Blizzard blows out Warcraft beta test


For the first time in two years, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft will be getting a revamp in the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor.

 World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor will be the fifth expansion to come out under the World of Warcraft title. The expansion currently has a North American release date of Nov 13 2014.

“We’re sending players deep into uncharted territory with Warlords of Draenor,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, via a press release. “Players will encounter an epic cast of legendary characters and a huge amount of content to explore in Warlords of Draenor.

With WoD currently on the way, Blizzard has sent out a closed beta to some of their veteran players. Beta access allows players to experience the game early, but more importantly, it allows the game developers to see the ins and outs of their game.

“The point of beta-testing a game is to find out your errors,” said Sawyer Walker, a first-year Game Level Design student, who has previously played World of Warcraft. “With World Of Warcraft there are so many critical points that you won’t be able to find out how they work without proper testing.”

With more than 6 million active players, World of Warcraft has more than 200 North American servers that divide up the players.

“For games like WoW, where you have so many people, you have to make sure that the servers are able to hold up at launch,” said Abhishek Chandra, a first-year Game Development – Advanced Programming student.

One of Blizzard Entertainment’s main focuses for the expansion has been their graphics and character models. Through the initial release of World of Warcraft back in 2004 and four expansions, the graphics have remained the same.

“They are replacing all the graphics,” said Chandra. “When it comes to replacing all the character models and environment, it is time consuming.”

Along with the graphics, Blizzard has added many long-awaited features. For the first time since WoW’s first expansion, the Burning Crusade, players are going to be taking their characters off the main world of Azeroth and onto a planet known as Draenor.

“Across Draenor’s savage jungles and battle-scarred plains, Azeroth’s heroes will engage in a mythic conflict involving mystical draenei champions and mighty orc clans,” said Blizzard Entertainment in a press release.

With the addition of a new world, Blizzard is also adding in a new level cap of 100 (10 levels more than previously), a new garrison feature that allows players to create their own town for their characters and many new raids and dungeons for players to group up together and take down mighty enemies.

Running more than 10 years, WoW has dominated as one of the world’s most popular games. During its lifetime WoW’s subscriber numbers have peaked at 12 million active subscribers in 2009 and 2010. Stacked up against WoW, The Elder Scrolls Online subscriber number of 772,374 and Star War’s The Old Republic’s subscriber base of 1.3 million equal just a fraction of WoW’s following.

“When they started they were already an established franchise,” said Felipe Alves, a first-year Game Level Design student. “They set the precedent for games that would follow in their footsteps.”