World of Warcraft's next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, has entered the alpha testing phase, according to a Battle.net blog post.
Those wishing to participate in the expansion's upcoming alpha test are invited to opt in through the beta profile settings on their Battle.net account. Blizzard will also introduce a new proprietary file format called CASC (Content Addressable Storage Container) during the Warlords of Draenor alpha and beta tests. CASC offers better support for streaming data, increased performance, faster and more reliable game updates, client hotfixing and prevents file corruption. The company aims to convert all players to the new format in a pre-expansion patch.
Blizzard also released alpha patch notes today. The update introduces tweaks across numerous classes and game system changes. Quality of life changes encompass tweaks to facing requirements, resurrection mana costs, professions and learning glyphs. New content includes the addition of Level-100 talents to all classes and Draenor Perks have been added for all classes, earned from levels 91 to 99.
World of Warcraft's original races will get an overhaul with the expansion, such as a higher polygon count, improved textures, refined animations, new facial emotes and more. Graphical fidelity will also be improved "across the board," updating NPCs, objects and environments.
The game is available to pre-order as a Standard Edition for $49.99 or as a Deluxe Digital Edition for $69.99. Players who pre-order the Digital Deluxe Edition will receive a mount, a pet and a character boost to level 90 ahead of the expansion's release. Players who wish to level boost additional characters can do so for $60 each.
PAX East 2014 attendees can gets hands-on with Warlords of Draenor at Blizzard Entertainment's booth next week, along with PlayStation 4 version of Diablo 3, the iPad version of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and more.