How to play World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta

Isaac McIntyre

Blizzard has officially confirmed the World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta will be available to play starting from “next week.” Here’s how to get one of the rare early-access codes so you can begin exploring the eighth expansion.

WoW developers Ion Hazzikostas and John Hight hosted their delayed livestream earlier this week, unveiling more juicy Shadowlands details. One included the fact the eighth expansion’s long-awaited beta would go live next week.

Beta testers should get a pretty good feel for the expansion too. The devs confirmed players would be getting a “max level” experience spike. That means they can give Torghast a crack straight away, and grind Covenants with ease.

Shadowlands is expected to bring a host of new content to the World of Warcraft universe.
Shadowlands is expected to bring a host of new content to the World of Warcraft universe.

That all sounds like a fair bit of fun, right? Of course it does, it’s brand-new World of Warcraft content! If you’re excited, that means you’ll need a rare access key ⁠— here’s how to get your hands on one ahead of the beta release next week.

How to sign up for Shadowlands beta

Shadowlands beta access will be an invitation-only preview to World of Warcraft’s bumper eighth expansion. If you want a chance to try out the new release early, head to and find your “account management” tab.

Once there, all you have to do is change your settings to accept all beta invites. Then, you wait. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the beta access keys, Blizzard will contact you with details on downloading the new client.

Blizzard has not yet confirmed how long the beta testing period for Shadowlands will be, but the early-access realm should be available until the expansion’s official release. As for when that may be, there are a few theories.

Blizzard may have also just locked in the Shadowlands release date ahead of the expansion beta.
Blizzard may have also just locked in the Shadowlands release date ahead of the expansion beta.

Is there a Shadowlands release date?

World of Warcraft players can be pretty assured of one thing: Shadowlands will be coming out in 2020. That was the first promise game director Ion Hazzikostas made during the dev livestream earlier this week.

Dexerto can also confirm there’s an even narrower window it could come out. It was reported earlier this year the Shadowlands release date was the 2020 holidays. Add to that the fact Blizzard has penned in Q4 as a drop date, and that leaves us looking at a November or December launch date.

There is a chance that can be narrowed down more too. Battle for Azeroth and Legion both enjoyed a three month and three weeks beta period. If that same timespan applies this time around, players could have their hands on Shadowlands as early as Friday, November 6.

If all this speculation fails too, there’s always the Shadowlands pre-purchase fine-print to go off too. The expansion has been available to buy early since 2019. It’s message states that players will get their game “no later than December 31.”

Shadowlands - and its cataclysmic Sylvanas-led storyline - isn't far off now.
Shadowlands and its cataclysmic Sylvanas-led storyline isn’t far off now.

Those dates may not be exactly correct, but there is one thing we know for sure; the new Shadowlands beta will definitely begin next week. Make sure you’ve got your permissions set up correctly, and get ready to dive right in!

Not going to give the beta a go just yet, but want to know everything that’s coming to World of Warcraft when Shadowlands releases later this year? Here’s everything we know about the MMORPG’s huge eighth expansion so far.

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About The Author

Isaac was formerly the Australian Managing Editor at Dexerto. Isaac began his writing career as a sports journalist at Fairfax Media, before falling in love with all things esports and gaming. Since then he's covered Oceanic and global League of Legends for Upcomer, Hotspawn, and Snowball Esports.