For today's news update we thought it'd be good to update how things are going with the development of Act Three and the Open Beta patch.
We have had a version of the patch (0.10.0alpha1) up on the alpha server since last Friday. We're working on 0.10.0alpha2, which fixes some early problems. It will probably be deployed to alpha tomorrow. At the moment we're just copying a (lightly tested) version of the patch from our internal office server across to alpha, rather than going through a multi-day quality assurance process. This means that it's a bit of a rough ride for alpha testers, but lets them see the evolution of the patch more quickly.
Act Three is basically complete in terms of terrain and quests. We're polishing it heavily, adjusting quest rewards, adding content and improving environments, but it's fully playable.
Monster skills are a major area that we're currently finishing up. Over the last few weeks, the depth of monster abilities has improved to the point where it matches the previous acts (or is more complicated in some cases - there are some awesome synergies). Act Three is the highest act in the game at the moment, so the fights are the most complex.
Our focus this week shifted to the final Act Three boss fight. Given the high standards we set with the Vaal Oversoul fight, we spent a lot of time planning this encounter so that it doesn't disappoint. For plot reasons I am not spoiling what the final boss is, but I can confirm that it's not Bestel.
Player experience progression is an area that we're eagerly receiving feedback on at the moment. We want to make sure that the monster pack density and size of the levels is correct so that players advance at the correct rate while playing Act Three in each of the three difficulties.
One thing to note is that we've actually planned to add even more content to Act Three next year! Although we'll be releasing Act Three in a form that is larger than act one or two with the Open Beta, we've found room to plan for few more areas and an extra boss fight that we can add later. This content, which we internally call "Act3X" will be like a mini-expansion that we'll deploy a few months after we start Open Beta. We're planning around this with regard to level progression. The version on Alpha does not contain any of this additional content, because we're planning to work on it once we're safely in Open Beta.
There are other areas such as purchasable cosmetic microtransactions (animations, weapon particle effects, pets, etc) that we have been working hard on. I'll cover their progress in a future update.