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Warlords of Draenor™ Alpha Testing Begins


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We’ve been hard at work on World of Warcraft®: Warlords of Draenor™, and today we’ve entered the Alpha phase of our expansion testing. As part of this, we’ll begin using public servers to host the data, which means you may begin seeing some datamined information show up in the usual places.

One of our goals for this very early stage of the Alpha is to test out some new technology in the wild with employees and friends and family, including a new file format called CASC (more on that below). As such, the expansion content available during this first phase will be quite limited—many of the expansion’s major features, such as Garrisons, won’t be available until a later point in the testing process. This early phase of testing will help us ramp up for our larger beta phase later on, when we’ll be inviting more players.

Introducing Our New File Format: CASC
For nearly 20 years, Blizzard games have used a file format called Mo’PaQ (MPQ for short) as a way to compress and store game files. We’ve been able to introduce some great new technology using MPQ, such as our streaming client, but we’ve really pushed the file format far beyond what it was ever intended to be used for. Today, it’s become the source of a number of technical limitations for World of Warcraft.

To address these limitation and help us develop new technologies that will improve everyone’s game experience for years to come, we’re introducing a new proprietary file format that we call CASC (Content Addressable Storage Container). We’ll be using this new format in the Warlords of Draenor alpha and beta tests, and our intent is to convert everyone to the new format in a pre-expansion patch.

As geeky as it may sound, we’re extremely excited to be moving to this new file format. It provides a ton of benefits not only for us and our ability to support and patch the game, but also for players. Here are just a few of the benefits of the new CASC file format:

  • File Corruption - File repair tools are a thing of the past. The file structure maintains itself, helping to prevent errors during installation.
  • Speed - Real-world game performance should increase for many players thanks to a non-redundant file structure[/b] - in layman’s terms, the game can find the assets it’s looking for more quickly.
  • Patching - Updating your game files should be faster and more reliable. Patch data is integrated seamlessly, and no longer requires double the installation size on-disk when patching.
  • Client Hotfixing - CASC allows us to be able to hotfix client game data, similar to server hotfixes, giving us the ability to address client-side issues that would normally require a patch.
  • Streaming - The new format provides better support for streaming data and gives us greater flexibility to define how content updates are delivered and released.
  • Expandable - The file structure is built to allow easy integration of new technologies in the future that we haven’t even thought up yet.
  • . . . and more!

We’re already using this file format for Heroes of the Storm’s Technical Alpha test, and we’re looking forward to reaping its benefits for WoW. As we mentioned, the first big step in transitioning all WoW players over will be converting everyone’s World of Warcraft installs to the new file format prior to the expansion. Our goal is to make sure that’s as seamless and painless a changeover as possible, using as much of the existing installed data as possible to reduce additional downloads. We’ll have more info on the file conversion process as we get closer to the launch of Warlords of Draenor.

Signing Up for Beta
We’re still early in the Alpha testing process, but if you’re interested in opting in for a chance to participate in the Warlords of Draenor beta test later down the line, let us know you’re interested by creating a beta profile. To do so, log in to your Battle.net® account, go to Beta Profile Settings to download and run the Battle.net System Check tool, and submit (or update) your computer’s specifications. From the Beta Profile menu, make sure that Warcraft is checked, and update your beta preferences. You’re now eligible to be randomly selected for a Warlords of Draenor beta invite at a later stage of the testing process.

Account Security Reminder
As interest grows for the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion, please be aware of phishing attempts. Unscrupulous individuals (possibly working for the Iron Horde) may send out falsified emails purporting to be from Blizzard, but are in fact meant to steal your login credentials. For more information on how to identify these emails please refer to our Battle.net® Account Security site.

Stay tuned for more information as development and testing progresses for Warlords of Draenor™. This is just the beginning and we’ll have more information to share with you in the near future!

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This article was originally published in forum thread: Warlords of Draenor™ Alpha Testing Begins started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 125 Comments
  1. Concequence's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xavv View Post
    Jesus christ, There's just no fucking pleasing you people. Any of you.

    The constant bitching about how slow they are, and when they offer you up an amazing piece of progress towards the expansion, most of you react by shitting on them more.

    Previous Alpha phases have lasted 4 to 7 weeks and a less limited Beta is pretty soon to follow after that, in most cases.

    Skip the Alpha? Why? So you people can fucking complain that it isn't polished enough when it goes to beta?
    Get with the program, These games don't just shit themselves out. Bunch of fucking mouth breathers.

    /rant

    Happy to see the wheels in motion for a WoD Beta and very excited that datamined information will now be available much more often.
    ^ This... SO much this. The Community is a bunch of pathetic crying children. I WANT IT NOW... *stamps feet* Ugh. You people make me sick.
  1. jacce's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Artemishowl View Post
    They said that was the worst-case scenario date, are you new?
    Exactly. No, I am not new.
  1. Count Zero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Artemishowl View Post
    They said that was the worst-case scenario date, are you new?
    ... did you read what I wrote ? Maybe you missed the "or earlier".
  1. fionawower's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jacce View Post
    No, they have not.
    You obviously don't pay attention.
  1. Uglysoso's Avatar
    People do not read. The release date is 12/20/14 or BEFORE. Worst-case scenario date means, for those where English is not your primary language, if they are not able to release WoD earlier, 12/20/14 is the latest date they will release it on. They are saying the want to release is earlier. I can say it slower if you need me to.
  1. Senka's Avatar
    Boubouille... showing us you're in WoD Alpha is mean. Even if we 100% expect and understand it.
  1. Stellan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by wow View Post
    Needs more datamining
    Two months on average.

    BC friends/family alpha Aug 23, 2006
    BC beta start Oct 13, 2006

    Wrath friends/family alpha May 20, 2008
    Wrath beta start Jul 17, 2008

    Cata friends/family alpha May 3, 2010
    Cata beta start Jun 30, 2010
  1. Baracuda's Avatar
    My body is ready.
  1. Shampro's Avatar
    Lot of arguing here.

    Back to the Ryg thread.
  1. Kurve1776's Avatar
    Lore
    hehe it's all good. "Alpha" is just what we're calling the start of our public testing period this time around.
  1. Xisa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenbeef View Post
    Slow and steady wins the race (or loses you lots of subs <3)

    Would the file format give any fps benefits ? :/
    Plenty of reasons, although I get the feeling posting them would be lost on you.
  1. Ikkarus's Avatar
    I know that Alpha and Beta are important but I really don't like them, it would be much more interesting an realease where the entire community would start the game together without knowing nothing about it..But, well what can we do..

    Now, about the Alpha testing beginning now, yeah, it's kind of disapointing, I was really hoping that Blizzard would surprise us this time with a fast realease.
  1. Zstr's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stellan View Post
    Two months on average.

    BC friends/family alpha Aug 23, 2006
    BC beta start Oct 13, 2006

    Wrath friends/family alpha May 20, 2008
    Wrath beta start Jul 17, 2008

    Cata friends/family alpha May 3, 2010
    Cata beta start Jun 30, 2010
    it's not `F&F` alpha it's a `public` one, that mean it's a bit far more in development
    and it's going to be without NDA, so guess they give up on it with such leakers and dataminers around, so ye expect lots of info..
  1. Kurve1776's Avatar
    It's not the F&F Alpha, it's a more public alpha, it's basically what the limited beta is at the very beginning of each expansion's beta
  1. Deadmedic's Avatar
    i wonder if the new file format will hinder datamining...
  1. fionawower's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Uglysoso View Post
    People do not read. The release date is 12/20/14 or BEFORE. Worst-case scenario date means, for those where English is not your primary language, if they are not able to release WoD earlier, 12/20/14 is the latest date they will release it on. They are saying the want to release is earlier. I can say it slower if you need me to.
    Some like it slow.
  1. Phaty's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rawcult View Post
    Alpha? Oh, wow. Blizzard, you're so gooood and fast at this. Speechless. Amazing. Wow. You're beyond pathetic at this point. Words cannot even begin to describe it.
    yes, because converting an entire 10 years worth of data to a whole new format and getting it ready for testing is and overnight task, idiot
  1. Kryos's Avatar
    2 months Alpha + 5 months Beta = October Release.
  1. Apollet's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xavv View Post
    Jesus christ, There's just no fucking pleasing you people. Any of you.

    The constant bitching about how slow they are, and when they offer you up an amazing piece of progress towards the expansion, most of you react by shitting on them more.

    Previous Alpha phases have lasted 4 to 7 weeks and a less limited Beta is pretty soon to follow after that, in most cases.

    Skip the Alpha? Why? So you people can fucking complain that it isn't polished enough when it goes to beta?
    Get with the program, These games don't just shit themselves out. Bunch of fucking mouth breathers.

    /rant

    Happy to see the wheels in motion for a WoD Beta and very excited that datamined information will now be available much more often.
    There's not enough yes to apply to this statement. Thank you.
  1. Orlong's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xavv View Post
    Jesus christ, There's just no fucking pleasing you people. Any of you.

    The constant bitching about how slow they are, and when they offer you up an amazing piece of progress towards the expansion, most of you react by shitting on them more.

    Previous Alpha phases have lasted 4 to 7 weeks and a less limited Beta is pretty soon to follow after that, in most cases.

    Skip the Alpha? Why? So you people can fucking complain that it isn't polished enough when it goes to beta?
    Get with the program, These games don't just shit themselves out. Bunch of fucking mouth breathers.

    /rant

    Happy to see the wheels in motion for a WoD Beta and very excited that datamined information will now be available much more often.
    Says someone who doesnt mind playing with the same shit for 15 months. Youre in the minority

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