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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. Noix's Avatar
    em i missing something or have they not updated beta part on account page yet?
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zstr View Post
    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..
    Did you perhaps read the article?

    "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..."
  1. Keile's Avatar
    Is it wrong Im most excited for the BATTLE.NET CLIENT CHAT!

    Wooo, now more having to open a random game just to chat!
  1. Uglysoso's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Deadmedic View Post
    i wonder if the new file format will hinder datamining...
    ...and still people make statements opposite what is actually said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard Blue Post View Post
    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...
    It's a F&F Alpha to start.

    /sigh
  1. Rumblecrush'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 is what is known as concern trolling. A hater in disguise trying to turn people away with his toxic attitude. 11/10 on the toxicity scale
  1. Sforza's Avatar
    Another year of SoO for u guys to bitch about!!!! LuLz Lulululululz
  1. Uglysoso's Avatar
    /facepalm wrong quote
  1. Kryos's Avatar
    SoO came out September, even if the Alpha is only 2 months and the Beta is only 4 months that is still a full year of SoO!
  1. Uglysoso's Avatar
    Katharanis nailed it though
  1. Nexsa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orlong View Post
    Says someone who doesnt mind playing with the same shit for 15 months. Youre in the minority
    Who's forcing you to play until it comes out? Tons and tons of other games on the internet and consoles. :\
  1. Orlong's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by arcaneshot View Post
    Yeah, I have a suspicion that this is what they were holding back the beta for. They've been using MoPaQ for a real long time and to change it up now is kind of a big deal.
    And MoPaQ worked just fine for the last 9 years. There is some ulterior motive to switching to the new format. IF it aint broke dont fix it.
  1. Kumashy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Deadmedic View Post
    i wonder if the new file format will hinder datamining...
    Did you read the entire thing? "which means you may begin seeing some datamined information show up in the usual places."

    So chances are, no. It won't affect it.
  1. AxellSlade's Avatar
    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 at mmo-champion.
    There, fixed it for you.
  1. Magemaer's Avatar
    Huge datamine inc in 3..2...1...
  1. Orlong's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by fionawower View Post
    For all you whiners out there... Blizz has already said the release is 12/20/14 or before. Quit your QQ'in.
    We werent happy with that date either
  1. Vincus's Avatar
    Okey, I'd LOVE to get this Beta. Last beta I had was Hearthstone and Cata before that. I am REALLY looking forward to WoD tho!
    Also, on the Battle.net Client update, I love it. Only that I wish I could change my Avatar aaand also that messages are in 1 windows with several tabs instead of 1 window for each person I am writing with. I love this update tho! Keep the good stuff coming Blizz!
  1. UnifiedDivide's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orlong View Post
    And MoPaQ worked just fine for the last 9 years. There is some ulterior motive to switching to the new format. IF it aint broke dont fix it.
    Pretty sure they said why they swapped over... Or did you just not read? Or is this one of those things where everything they do has some evil agenda behind it? >_>
  1. Orlong's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nexsa View Post
    Who's forcing you to play until it comes out? Tons and tons of other games on the internet and consoles. :\
    And none of them allow me to play with and socialize with my fellow guild members. Quitting would be like telling your friends sorry, but I aint talking to you for 6 months
  1. Haleth's Avatar
    Love the battle.net chat!
  1. Ravyn727's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by UnifiedDivide View Post
    Pretty sure they said why they swapped over... Or did you just not read? Or is this one of those things where everything they do has some evil agenda behind it? >_>
    It's always some evil agenda.

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