A test realm or test server is a realm made for trying out features in development for the next patch. Blizzard usually calls it a "Public Test Realm" or "PTR" for players of World of Warcraft to test features. Blizzard has also recently done a "Tournament Test Realm" or "TTR" to get ready for the Arena Competition.
You can make a character on the test realm from a copy of one of your characters on a normal realm or from a premade. Whether there will be premades or not will be clearly announced. Players on test realms should not be surprised by character wipes, item wipes, or frequent downtime to make changes or apply patches, so don't get too attached to your character on these servers.
For a guide to getting on the test realm, see Getting on the Test Realm.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
Just prior to the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm release, Blizzard switched the official site over to Battle.net and broke many, many links. This may make using the PTRs difficult. One side-effect is that there now appears to be no standard link for PTR patch notes. Check the Patches page for the latest PTR patch notes.
As of Patch 4.2 on Mac OS X only, the PTR had its own launcher called "World of Warcraft LauncherB" that gets called from the regular launcher. Subsequent PTR builds appear to have removed this strange extra launcher.
In Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
As of build 15581, a preliminary version of the pre-release systems patch for Mists of Pandaria was made available on the PTR. At this point, World of Warcraft accounts with a Beta key enabled were locked out of the PTR (appears to load Patch 4.3.4 instead). As of build 15882, Blizzard is referring to the current Patch as 5.0.4, even though the client is still labeled "5.0.3".
Battle for Azeroth
This section concerns content exclusive to Battle for Azeroth.
The first pre-patch build that appeared on the PTR was build 26838. As of build 26871, pre-patch PTR build and Beta appear to be basically the same client.
- Brill (EU) (PvE; not available with Patch 8.1 on PTR)
- Naralex (EU) (PvE; was PvP before pre-patch; not available with Patch 8.1 on PTR)
- Nobundo (KR) (PvE)
- Benedictus (PvE)
- Kalaran (PvE; was PvP before pre-patch; not available with Patch 8.1 on PTR)
- Lycanthoth (PvE; was PvP before pre-patch)
- ^ Kaivax 2012-07-03. Access to 5.0.4PTR and Mists of Pandaria Beta. Official Community > Mists of Pandaria forum (US).
We will soon begin public testing of patch 5.0.4 of World of Warcraft, a patch that will precede the Mists of Pandaria release, and includes many features and functions that are new to the game. We encourage all players who wish to test patch 5.0.4 with us to take careful note of the following:
Edited by Kaivax on 7/20/12 11:00 AM (PDT)
- It will not be possible to access the 5.0.4 PTR realms with a game account that accesses the Mists of Pandaria Beta.
- If a game account has been flagged with a Mists of Pandaria Beta license, it can only be used to enter Beta realms.
- This limitation is on each World of Warcraft license, and is not Battle.net account-based.
- While testing 5.0.4, players will not be able to access zones or content that is a part of the Mists of Pandaria expansion.
- ^ Kaivax 2012-07-20. #3 - PTR Build?. Official Community > Mists of Pandaria forum (US).
The initial PTR build is identifying itself as version 5.0.3.
That will increment up to 5.0.4 soon.
As a result, we're referring to it as 5.0.4. We apologize for any confusion.
- Test realm FAQ
- Test realm forums
- Test realm character copy page