World of Warcraft fans have something new to celebrate. The alpha build for the Shadowlands update of the MMORPG is set to feature NVIDIA’s RTX ray-tracing technology. The new ray-tracing update will deliver ray-traced shadows on Turing graphics cards like the GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER and the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
As of now, ray-tracing isn’t actually enabled in-game, though the alpha build has a toggle to enable or disable it. We expect the feature to be implemented very soon, though. According to screenshots of settings for the Shadowlands alpha, there are three RTX settings available at present, “Fair, High, and Ultra,” At Fair, directional light sources will cast ray-traced shadows, albeit at a reduced resolution. At High, both directional and local light sources will cast ray-traced shadows, though again, at a reduced resolution. Finally, the ultra setting enables full-resolution ray-traced shadows for both local and directional light sources.
Ray-traced shadows are an RTX implementation we’ve seen used before to great effect. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was one of the first titles to support the effect: It resulted in very high resolution, physically accurate shadowing. In a game like World of Warcraft where photorealism isn’t the aim, we think ray-traced shadows might actually run surprisingly well, even on entry-level RTX hardware like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2060. We don’t know for sure but we will update you as soon as the RTX update becomes functional.