Expansion pack World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is expected to launch later this year. Before the expansion is officially released, though, Blizzard plans to hold a closed beta test.
Warlords of Draenor's beta will be similar to the tests for previous expansion packs. Players must opt into the beta through their Battle.net profile in order to be considered. They also have to download and run a Blizzard application that records their computer's specs. If you've upgraded your computer since the last beta, it's a good idea to run the app again to update your details.
Beta invites for WoW expansions are typically sent out in waves. There's no way to guarantee yourself a beta key, unless Blizzard offers another WoW Annual Pass. The previous Annual Pass, which came with a free copy of Diablo 3, assured owners a spot in the beta but the exact timing of the invite was left up to chance. If Blizzard did offer another Pass, I assume it'll include the Reaper of Souls expansion pack.
Warlords of Draenor will be available for pre-purchase soon through the Blizzard Store. Players will have the usual choice of a Standard Edition with no frills and a Digital Deluxe bundle with a few bonuses. A physical Collector's Edition will be released through retailers as well. The exact contents of the Digital Deluxe and Collector's Edition weren't announced today. However, Blizzard did say that the DD edition will include an exclusive WoW pet and mount.
In a change from tradition, players will get some perks immediately from pre-purchasing. Digital Deluxe customers will be able to use their pet and mount. Everyone who pre-purchases will also get their free level 90 character boost right away, too.
"That’s a little different from the plan we laid out at BlizzCon, but based on the feedback, it’s obvious that many of you would like the chance to get acquainted with a new class before heading into the expansion," Blizzard said. "This will also give more players the opportunity to experience the current end-game content and the events leading up to Garrosh’s exodus to Draenor. Maybe you’ll get your Legendary cloak from Wrathion and level 90–100 Heirloom weapon in the process."
A leaked survey for WoW suggested that Blizzard would sell level 90 boosts on their own. Today the company confirmed that they'll begin testing that feature soon.
"We’ve also heard feedback from players that they’d be interested in boosting multiple characters to 90, including alts they play with friends on other factions and realms. We’ve been evaluating ways to make that possible without having players go through roundabout methods (such as purchasing multiple boxes and performing multiple character transfers), and in the near future we’ll be testing out a feature that gives you the option to purchase a character upgrade directly. We’ll have more information to share later—including details on our character-upgrade plans for Asian regions where players don’t buy expansion boxes—but you’ll start seeing pieces of the process soon on the PTR, so keep an eye out."
Selling level 90 characters is bound to be controversial. I mean, no one wants to end up in a random dungeon group with people who never played. I think the majority of people who opt for the service will be players that want to boost their alts rather than completely new players, though. Blizzard said that they were going to offer an "introductory experience" for newly boosted characters, too.
Warlords of Draenor allows level 90+ characters to journey to an alternate timeline in which the orc clans have united as an Iron Horde in Draenor. This new land will allow players to advance their characters to level 100. They can also create and expand their own stronghold.