World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's alpha test is now underway. Invites are being sent out by Blizzard to a small group of gamers.
Past alpha tests have been limited to Blizzard employees along with their friends and family. However, Warlords of Draenor has a slightly larger pool of testers. A few fansite, streamers and press outlets will be receiving invites for the alpha.
"This initial wave is extremely limited, and we’ll be sending additional invites as testing progresses," said Blizzard on the Battle.net forums. "In the meantime, we recommend visiting your favorite fansites for information and updates, Twitch to watch streams, and the front page here at WorldofWarcraft.com for continuing content updates."
Even if you haven't gotten an invite, the launch of the alpha is good news. There's no non-disclosure agreement to muzzle the testers. They'll be free to share videos, screenshots and details on the expansion with you.
Blizzard first announced the alpha back in April. They said in mid-May that they had to delay its launch to give the development team extra polish time. They also wanted to get the player garrisons ready for testing.
Some players joked at the time that the Blizzard was holding back the alpha until the launch of WildStar so they could steal the thunder of that rival MMO. That joke turned out to be sort of true, because WildStar launched two days ago.
The alpha test doesn't feature all of the content from Warlords of Draenor just yet. MMO Champion says that only Frostfire Ridge is available at the moment. Frostfire Ridge is the starter zone for Horde characters in the expansion.
The launch of popular alpha and beta tests are usually accompanied by an uptick in phishing emails. Blizzard warns you that you might receive a fake alpha key.
"Please be aware that no keys are available for the Warlords of Draenor alpha, so be on guard for potential scams using invites as a lure. You can always check to see if you’ve been invited by logging into your Battle.net account athttp://www.battle.net and viewing your available game licenses. You’ll never need to click on a link in an email to redeem a testing invite for Warlords of Draenor. Visit our security site for information on how to identify and avoid scams intended to steal your account information."
Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion pack for the MMORPG. Players can travel to the orc homeworld of Draenor in an alternate history where the planet wasn't blown to pieces. They'll complete new quests and dungeons in an effort to hit the new level cap of 100.
The alpha will be followed by a larger-scale beta test. Blizzard gave out keys to this test at PAX East in April.
"We'll announce which phase they're active and redeemable for when that phase arrives."