MMO-Champion - Warlords of Draenor™ Alpha Testing Begins
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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. Orlong'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? >_>
    Yeah, I read their so called reason. Im pretty sure the real reason is for more nefarious like perhaps it makes datamining harder or prevents people from obtaining the game files to be datamined before the patches go live
  1. fionawower's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orlong View Post
    We werent happy with that date either
    Then don't play. It could be polished and released in full within a week and you people would whine that it wasn't right this second.
  1. Tharkkun'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
    So you'd rather they rush it and be broken instead? Then instead of threads about how long development is, you'll create ones saying why do pants not show up on any Dranei models or my Hippogryph got stuck on his flight path for the 23rd time this week. Because that's exactly what will happen...

    Blizzard doesn't purposely release broke shit like dozens of other companies called EA we won't mention.
  1. Tisane's Avatar
    And so it begins! When an alpha phase begins it always feel like an opening ceremony. I love opening ceremonies.

    Time to stalk MMOC full-time the next 24 hours for WoD data!
  1. The Glitch's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tisane View Post
    And so it begins! When an alpha phase begins it always feel like an opening ceremony. I love opening ceremonies.

    Time to stalk MMOC full-time the next 24 hours for WoD data!
    I'm just wondering if the new file system they are going to be using might delay any datamining, I don't know how that works so I dunno if it will, but I guess we shall see
  1. UnifiedDivide's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orlong View Post
    Yeah, I read their so called reason. Im pretty sure the real reason is for more nefarious like perhaps it makes datamining harder or prevents people from obtaining the game files to be datamined before the patches go live
    "So called"? >_> They literally say to expect datamining... you sure you read it?
  1. Orlong's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by UnifiedDivide View Post
    "So called"? >_> They literally say to expect datamining... you sure you read it?
    They did say that but they also used the phrase "some data mining" meaning not complete datamining of the client
  1. UnifiedDivide's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orlong View Post
    They did say that but they also used the phrase "some data mining" meaning not complete datamining of the client
    Well yeah, I assume dataminers will need to get used to the new format before they can really dig deep. It is worth noting that Heroes of the Storm uses the new format too and people datamine it just fine.
  1. Mellrod's Avatar
    A note to all those saying Blizzard is being slow, or people trying to call the beta/release date, please keep in mind that WoD has been in alpha since Blizzcon and it's just now open to people other than press or special guests. Blizzard has had a long time to work on it since then so saying we'll be in MoP for 10 months onthe soel purpose of an Alpha announcement would be rather silly. If it's in alpha, it's probably a late alpha (but still an overall early version of the game) that wont last for too long before beta. It's more than likely they are just keeping us in the dark atm which isn't too outlandish when it comes to blizzard.
  1. byZodi's Avatar
    This is what people need to notice

    "Alpha" is just what we're calling the start of our public testing period this time around.
    as quoted by lore.


    http://gyazo.com/ca02d6928d8d964c877697f8add3f681

    as a source
  1. Mkgego's Avatar
    Don´t get too excited about alpha...

    Do you stream or are a regular streamer ?

    If the answer is no ----> wait for closed beta my friend >_<
  1. NatePsychotic's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mkgego View Post
    Don´t get too excited about alpha...

    Do you stream or are a regular streamer ?

    If the answer is no ----> wait for closed beta my friend >_<
    Exactly, Press will get their hands on it well before any average Joe.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mellrod View Post
    A note to all those saying Blizzard is being slow, or people trying to call the beta/release date, please keep in mind that WoD has been in alpha since Blizzcon and it's just now open to people other than press or special guests. Blizzard has had a long time to work on it since then so saying we'll be in MoP for 10 months onthe soel purpose of an Alpha announcement would be rather silly. If it's in alpha, it's probably a late alpha (but still an overall early version of the game) that wont last for too long before beta. It's more than likely they are just keeping us in the dark atm which isn't too outlandish when it comes to blizzard.
    What you had there wasn't exactly WoD alpha... was more a current 5.4 with shrink, new models and effects and a seriously limited early leveling experience for one new map. No new systems, no Garrisons, nothing that will be the real deal for implementing and working on. Things that would be really going alpha testing. Blizzcon was far from alpha testing... more like a "demo" to "show".
  1. Shinagami091's Avatar
    s 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.

    You heard them Boub. Get mining!
  1. Magemaer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by fionawower View Post
    Some like it slow.
    Stop giving me boners
  1. Count Zero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Magemaer View Post
    Stop giving me boners
    Well, that escalated quickly

    (GET IT ?!?!)
  1. Uglysoso's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mellrod View Post
    A note to all those saying Blizzard is being slow, or people trying to call the beta/release date, please keep in mind that WoD has been in alpha since Blizzcon and it's just now open to people other than press or special guests. Blizzard has had a long time to work on it since then so saying we'll be in MoP for 10 months onthe soel purpose of an Alpha announcement would be rather silly. If it's in alpha, it's probably a late alpha (but still an overall early version of the game) that wont last for too long before beta. It's more than likely they are just keeping us in the dark atm which isn't too outlandish when it comes to blizzard.
    People seem to forget that Development takes a long time. The Alpha stage, either internal or external, means there is a workable product. Alpha's are intended to test the major mechanics and systems in the game, not all the bells and whistles. No one is testing it publicly yet, not the media or friends and family. Thats what the announcement is in parallel with the new framework. So do not fool yourself and think you will see a fully fleshed out game in the Alpha stage.

    That said, Blizzard is pretty good about having workable copies and I would not expect it to be long before they start calling it a Beta. I am personally excited to see the new system and how that will work out. WOW is one of the longest running, definitely the most successful, MMORPG's ever released and for good reason. Blizzard is all about the polish and fine tuning and making sure they release a game better then any other competitor. Are there any left out there that have not already gone free to play? Are there any others out there where the Developers actually listen to their players and make changes to the game based on those suggestions or needs?

    In the end, you choose to play. You want to see something better, then send them a suggestion with a constructive solution.
  1. TheRealDavidTwo's Avatar
    "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."

    Does that mean there's no NDA, or is this only referencing class changes and what-not?
  1. FpicEail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sys01 View Post
    This really has a Burning Crusade smell to it, same thing happened back then, they slowly started with FF Alpha, then Beta etc, and then the final product was pure awesomeness, at least for the times then...
    Nothing says "pure awesomeness" like instances and raids bugged to impossibility, right?
  1. Kobomino's Avatar
    Several more months of SoO, good thing we got other games to play while we wait!

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