Tuesday, May 5th 2020

World of Warcraft Set to Receive Ray Tracing Support with Shadowlands Alpha

Blizzard Entertainment is set to bring a significant upgrade to World of Warcraft's graphics just in time for the next expansion. A new Ray Traced Shadow option was discovered by Jaydaa over at the Wowhead forums on the Shadowlands Alpha, the ray tracing settings can be viewed on the alpha but can't be enabled yet. When Blizzard enables Ray Tracing support, players with NVIDIA RTX graphics cards will be able to take advantage of more realistic shadows and lighting within the game. The screenshots show the option for three levels of ray tracing fidelity from fair to good and up to high which will each offer higher resolution and more detailed lighting.
Source: Wowhead
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18 Comments on World of Warcraft Set to Receive Ray Tracing Support with Shadowlands Alpha

#1
johniem
I wanna see people raiding with ray tracing option enabled!
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#3
Krzych
Some people are laughing at that, but older MMOs are a very good place to implement RT, and it just shows that you are not even playing games if you act like that, you are just playing comment sections for whole days and life :p
These games are often not very graphically demanding and very CPU bound because they are single threaded, so there is a lot of GPU headroom. At least assuming the game does not have MSAA, because if it does then applying MSAAx8+SGSSAAx4 is enough to stress the GPU and improve picture quality massively.
I don't know how much CPU ray traced reflections need, but looking at how massively regular reflections affect CPU performance in games like ESO or LOTRO, I wouldn't be surprised if ray traced reflections actually increased the performance, taking some load off this poor single core into the GPU. Next to generational improvements in single threaded performance from CPUs this is the only way to get performance increase in such games, it is not like they are getting multithreading support anytime soon, or ever.
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#4
ZoneDymo
johniem
I wanna see people raiding with ray tracing option enabled!
Going for a Ray'd, only RTX people allowed
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#5
Turmania
Diablo 4 and ray tracing now that would be some breathtsking stuff.
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#6
medi01
It will do amazing, unforgettable thing to your game: bring down your framerates.
2080Ti at 1080p, ain't it cool?
If it ain't, let us sprinkle it with "better than native" fancy upscaling tech.
Still not cool enough?
What if we use more buzzwords, like "AI" and "machine learning"?




RT looks impressive on games like Minecraft, which don't have any sort of shadows/reflections.
Much less so on games already having it.

This is a screenshot of a game running on a 7870 kind of a GPU:



And here is an even older game, from PS3:



Stop pretending most games are like Minecraft.
Posted on Reply
#7
Dimi
medi01
Stop pretending most games are like Minecraft.
I don't think you realise how much time devs spend on lighting everything correctly in games. Raytracing can do all of that on its own.
Optimising games with RT in mind would save them a huge amount of time and money.
Posted on Reply
#8
CrAsHnBuRnXp
Krzych
These games are often not very graphically demanding and very CPU bound because they are single threaded, so there is a lot of GPU headroom. At least assuming the game does not have MSAA, because if it does then applying MSAAx8+SGSSAAx4 is enough to stress the GPU and improve picture quality massively.
I don't know how much CPU ray traced reflections need, but looking at how massively regular reflections affect CPU performance in games like ESO or LOTRO, I wouldn't be surprised if ray traced reflections actually increased the performance, taking some load off this poor single core into the GPU. Next to generational improvements in single threaded performance from CPUs this is the only way to get performance increase in such games, it is not like they are getting multithreading support anytime soon, or ever.
WoW over the last several expansions has been making the game more GPU bound than CPU and has worked harder at making the game work on multi cores. Right now on my 9900K oc'd to 5GHz, I am using all cores with around 62% utilization and my GPU is around 56%.
Posted on Reply
#9
TheDeeGee
Cool, so then people can Raid at 3 FPS instead of 20.
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#10
CrAsHnBuRnXp
If ppl are raiding and getting 20fps, they are on a shit laptop or the same PC back in 2004 when WoW first launched.
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#11
Franzen4Real
I believe this is ray traced shadows only, going by the game setting and a couple of articles I've seen on it. It's not lighting or reflections. WoW's shadows have always been pretty bad and this will help them quite a bit, but I don't expect it to make a huge difference to the overall visuals.
Posted on Reply
#12
evernessince
Krzych
Some people are laughing at that, but older MMOs are a very good place to implement RT, and it just shows that you are not even playing games if you act like that, you are just playing comment sections for whole days and life :p
These games are often not very graphically demanding and very CPU bound because they are single threaded, so there is a lot of GPU headroom. At least assuming the game does not have MSAA, because if it does then applying MSAAx8+SGSSAAx4 is enough to stress the GPU and improve picture quality massively.
I don't know how much CPU ray traced reflections need, but looking at how massively regular reflections affect CPU performance in games like ESO or LOTRO, I wouldn't be surprised if ray traced reflections actually increased the performance, taking some load off this poor single core into the GPU. Next to generational improvements in single threaded performance from CPUs this is the only way to get performance increase in such games, it is not like they are getting multithreading support anytime soon, or ever.
It should probably be pointed out that Ray Tracing introduces a large amount of CPU overhead. Battlefield for example recommends an 8 core CPU with ray tracing on. If the game is still as poorly threaded as it's always been, Ray Tracing will only make things worse.
Posted on Reply
#13
Krzych
evernessince
It should probably be pointed out that Ray Tracing introduces a large amount of CPU overhead. Battlefield for example recommends an 8 core CPU with ray tracing on. If the game is still as poorly threaded as it's always been, Ray Tracing will only make things worse.
The question is whether it is bigger than the overhead that regular reflections have in those games. We are talking some really old implementations that can even cut the performance in half depending on the area. Did anyone even make practical CPU tests for ray tracing? System requirements is not something I would use as a reliable metric of any kind.

I know it is not very realistic and most of such games won't ever get ray tracing, just something that's crossed my mind regarding reflections specifically, knowing how badly the work in many MMOs.
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#14
Octopuss
Why anyone is still playing this in 2020 is beyond me. What I understand even less is why the developers still waste money on it.
Do you still have to pay $15 a month to play btw? All mmos from that era and before were like that.
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#15
KrazedOmega
Octopuss
Why anyone is still playing this in 2020 is beyond me. What I understand even less is why the developers still waste money on it.
Do you still have to pay $15 a month to play btw? All mmos from that era and before were like that.
We get it. You don't like the game.
Posted on Reply
#16
medi01
Dimi
I don't think you realise how much time devs spend on lighting everything correctly in games. Raytracing can do all of that on its own.
Optimising games with RT in mind would save them a huge amount of time and money.
That is a valid point, except as it stands at the moment, one is replacing time wasted on messing with raster based effects, with solving RT issues (of which it has plenty, including unpredictable performance) and even then, where is the user base for whom one could develop it?

And then there is Crytek's RT demo, running on Vega 56, that could fly right now, perhaps.
Posted on Reply
#17
Scrizz
medi01
That is a valid point, except as it stands at the moment, one is replacing time wasted on messing with raster based effects, with solving RT issues (of which it has plenty, including unpredictable performance) and even then, where is the user base for whom one could develop it?

And then there is Crytek's RT demo, running on Vega 56, that could fly right now, perhaps.
just thought I'd add: Fuck Crytek
Posted on Reply
#18
Abomlol
Turmania
Diablo 4 and ray tracing now that would be some breathtsking stuff.
^this. Because D4 will be on next gen consoles I'd expect next gen engine features in game
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