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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?

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

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

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

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).

Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria 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.[3] MMO Champion may have gotten access soon after the opt-in announcement[4] and an official announcement of the start of the Beta was released late March 21st, 2012.[5]

Level 85 Monk premades were made available on April 8th, 2012[6] (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 of Pandaria Beta that was noticed by some users and clarified by an MVP.[7] 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 would be available with build 15657.[8]

Experience required for leveling changed

Circa build 15961, according to MMO Champion:[9]

Level Old XP Requirement New XP Requirement
1-9 6,500[10] Same
10-39? 70,200[10] 56,160 (70,200 -20%)
40-84? 9,165,100[10] 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

Since the first beta release (build 15464), AddOns have been disabled.[11] However, a blue post reports that AddOns are planned to be enabled after build 15781.[12]


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

  • Lost Isles (US) - PvE
  • Gilneas (US) - PvP
  • Mekkatorque (EU) - PvE
  • Hamuul (KR) - PvE

Logging in if PTR on account already

Icon-time.svg This section concerns content that is out-of-date.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

The Mists of Pandaria 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 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.[13]
  • Second wave of 100,000 on March 30th, 2012.[14]
  • Third wave of 100,000 later on March 30th, 2012.[15]
  • Fourth wave of 250,000 on April 4th, 2012.[16]
  • Fifth wave of 250,000 on April 11th, 2012.[17]
  • Sixth and mostly final wave of 400,000 on April 19th, 2012.[18]
Post Annual Pass

Around May 24th, 2012, WoW Insider reported that those who expressed interest (US, EU) in a Mists of Pandaria beta on their account will start getting invites.[19]


Cataclysm 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

Wrath 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[20] and Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008[21] attendees and Blizzard also gives out Beta keys to various organizations (fansites, etc.) for promotional reasons.[22]

The Burning Crusade

BC 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.[23]

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

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

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon 16x16.gif 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:

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


  1. Anne Stickney 2012-04-09. Beta Testing 101: 5 things you should always report. WoW Insider.
  2. Blizzard Entertainment Sapperwix. Beta Known Issues - Updated date. Official Mists of Pandaria Beta > Beta Bug Report forum (US). Retrieved on 2012-04-09.
  3. 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).
  4. Boubouille. Mists of Pandaria Beta - Smells like Panda Spirit. MMO Champion.
  5. 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).
  6. chaud 2012-03-08. Stormstout Brewery Preview, Valley of the Four Winds Preview, New Quest Icons. MMO Champion.
  7. Beta 64-bit Client. Official Mists of Pandaria Beta > Beta Technical Support forum (US). Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  8. MVP Bluspacecow 2012-05-01. #1 - 64 bit OS X Client for MoP Beta coming ..... Official forum (US).
  9. chaud 2012-08-11. Experience to Level Changed, Character Creation Gear, Blue Posts, Weekly Roundup. MMO Champion.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Experience to level by level
  11. Blizzard Entertainment 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.
  12. Blizzard Entertainment 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.
  13. Blizzard Entertainment Bashiok 2012-03-29. 100,000 Annual Pass Invites On Their Way. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  14. Blizzard Entertainment Bashiok 2012-03-30. 100,000 More Beta-Test Invites. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  15. Blizzard Entertainment Bashiok 2012-03-30. Even More (Another 100,000) Beta Invites. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  16. Blizzard Entertainment Bashiok 2012-04-04. Incoming: 250,000 More Beta Invites. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  17. Blizzard Entertainment Kaivax 2012-04-11. Another 250,000 Beta Invites Are Heading Out. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  18. Blizzard Entertainment Bashiok 2012-04-19. 400,000 Annual Pass Invites Sent. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  19. Anne Stickney 2012-05-24. More Mists of Pandaria beta passes may be on the way. WoW Insider.
  20. BlizzCon 2007 goodie bag page: BlizzCon - Goodies And Swag. Archived from the original on 2009-02-13.
  21. WWI '08 goodie bag page (XML won't display): Goody Bag. Archived from the original on 2010-07-26.
  22. bad link Official Wrath of the Lich King Beta FAQ
  23. Tudor Stefanescu 2006-09-27. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Beta Signups Underway. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.

See also

Mists of Pandaria β

External links

Mists of Pandaria Beta
Mists of Pandaria News