battle for Azeroth kicked off player testing of dark iron dwarves and mag’ghar orcs.
- Conan Exiles rolled out what’ll probably be its last major patch for testers before its official launch next month.
- Radical Heights’ early access teased female toons. In ’80s leotards.
- MapleStory 2 is plotting its western closed beta for next month.
Did we miss anything? Drop us a note in the comments, then check out our traditional list of all the bits and bobs currently
malingering trucking along in some form of testing.
The first batch of the second wave of allied races are available for testing now on World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s alpha test. Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs have been added to character creation, which means that if you want an Orc that’s slightly less corrupted or a Dwarf that’s extra-crispy, that’s now an option. And that’s just one of the many changes with the latest build, because of course it is.
Players can also experiment with new ability changes including a significant rework to Arcane Torrent (the Blood Elf racial), more of the Uldir and Warfront sets, and new dungeons to test out. There’s also the miscellaneous elements found in the latest build, of course. We still don’t have an exact date for the beta, but based on all of the things that have been mined, it looks to be growing ever closer all the time.
Source: Wowhead (1
The past couple of weeks has been wild as we dispatched writers to GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston to gather up and bring back everything they could on the MMORPGs large and small on the spring convention circuit. In fact, as I type this, we’ve got Brendan in Reykjavik for EVE Fanfest too! So for this week’s Overthinking, we’re rounding up our coverage and then reflecting on the best and worst as we pick out what most excites, surprises, and disappoints us: First the roundups, then our thoughts. Read on!
Hooray, we have a release date for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth instead of just a release window! And contrary to what many skeptics (myself included) expected to get, it is actually quite a bit faster than other releases. But as you all have no doubt noticed by now, my love of math means that I’m hardly sore about this. It just means that there’s another data point to consider when we look to the future.
So let’s talk about this new piece of information while using the same information from the column in which I made a reasonable estimate, based on this new information. Again, I think it’s important to note how much faster this expansion is actually releasing compared to prior expansions; it’s significant, even if it means that the people predicting things like June were being wildly wrong about “optimistic” predictions. (After all, pessimistic predictions were equally wrong, just in the other direction; my own estimates were off by 2-3 months.)
On this week’s show, MJ and Justin get giddy over Secret World Legends’ season two, discuss what World of Warcraft’s launch date means for players, and cover a whole host of major updates that have arrived for the MMO community.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Blizzard fans, this year’s BlizzCon has a date, and that day is November 2nd and 3rd, almost three months after the launch of World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth, meaning you won’t even be missing much grinding time to attend, and you can count on lots of post-mortemy-type panels rather than endless teasers. On the other hand? E-sports, e-sports, e-sports.
“This year’s event will again commence with the esports action of BlizzCon Opening Week, taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles from October 25 to 29, where the initial rounds of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Finals, and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship Finals will unfold. The competitions will culminate in Anaheim on November 2 and 3, where the champions of these tournaments along with those of the Overwatch World Cup and Hearthstone Global Games will be crowned.”
Last year’s event was sold out, so if you’re aiming to go, jot down these even more important dates: May 9th and 12th, when tickets will go on sale.
So if we’ll no longer have tier sets in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, what motivation will you have for continuing to raid on the high end? For that matter, what motive will you have to continue running island adventures? Two more interviews from the show floor at PAX East 2018 with lead encounter designer Morgan Day cover exactly that. To answer both questions, Mythic raiding still has the best item level rewards in the game, and that’s not changing; meanwhile, long-term island rewards are still being discussed, but are very important to the team.
Players invested in the story can take heart that there’s going to be plenty to digest in Uldir, which is all about Titan research into removing Old Gods without killing the host (Azeroth, in our case). The War Campaign will also be akin to the Class Order Campaign, bringing players into enemy territory. There’s also plans to allow respeccing of Azerite armor, although frequency has yet to be determined. All good stuff to learn about as the release swiftly approaches in August.
Datamining has uncovered the class selection for two of the four allied races slated for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, and it will likely not come as a substantial surprise. It looks like both Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs will have access to the same classes as their “parent” races, barring hero options; Dark Iron Dwarves can be everything aside from Demon Hunters, Death Knights, and Druids, while Mag’har Orcs also pass on Paladins and Warlocks. If you were hoping for any particularly odd options, you will be slightly disappointed.
The build also contains the usual assortment of new zones and new class changes, as well as a few new mounts hinting at factions or at what players can unlock via PvP. As with anything obtained via datamining, it’s subject to change in the future, but you can take this first look as a fairly reasonable indicator of what the future will hold.
The information dam seems to have broken with World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, and we are all about to be swept away in the flood. At a press event at the studio this week, Blizzard disclosed many more details about the upcoming expansion including its plans leading up to it.
The expansion beta should be starting soon. Blizzard said that the expansion “pre-patch” will hit the game a few weeks before Battle for Azeroth’s August 14th release. It’ll contain quests and scenarios leading up to the main expansion, including the Burning of Teldrassil and the Battle for Lordaeron.
As for allied races, each side will have six emissaries planned, although some of those races will be shared. Mag’har Orcs and Dark Iron Dwarves will be unlocked after going through the war campaign, with Kul Tiran Humans and Zandalari Trolls to be unlocked later in the expansion cycle. Blizzard said that it liked the pacing of Legion’s content rollout and will be using that as a template for Battle for Azeroth.
Who had August in the poll? Anybody have August 14th specifically? Because that, my friends, is precisely when World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion is launching. So sayeth Blizzard’s official Twitterbot this morning. Trailer too! Now that’s one way to kick off PAX East.