Closed Beta 3 has come to an end after more than a week of testing. This was the longest test that we've ever run and I'm pleased to report that I think it went incredibly well.
Before we dive into details, though, first the usual smattering of stats for your perusal:
- Total participants: 314
- Total hours played: 2,359 hours
- Player with most time played: "j" with 124 hours played
- Number of characters which reached max level in: Runemage - 4, Ranger - 5, Warrior - 4, Musketeer - 3.
Compared to last test, there were a few less participants, and (as would be expected) more hours played. Congrats to the 16 players who managed to reach Level 20 on their character already, that's no small feat! If you didn't make it that far, fear not, there is plenty more testing to come before the pre-Early Access wipe where you can continue your quest to reach max-level if you'd like.
Overall State of the Game
This test saw the introduction of the last 'major' mechancial pieces that were still missing from the game (the open-world PvP mechanics, the new Artificing class, finalizing Fishing and Alchemy itemization, etc.). There's still a lot more left to add before we're fully ready for Early Access, including:
- The end-game dungeon, Tradua Mines
- The rest of the side quests
- A few more mechanics for each combat class
- General polish on a whole host of things such as the Market Stalls, pet system, fellowships, etc.
- Getting the game integrated into the Steam and Oculus stores
But overall the game is really feeling complete and in need of more "polish" than "major pieces", which is a nice place to be.
In addition, this test was a major step forward for us in terms of game stability. People who were previously having frequent disconnects and crashes reported very much improved experiences in those areas. On the server side, other than the occasional bug which necessitated a server restart, things were very solid; in fact, I was out of town for the last 3 days of the test and didn't have to touch the server once that whole time. Overall it seems like the game is now definitely stable enough to launch into EA.
Cleaning Up a Few Things
Now that we're approaching Early Access and the official launch of the game, there are a few things that have changed or are still pending that I want to clear up.
First off, regarding Kickstarter rewards. We're on track to deliver the ones that aren't in yet (such as the Loremaster rewards and whatnot) by the time Early Access begins or shortly thereafter. One change that we are making is that instead of hats, we are now going to do capes (for Founder, Epic Founder, etc.) That's just a result of the way the game actually developed...we ended up using the "back" slot as our cosmetic slot instead of the head. Not a big deal but just wanted to let you all know.
Secondly, regarding game content, I have seen a few people in the community wondering where the Hunting Log is. That content has been rolled into the Sicilus questline which you can get from the Zoo in the Rainforest area. The idea is the same (lists of monsters to find and kill) but we decided to just make it a quest rather than a totally different mechanic.
Finally, relating to that last point and questing in general, the leveling curve has still not been fully established yet. What I mean by that is, right now there is still a bonus being given for regular monster kills above and beyond what it should be, and the quests themselves aren't giving out the correct amount of XP. We're still aiming for the march from 1 to 20 to consist of around 1/3 Main Story quests, 1/3 Side Quests (including the Sicilus quests) and general activities such as dungeon runs, and 1/3 from grinding and monster kills. We'll be doing a final balance pass on that once the remaining side quests are in the game.
The Road to Early Access
The next test will begin November 15th. At that time, we will still be in our Closed Beta testing stage, but the servers will remain up 24/7 (with some occasional downtime when needed to do maintenance or push out a new patch) until the game's launch into Early Access. There will be a full progress wipe of all characters prior to Early Access, as well.
Since the game will be up 24/7, we'll no longer have defined "testing" periods, but you can still anticipate us putting out new content on a regular basis (probably every 2 weeks). At this point we are still on track for Early Access to begin in December; we will announce an official date for that next week.
In addition to Early Access and the Closed Beta, another major milestone that still stands between us and launch is getting the game integrated into the Steam and Oculus stores. We'll have more details on that as we approach it, but anticipate that happening sometime in early December in preparation for EA to begin.
As I said, we'll be back next week with another post previewing the new content coming in the next Beta test, and announcing an official date for Early Access to begin. 'Til then!