Shadowlands Developer Update
has details on closed alpha testing that
gets underway this week for the new World of Warcraft
will start with small batch of testers and expand from there. If you are
interested in eventually being invited, you are advised to take advantage of the
Beta Opt-In link
Here's word on the testing of this next chapter in Blizzard's venerable MMORPG:
It’s been five months since we first revealed our World of Warcraft:
Shadowlands expansion at BlizzCon 2019. The whole team has been hard at work
transforming the vision we laid out last November into a reality, and we can’t
wait to share our progress with all of you.
Later this week, we will send out our first round of invitations to a closed
alpha test for Shadowlands.
This first batch of invitations will mainly go out to long-time WoW players with
active accounts in good standing, as well as Blizzard friends and family, along
with a limited number of content creators and journalists. This initial wave
represents only a small fraction of the pool of testers that will ultimately
gain access to the test in the coming months—if you’re interested in helping
make Shadowlands better, sign up using the
Beta Opt-In link
on the Shadowlands home page. Later on, as we engage in focused PvP and raid
testing, we’ll also do some targeted invite waves that prioritize players with
extensive experience or expertise in those parts of the game.
When the alpha servers go live, we will have the full level-up experience
in the zone of Bastion available, along with its accompanying dungeon, the
Necrotic Wake. Testers who are interested in checking out our revamped new
player experience can play through the Alliance version of the new zone and
tutorials. We’ll aim to roll out new content on a regular basis throughout the
test cycle—later in April we hope to offer the zone of Revendreth, as well as a
look at Torghast, Tower of the Damned, our endless dungeon experience. We will
continue to unlock content such as zones, dungeons, and endgame questlines when
they’re ready for feedback, using template characters as needed to focus testing
and feedback on specific parts of the game. Once everything has been released
into the test environment, we’ll officially move into a beta phase, wiping all
characters and kicking off a larger round of invites for an end-to-end test of
the entire Shadowlands experience.
While content will be rolled out methodically over the course of the alpha, many
of our underlying systems changes will be apparent from the moment players first
log in later this week, and there will be hints of others that are still in
progress. A few examples:
- Players of all 12 classes will immediately see changes in their
Spellbooks, Talents, and in some cases even their resources. We’ll have a
separate blog coming out in the coming days discussing how we applied the
class design philosophies we laid out at BlizzCon 2019 and giving key
examples of the sorts of changes to expect for each class and their
specializations. Unlike the last couple of expansion alphas, where the
conversation with the community often began with us saying “Let us know
which spells you miss most…” this time around we’re eager to hear whether
we’ve gone too far with “unpruning.” Maybe a bunch of folks actually really
hated Eyes of the Beast all along—who knows?
- We have been making improvements to our quest interface, with an eye
toward better distinguishing major quests that are required to advance the
narrative from optional side quests that tell more localized stories. Our
work-in-progress 3D indicator of tracked quest objective locations will be
available to use, which aims to reduce the need to bring up the map when
navigating the world and help more clearly identify when an objective is
above or below you. We’re also rolling out a system that allows players to
set a personal waypoint on the map as well as share that pin in chat
channels, so that you should no longer need an add-on to convey exactly
where Rustfeather just spawned.
- Also of note are some changes to PvP currencies—notably, Conquest is
once again a spendable currency earned through Shadowlands Rated PvP.
Players will be able to use Conquest points to purchase specific items of
their choice from a vendor in the capital city of Oribos (in an easy-to-find
location, naturally). Conquest can also be used to upgrade that gear further
(similar to how Benthic gear worked with Manapearls in Rise of Azshara).
We’ll have lots more information to share on the details of this system, as
well as our broader endgame itemization plans, as the alpha rolls on and we
reach max-level content.
As our community and fansites dig into the game files that are packaged with
the client in the coming days, you’ll also doubtless find bits and pieces of
data relating to endgame systems like Soulbinds, Covenant Sanctums, and crafted
legendary items. Much of those features remain a work-in-progress and,
especially in an alpha setting, the game’s data contains numerous experiments
and discarded ideas, so please take what you might find via datamining with a
grain of salt. We remain guided by the core philosophies that we articulated at
BlizzCon: player agency and empowering choices. We can’t wait to share details
of these systems with you as soon as we’re able—one of our main lessons learned
from past expansions is the vital importance of carving out a large window in
our alpha and beta for feedback and iteration on these endgame systems.
Thank you for your patience, and we’ll see you soon (no TM) in the Shadowlands!
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