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News - Warherald.com - Friday, November 10, 2006 Edit
Originally posted 7/14/06
Here are some handy definitions of what the different phases of beta are. I also provide, for the first time, some extremely vague and tentative dates. Some of you have already won betas, and to spare you the whole "having to read" thing, you are listed as "Early Spring 2007." In theory and indeed in schedule, it may be sooner than that - but I am a bitter, cranky, old community weenie who has been through many betas, and I no longer believe in anything I can't grasp in my withered talons.
EDITED, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9th, 2006. Clarifications, mostly, but one fairly giant change relating to my not totally understanding the implications of us becoming EA Mythic. All of my dates are still listed as they were on 7/14/06.
Alpha: What began in July. I made the grievous error of calling it a very early beta, for which I am terminally sorry. I will regret that until I die. Alpha does not have anyone playing who does not draw a paycheck from Mythic.
Double Secret Beta: What we will be in "Soon, TM." That is just beyond alpha, and includes people who draw paychecks from Mythic and selected partners. STARTS: Summer 2006
First Stage of Closed Beta (Beta 1): What we are in now. Sometimes called "Friends and Family," somewhat inaccurately, this is a stage where there is actually a game, but it is not usually very complete or even stable for that matter.
People who don't work here are in this stage, but usually fewer than a hundred, and they are nearly all such old, old friends that they are often mistaken for employees. STARTS: Fall 2006
EDITED TO ADD, 11/9/06: Tragically, when I originally wrote this document in mid-July '06, I was still learning the EA ropes. I defined "First Closed" with the old Mythic way, because we were a pretty small company. Now, with thousands of employees around the world, this phase of beta is "EA Employee Only." Double Secret Beta is EA Mythic Studio Only. In this first closed phase, we begin including people outside our studio, but bound by the employee NDA.
Beta 1.7, After Things Stop Going Boom Every Day: This is the stage you'll start seeing community testers. People who have tested for Mythic for years, or have been otherwise recommended to us as quality volunteer testers, are starting to be included. There is usually a restriction on how many people get in at this point, and often perfectly wonderful people are left out. STARTS: TENTATIVE DATE: Early 2007
Beta 2: Still closed and covered under NDA, invitees include prize winners, guilds that win the guild contest, and some members of the print and web media - usually the ones we have relationships with. People who work at GW retail shops are getting in here, and we've got some plans for existing Dark Age of Camelot players to be invited to check out their new sibling. There will be up to a thousand people by the end of Beta 2. STARTS: TENTATIVE DATE: Early Spring 2007
Beta 3: Closed, NDA. This is where Lady Luck will wave her wand. We will be choosing randomly from the giant pool of people who are subscribed to our newsletter. This phase will have thousands of people invited, possibly as many as ten thousand. STARTS: TENTATIVE DATE: Summer 2007
Final Beta: No NDA. Because there is no NDA, people often refer to this as "open beta." But I wanted to be really clear with you guys - we are not planning the kind of open beta where everyone with internet access can download the game and hop in. That's nutty. Right now, we are tentatively considering having everyone who pre-orders the game invited to this phase of beta. This phase will also invite winners from our big media promotions. STARTS: TENTATIVE DATE: Summer 2007