World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has officially moved into its beta testing phase

    
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Who taught you math?!

The bells have tolled, the signal fires have been lit, and the time is upon us: World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is now officially in beta. It’s worth noting for any and all people looking angrily at the launcher without the beta entry that at least at this point, it’s unclear if there have been any new invitations to the beta at this time beyond previous alpha participants; all the same, that’s enough of a marker to say that we’re into beta country.

Of note on the beta is that the game’s promises of having a new player guide system in place are coming to fruition, with players apparently needing level 60, Broken Isles Pathfinder part 1, and an account in good standing to sign up as a guide. It’s worth noting that this is all still in testing, so those requirements can still change. (The “good standing” one seems unlikely to, though.)

In news for the live game, players can also look forward to the first of the previously announced low-population realm connections happening on July 23rd for Cairne, Drak’thul, Skywall, and Perenolde. Players who subscribe for a six-month block of time will also be gifted the new Steamscale Incinerator mount for free so long as you subscribe (or are in the middle of an active six-month block) by August 10th.

Source: Official Site, Twitter, Wowhead (1, 2)
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Utakata

Look at those pigtails…

…wait, what’s this about Shadowlands? Beta, right? O.o

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Ironwu

Interesting that Blizzard seems to be getting a pass on the very important news that they are (yet again) merging servers (yes, I know it is the WoW version of server merging).

WoW populations continue to decline, and yet they insist on following the same development path to destruction that began way back in Cataclysm.

I wonder what the population is down to now? Three million subs? Two?

WoW Suits: “Let’s HIDE our subscriber numbers! That way people won’t know just how bad a job we are doing and we can just LIE to everyone! We deserve BONUSES!”

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Bannex

Lol give it a rest. Path to destruction since cataclysm?! Do you hear yourself?

Seriously, they’ve been at the top of the mmo heap for so long even you’ve gotta be sick of screaming DOOOOOOOMMMMM…..

Don’t like the game? Move on. They also didn’t get a “free pass” on server merges. It was covered and discussed. What more do you want? Every one of their expansions has sold well and guess what? So will shadowlands. Just stop it you look ridiculous.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Bannex is on the money here – covered and discussed when the news came out!

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Bruno Brito

Although i don’t like the direction that WoW went since…well, ever, i concur with you.

Here’s the reality: Most MMOs are as mediocre as it gets, specially the biggest titles. WoW really is in the top of the trashpile, and has been for the last 16 years. It doesn’t matter how much people keep doom-saying the game, it’ll be more profitable than ANYTHING the MMO market can put out, even because the MMO market is a cesspit of incompetence.

Now, i’m not discussing the WoW quality and standard. If i were going by the “Blizzard excellence” then i would have to also admit, that they have been dropping the ball during all this time, because of complacency and detachment.

The TL;DR is: WoW will keep being king, and it’s a shitty kingdom right now. Has been for a while. They’ll keep bringing the money because the competition is pathetic.

But you’re right, and it’ll keep selling like hot chocolate on a rainy day.

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Dug From The Earth

Sure, one could jump in on the hate bandwagon here, and even with high degree of accuracy with the speculations.

So instead ill post an equally as possible positive speculation.

WoW has had more servers than it has needed for awhile now. Yes, BFA has caused a lot of subscription drops. At the same time however, Shadowlands being so close to release (by the end of the year), like any expansion does, brings a lot of players back to the game. Even before the actual release. Players want to jump back in, organize their characters, catch up on storyline, content, etc, before the next expansion. They especially wanna be ready for when the prepatch is released.

Its entirely possible as well that as players return, or as new players join, the servers they pick are the more populated ones (many dont want to be on low pop servers). These returning and new players wouldnt necessarily make WoW’s total subs go UP, but its very possible that it could keep them roughly flat. Despite subs going neither up or down by any significant amount, its still very possible for the servers to become very population imbalanced.

hence the need for them to merge those servers, that players arent joining, together.

Again, this is just one possibility, a more positive one. One could easily claim “Omg, WoW is continuing to die off and server merges are proof of this”. It could even be a mix of both. WoW is definitely losing players. That doesnt mean its not at the same time seeing new and returning players come back. No, its not an equal balance. The truth is, no one outside of the company itself truly knows.

Hateful speculation only comes across as someone trying to justify a decision to avoid something. If someone is done with something, fine, thats their choice. Move on, be happy, no need to aim spiteful doom and gloom at things that they are supposedly moving away from.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

They’ve also pivoted quite a bit based on what we know about Shadowlands. Unless your primary rub with WoW is that it’s not WoW Classic – which will never grow beyond niche appeal. It will always be a failure by your reckoning which begs the question why continue to drag yourself over the coals about a game that will never be what you want it to be?

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Utakata

The curious question, the one that gets beg with this IMO: What are the Classic numbers in comparison to Retail. I suspect folks will be shocked at the results…and not for the reasons they’re hoping.

…personally, I wish they connect more servers up. And not just for low pop numbers.