- Jump to info about the most recent beta.
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?
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
Closed vs. Open beta
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.
Summary of a good WoW Insider article.
- Top bugs worth reporting
- Game crashes
- Holes in the terrain
- Quest bugs
- UI bugs
- Camera errors
- Other bugs
- Class spells or abilities is behaving erratically
- Grammatical errors in quests
- NPC is speaking gibberish or behaving oddly
- Bugs not worth reporting
Not in the WoW Insider article.
- Bugs already listed as "known issues"
- Stuff with names like "something needs a name" or "TBD", etc.
- Login problems during announced or known server maintenance periods (usually announced on official forums, launcher news, Twitter, etc.).
- 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).
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. MMO Champion may have gotten access soon after the opt-in announcement and an official announcement of the start of the Beta was released late March 21st, 2012.
A 64-bit client for Windows (WoW-64.exe) was quietly downloaded with build 15640 of the Beta that was noticed by some users and clarified by an MVP. 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.
Experience required for leveling changed
|Level||Old XP Requirement||New XP Requirement|
|10-39?||70,200||56,160 (70,200 -20%)|
|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
- Lost Isles (US) - PvE
- Gilneas (US) - PvP
- Mekkatorque (EU) - PvE
- Hamuul (KR) - PvE
Logging in if PTR on account already
The 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.
Beta invite waves
- 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.
- Second wave of 100,000 on March 30th, 2012.
- Third wave of 100,000 later on March 30th, 2012.
- Fourth wave of 250,000 on April 4th, 2012.
- Fifth wave of 250,000 on April 11th, 2012.
- Sixth and mostly final wave of 400,000 on April 19th, 2012.
- Post Annual Pass
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 and Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008 attendees and Blizzard also gives out Beta keys to various organizations (fansites, etc.) for promotional reasons.
The Burning Crusade
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.
The Closed Beta started in early October 2006. They were split into two servers:
- Hellfire (PvE)
- Blade's Edge (PvP)
World of Warcraft
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 (including GameSpy Arcade Founder's Club Members) 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:
- PvE Server (Original Closed Beta Server)
- PvP Server (Added near the end of Closed Beta)
- Beta Server 1
- Patch 5.0.1
- WoWWiki:Mists of Pandaria beta contacts