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World of Warcraft: Shadowlands enters beta next week, full release this fall

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)
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World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (opens in new tab), the upcoming expansion, isn't out until sometime later this fall, but during a livestream today (opens in new tab) Blizzard announced the beta would begin next week. Like all previous expansion betas, this will be a great chance to jump in ahead of the launch and try out some of the new zones and dungeons—though your progress won't carry over to live servers.

Shadowlands beta invites are going out next week, and to opt in you'll need to go to your account management page on Battle.net and toggle on the option to receive beta invites. To play the beta, you'll need to download a special client from the Battle.net launcher.

During the livestream, game director Ion Hazzikostas offered some more details about what changes players can expect, especially if they've been active in the closed alpha test that started back in April.

One of the biggest changes is that Torghast (opens in new tab), Shadowlands' endgame roguelike dungeon that changes each time you enter it, will not restrict how often you can play it each week. That's great news, as lots of WoW's coolest content over the past expansion has been gated by similar restrictions that tend to be very annoying.

The beta will be a pretty complete experience, too. Players will be able to level all the way to the level cap. Hazzikostas said the beta is "feature complete," but there are lots of bugs (obviously), but this will be the first time players can experience nearly everything coming in Shadowlands.

We'll have more on Shadowlands and coming later this week.

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.