Today we are very proud to finally announce the open beta everyone has been asking about for so long. There is still much to be done before the server can be launched, but we would like to get the community involved in the process and help us test everything we have worked on up to this point. Before we move on to the details, we want to make sure that everyone is aware that what you’re going to see is by no means a finished product. The server is currently in a beta state, which means there are still issues we were either not able to find due to the small size of our team or we simply did not have time to resolve yet. If you’re willing to participate, be prepared for all sorts of bugs, crashes, or any other unpleasant problems that may occur. If you prefer a much more comfortable, polished experience, we recommend waiting for the actual server launch. We’ll be very grateful for your patience, understanding and cooperation.
The open beta will start on the 22nd of September and will last until we reach the level of quality and polish necessary for release. We plan to divide the tests into phases, allowing us to focus on selected aspects of the game, starting with 1-60 content and leveling. It is essential to have the testing environment mimic the released version, so participants will not initially have access to special testing commands or boosts except for being given plenty of gold if needed. We believe that the first phase will last a minimum of one week with additional time being determined by both the number of issues found and the time it takes to resolve them. The later phases will focus primarily on TBC and endgame content. Additional information about the beta will be available later either on our forum or on Discord.
We’ve been working quietly for a long time, only revealing a few things here and there. Coming into the beta, it’s important that the testers know what to expect and what to check, so here is a list of most of the things we’ve accomplished so far, as well as detailed explanations for some of them:
Some of the entries on the list may sound a bit vague, so we’d like to get into details.
Our goal is to offer the highest possible quality of PvE encounters, which is why every TBC dungeon and raid is entirely rewritten from scratch. We believe the current, publicly available scripts are fundamentally flawed, so building on those mistakes wouldn’t allow us to reach the quality we desire. Each instance is rebuilt using proper retail data and incredibly in-depth research -- we’ve written new scripts for all bosses and trash mobs, replaced all spawns of creatures and objects, extracted and applied paths and formations, corrected various mechanics and spell behaviour, added all missing events and tiny details, making sure progress is saved through a crash or restart, and much more. PvE content will be fully pre-nerf, as we brought back numerous changed mechanics, reverted spell data, and fixed timers to properly reflect the 2.0 behaviour of encounters. We hope this will make the content both challenging and fun, and plan to explain further details and showcase patch differences that few people know about on our dev blog, which is scheduled to come out in the following weeks.
We’ve put a ton of effort into revamping the 1-60 experience, giving the entirety of Azeroth a major makeover. On private servers, it’s common for creatures to awkwardly stand still, stack together in one place, have too few spawns, and have similar annoyances that make clearing them a chore, cause quests to be tedious or impossible, and just make the world dull. We’ve resolved many of these issues while bringing the world back to its former glory. You’ll see creatures spawned in the right places, moving and grouping together properly, emoting and performing events never seen on private servers, and even utilizing normally ignored mechanics like sharing spawns. Dark Iron Dwarves patrol their keeps, Stranglethorn Tigers and Panthers share spawns around the zone, soldiers practice on training dummies, packs of kodos and hyenas travel through desolate plains, named unique mobs having their respective multiple spawn points with patrols, and much, much more. We hope you’ll enjoy replaying this content, experiencing it in a way not seen since its retail days.
Creatures have important mechanics which are still quite uncommon on private servers. Many of them are handled by our complex AI module used in most creature scripts. It ensures proper behaviour for caster movement when you move out of range or line of sight, moving away from a rooted target, target selection and spell queuing, handling healing spells for both the caster and allies, dispelling debuffs from friends and buffs from enemies, interrupting or silencing foes, spreading when stacked together, calling for help, kiting mechanics, and much more.
An interesting addition we’ve made is proper creature stats. Similar to players, they’ll now have stamina, agility, spirit, strength, and intellect which are affected by buffs and debuffs. While this may not cause huge differences, it will certainly be worthwhile to buff an escorted mob with more health from Power Word: Fortitude or slightly reduce an opponent’s combat capabilities with Vindication.
Rare mobs also required much work. We’ve introduced “rarity type,” which allows one creature to be slightly more uncommon than normal while another is extremely rare. We used official data for retail spawn times based on rarity type and creature level and have applied it to over 300 unique creatures. Additionally, every rare mob will now spawn in their proper places (including ones with multiple spawn points) and will patrol if they should.
A major flaw in WoW emulation is the loot system design. To have a certain item drop from multiple mobs, you have to add a unique entry to each individual loot table. With the immense amount of items and creatures, this scales poorly and results in numerous, frequent mistakes -- a drop chance may be drastically wrong on certain mobs or may never have been added at all. This often leads to time being wasted trying to get loot that’s set incorrectly, or to major gold inflation as valuable items drop far more often than they should.
Our system allows us to create special loot with requirements (such as a level range, location, or types) that most creatures can use. For example, we can set all pages of Green Hills of Stranglethorn to have an equal drop chance from all humanoids in the entire zone. Another interesting scenario is related to scourgestone acquisition, where we assign different stones to each undead mob’s rank and location and no longer have to worry about missing creatures. Overall, we can manipulate thousands of loot items on the fly, easily changing the drop chance or requirements for all sorts of items like scrolls, potions, cloths, armor, weapons, gems, and any other goods.
As this update seems to be getting a bit long, we’ll save a little bit of details for future blogs. If you’d like to know more or join the community, feel free to join our Discord or help us add more content to our new forums.