Closed Alpha Test 6 Recap

We've wrapped up our sixth Closed Alpha test this weekend, and it was a doozy, with the new weather system, sky effects, and the first big chunk of quests available to play through. First, a few quick stats:

  • Participants: 75
  • Total time played: 323 hours, average of 4.3 hours/player
  • Unfortunately I don't have a "most played time per player" stat this time as I forgot to reset the counter :\
  • 7 players made it all the way through the current Main Story quest chain by completing the "Bishop Roma Plot" quest.

The story for this test is pretty much the same as the last in terms of participants and time played. I want to take a moment to thank all of our Alpha Testers who have logged in pretty much every test and been active in helping us test the game and track down bugs. Your support and enthusiasm for the game has really been a huge motivator for us on the team in getting us toward the finish line, so thank you!

State of the Game

Since we're officially at the point in the game development cycle that we anticipated ending the Alpha, I thought I would take a moment to consider the overall state of the game and how we've done in meeting our goals.

Overall, I'm really pleased with how things have gone since the Kickstarter campaign ended. We've got a really great community that is beginning to appear and support the game, and the Closed Alpha tests have largely served their purpose, allowing us to rapidly add new features and mechanics while our Epic Founder backers have been able to preview the game and help us with finding bugs and fine tuning things.

At this point we basically have a complete MMO, which is kind of crazy to consider. We have players, characters, 4 battle classes, 2 crafting classes, 2 dungeons, 3 fully explorable zones, 20+ quests, unique NPCs, a story that's on its way to being written, a PvP arena, player housing... the list goes on and on. I'm really proud of our entire development team and how much we've added to the game so quickly.

There are a few key mechanics that aren't yet in the game such as a Dungeon Finder, Fellowships, friends lists, and the Artificing profession that I would of course have loved to get in by now, but I think overall the game is feeling very complete and you can definitely see the shape of what it will become by the time it's done. As we transition from the Alpha to the Beta period over the next couple of months, our focus will shift from adding major mechanics to adding content. So you'll start to see us rapidly adding quests, new zones, new dungeons, etc. as we work toward our Early Access release in Q4 2017.

What's Next: Closed Alpha with a twist

So at this point, our main focus is on the Open Alpha which will begin on July 28th and last for 60 hours. We're anticipating having around 1,000 people participate in that test, based on our current estimates and our previous pre-Kickstarter Stress Tests. Using the averages of previous tests, that means we can anticipate around 100 concurrent users.

In order to help us prepare for that, we are going to be doing two things:

  • The next Closed Alpha test, which will take place on July 14th, will be open to everyone with both Closed Beta and Closed Alpha access. Our hope is that we can get the number of concurrent users online much higher than it has been for the recent Alpha tests.
  • For the Open Alpha which begins on July 28th, we will have a "preview day" on the evening of July 27th which is open to everyone who has backed the game at any level (so that's Epic Founders, Founders, and just regular game buyers). It will be around 4 hours long and will serve as a way for us to hopefully find any last-minute bugs before the Open Alpha begins the following day. The Open Alpha will, of course, be open to everyone regardless of whether they have purchased the game or not.

New Additions for Next Test

As I said, our main focus from now until the 28th is on the Open Alpha, and that means fixing bugs and getting the game and the servers as stable as possible. We really want to make sure that we make a good first impression on everyone who will be dropping by to check out the game. There are still a few things that we want to add before that point, though. For the next test, we anticipate adding:

  • Reagents for Runemage rituals
  • Death penalty and the "tombstone" death mechanic
  • The prototype of the Pet Companion system
  • A more robust settings panel
  • Hair for your avatar, as well as some basic animations to show while you're talking
  • An overhaul of the tuning for the Jungle dungeon, and some adjustments to player class balance
  • New quests and NPCs to continue the player's journey

We may also sneak in a couple of other things at the last minute, time permitting, but most of the work in addition to the above will be behind-the-scenes stuff, getting us ready for the massive influx of new players.

So, we'll see you on July 14th for what will hopefully be a larger test than usual, and we can't wait to welcome our Founders who have Beta access to the game!

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