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WoWAug 5, 2020 12:30 pm CT

Step into Castle Nathria as Shadowlands raid testing continues this week

Castle Nathria is the seat of power for Sire Denathrius, the Vampire Lord of the Venthyr, and the first raid that players will be assaulting in Shadowlands — and raid testing is underway in the Shadowlands beta. If you want to get your first look at Castle Nathria (and squish some bugs), you can join in. The next tests are on Thursday, August 6 and Friday, August 7 for Heroic and Mythic bosses.

The raid is ten bosses long and just from reading the Dungeon Journal, I can already see a good variety of encounters. There are a couple of council fights for your multi-target classes, a healer encounter, and some giant beasts that will test your tanks to their limits.

If you want to jump in and do some testing, here are all the details:

Originally Posted by Aelthas (Official Post)

On Thursday, August 6th and Friday, August 7th, we will be continuing our raid tests in Castle Nathria.

Thursday, August 6th

Artificer Xy’mox – Heroic Castle Nathria
13:00 PDT (16:00 EDT, 22:00 CEST)

Sire Denathrius – Heroic Castle Nathria
14:00 PDT (17:00 EDT, 23:00 CEST)

Friday, August 7th

Hungering Destroyer – Mythic Castle Nathria
13:00 PDT (16:00 EDT, 22:00 CEST)

Lady Inerva Darkvein – Mythic Castle Nathria
14:00 PDT (17:00 EDT, 23:00 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a test environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the bosses being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

To facilitate testing, players who have not committed themselves to a Covenant can speak with Acquirer Ta’est inside Castle Nathria to temporarily bind themselves to one of the four factions.

Q: How do I get into the raid zone?

A: In Oribos, Dalaran, Orgrimmar, or Stormwind, you may speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade IV in order to teleport into the raid zone while it is open for testing. (The option to teleport into a zone will not be available when the zone is not open for testing.)

Q: What character should I use to test the raid?

A: Whichever you prefer. We will be scaling players’ effective level to 60 for raid testing, and their item level to an appropriate threshold for the encounter(s) being tested.

Q: How long does testing last?

A: The primary purpose of testing is to give us the information we need to balance the encounters, evaluate how mechanics are playing out in practice, and identify bugs. Once we’re satisfied that we’ve received that information for a given boss, we’ll be shutting down testing. Usually this takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, but there are no guarantees.

We appreciate you taking the time to test our content and look forward to reading your feedback.

Raid testing is one of the most important parts of any patch or expansion beta. It lets the developers get some important data about how each fight feels, and lets them see early situations that players might be able to break for unfair advantages. Remember when Death Knights could use Dark Simulacrum to copy Sinestra’s Wrack ability and do tens of millions of damage with that one single cast? Proper testing helps to avoid situations like that making it to the live servers. Blizzard has an internal team that does what they can, but there’s nothing that compares to the amount of raw data they get when they open testing up further. Plus we’ve seen what sort of shenanigans players like Rextroy can get up to when they put their mind to breaking the game.

Once raid testing starts we know that we’re getting closer to the actual release of the content. It’s among the last things that get implemented and tested due to how many other systems are connected to it. After all, you can’t really get a good feel for how the raid works if you don’t have your endgame progression systems in place. The actual time from the first raid test to the launch can vary wildly but we know that it shouldn’t be more than a few months now — barring any hugely unforeseen explosions on their part. Looking at the two most recent raid tiers, Azshara’s Eternal Palace had a raid testing phase of just over a month while Ny’alotha was closer to three months. If we follow a similar schedule with expansion testing, that would put us on track for an end of October or beginning of November release for Shadowlands.

You can also use testing as a chance to get an early feel for what class you might want to make your main. Performance can vary wildly between solo, 5-man, and raid content — so having the chance to experience the group stuff early can help to nail that choice down for you.

Whatever your reasons for jumping in on the testing, have fun storming the castle!

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