The World of Warcraft community site has been updated with the news that the Warlords of Draenor expansion alpha test has officially kicked off. In addition, the team has announced that the "MPQ" file storage system is going the way of the dodo in favor of a new file system called "CASC" (Content Addressable Storage Container).
You can read the full alpha patch notes on the World of Warcraft site.
As geeky as it may sound, we’re extremely excited to be moving to this new file format. It provides a ton of benefits not only for us and our ability to support and patch the game, but also for players. Here are just a few of the benefits of the new CASC file format:
- File Corruption—File repair tools are a thing of the past. The file structure maintains itself, helping to prevent errors during installation.
- Speed—Real-world game performance should increase for many players thanks to a non-redundant file structure—in layman’s terms, the game can find the assets it’s looking for more quickly.
- Patching—Updating your game files should be faster and more reliable. Patch data is integrated seamlessly, and no longer requires double the installation size on-disk when patching.
- Client Hotfixing—CASC allows us to be able to hotfix client game data, similar to server hotfixes, giving us the ability to address client-side issues that would normally require a patch.
- Streaming—The new format provides better support for streaming data and gives us greater flexibility to define how content updates are delivered and released.
- Expandable—The file structure is built to allow easy integration of new technologies in the future that we haven’t even thought up yet.
- . . . and more!
Read the full post, including how to "opt in" for alpha testing, on the World of Warcraft site.