Ray Tracing and Variable Rate Shading Support Spotted In World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Alpha

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Image: Blizzard

Blizzard had merely teased that its next World of Warcraft expansion could be getting next-gen graphics features, but it appears that plan is already coming to fruition. Reddit user LemonKing looked into the alpha version of Shadowlands’s engine and discovered flags for DirectX ray tracing support – more specifically, ray-traced shadows. There is also indication that the MMORPG will feature Variable Rate Shading (VRS), a rendering technique that, as NVIDIA explains, “increases rendering performance and quality by varying the shading rate for different regions of the frame.”

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands isn’t due until later this year, but it isn’t clear whether it will launch with ray tracing and VRS support. This discovery suggests that the expansion will get these features eventually, however, which is good news for a game that some say requires a graphical boost.

As its name suggests, Shadowlands will allow players to explore where Azeroth’s denizens go after death. “The Shadowlands are home to an entire universe of the departed,” Blizzard wrote. “Journey through hidden realms of wonders and horrors that await any who pass to the other side.”

Sylvanas Windrunner, fallen leader of the Horde, has pierced the veil between Azeroth and the realm of the dead, setting in motion a series of events that threaten to upset the cosmic balance between life and death. Azeroth’s heroes will confront the wonders and horrors of the afterlife as they deal with the consequences of Sylvanas’ actions.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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