Hark! Do you hear that sound? It’s thousands of people typing out hurried e-mails to Blizzard employees they’re friends with, flamed on the forums, brushed past at BlizzCon, or even currently stalking from a car parked across from the Blizzard campus (though those kind of requests are usually delivered in the form of cut-out letters on a sheet of paper, tied to a brick, and thrown through the front window).
The Friends and Family Alpha for World of Wacraft: Cataclysm has officially begun, and a few lucky people out there are already downloading, installing, and probably playing the heavily-anticipated expansion. This really doesn’t mean a whole lot to the rest of us for a couple of reasons:
One, F&F Alpha is usually a very small test group, meaning that you’re waiting in the same boat as most other fans and there are less people to party/play with. Two, it’s under heavy NDA. So, while I expect some information to leak out (it always finds a way), I wouldn’t expect many people to try their luck at smuggling images and content out until at least the closed beta happens. We may not even really be able to report much if they do, either, considering how harsh Blizzard can be towards those sites that do so.
Still, it’s a positive note, and it means that the closed beta phase should only be a few weeks out. Chances are if you’re accepted to this Alpha, then you already know someone who works at Blizzard and what e-mails you can trust. I urge everyone else to not fall for scams in the meantime, meaning don’t click on suspicious links, respond to fishy e-mails, or respond to any in-game messages that might promise you early access to Cataclysm. That’s just not the way Blizzard handles things.