We've successfully completed our fourth Closed Alpha test! Hooray! A few quick stats for those of you who are curious:
- We had 89 test participants
- A total of 357 hours was played during the 35 hour testing period
- That's an average time played of 4 hours/player
- Chrontron was the player with the most time played during the test, having played 23 hours.
Compared to last test, the total testing population stayed about the same, while the number of hours played per tester edged up slightly. I think what we're seeing based on those numbers is that there's definitely a fairly consistent population of people who are part of the Alpha and interested in testing it out every test, and the new content kept them playing a little longer this time.
Video Footage and Interview
If you want to check out some footage of us playing the game, including doing the new Jungle Dungeon (warning: boss mechanic spoilers ahead!) you can check out a clip we recorded which I think does a great job showing off the group play from the game.
In addition to that, MasterShadow did a fantastic interview with me in-game where we talked about everything from the testing schedule, to the business model, to the PvP and PvE...it's a long interview but it's a treasure trove of interesting information.
Overall, we're really happy with the way the Alpha tests have been going, but we're really eager to get more people into the game. Which brings us to our next topic:
Testing Schedule Updates
You may have seen me mention in previous posts that I think we're running slightly behind schedule in terms of what I want to get done before we enter Beta. To recap, by the end of Alpha I'd like to have most of the major game mechanics in (such as combat, crafting, looting, grouping, class prototypes, etc.) and then be able to focus during Beta on just greatly expanding the content in the world (quests, dungeons, zones, etc.) There are a few things on that pre-Beta list that aren't quite done yet, so we're going to be revising the testing schedule to add one additional Closed Alpha Test, and we're also today announcing the date of the Open Alpha and the start of the Closed Beta testing period.
Remaining Closed Alpha Tests
- June 16th, 2017
- June 30th, 2017
- July 14th, 2017 (additional test that we've added)
- July 28-30th, 2017 (will be approximately 60 hours long)
- Begins August 18th, 2017
This does mean we are slightly slipping our original Closed Beta estimate by a few weeks, but I think the extra time in Closed Alpha is going to be really important for us to get things ready for you all. The good news is that if you are a Founder backer and really excited to get into the game, you will have your chance during the Open Alpha so you will still get to play the game during July :-)
So let's talk about the Open Alpha. This is basically going to be our big push to get as many people as possible to check out the game. We had a lot of success with our earliest Stress Tests before the Kickstarter campaign, and now we've gone a bit dark on people's radars who aren't in the Closed Alpha while we've been churning out new features and content behind closed doors. I think that the state of the game when those folks return for the Open Alpha is really going to blow them away, just in terms of how much we've added and improved since those early days. If you haven't participated in an Alpha test so far, mark that weekend on your calendar, you aren't going to want to miss it!
Everyone who has an account on the OrbusVR site (including Free accounts) will be eligible to play during the Open Alpha weekend. If the servers become overloaded we may prioritize letting in people who have backed the game, but our hope is that this will serve as a stress test and we'd really just like to get as many participants as possible.
Next Closed Alpha Test
The next Closed Alpha test will begin on June 16th, 2017 at 12 PM (Noon) US Central Time and last for approximately 36 hours (the same as the previous test).
The main focus of this test is going to be re-doing a significant portion of our backend infrastructure, including our networking topology and the way that the server-side stuff is simulated. I'll have more details on that as we get into it, but basically we're taking some time right now to re-do a few things now that we have a lot of experience gathered during the Alpha tests, which should result in very practical, noticeable improvements in many areas of the game.
The downside to that is that it does mean there will be a little less "new stuff" to test next test. But in addition to the above "behind the scenes" changes we should have:
- The prototype of the Alchemy Resource Discipline
- Ore harvesting
- The in-game tutorial
- Player Trading
- Plus of course the usual smattering of bug fixes and improvements based on your feedback
We may have more than that depending on how quickly the backend stuff goes, but that's all we're going to commit to for now just in case ;-).
Okay, well that's a lot of information for you, but there you go! Help us start spreading the word on the Open Alpha, and we'll see you in-game!