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WoW 11K

The latest expansion from Blizzard arrived in December of 2010. The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm pushed the boundaries even further. New scenery, fresh locations, 85 level cap and fully redesigned skill-talent system coupled with 'Old World-new experience' concept – all these make the latest page in World of Warcraft lore a definite must-have. Artists and writers may have been working hard on this latest cataclysm, but game engine programmers and engineers also managed to incorporate a very useful and contemporary feature. Thanks to a patch released on 21 of March, 2011, the latest treat from Blizzard became official. It may sound strange to some, but a seven-year-old game engine is now capable of supporting DirectX 11 hardware. 

The support of DirectX 11 API is a masterful implementation considering the age difference. The features are not immediately noticeable and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The only time when you might actually notice the difference between DirectX 9 and 11 modes is in scenes with large water surfaces and scenarios with high spell activity. 

 
Can you spot the difference? (DirectX 9 on the left vs. DirectX 11 on the right)

Thankfully, water surface still looks cartoonish, and that is really a good thing, since overall it does not stand as 'real life looking' water, which most definitely would have looked out of place. You might be asking why we dedicated a whole review to a minor feature change. Well, there is much more going on behind the scenes besides water and magic special effects.

Last time we took a look at World of Warcraft was about a year ago. Since then a whole generation of graphics cards has been released and with recent expansion pack engine update a lot of readers started to ask just how much more demanding WoW became in terms of performance on contemporary graphics cards.

 
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