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Beta Testing 101: Addons and the Mists of Pandaria beta


One of the most exciting parts of the big expansion betas for the WoW community is getting to preview all of the interface changes coming in the future. Addon developers especially appreciate sneak peeks at what is changing to be better prepared for launch day with new releases and up-to-date Lua code.

As a Mists of Pandaria beta tester, it is important to test the user interface and how it interacts with the game. Here are some tips for dealing with addons and the user interface during beta testing.

Start fresh. My first bit of addon advice for the beta is to start by using no addons at all. Piling on addons at the beginning defeats a lot of the purpose of seeing if the Blizzard UI itself can handle what it is being designed to do. Take a look at the UI in a bare state, see the new features with fresh eyes, and play in that mindset for your first run-through of the content. It's part of your duty, soldier.

I repeat: Start fresh. Believe me. Starting up the beta the first time is sometimes a slow affair. Installing a bunch of addons that don't work will make it load slower or potentially not at all. First, see if your game even loads. Then you can start tinkering.

There will eventually be beta addons. At some point, enough people will be in beta that there will be a demand for beta versions of addons. Plus, addon developers want your feedback, just like Blizzard. Beta categories will pop up on your favorite addon sites.

Remember to use regular addon protocol, even for the beta. Download only from sites you trust, don't run executable (.exe) files, and don't use third-party programs. And of course, don't go to gold selling websites.

Nothing will always work perfectly. Addons and Blizzard's own UI will break. Repeatedly. Don't despair -- it's all part of the process. When your addons break, delete them and reinstall. Don't be afraid to throw away stuff and start over. Nothing here is permanent. In fact, let's move on to a very important point ...

Nothing is permanent. This stuff isn't going to last. Don't worry about permanent decisions. Make decisions based on what is needed and what needs testing versus what you want to keep forever.

Test the new stuff. The misconception is that the beta is for you to check out the new content as sort of a trial for whether or not you should throw down the cash for a new expansion. That's not the point of a beta test.

Test the new stuff. When new dungeons or features drop, try them. Test them. Mess around with them. Click all of the buttons a bunch and see what happens. Is it an easy system to use? Then go to the forums and tell people everything you were about to tell the screen. The UI needs testing just as much as the other stuff, so press those buttons, mash that keyboard, and try to rip it apart at the seams.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

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