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World of Warcraft Beta To Begin 81

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the in-every-toaster dept.
MrWonton writes "The word is finally out from Blizzard: the World of Warcraft beta test sign-up begins 6:00 PM PST Wednesday, January 28th. No need to rush though, it'll be open through February 4th, and it's not on a first-come first-serve basis. Good luck!" Update: 01/27 16:34 GMT by S : To clarify, Blizzard say "you will be able to submit an application and receive equal consideration anytime during the signup period", but only selected individuals will get into this initial Beta.
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World of Warcraft Beta To Begin

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  • This has to be the most anticipated beta in atleast the last year by far. Im expecting atleast 300,000 beta applications are going to be submited considering just about every MMORPG player worth their salt will probably submit one. This makes the chances of getting in pretty abysmal unfortunately.
  • Open beta? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Snowspinner (627098) * <philsand.ufl@edu> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:27PM (#8100606) Homepage
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't an open beta when they just put the client up and anyone can join?
    • Re:Open beta? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by metallicagoaltender (187235) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:32PM (#8100687) Homepage
      Yes, that's basically the meaning of an open beta. In this case, "open beta" was just flat out the wrong term - there's an application and selection process, it has limited geographic scope (US, Canada, and Korea)...either the submitter didn't RTFA (ironic, eh?), or didn't realize they were misusing the term "open beta."

      That aside, I'm curious to hear how the game plays once it's a bit more polished. I've never really gotten into MMORPGs because of the time issue, but WOW looks too good to not at least try for a month or two.
      • Re:Open beta? (Score:3, Informative)

        by DrDoombender (681389)
        Slashdot had a article on WOW's alpha, and basically it said that the WOW alpha was more of a highly polished beta. I really think WOW is going to be great. Plus, unlike many MMORPGs, they plan on allowing players to define the world instead of being restrictive (EG: Star Wars Galaxies where they have a very restrictive rules set).

        One of the things I'm hoping for is the ability to be a deathknight or blood mage in WOW. I'm so excited about this game!

      • by Bethor (172209)
        WOW looks too good to not at least try for a month or two.

        famous last words.
        • Actually, he's said those famous last words a bit differently. Most 'fanbois' will exclaim that a game will look too good to not play, and it will omfgpwn all other MMORPGs. At least the parent only marks himself down for a month or two - the usual 'honeymoon' period.
    • Re:Open beta? (Score:4, Informative)

      by simoniker (40) * <simoniker.slashdot@org> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:35PM (#8100739) Homepage Journal
      I think I'd define it like that as well - article amended. In fact, everyone has an equal opportunity of winning the Beta lottery, in this case :P
    • Re:Open beta? (Score:5, Informative)

      by aSiTiC (519647) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:35PM (#8100740) Homepage
      It's more like an Open-Application Beta. They did the same thing for Warcraft 3. Basically, during the time period they take in say 300,000 applications. They then choose say 30,000 for the first period of beta. Later on they will let more of the original 300,000 into the beta, after a couple months. They don't take more applications though...

      During the Warcraft 3 beta I got in during the first period, one of my roommates got in a month later and then another of my roommates got in another month later.
    • Re:Open beta? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:05PM (#8101099)
      They will be having an "open open" beta sometime in the future, and they will be doing things MUCH differently than the two WC3 betas. Once the applicants have been chosen as soon as they feel the servers can handle more players they will then pick more to test. This sounds like they are going to have a pretty large number of people playing the beta (which is a good thing) if they can do this in rapid sucession without server trouble. So compaired to their previous betas, despite the large number of applications they'll receive, there will be a good chance most people will get in sooner or later. If not that's what the REAL open beta is for.
    • Re:Open beta? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jafuser (112236)
      They made roughly the same mistake in Star Wars Galaxies. They called it an "open beta" when they meant that they were dropping the NDA and that people would be "open" to talk about the game with non-beta people.

      In the process, they got a lot of people's hopes up who thought they were going to just suddenly let everyone who could download the client in.
  • by fireduck (197000) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:00PM (#8101038)
    is the list of playable races [worldofwarcraft.com] complete? and if so, anyone know why Night Elves are included but the regular Elves (Blood Elves?) aren't. Also, why are Undead included with the Horde? I've kinda stopped playing WC3 so I'm a couple patches behind (including the bonus campaign), so I don't know if Blizzard has made recent adjustments to the official canon or not...
    • by fain0v (257098) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:15PM (#8101235)
      Blood elves are a nonplayable race since they are scattered, corrupt, and mostly on another planet. The Scourge are the evil group of undead led by the lich king (arthas became one with nerzhul to become the super powerful lich king). The playable undead race are undead that have freed themselves from the lich king.
    • by MMaestro (585010) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @02:06PM (#8101884)
      Those are very good questions considering what happened at the end of Warcraft 3, the Frozen Throne (the expansion), and the 'Bonus Campaign.' Heres a quick lesson for those who haven't played through it all (or simply want a refresher).

      There's a rogue group of Undead who broke away from Arthas (the former prince of Lordaeron who became a death knight) and set up a base in Lordaeron's ruins (which you invade and destroy in the Frozen Throne). Now keep in mind that this same group of Undead tried to kill Arthas (who emerges in the end as two of the big bad guys) so you can see how and why the Undead would be fighting, well, Undead.

      As for the Blood Elves not being in the game, thats unanswerable at this point. What IS known is that the Blood Elf leader, Prince Kael, swore alliegence to Illidan (the demon hunter you released and left at the end of WC3). You also see the Blood Elves in the last mission of the last campaign but it is not required for the player to kill them off. Hence you're left with only a few alternatives. 1. The Blood Elves (or most of them) were killed off and are now too few to play as. 2. The Blood Elves are in hiding and will be released in an expansion pack, logical but doesn't explain everything without word from Blizzard. 3. The Blood Elves managed to retreat and remain largely in the Nether World (long story).

      As for the Bonus Campaign, theres nothing in it which explain where, when, or why the Undead allied with the Horde (you don't even fight the Undead in it.) I'm assuming that the Undead you play in WoW is allied with a different splinter of the Horde.

      • Why the Undead have joined the Horde is explained in short, on WOW's website in the racial entry for undead. (My assumption is this is a new development after the ending of WC3)

        http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wow/townhall/und e ad .shtml

        Here is the pertinent excerpt:

        To further their dark aims, the Forsaken have entered into an alliance of convenience with the primitive, brutish races of the Horde. Holding no real loyalty for their newfound comrades, the Forsaken have duped them into fighting against their
        • That may be true, but I'm just saying that in Warcraft III and the Frozen Throne, theres never an event that resembles this. The last you hear about the rouge Undead is how they're setting up in Lordaeron's ruins. You never play as them and meet any Orcs, which is probably a condition to be called 'the Horde', nor do see a cutscene/intermission or cinematic.
      • 4. They'll add them in at some point, but they aren't in yet.
        5. They're considered part of the human alliance (maybe).
    • if you click on each race, you get a bit of back story; the gist of it is that a splinter group of undead (called the Forsaken) are waging war against the Scourge (and humanity), and have allied themselves with the Horde to manipulate them into fighting their common enemy. Classic "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" scenario.
  • "For this initial phase of the World of Warcraft beta test, we will only be able to accept applications from Canada, Korea, and the US. The test for Europe and other countries around the world will happen later this year. Please do not contact us for further information regarding the beta test; we will be posting a FAQ in the days ahead."

    Bah I say.

    Q.

    • Why doesn't this surprise me :/

      Just like in Diablo II and any other closed beta Blizzard has done.

      Hopefully they will have an EU server up at launch time this time of tho, unlike D2.
      • Well, you need to be aware that while DII is a very server-heavy game, this just crushes it in that respect, and while that will make it easier for problems like that to come about, it also makes it 100% vital that they be prevented.
        • well true, D2 depends alot on servers - but I'm just thinking WoW will do so even more :)

          Why in the world Blizzard decided to make D2 so serverdependent is beyond me though. SC is very serverindependent and the same could relatively easily be done for D2.

          Probably something about them selling through af french company :P
          • Actually, I think it was just to give them greater control. The biggest single reason was probably to eliminate the most blatant cheating, which it was quite successful at. Plus, it allowed them to delete characters of people using the cheats that do still work.
          • Why in the world Blizzard decided to make D2 so serverdependent is beyond me though.

            Characters stored on servers means that you can't hex edit your character, which was all the rage in D1.

            Ever see someone wearing 3 copies of the same piece of BODY ARMOR in the armor, helmet, and shield slots?

            Granted, there are different hacks, but they're easier to control now.
            • Indeed - the problem isn't with the character being stored on the server (which i definitely think is a good thing). The point is that battle.net performance decides whether the game runs well - not you, or you co-players connection.

              In SC the people who where playings connection was the deciding factor.
  • Is there any known criteria for getting selected as a Beta tester or is it just random choice? I guess my question is better phrased: do people like me, who only play games ~4 hours a week have a chance against the countless hordes of players who play 20+ hours/week?
    • Well, Blizzard has said that it is targeting casual players as well as hardcore players with World of Warcraft, so you might have a decent chance of getting in.
    • by Vaevictis666 (680137) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:36PM (#8101507)
      I believe the criteria is the same as always.

      As part of the application you fill out, you give them info on your PC - their goal for the Beta is to get testing on a wider variety of system, from their minimum requirements up to a brand-spankin-new maxed out system.

      Along with that, they also ask stuff about gaming habits, etc.

      Your best bet is to be truthful, and hope random selection goes in your favor - if you want to be risky, fill out info you may think is less likely to be commonly entered and see if you can get fewer people in your "bracket" of CPU power and playing habits. I'd go with option A though :P

  • by TheCyko1 (568452)
    It's like the Lottery, cept you're trying a win a chance for early bliss.
    • Need a countdown clock for the beta?

      http://home.earthlink.net/~cahbreis/wowcountdown .h tm

      it's already been set as my home page, so whenever i open up my browser i'll know how much long i have to wait until beta.
      • Re:WOO! (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Here's [earthlink.net] a clickable of the parent's link.

        /sigh, I hate when the preview button doesn't work. here's the link that works

  • I checked out the new screenshots of the new Beta version. Beautiful graphics!

    Is it only me or is there actually a big similiarity to the look of the recent mega-hit LOTR film trilogy?
    • You mean in that it takes place in a similar fantasy universe, with orcs and elves and magic? Yeah, I noticed that ten years ago when the original game was released. I don't think it's much of a coincidence that Warcraft is still like that.
    • Hmmm... I suppose you could say that the films may have influenced the graphics of WoW. However, it might be more appropriate to go back to books themselves rather than the films. The original Warcraft (and many other fantasies, both books, movies and games) have close ties to Tolkien's stories. Though he wasn't the first to write fantasies with dragons, orcs, etc., he is widely regarded as the father of modern fantasies. So in a sense, yes the films probably influenced WoW, but it would be more appropr
  • Reminder: Blizzard sues its fans [slashdot.org] under the DMCA. I am staying away from their products.
    • Pfff... Blizzard shut down bnetd because it made it too easy to play their beta releases illegally and out of their control. Sure, it was kind of nasty (especially with the use of the DMCA) but a company protecting itself is hardly a reason to boycott.
      • >

        To me, a company protecting itself by harassing hobbyists engaged in legal activities is a reason for boycott. Even if I accept that bnetd was hurting their bottom line, it was just a program that allowed people to play their Blizzard games multi-player without using Battle.net. There are loads of legitimate reasons to want to do that, and the DMCA (if it were even applicable in the first place) and classic copyright law/precedent have specific exemptions for technology that also has non-infringing use
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I knew about 85 people playing wc3 on bnetd servers, you know how many actually bought the game? 6 people! I'm sorry when the numbers are like that the legit people are a very small piece of the pie
        • Actually, use of unauthorized services is forbidden in the license agreement. So bnetd had no truly legal uses.

          Of course, that's just the letter of the law. Sometimes it shouldn't be applied. Blizzard realizes this. Technically, all the modding that's been done with StarCraft is illegal. But they let it go on, with only one exception. But in this case, bnetd was being used almost exclusively for illegitamate purposes.

          Battle.net works, works well, and is free. If any of those things weren't true, I mig
          • Okay, well, if you also believe in draconian click-through EULAs, then I guess I can't argue with that. (Of course, you say yourself that modding is "illegal" while you seem to support it.)

            If not bnetd, then what about when they bullied the FreeCraft project off the net?

            To me, Blizzard is a bad corporate citizen. A bully! I am avoiding their products.
            • I think EULA's should exist, and should be enforcable, but (at least the ones we see now) should rarely be enforced. So I'm an idealist. Blizzard's anti-piracy basically consists of key checking. bnetd made that ineffective. The only way to protect their softwarewas to shut it down. It was a justifiable decision. While modifying their software can harm them, and is so prohibited, mods don't, and so shouldn't be acted against. Blizzard doesn't act against them, except in the case of the SC->War3 conversio
              • Fine, you don't agree that bnetd should have continued, but what does this have to do with bullying away FreeCraft, a free Warcraft clone?!

                Of course companies want to protect their bottom line, but this isn't an absolute justification for any kind of action.
                • Yeah. I got nothing. That was a bastard thing to do. But that was Vivendi-initiated, funded, and carried out, in Blizzard's name. Sure, sure, like I said, that's still reason to boycott Blizzard if that's your kind of thing. But remember, Vivendi's also reaping the profits from other games--Half-Life 2 soon to be included. If you're going to boycott Blizzard games for their legal actions, don't buy Half-Life 2. Nor the new Counterstrike (of course), nor Dark Alliance II, if that's more your kind of game.

                  N
        • Actually, I remember being pretty pissed at the time that the bnetd people thought they could do what they were doing.

          It was violating the EULA. If anyone here doesn't believe in licenses, then you support neither open source (GPL, et al) nor closed source (EULAs and such) software.
          • You can believe in licenses without believing in EULAs. The GPL is not a EULA. It is a distribution license. For a contract to be legally enforceable, there has to be an exchange of value. For the GPL, the GPL grants you the right to distribute the software, and in exchange, you agree to offer the source as well.

            There is no such exchange of value in a EULA, unless you truly believe that you don't have the right to use software which you legally own.

    • Those were pretty justified actions for them to take, I'd say. Thepeople they were acting against would have supported piracy of their games when they hit retail. Not only that, but they don't like their betas going out of their control, for a variety of reasons. Supposedly this beta is going to include an NDA, incidentally...at least that's what their website said/says.
      • Supposedly this beta is going to include an NDA, incidentally...at least that's what their website said/says.

        I'd be more surprised if it didn't include an NDA - they're pretty much SOP for MMORPGs. SWG had one and for a time the only news was "It's sweet, but I can't tell you why, cuz they'll sue my pants off" and "No, the NDA's not lifted yet. Go home." Whether they do it for legal reasons or to increase the buzz over a title, though... well, you'd have to ask them.
      • All I know is that my friends and I, all legal purchasers of StarCraft, really liked having our own private server. Fuck Blizzard for killing the project, bnetd was cool and legitimate.
        • Why did you like your own private server? I don't understand. For SC, it was really no more than an enforced matchmaking service, it was completely inactive in actual gameplay...
          • There are situations where it is needed. Where I live we got a "local" net of 4000 users split into ~50 subnets. Each subnet is behind a 1:n nat, meaning that all users in each subnet got the same extern ip address(Yes that suck). If a user on one subnet make a game, nobody can join that game due to the nat. Our solution is to make a internal battle.net server to run games. That way we can all connect because we newer leave our local net.

            Besides the "private" server is better then the real one. It got some
  • A company like Blizzard, with the hype machine they can generate and their long list of popular products, does not need the slashdot marketing that the many MANY other mmporg games that are already in open beta could sorely use. What about Freeworld [freeworldonline.com], Biosfear [tiscali.co.uk], or even quirky titles like Socioltron [sociolotron.com] (just to name a few)?

    Anyone whos interested in MMPORG games is already well aware of the WoW beta, and anyone who ISN'T shouldn't be competing for those rare few beta slots in WoW.
  • by Rexz (724700) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @07:11PM (#8105745)
    How are beta testers selected? [battle.net]

    We have plans to give many beta tests away via contests (I hope to have more information on this next week). All other beta testers will be selected randomly from the applicant database.

    This sucks. My Beta test resume is better than my real one.

    • You believe that? If there's any sort of free-form textbox that you fill out ("Write us a little note and say why you'd be a good tester"), then I won't believe it's random, no matter what they said.

      Adman

      • It's unclear whether they mean random as in completly random or random as in a wide sample picked by computer (based on play time, experience, and most importantly, system specs), but I strongly doubt a human being will look at any forms considering the gigantic ratio of applications to early Beta places.
    • I'm sure of it. They are just saying that it won't be random to keep their servers from being overloaded by the onslaught of WoW goons just waiting to play this game as though it's better then crack/sex. And...it might be better in that regard too.

      As for being random... I'm sure that cropping the first few on the list will be random enough for them. Then, they can ignore the rest of the applicants and save on bandwidth and stuff.

  • Blizzard boycott? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Nimey (114278)
    How many of us are sticking to their decision to boycott Blizzard because of the bnetd flap [eff.org]?

    /me raises his hand.

  • by Shihar (153932)
    Why in the hell are you people excited over this game? I am totally blown away by the reception WoW is getting. As far as I can tell this game offers absolutely nothing new other then the setting, and it isn't like the setting was a great leap in creativity either. Honestly, look at the features they promise and try and find the ones they are offering that will be new. What it comes down to is that they are offering more of the same, but swear they will do it 'right'. Please.

    WoW looks and feels like e
    • After the huge let down that was Final Fantasy Online I am starting to think that you are completely correct. FFO was fun for a few weeks but then once you realize that its the same thing over and over and over the game becomes a bore. Until games become like the movie Existance or the anime .hack//sign, mmorpg will continue to appeal only to those who have an addiction.
    • I'm excited about it. I've never liked an MMORPG. Bored within a month? I've always been bored within hours. THis game promises not to do that to me, at least.
    • I agree completely. these games offer nothing new that I find to be of interest. I was disgusted to here a friend say she wants to play WoW because she can ride a griffon. Then a few days later she wanted to play Lineage because the elf's skirt lifts up when they cast. There's plenty of things games could do to innovate. But they're so focused on the "Our classes/zones/races/spells are cooler". What I find of interest is things that add new elements of strategy to the game and make it more immersive, h
      • I want only one thing. Perm death. If a company does TRUE perm death, you will have a one of a kind game. No ressurections, no stupid stories as to why the orc didn't tear your head off to make sure the job is done, no cheap or dirty tricks to get out of dying. If a game builds true, honest to god perm death, that game will be different. If they try and make a perm death game like Everquest, it will fail miserably, and that is exactly why I want it. Make a game perm death, and things will have to chan
        • I dunno about Permdeath but I love harsh death. Lose a level or two, lose your items. But that won't appeal to most people since it has a different playstyle.

          People don't like to play it safe, they like to take risks.. then whine about the consequences.
  • The servers are completely DoS'd. http://www.amazingsyco.com/wowatwow.jpg
  • try www.blizzard.com rather than www.battle.net.
  • I just signed up for the beta, and I am going to tell you I really hate that active x system checker they are using, I guess just as much as making people send a windows system text file or whatever some do.
    The reason is, I have a Pent4 2.4GHZ machine with 512ram and a geforce3 video card, I think the processor is fine and the RAM could definitly be 1gig but the video card especialy is outdated.
    I have been waiting for DOOM3 or HL2 or soemthing to make really want to upgrade, I updated the rest of my system

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