World of Warcraft beta gets player-versus-player action

Latest patch for Blizzard's MMORPG will give testers access to an all-out Horde-Alliance war.

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Blizzard announced today it is opening up a new realm for beta testers of its upcoming MMORPG, World of Warcraft. However, unlike previous areas, the new realm will have one purpose--to test player-versus-player combat.

"This new player-versus-player realm is an all-out Horde vs. Alliance server, where the factions can finally battle!" read a release from Blizzard. Besides allowing players in the game's two factions--the benevolent Alliance and the malevolent Horde--to flense each other to ribbons, it will also let the WoW development team work the kinks out of PvP combat.

To that end, the WoW dev team will only be including the most basic PvP combat features--at first. Each new zone in the realm will be color-coded, with green denoting friendly areas, red marking enemy territories, and yellow equaling contested lands. Characters are fair game in enemy and contested territories, but they cannot be attacked in friendly areas unless they strike first. The game will also provide a minimap to help prevent players from straying onto deadly ground.

Those lucky enough to possess a World of Warcraft beta key can download the PvP patch from the World of Warcraft Beta Community Web site, which also has more-detailed information on PvP combat. However, Blizzard says that due to the number of changes in the new patch, testers should "be sure to completely uninstall World of Warcraft from your computer prior to starting the download."

Though it's spent four years in development, World of Warcraft currently has no official release date or rating. However, that hasn’t stopped the lion's share of the GameSpot staff from Exploring the World of Warcraft in an extended feature.

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