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Posts with tag wow-alpha

Warlords of Draenor Alpha testing begins

Warlords of Draenor Alpha has officially begun! While at this stage testing is limited, players may feel free to opt-in to future beta testing by going to the Beta Profile Settings on your account. Interestingly enough, along with this announcement comes the announcement of a new file format to compress and store game files. The new file format, CASC, replaces the MPQ file formatting Blizzard has been using for the past 20 years.

Keep in mind that this is an alpha announcement -- beta has not officially begun. No beta keys have been emailed out. If you receive an email offering a beta key, ignore it for now -- as more information about the new expansion releases, phishing attempts are like to rise as well. Check out Blizzard's full announcement regarding the Alpha, and keep your eyes peeled -- with a client available, datamining will likely begin soon.

Update: Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas had the following to say about the Alpha:

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

These alpha screenshots aren't quite the World of Warcraft you used to know

Alpha screens
Just how long have you been playing World of Warcraft? Whatever the answer, there's a very good chance you weren't playing when these screenshots were taken, back in the game's alpha phase. The above screenshot, taken off the coast of Stranglethorn Vale in the game's earliest of days, was posted to Reddit along with many others, all carefully annotated.

While it's not quite a comprehensive directory of Azeroth as it was, it's a more complete record than any we've seen and a great nostalgia trip for players who have been there as well as players who haven't. Some of the scenery will be familiar to anyone who played before Cataclysm, though a great deal of it is subtly off from the WoW you may remember. And then there are oddball shots like the one above.

Head to Reddit or Imgur to browse the whole gallery for yourself or read on to see a selection of our favorites.

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Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard

Secret Areas of Warcraft: Where developers go to play

The Dragon Isles

Many of you are no doubt familiar with GM Island (read our 2010 writeup of the place), a restricted part of the map accessible only to GMs. It used to also be accessible to players, if you were ridiculously determined to get there and didn't mind risking a ban. Well, GM Island is not the only invisible zone that exists in the World of Warcraft, and no, we're not talking about Pandaria pre-Cataclsym. There are a myriad of "test zones," places where developers can try out things like textures and mechanics inside the actual game without affecting the places that players inhabit.

The Royal IdP Essploring Fundation (yes, actual name) is a collection of French players dedicated to finding and elucidating unknown areas of Azeroth. What is "Essploration," you ask? Here's a quick translation from their about page for your reading pleasure:

Essploration is the attempt to reach all the hidden zones of Azeroth believed to be inaccessible to normal players. The World of Warcraft is full of places unknown and invisible to the majority of players, sometimes magnificent, often very ugly, and which will never be officially accessible!

If you can understand French I highly recommend reading through the entirety of their about page, as it's very interesting! If not, however, you're still pretty well-off sticking to the English translations of their write-ups.

Redditor Piprap, in particular, called out the RIdPEF's Aléquia Moowisle for this documentation, including screenshot tour and history, of one such restricted zone, known simply as "Development." Development has been in place since before WoW's official release, and has evolved and changed along with the game itself. Aléquia explains that, before Wrath of the Lich King, Development was known from two smaller zones: Designer's Island and Programmer's Island.

More after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard

WoW Archivist: The Karazhan Crypt

The WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? What secrets does the game still hold? If you enjoyed Patches of Yesteryear, you're going to love this.

Contrary to what I said at the end of last week's column, we're taking a break from looking at old beta patches this week to show you precisely why we changed the column's name from Patches of Yesteryear -- some of World of Warcraft's most fascinating mysteries never appeared in patch notes at all. The Karazhan Crypt intrigued many players throughout vanilla WoW and into The Burning Crusade. By the time Wrath of the Lich King rolled around, it was almost entirely forgotten.

The Karazhan Crypt is a piece of unreleased content that is really rather grim. While World of Warcraft has images of death and downright creepy things all over the game, very little stands up to the sights in the crypts of Karazhan.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: World of Warcraft beta patch 0.9

The WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? What secrets does the game still hold? If you enjoyed Patches of Yesteryear, you're going to love this.

Do any of you vanilla WoW players remember how terrifying Teremus the Devourer used to be? He was among the very first world bosses, and boy was he annoying. He was immune to fire damage, frost damage, and magic-based DoTs. Seriously? Immune to fire, frost and DoTs? Yeah, he was brutal. It was perfectly normal to find him rampaging through Stormwind thanks to a friendly hunter kiting him to town.

You have patch 0.9 (Aug. 17, 2004) to thank for Teremus' rather ... aggressive nature. He was in the game world before that, but he would leave you alone as long as you left him alone. As of patch 0.9, he turned into a lowbie ganking machine.

Other patch 0.9 highlights:
  • Hunters opened up for play testing -- yes, after mages and warriors were given talent trees. And they could use shields.
  • Priests and rogues received the first iteration of their talent trees.
  • Micro-dungeon redesigns were put in.
"What the heck is a micro-dungeon?" I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archaeologist: World of Warcraft beta patch 0.8

The WoW Archaeologist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? What secrets does the game still hold? If you enjoyed Patches of Yesteryear, you're going to love this.

Patch 0.8 was released to World of Warcraft beta servers in July 2004. The game was still taking shape at that point in time, but development of the base product had come far enough that Blizzard could finally start adding additional layers of complexity. Warriors and mages were the first classes to receive talent trees, and that happened in this patch.

Other notable additions in patch 0.8 include ...
  • Players who died in PvP against a player or PvP-flagged NPC had to wait in time-out for 2 minutes before they could resurrect via corpse retrieval.
  • The level cap was raised to 50.
  • Sunken Temple and Razorfen Downs were opened and itemized.
  • Rogues lost the ability to use bucklers (shields).
  • Tauren were given the Plainsrunning ability.
Follow us behind the cut for the full patch 0.8 patch notes and discussion of the highlights!

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Filed under: Blizzard, WoW Archivist

WoW Moviewatch: Stormwind and Ironforge Alpha

In celebration of today ushering in five years of WoW, let's take a step away from traditional Moviewatch material and look at some early alpha and beta footage from Stormwind and Ironforge.

The footage is quite astounding when you watch it. You'll notice that there are entire sections of both cities which have changed dramatically, and indeed Ironforge itself was nearly entirely revamped to remove the "second level" from it. You can see remnants of the second level of Ironforge today in that there are some oddly placed balconies and doors -- it all looks normal to us now, but when you watch the video you can see that it looks much more natural the way it was.

The "internet consensus" is that alpha Ironforge was changed because people were getting themselves lost all the time in it -- something which isn't very good for a starting city. However as far as I can tell that never came out of published comments from a WoW designer, so take it with a grain of salt.

And yes, before some you inevitably ask, Patches of Yesteryear will be returning this week -- although we'll only be running it once every other week due to time constraints.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Around Azeroth: Five years later...

You'll be hearing a lot about WoW's five years today. We've done some hard work in pulling up some interesting things to show you all, and are going to start giving away some cool stuff too.

So for today's Around Azeroth we wanted to do something a little unique. Instead of your typical awesome screenshot, we went with your untypically awesome alpha shot. Back from when WoW was version 0.01 and stuff like that. In the above screenshot you can see some of the early looking models. I don't think they look particularly bad.

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, Val'kyr on mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran. Older screenshots can be found here.

Filed under: Around Azeroth, Galleries

Cataclysm races leaked has learned through multiple sources close to the situation some details on the next expansion, to be called World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

As we're getting into the season of news and information, all major leaks and spoilers will be happening after the break. If you don't want your surprises ruined for you, don't read this post. If you want to know, click after the break and enjoy. This policy worked well for us during the testing phase of Wrath of the Lich King and we're pleased to continue it now.

After the break, the new playable races of Cataclysm.

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Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

The Queue: WoW 4.0

Welcome back to The Queue,'s daily Q&A column where the team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

People responded quite well to the Patches of Yesteryear column that I started up yesterday, so I thought for today's Queue I'd use one of the screenshots of the old UI that I dug up on the internet. A few old readers (yes, you're old farts) noted that the UI featured above likely came from an internal alpha build or something way before the beta 4* when WoW went into "public" beta mode. So the above screenshot and yesterday's screenshot are quite old. Possibly as old as 2001 when WoW was first announced.

And for next week's Patches of Yesteryear column we'll either look at how the models have changed or examine a couple dozen talents that have gone through some pretty amazing metamorphosis.

But enough about that old column, time for Queue!

Siaperas asked...

"WoWHead's PTR site lists a heroic achievement titled: "I've Had Worse". The achievement made me giggle a bit; is that really an achievement on the PTR?"

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Filed under: Expansions, Raiding, Achievements, The Queue

New PTR build incoming

Maaven posted a short time ago that the 3.0.8 Public Test Realm (PTR) servers are being taken offline for an update tonight. There is no ETA when the PTRs will be back up.

There was a recent update to the PTR patch notes, and there has been a lot of activity on the PTR forums from the blues. It should be noted that Ghostcrawler once again today reiterated that dual spec will not be unveiled in 3.0.8.

There's a few of us here that will be up tonight, so check back and see what the new build brings. I'm placing my gold on more clam updates.

Filed under: Patches, Realm Status, News items

PTR character copy is up...for now

If you want to copy your characters over to the 3.0.8 PTR I would do it soon, as in the next few minutes. The copy is currently up and working via the account management page at (go there yourself and navigate to account management as to ensure there's no trickery involved in links, etc...)

The PTR client is not available to be downloaded yet, but we'll let you know when we hear that it is. Expect that to be anytime, probably before the end of the business day on the west coast.

There's a good bit of changes to check out over at the PTR 3.0.8 patch notes. Be sure you do so and stay tuned to WoW Insider for more analysis of specific class changes.

Filed under: Patches, News items

Insider Trader: Wrath alpha edition

As Wrath information is leaking from the alpha testing, we are seeing more and more glimpses into the expansion than ever before. This week, Insider Trader will be analyzing some of the changes and new abilities on the horizon for craftsmen.

Because some people would really rather not know this information, I'm placing all of it beyond the break. It should be noted that none of these details are set in stone, and in fact, many will never make the actual expansion, or change significantly before it.

Still, it is interesting to look into Blizzard's process, as they expand and evolve the professions, and create a new one. A few of the changes indicate that they are indeed listening to some of the ideas craftsmen have put forth for what they'd like to see, and I think we should be excited about some of the developments on the horizon.

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Filed under: Mining, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, The Burning Crusade, Enchants, Insider Trader (Professions), Rumors

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