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    Warlords of Draenor™ Alpha Testing Begins, Battle.Net Chat Live

    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® account, go to Beta Profile Settings to download and run the 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® 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!

    Battle.Net Desktop App Chat Now Live
    You can finally chat with your friends using the Battle.Net client! Just restart the client to enable chat.

    Last edited by chaud; 2014-04-03 at 10:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Ughhh. Gimme an invite

  3. #3

  4. #4
    I'm ready. Lets do this.

  5. #5
    Alpha? What the hell?

  6. #6
    Hell, and I figured they were already in alpha and close to beta.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by m12342 View Post
    *hides in bunker*
    Here we go...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tristaris View Post
    Hell, and I figured they were already in alpha and close to beta.
    Get ready for 15 months of SoO
    Smitus of <Solace>, previously of <SNF>

  9. #9
    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.

  10. #10
    HAHAHAHA Alpha HAHA Can't stop laughing

  11. #11
    Pit Lord RaoBurning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Arizona, US
    New tech makes me excited. Huzzah!

  12. #12
    Someone else said previous alphas lasted about a month before beta opened

  13. #13
    Needs more datamining

  14. #14
    Client Hotfixing.

    Yes please. Change us to that new file system, NOW.

    Enough said.

  15. #15
    2015 release happening !

  16. #16
    Finally. But I really don't like the sound of alpha starting now, was expecting them to skip it. Hopefully it doesn't last all that long.

    The new file format sounds cool.
    Last edited by jacce; 2014-04-03 at 10:41 PM.

  17. #17
    I am Murloc! TEHPALLYTANK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Texas(I wish it were CO)
    Quote Originally Posted by Xilurm View Post
    Alpha? What the hell?
    Yeah...kind of depressing news.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigbamboozal View Post
    Intelligence is like four wheel drive, it's not going to make you unstoppable, it just sort of tends to get you stuck in more remote places.
    Quote Originally Posted by MerinPally View Post
    If you want to be disgusted, next time you kiss someone remember you've got your mouth on the end of a tube which has shit at the other end, held back by a couple of valves.

  18. #18
    To compare, MoP F&F Alpha started 19/02/2012 and released 25/09/2012. So roughly 7 months from F&F alpha to launch. Which would put WoD at roughly 03/11/2014 release if they followed a similar testing schedule. Maybe that estimated date near the end of 2014 wasn't so far off.

  19. #19

  20. #20
    Bloodsail Admiral dannypoos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Hope I gget in weeeeeeee

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