Through the Dark Portal Lightly

While I was away on the road north last week I received an invite to the Burning Crusade Classic Beta.

Why thank you

We’re getting close to the launch date, so I suspected that when I saw the email that I was at the head of a group being hauled in for some of the last big load tests, something confirmed in the forums on Monday.

But that is fine.  I wasn’t going to devote a lot of time to a beta in any case.  An early invite would have been wasted on me.

Now, however, with the expansion launch looming, I figured I could spend a bit of time in the beta, take a peek through the dark portal, and see how things were coming along.

The download was quick and the beta just shows up in your launcher like anything else.  It even dumped itself into the already existing WoW Classic beta directory left over from two years back and the ramp up to the original.

Beta available

I got in and had the option to roll a fresh character, spin up a character based on a level 58 template, or copy one of my own characters over.  I chose the latter.

Moving my hunter over

This was quick… and the ease of copying is probably weighing on Blizz when it comes to the $35 price tag they want for a live copy, but that is another story.  I was soon in the Burning Crusade Classic version of Ironforge and headed for the flightmaster to get to the now live Dark Portal.

A Green Portal means “Go!”

Through the portal I was into Hellfire Peninsula and the first quests.  I did stop for a moment to spec myself, remembering that was changed from vanilla.

Actually there

From there I followed the quests to get me to Honor Hold.  The place was crowded.  Not launch day crowded, but still teeming with people running about.

I ran out into the fields to shoot a few mobs and start on the first couple of quests, just to get a feel for things and… they felt kind of wrong.

Yes, there were a few bugs.  I wrote them up, though they seemed obvious enough that somebody probably tagged them already.  But you never know.  That we are about three weeks from launch made the obvious defects a little more disturbing.  But in just playing the game didn’t feel like it was responding like it should.

Here we have to cue Rob Pardo and that long speech he gave way back when about how diligently Blizz worked on little polish details like button responsiveness.  As I ran around there was a noticeable lag between initiating an action and getting a response.  Enough for me to click again or at least wonder if I mis-clicked.

And it wasn’t even constant.  It seemed to come and go.  It was enough though to make me wonder a bit about how things have been going in the beta.  I haven’t really be paying that much mind to it, largely because of how well Blizz seemed to do overall when it came to WoW Classic.  If they can get that right, surely they can get this on.

It is possible, I suppose, that having invited a bunch of new people onto the beta server that we’ve stretched its capability beyond what it was meant to support.

Anyway, I will certainly find some time today to try out the big launch load test that is planned for 11:00 PDT/14:00EDT/19:00UTC, which is a bit less than two hours from when this post goes live.  I’ll have my lunch and help stress the server and maybe get a feel for how ready things are for a June 1st launch. (Though Blizz hasn’t exactly gone overboard in announcing this test, so we’ll see.)

The crazy Outland sky

We’ll be headed there soon.

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