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To Twitch! World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor closed beta goes live today

The headline feature of Warlords of Draenor is its garrisons. Strategy-ey.

A select few will be setting foot on the long-dead planet of Draenor today for the beta of World of Warcraft’s bravest expansion yet.

From 2pm PDT this afternoon, they’ll be stepping through the Dark Portal, establishing a Garrison, and fighting back the Iron Horde – just as we’ll all be able to in a few months’ time. And within hours, we imagine, they’ll be flooding YouTube with the sights and sound of the orcish realm.

Closed beta testers can download the client today, Friday June 27, ahead of the beta going live.

“While you prepare to embark on your journey, keep in mind that Warlords of Draenor is still in development,” Blizzard told testers in an email. “Additional content and features will be made available throughout the beta testing process.”

Beta testers are free to share screenshots and video of their experiences willy-nilly, and to plaster stats and story details all over Reddit. In short: the particulars of Warlords of Draenor are about to become public knowledge.

The expansion rewinds events in Azeroth to before the first invasion of the orcs, when forgotten characters from the game’s parent RTS series fought in and against the Iron Horde. Players will meet them via a well-paced, flexible questing system that Blizzard claim won’t slow exploration of Draenor.

Every player will be given a plot of land on which to construct their own garrison – a home base built from farms, stables, armouries and workshops, linked to new quests, trading mechanics and follower NPCs. And by ‘every player’, Blizzard really mean it: Draenor buyers can boost one character to level 90 immediately.

Lately, Blizzard have been talking up Warlords of Draenor’s first zone, the Tanaan Jungle – a well as WoW’s new human male. What about the expansion has your wallet gripped by the pouch?