World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor will make some big changes to the aging MMORPG's graphics. However, Blizzard says that the system requirements shouldn't change much with the expansion pack.

Blizzard will overhaul character models for the game's various playable races in the expansion. While these shiny new models will require more from your processor, you might be able to keep your rickety old computer. The new models won't be used if you turn your graphics quality to Low.

Furthermore, Warlords of Draenor will actually reduce the strain on your computer in some ways.

"We are also applying a squish to anything related to stats; this means that in certain situations, there might be some performance improvements, especially when it comes to addons that process combat data," community manager Taepsilum said on the forums.

Players' computers typically perform the worst during large-scale activities like raids or PvP battles. The development team's hoping to make those moments more manageable by reducing the "visual clutter." I guess that means that they're scaling back all the flashy spell effects that they've been adding to the game over the years to take advantage of new technology.

"Client performance is something we care about a lot. It doesn’t matter how well-designed an encounter is: you aren’t going to have fun raiding at 8 FPS. We want everyone to be able to enjoy playing with the new models, and our dev team is working hard making sure that WoW is as resource efficient as possible in order for that to happen."

Taepsilum concluded by saying that players with computers that can currently run WoW shouldn't have to change their systems to run the expansion. They shouldn't experience a big difference in performance from current expansion Mists of Pandaria. Here are the most up-to-date, minimum requirements for the game for PC and Mac:

  • Windows® XP / Windows Vista® / Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 8.1 with the latest service pack
  • Intel® Pentium® D or AMD Athlon™ 64 X2
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® 6800 or ATI™ Radeon™ X1600 Pro (256 MB)
  • 2 GB RAM (1 GB Windows® XP)
  • 25GB space
  • OS® X 10.7.x (latest version)
  • Intel Core™ 2 Duo
  • NVIDIA® GeForce 8600M GT or ATI™ Radeon HD 2600
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 25GB space
Blizzard hasn't shared any system requirements for Warlords of Draenor yet. They'll probably reveal the first specs once the expansion's beta begins. Those requirements will likely change over the course of the test though as the team optimizes the expansion.

The start date for the beta is likewise unknown. However, Blizzard began giving out keys this weekend so the beta may not be too far off.
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