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In order to get useful and realistic feedback from real users, some software companies deliver pre-release software (a beta or beta trial) to a select number of users to try it out and report bugs, make suggestions, or just give significant customers clear evidence of the state of the product and dispel rumors of vaporware.

What is a beta? Edit

In terms of the software development, beta is usually the stage where all major feature implementation should be finished and the software is in the phase of bug fixing, refinement and stabilization before declaring a Final or Release candidate (sometimes called "Gold" as well). Sometimes major changes occur in this stage, but usually only in response to feedback during a beta trial.

Beta, of course, comes after the Alpha stage where major feature implementation usually occurs, is known to be unstable, and not generally fit for anything more than internal trial of carefully selected users. The stage before Alpha some call "Pre-Alpha", "Proof of Concept", or "Prototype".

These stages are semi-formal within the software industry, so "your results may vary".

What Blizzard says about betas Edit

Blizz
Betas are not guaranteed to work for all | 2012-04-14 15:03 | Kaltonis
"A real beta rarely works, and when it does, it doesn't work well."

Unlike a lot of companies who invite players into "betas" that are little more than game demos of stable preview builds, Blizzard brings in players to an ever-changing process where our programmers are constantly making changes to the "guts" of the game.

What does that mean for you?

Betas are not guaranteed to work for individual players, ever. It's entirely possible that some users will receive a beta invite, only to find that they're never actually able to play it. This is simply the nature of a true beta. While we'd prefer everyone to be able to have a little fun while helping us test the content and servers, the purpose of the beta is to prepare Mists of Pandaria for launch, not to provide a gaming experience for beta testers.

Additionally, because of how quickly conditions change in a beta, it is extremely difficult to provide technical support that is specific to Mists of Pandaria issues. If it seems like the help you receive is very general in nature (update drivers, uninstall security programs, etc.) it's because the tech support staff does not have more specific information on the issue you are dealing with. Please remember that Blizzard is under no obligation to provide support for a product in beta, although we do try when possible.

All of that being said, we do hope that most of you will enjoy your sneak-peek into the game design process. Just be advised that trying to play a beta like it's a finished game will likely result in a very frustrating experience. Take care out there!

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Closed vs. Open beta Edit

The terms "closed beta" and "open beta" are also used when referring to the actual beta trial period of testing. The usage of these terms is not consistent, but the following definitions can be used as a guideline:

  • Closed beta - Only a selected group of users are invited to the beta trial with varying criteria. Some closed betas are very restrictive and others are tied to a promotion or some other easily obtainable criteria (like purchasing the Annual Pass). Invitation, of course, is not guaranteed.
  • Open beta - This is basically a trial which is usually only restricted by the need to download the software and go through some sort of registration process. Users may be required to meet some minimum hardware and software requirements, but usually nothing needs to be paid for or membership in a special group needed.

Reporting bugs Edit

Summary of a good WoW Insider article.[1]

Top bugs worth reporting
  1. Game crashes
  2. Holes in the terrain
  3. Quest bugs
  4. UI bugs
  5. Camera errors
Other bugs
  1. Class spells or abilities is behaving erratically
  2. Grammatical errors in quests
  3. NPC is speaking gibberish or behaving oddly
Bugs not worth reporting

Not in the WoW Insider article.

  1. Bugs already listed as "known issues"[2]
  2. Stuff with names like "something needs a name" or "TBD", etc.
  3. Login problems during announced or known server maintenance periods (usually announced on official forums, launcher news, Twitter, etc.).
  4. Problems widely reported in official status forums and Warcraft news sites (unless it is reported as hard to repro and you have a consistent way to repro the problem).

Battle.net desktop app Edit

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Main article: Battle.net desktop app


Warlords of Draenor Edit

Warlords-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Warlords of Draenor.
Icon-edit-22x22
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PAX East Warlords Closed Beta invite card

Cards for closed Beta invites were given out at the PAX East conference in April 2014.

The Closed Beta (invite only) was announced to start Friday, June 27, 2014 with servers to be up at 2 PM PDT.[citation needed]

Warlords of Draenor Beta servers Edit

As of Late July 2014:[3]

The original Beta servers were split into the following, but the Korean server stopped appearing (for US/EU only?) soon after the start of Beta:

Warlords of Draenor Beta invite waves Edit

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Initial
  • The first wave of invites went out on June 27, 2014 to coincide with the Beta start announcement.[4] No number was given for how many.
PAX invite cards
  • These keys were enabled in the afternoon of June 27, 2014.[4]

Mists of Pandaria Edit

Mists-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
Main articles: Patch 5.0.1, Patch 5.0.3, Patch 5.0.4

A closed beta test period was announced on March 20, 2012 with invites going to Annual Pass holders, press, fansites, friends and family, and opt-in beta testers.[5] MMO Champion may have gotten access soon after the opt-in announcement[6] and an official announcement of the start of the Beta was released late March 21st, 2012.[7]

Level 85 Monk premades were made available on April 8th, 2012[8] (around Patch 5.0.1 build 15544).

A 64-bit client for Windows (WoW-64.exe) was quietly downloaded with build 15640 of the Mists-Logo-Small Beta that was noticed by some users and clarified by an MVP.[9] The key difference between this test release and previous Live and PTR releases was that it was installed with Lancher and did not have to be installed manually. MVP Bluspacecow predicted correctly that a 64-bit Mac OS X client (World of Warcraft-64.app) would be available with build 15657.[10]

Experience required for leveling changed Edit

Circa build 15961, according to MMO Champion:[11]

Level Old XP Requirement New XP Requirement
1-9 6,500[12] Same
10-39? 70,200[12] 56,160 (70,200 -20%)
40-84? 9,165,100[12] Same
85-86 10 million 15.5 million (+55%)
86-87 11.6 million 18 million (+55%)
87-88 14.6 million 22.6 million (+55%)
88-89 17.6 million 27.3 million (+55%)
89-90 21.2 million 32.8 million (+55%)

AddOns in Mists of Pandaria Beta Edit

Since the first beta release (build 15464), AddOns have been disabled.[13] However, a blue post reports that AddOns are planned to be enabled after build 15781.[14]

Mists of Pandaria Beta servers Edit

The servers were split into the following:[citation needed]

Logging in if PTR on account already Edit

Icon-time This section concerns content that is out-of-date. Reason: Need screenshots from new login screen, build 15726.

The Mists-Logo-Small Mists of Pandaria beta servers use the same authentication portal as the PTR servers so you may be given the unexpected choice to login as either "wow1" or "wow2" accounts. If you see this choice, select "wow2" assuming you setup your PTR account first.

Mists of Pandaria Beta invite waves Edit

Annual Pass

From March 29th, 2012 to April 19th, 2012, 1.2 million Battle.net accounts were given invites to the Beta based on Annual Pass signups.

Here are the six waves and the number of accounts added in each wave:

  • First wave of 100,000 on March 29th, 2012.[15]
  • Second wave of 100,000 on March 30th, 2012.[16]
  • Third wave of 100,000 later on March 30th, 2012.[17]
  • Fourth wave of 250,000 on April 4th, 2012.[18]
  • Fifth wave of 250,000 on April 11th, 2012.[19]
  • Sixth and mostly final wave of 400,000 on April 19th, 2012.[20]
Post Annual Pass

Around May 24th, 2012, WoW Insider reported that those who expressed interest (US, EU) in a Mists-Logo-Small beta on their Battle.net account will start getting invites.[21]

Cataclysm Edit

Cataclysm-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

The closed beta started June 30, 2010[citation needed] and ended November 22 2010.[citation needed]

Wrath of the Lich King Edit

Wrath-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.

Opt-ins for the public beta began on July 3rd, 2008; the beta began on July 17th.

Beta keys were given out to BlizzCon 2007[22] and Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008[23] attendees and Blizzard also gives out Beta keys to various organizations (fansites, etc.) for promotional reasons.[24]

Wrath of the Lich King beta opt-in Edit

Before the Wrath of the Lich King expansion was released, there was a beta opt-in program, where players could add their name to a pool and might get randomly selected to be a beta tester.

Blizz
Wrath of the Lich King Beta Opt-In Now Open | 2008-03-07 21:26 | Eyonix

Today we opened the Wrath of the Lich King Beta Opt-In program, which gives players a chance to win an invitation to the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King beta. For The Burning Crusade beta, we randomly invited players from the entire World of Warcraft community. With the Opt-In, our goal is to strengthen the beta-testing process by inviting only those players who have expressed active interest in participating.

Keep in mind that opting in doesn’t guarantee you’ll be selected for the beta. And players who’ve previously been promised beta access through a promotion or contest (such as by purchasing the Dell XPS M1730 World of Warcraft Edition notebook) don’t need to worry -- you’ll still be entered into the beta automatically when the time comes.

To opt in to the Wrath of the Lich King beta, visit the link below:

https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/account/beta-opt-in.html

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The Burning Crusade Edit

Bc icon This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.

Starting late September of 2006, Blizzard started signing up Closed Beta Test testers for the first expansion, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, from different playing areas. The plan was to introduce additional players to the beta test in subsequent waves, thus people that didn't make it in the starting lineup still had a chance at a Burning Crusade beta spot prior to launch.[25]

The Closed Beta started in early October 2006. They were split into two servers:

  1. Hellfire (PvE)
  2. Blade's Edge (PvP)

No open beta for Burning Crusade Edit

There were no plans for an Open Beta Trial of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.[26][27]

World of Warcraft Edit

WoW Icon 16x16 This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.

Starting before March of 2004, Blizzard started signing up Closed Beta Test testers from an unknown pool of people using an undisclosed method of selection. The Closed Beta Trial ran for about 7 months ending in more widely available stress test and then an open beta before final release around the end of November 2004.

The "Closed Beta" was the first phase of Blizzard's stress test. There were three servers and virtually no lag existed. This closed beta is also known as the "First Stress Test". The servers were split up into the following:

  1. PvE Server (Original Closed Beta Server)
  2. PvP Server (Added near the end of Closed Beta)
  3. Beta Server 1

World of Warcraft Free Open Beta Edit

From Blizzard Insider, Issue #20:

World of Warcraft® Free Open Beta Set to Begin by November 8th!

By November 8th, the fog of war will be lifted and Blizzard will invite thousands of North American gamers to take a free tour of the epic World of Warcraft. This will be the final stage of testing for the massive online world before it ships to stores in the U.S. and Canada for a November 23, 2004 Street Date.

Willing adventurers can download the World of Warcraft Open Beta by visiting https://signup.worldofwarcraft.com. The official start date of the Open Beta will be announced on www.worldofwarcraft.com, so stay tuned for additional information.

Players who want to get an early jump on the action can sign up for the World of Warcraft Final Stress Test which began on November 1st. Final Stress Test players will be able to carry over their characters into the Free Open Beta. There are limited spaces available for the Final Stress Test and you must be a FilePlanet member to participate. For more information on how to sign up for the World of Warcraft Final Stress Test, or on how to become a FilePlanet member, click www.fileplanet.com.

Spaces for both the Final Stress Test and the Free Open Beta will be given out on a first come, first served basis. So sign up early, and we hope to see you in Azeroth...


From World of Warcraft® Open Beta FAQ:

World of Warcraft® Open Beta FAQ Edit

What is the open beta?
As World of Warcraft gets closer to completion, we need to conduct another phase of beta testing for final balancing and bug fixing. This phase of testing is the open beta. Many final aspects of the game are being implemented in their most complete form in the open beta, and we will need this time to test these elements as rigorously as possible to ensure that they are completed for the game's launch.
Will you charge people to play the open beta?
No, the World of Warcraft open beta is absolutely free. Blizzard is not charging a fee for you to play the open beta.
Will I have full access to the World of Warcraft game?
Since our goal is to have as much of the game balanced and tested as possible, you will be able to play the most current version of World of Warcraft. However, because the game is still being optimized, you may experience some lag and performance issues. Please bear with us and remember that although you will be playing a version that seems very polished and complete, it is in fact a beta and will not always play optimally.
Do I have to play in the final stress test if I want to play the open beta?
No, you do not have to play in the final stress test to participate in the open beta. However, if you wish to play in the open beta, you will have to wait until its start is announced, and then visit www.worldofwarcraft.com to begin downloading the open beta client and creating an open beta account.
I don't want to sign up for the final stress test. Can I sign up for the open beta now instead?
Once the open beta starts, Blizzard will make an announcement on www.worldofwarcraft.com. At that time, you will you be able to download the World of Warcraft client and begin the account creation process. Once that is completed, you can start playing the open beta.
How is the open beta different from the final stress test?
The open beta will begin after the conclusion of the final stress test and will be the most complete version of the game available to date. It will include the content from the closed beta and final stress test, as well as additional features that are slated to appear in the final version of World of Warcraft.
Do I need to go through FilePlanet to get into the open beta?
FilePlanet does indeed have a role in hosting the open beta, and it has a number of open beta accounts to award. However, the majority of open beta accounts will be distributed by Blizzard directly. Once FilePlanet's accounts are given away, all further accounts will be awarded only through Blizzard. So, if you visit FilePlanet and are told that no more open beta accounts are available there, please go to www.worldofwarcraft.com to secure your open beta slot.
Do I have to be a FilePlanet subscriber to sign up for the open beta at FilePlanet?
No. Anyone with an Internet connection in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States can visit FilePlanet or Blizzard on the day the open beta begins to try to acquire an open beta account. Please note that FilePlanet has a number of open beta accounts to award, but if it exhausts its allotment of keys, you will still be able to visit www.worldofwarcraft.com for a chance to join the open beta.
If I was in the stress test beta, will I get to reuse my old account and characters?
Because we are testing a new version of the game and account-creation process, we will need you to create a new account and new characters to play in the final stress test. Additionally, because the final stress test is a new version of the game, all accounts and characters from the first stress test beta would have been incompatible with the final stress test and were thus deleted.
If I am in the final stress test, will I get to transfer my account and characters from there to the open beta?
Yes, you will be able to use your account and characters in the open beta. You do not need to take any action. Instead, when the final stress test ends, you will be able to continue playing by logging in to the open beta servers.
Will I get to keep my characters from the open beta?
We are still formulating our plans for the characters from the open beta and will provide more information in the near future.
When does the open beta start?
The open beta will begin immediately after the final stress test ends. An exact date is undetermined at this time; however, we expect the open beta to begin approximately five to seven days after the start of the final stress test.
What do I do exactly to get started in the open beta?
Once the open beta starts, visit www.worldofwarcraft.com for further instructions and information on the open beta.
How do I get the open beta if I signed up through FilePlanet?
If you go to FilePlanet to sign up for the open beta when it begins, you will be given an authtentication key and instructions to download the World of Warcraft client from FilePlanet. Please note that FilePlanet has a limited number of keys to award.
What do I do after I download the World of Warcraft client?
After you install World of Warcraft onto your computer, launch the program to be taken to the account-creation site. During the account-creation process, you will be prompted to enter the authentication key that will have been provided to you. After you successfully create your account, you can re-launch World of Warcraft and begin playing in the open beta.
How long will you leave the World of Warcraft client up for download?
Once we have achieved the maximum number of players for the open beta, we will remove World of Warcraft from download. So, if you wish to play in the open beta, we recommend that you download the client and create an account as soon as the open beta begins. After we have reached the maximum server population we need, we will no longer be accepting people into the World of Warcraft open beta.
Will there be a limit to the number of people who can play the World of Warcraft open beta?
Yes, we will have to limit the number of players. However, a maximum number of players has not yet been determined. At this time, we simply recommend that if you wish to play in the open beta that you download the game and create an account as soon as the open beta is ready. Once we fill our servers to capacity, we will remove the World of Warcraft downloader and account-creation pages.
How will I know if I get into the open beta?
If you can download the client and create an account, then you are in the World of Warcraft open beta. After creating an account, you must enter the account name and password you had chosen during the account creation process at the World of Warcraft login screen to play the game.
How long will the open beta last?
There is no predetermined duration for the World of Warcraft open beta. As long as we need to conduct further testing, we will maintain the open beta.
Will I be able to start playing right away?
Yes. When we announce the beginning of the open beta, you will be able to download the game immediately. After creating an account, you will be able to play World of Warcraft.
Will I need to connect to the Internet to play?
Yes, you need to connect to the Internet to take part in the World of Warcraft open beta.
Will there be a Mac version of the open beta available?
Yes. The final stress test and open beta test are for both Mac and PC users.
Who can participate in the final stress test and open beta test?
The final stress test and open beta are available for players in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
Why can't players in other countries participate in the final stress test and open beta test?
The final stress test and open beta test are being conducted for the North American launch servers. We will eventually be conducting open beta tests in Europe and other regions in which we have announced the game's upcoming availability.
I'm having issues with the Blizzard downloader. Whom do I contact?
If you have issues with the Blizzard downloader, please visit the tech support page at www.worldofwarcraft.com/support.
I'm having issues with the game. Whom do I contact?
Please use the support options located at www.worldofwarcraft.com/support.
What are the system requirements?
Windows® System 98/ME/2000/XP OS:
800 MHz or higher CPU.
256 MB or more of RAM.
32 MB 3D graphics card with hardware Transform and Lighting, such as GeForce 2 or better.
4 GB or more of available hard drive space.
DirectX® 9.0c or above.
A 56k or higher modem with an Internet connection.
Mac® System OS X 10.3.5 OS:
933 MHz or higher G4 or G5 processor.
512 MB RAM or higher. DDR RAM recommended.
ATI or NVIDIA video hardware with 32 MB VRAM or more.
4 GB or more of available hard drive space.
MacOS X 10.3.5 or newer.
A 56k or higher modem with an Internet connection.

References Edit

  1. ^ Anne Stickney 2012-04-09. Beta Testing 101: 5 things you should always report. WoW Insider.
  2. ^ Blizz Sapperwix. Beta Known Issues - Updated date. Official Mists of Pandaria Beta > Beta Bug Report forum (US). Retrieved on 2012-04-09.
  3. ^ Beta Server Renaming - July 24th. Official Warlords of Draenor Beta (2014-07-24). Archived from the original on 2014-07-24.
  4. ^ a b @Warcraft 2014-06-27. The #Warlords of Draenor beta is now live! First wave of invites delivered: http://bit.ly/1pzx6GG pic.twitter.com/dHJMYgCcrc. Twitter.com.
  5. ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2012-03-21. Mists of Pandaria™ Beta Opt-in and FAQ. Official World of Warcraft Community site (US).
       Blizzard Entertainment 2012-03-21. Mists of Pandaria™ Beta Opt-in and FAQ. Official World of Warcraft Community site (EU).
  6. ^ Boubouille. Mists of Pandaria Beta - Smells like Panda Spirit. MMO Champion.
  7. ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2012-03-22. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Beta is Live!. Official World of Warcraft Community site (US).
       Blizzard Entertainment 2012-03-22. World of Warcraft®: Mists of Pandaria™ Beta Live!. Official World of Warcraft Community site (EU).
  8. ^ chaud 2012-03-08. Stormstout Brewery Preview, Valley of the Four Winds Preview, New Quest Icons. MMO Champion.
  9. ^ Beta 64-bit Client. Official Mists of Pandaria Beta > Beta Technical Support forum (US). Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  10. ^ MVP Bluspacecow 2012-05-01. #1 - 64 bit OS X Client for MoP Beta coming ..... Official forum (US).
  11. ^ chaud 2012-08-11. Experience to Level Changed, Character Creation Gear, Blue Posts, Weekly Roundup. MMO Champion.
  12. ^ a b c Experience to level by level
  13. ^ Blizz Nethaera 2012-03-22. #11 - How do you use addons?. Official Mists of Pandaria Beta > Beta Feedback forum (US)
    Addons are currently disabled in the beta. It's important that we do this so that we can tell the difference between a client error and an addon error. We'll notify everyone when we're at the point that we enable them again.
  14. ^ Blizz Vaeflare 2012-06-27. UI Addons Enabled in the Next Beta Build. Official Mists of Pandaria Beta > Beta Feedback forum (US)
    Starting with the next Mists of Pandaria beta build, we plan to enable the use of UI addons.
  15. ^ Blizz Bashiok 2012-03-29. 100,000 Annual Pass Invites On Their Way. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  16. ^ Blizz Bashiok 2012-03-30. 100,000 More Beta-Test Invites. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  17. ^ Blizz Bashiok 2012-03-30. Even More (Another 100,000) Beta Invites. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  18. ^ Blizz Bashiok 2012-04-04. Incoming: 250,000 More Beta Invites. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  19. ^ Blizz Kaivax 2012-04-11. Another 250,000 Beta Invites Are Heading Out. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  20. ^ Blizz Bashiok 2012-04-19. 400,000 Annual Pass Invites Sent. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  21. ^ Anne Stickney 2012-05-24. More Mists of Pandaria beta passes may be on the way. WoW Insider.
  22. ^ BlizzCon 2007 goodie bag page: BlizzCon - Goodies And Swag. Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2009-02-13.
  23. ^ WWI '08 goodie bag page (XML won't display): Goody Bag. Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2010-07-26.
  24. ^ bad link Official Wrath of the Lich King Beta FAQ
  25. ^ Tudor Stefanescu 2006-09-27. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Beta Signups Underway. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  26. ^ Rushster 2006-08-31. No Closed Beta Apps. Archive News >> August 2006. WorldofWar.net. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  27. ^ Tudor Stefanescu, Games Editor 2006-09-01. No Open Beta for Burning Crusade - With alpha testing underway, closed beta is also confirmed. News.Softpedia.com. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.

See also Edit

Warlords-Logo-Small β
Mists-Logo-Small β

External links Edit

Beta info
Warlords-Logo-Small Beta
Icon-edit-22x22
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Mists-Logo-Small Beta
Mists-Logo-Small News

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