Blizzard said on Tuesday that the World of Warcraft team is gearing up to test the upcoming expansion pack, Mists of Pandaria. Once the beta test goes live, Blizzard will invite Annual Pass holders, press, fansites, friends and family, and opt-in beta testers to participate. There won't be an NDA involved, meaning the company plans to ride the free publicity in hopes of reeling in old subscribers who abandoned ship after eating up Cataclysm like a box of Girl Scout cookies.
"As there’s no NDA for this test, you’re likely to start seeing lots of screenshots and new video around the web," the company reports. "Please keep in mind that the game is still in development, and what you’ll see during the beta test is not necessarily representative of the final game."
Hopeful testers can opt-in to the beta by setting up a Battle.net account and attaching at least one Blizzard PC game -- it doesn't have to be World of Warcraft, it seems. After that, gamers can choose to enter Blizzard's beta tests from the Beta Profile page. Simply select the desired franchises and then download and run Blizzard's System Check tool to attach the rig's specs to the beta profile. Once that's completed, it's a matter of playing the waiting game.
"We’ll send you an email letting you know when you’re selected, but please be aware of phishing attempts," Blizzard states. "Some unscrupulous individuals send out falsified emails purporting to be from Blizzard, but are in fact meant to steal your login credentials. For more information on how to identify these emails please refer to our Battle.net Security site."
Blizzard suggests not clicking on any links supplied by emails, but rather to log onto Battle.net and see if a Mists of Pandaria beta license is attached. As for those participating in the WoW Annual Pass promotion, you'll be invited in waves over the course of the beta test. Blizzard will ramp up the number of invites as quickly as possible.
"We’ll be inviting Annual Pass holders based on several factors, including how long your World of Warcraft account has been active and when you signed up for the Annual Pass," Blizzard says. "Keep an eye on your Battle.net account and email for your invite to join the beta test."
Blizzard will primarily focus on getting all the Annual Pass players into the beta first. The number of additional players after that will be based on the team's testing needs. If they require more players, then they'll send out more invites. So far there's no indication as to when the beta testing will end, so there may be room for everyone to play in the beta pool before the expansion goes retail.