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Posts with tag beta

Breakfast Topic: Do you play betas?

Though there's always a lot of excitement when a new Blizzard game goes into alpha or beta testing stages -- both Heroes of the Storm and Warlords of Draenor are currently in an early alpha stage -- actually playing games at this point is sometimes less than fun. Alpha and beta games are meant for testing, which means they're full of bugs and prone to changes. But the worst of it, for me, is the fact that none of my character progress is kept -- anything I do in an alpha or beta version I'll have to do again later when the final game goes live.

It's completely understandable that Blizzard -- and other game developers -- need to wipe progress made while the game was still being tested, but for me it kills a lot of the fun because on launch day the starting content is already becoming a repetitive grind. The end result is that while I enjoy reading early news about betas, I don't tend to play them for fun. But what about you, readers? Are you already looking forward jumping into the Heroes or Warlords betas -- or would you rather wait for the finished product?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

It's time for the Warlords of Draenor beta

"It's time for the Warlords of Draenor beta."

Kind of an obvious statement, isn't it? A lot of people are making the call for it, voicing their discontent that it's not available yet, that we're not getting the deluge of Warlords info that one expects from an active beta. The majority of those complaints, however, are just on the surface of the community -- ardent fans that crave more Warcraft.

But the need for a beta now is deeper than appeasing the community's need for new purple pixels. Three reasons:

First, and foremost in the mind of a multinational business like Blizzard, the beta itself is needed to show investors and other stakeholders that the company is moving forward with their flagship property and is executing its recovery plan. Let's not argue about how healthy or not healthy WoW is at the moment -- it has had a subscription drop and the market demands that it tries to recover from that. Part of the rejuvenation process is to release an expansion that alters the gameplay in fundamental ways that will draw players back in.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

The wonders and perils of betas

Here at WoW Insider, like in many other places, we've got betas on the brain. Mists of Pandaria had WoW's largest beta, with a huge audience thanks to the Annual Pass sign-up system. In case you don't recall, the Annual Pass gave players a copy of Diablo III, as well as guaranteed access to the Mists of Pandaria beta, in return for committing to play WoW for another year. As a result, the beta access was huge. Not to mention problematic, as it took Blizzard a really long time to roll out beta access to all the players who'd signed up for the Annual Pass. It was a bit of a nightmare for them, one would imagine, as players felt they had the right to access Mists beta from day one, and just got more and more angry as wave after wave of invitations went out, without theirs.

So, before players even got into the beta, there were problems. Betas, originally, were for testing and testing alone. Testing by a slightly larger group than Alphas. Now, beta access seems to have evolved into a different beast altogether. It's early access, it's getting to play a game before your friends, it's status as someone in the know. Betas have become a way for game designers to get their games promoted via streams and YouTube, and the exclusivity of access creates a culture of have and have-not. Everyone wants to be in the beta, with little regard for how it affects their enjoyment of the game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Hearthstone open beta arrives in Europe

The much-anticipated open beta for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft hit US servers yesterday, and as promised by Blizzard at the time, has landed in the EU. European players, or holders of EU accounts, should head over to the EU Hearthstone site and download the beta, as well as the Desktop Client, if they haven't got it already. The two are tied together, and the installer will prompt you to download it if you need to.

If you're a seasoned closed beta player, prepare to welcome a lot of new opponents. If you're brand new to the game, have a look at the tutorial, and maybe peruse WoW Insider's Hearthstone guides, articles and offerings.

Fear not, you won't be crushed by the overgeared. Hearthstone's matchmaking will put your against opponents of equal skill so that everyone can enjoy themselves. Have fun climbing the ladder, crafting cards, and stepping into the Arena!

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone open beta begins!

The moment you've been waiting for is here, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft open beta has begun! You can head over to the official Blizzard site right now, download a copy to your account, along with the launcher if you don't have it already, and start playing right this very second!

WoW Insider has countless guides and tidbits of information about Hearthstone available for your perusal, so do have a look around while it's downloading to ready yourself for battle!

Do note that while this is US-only for now, other regions' open betas will be going live in the next few days.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Final rounds of Hearthstone beta invites complete

Check your account! If you haven't received your beta invites yet, log in and check as the final round of invites have been handed out. Most accounts that opted into the Hearthstone beta test before January 7th or did not have a Hearthstone license already attached to it as of January 7th should now have access. Check your emails and check your spam folders. Alternatively, just head over to the Account Management page.

Note that the desktop app is a requirement in order to play the game.

Not quite sure where to start? Check out a few posts here on WoW Insider that might help point you in the right direction.
Hearthstone Closed Beta Invites Status

The majority of the final round of invites to the Hearthstone closed beta test have now been completed - We have now directly flagged most accounts that have met both of the following criteria:

  • The account was opted into the Hearthstone beta test before January 7th.
  • The account does not have a Hearthstone license already attached to it as of January 7th.

If your account was successfully flagged for beta access, your account was also sent an email with instructions on how to download and install the game. If you cannot find this email for any reason, please go to your Account Management page - The Hearthstone license should be visible under "Summary" - "Your Game Accounts" if your account was flagged for beta access. If your account has not yet been flagged for the beta test, we are still going through all of the accounts and we will provide another update at a later time.

The desktop app is required in order to play Hearthstone, so make sure to install the desktop app first. If you run into issues with downloading or installing Hearthstone or with the desktop app, please visit our Support site for more assistance.

Good luck and welcome to Hearthstone!

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls closed beta has begun

The closed beta for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has officially begun. Players that have opted in to the beta should begin checking their email for beta invites. Reaper of Souls, the first expansion for Diablo III, features all-new content as well as the new Crusader class, enchanting, transmogrification and of course, lots and lots of frantic mouse clicking. Players that have received a beta invite can check their accounts to verify that the license has been added -- or if you've received a Closed Beta key, you can add it to your account by logging in to your page.

For players that have yet to receive an invitation to the closed beta, make sure you've opted in on your Beta Profile Settings page -- and while you're at it, make sure the page has the latest system specifications for your computer. Keep in mind that with the closed beta, you must have an active Diablo III license attached to your account -- and that license needs to be in good standing in order to be eligible. No banned or suspended accounts.

Also, as with any beta test, the risk of phishing attempts runs a little higher. If you receive an email that states you're in the beta, be sure you don't click any links in the email itself. Instead, log into your account to check that the license has been added, or to manually add a game code. For more information on the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls closed beta, take a look at Blizzard's official page -- and good luck to all those that have opted in!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Diablo 3

Hearthstone internal testing on iPad begins

Hearthstone testing on iPad begins
While we're all acutely aware of the Hearthstone beta being available to those with keys on PC, we all rather thought the iPad version might be coming "soon". And in Blizzard parlance, "soon" might be either next month, or sometime this decade.

However, as Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo has tweeted the following, soon (tm) may have just become a lot sooner.

For iOS users at least, this is exciting news! Could we see an iPad version of the game for download by Blizzcon, even? Those of us on Android systems, it seems, may need to wait a bit longer.

What are your thoughts? Personally, although I'm an Android person rather than an iOS user, I would love to play Hearthstone on a tablet rather than a PC. It just feels like a game that you should be able to play sitting on a sofa or on the bus, rather than sat at a computer desk. So, the news that it's rolled out into general internal testing on an iPad, and ready to the point that Rob Pardo can tweet about it, is exciting indeed.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

EU Hearthstone beta coming "soon"

EU Hearthstone beta coming 'soon'
To all the EU Hearthstone fans out there, Blizzard has provided an update on when you might be able to get your longing hands on those virtual cards. However, it might not be exactly what you were hoping for. In fact, I'd say it almost certainly isn't. The official press release actually says "in a few weeks", which could mean anything from "the same day as patch 5.4" to "sometime around BlizzCon".

Of course, we're all hoping for the former rather than the latter, but even then, they aren't going to open up the EU beta to everyone who's registered all at once. Rather like the US version of the beta, it will be released in waves. Why's it taking so long? Well we don't know, of course, but smart money's on localization. The EU version has to be translated into six other languages, and while German is definitely done, given how it was playable at Gamescom, who knows what the status of the other five might be.

Hit the break for the full Blizzard statement.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone Beta: Playing through the tutorial

Hearthstone Beta Playing through the tutorial
As if you didn't already know, the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft beta launched today, and like any geek worth her salt, I immediately downloaded it and started playing. So I thought I'd give you a brief run-down of the tutorial process and the like.

Hearthstone Beta Playing through the tutorialYou start off with a mage deck, as you load into the game, you have a very dwarven-sounding voice announcing that a new hero has appeared, Jaina Proudmoore. She's the character behind the mage deck, and the tutorial starts you off slow, taking on Hogger. The tutorial is really well constructed and doesn't hold your hand too much, just points out key elements as you go through it with little tip popups. As you progress through the tutorial, you're issued with free cards on every win, of which there are several, and these are added to your deck. You don't get anything amazing, but we''ve heard on several occasions how great pains have been taken to ensure that these cards are just as powerful as the higher level ones.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone Beta Imminent?

Hearthstone Beta The cake is hopefully not a lie
Blizzard Community Manager Zeriyah posted a tweet earlier this morning, which rather cryptically told us that the Hearthstone beta might be happening sooner than we'd all anticipated!

Following Zeriyah's link takes you to a yfrog video of a cake being baked, which you can see a screen capture of in the image above. Apologies for the play button in the middle. This certainly implies pretty heavily that we're going to be seeing a beta before too long, cake doesn't keep that well after all, and certainly not such a delicious-looking cake as this one.

We've heard before, however, about the beta rollout. It's going to start small, selectively, and in the US only, before being extended to the EU and the rest of the world. We've known this for some time, but as someone whose main account is EU it's still a tad disappointing. So if you have a US account, ensure that that is also registered for the beta by visiting the Hearthstone website.

Let's hope the cake is not a lie.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

How to sign up for the Hearthstone beta

How to sign up for the Hearthstone beta
So you've heard a lot about Blizzard's latest game, the free, digital CCG Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and you can't wait to get into the beta. But how do you get in on that sweet, beta testing action? Signing up to beta Hearthstone is pretty simple, but involves a few steps that may not be entirely obvious -- we'll walk you through them so you can have a chance to be one of the first to check out Hearthstone for yourself.

Whether you get into the beta or not, you can get a feel for Hearthstone by checking out the two match videos they've released so far -- one showing Jaina battling Thrall and the other showing Garrosh battling Uther. But for now there's nothing to do but sign up and be patient until the beta gets started. Read on for instructions!

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Filed under: Blizzard, Hearthstone Insider

WoW Archivist: Strange choices behind WoW's earliest talent trees

Vanilla druid talent trees
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

It's strange to think that players who first start playing in Mists might have no idea what the old talent trees looked like. To them, the new talent system is simply the status quo and the image above conjures no memories. The status quo has never lasted very long for talents in WoW. Through the years, talents have changed possibly more than any other aspect of the game. It's a good thing, too, because the earliest talent trees needed a lot of work. Let's take a look back!

The first beta talents

It's not easy to find solid information about the first iteration of talent trees from early beta. From what I can gather, WoW's original talents were more like spell ranks (which have also since been removed). You could invest talent points into particular spells to give them more damage/healing, longer range, etc. These talents were also tied to stats. By investing talent points, you gained stats relevant to your class.

These talents were generally considered workable but lackluster. They were removed from the beta in patch 0.6. Blizzard promised to "make them even cooler than before," and players speculated heavily about what the new trees might look like.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Brewmoon Festival

Mists of Pandaria Beta Brewmoon Festival
Those pandaren sure know how to party. One of the scenarios available for previewing and testing on the beta realms is the Brewmoon Festival. This party is hosted up in Kun-Lai Summit. Right away, you'll run into Brewmaster Boof. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to host a large celebration, and the Brewmaster has dispatched his assistants to gather ingredients for the famous Kun-Lai Kicker. Naturally, good help is hard to find, and the assistants have not checked in lately. You'll be asked to track them down and retrieve their precious cargo.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard giving away even more MoP beta keys on Facebook

With today's news of Mists of Pandaria's Sept. 25 release date, there's sure to be a surge of interest in the expansion, and Blizzard is giving you the opportunity to get into the beta before it ends with a new sweepstakes. All you have to do is follow Warcraft on Facebook and complete the entry form, and you're good to go. They'll draw 2,000 names a week, and half of those will receive another key to give to a friend, for a grand total of 15,000 keys.

Check out the full Blizzard summary below, and get crackin' if you're not in the beta yet!

Mists of Pandaria Beta Key Sweepstakes
We've just launched a Mists of Pandaria Beta Key Sweepstakes! Starting July 31, we'll be randomly selecting 2,000 winners each week to receive a key to our exclusive World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta test. In addition, every other winner chosen will receive a second key to share with a friend! Drawings will occur every Tuesday for five weeks for a total of 15,000 keys.

To enter participants simply need to follow Warcraft on Facebook and complete our official entry form between now and August 27 for a chance to win. For more information about how to participate, check out the sweepstakes rules and eligibility page and our sweepstakes FAQ.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Blizzard, Contests, Mists of Pandaria

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