Path of Exile entered Closed Beta in August of 2011. Since then, we've continually added features, content, and fixed bugs as we moved towards Open Beta. A few months ago, we estimated that we would enter Open Beta in December 2012. Although we believe that we can have the build ready by then, we've decided that it’s too dangerous to launch the Open Beta over the Christmas period and Southern Hemisphere summer holidays when many of our staff will be away.
We have therefore decided to enter Open Beta on January 23, 2013, US time. The final character wipe and deployment of patch 0.10.0 (including Act Three) will occur then.
In the meantime, we’ll ramp up the number of alpha testers, community events and beta keys given away.
We want the first few months of Open Beta to set the precedent that we react quickly to feedback on the game and add features/content that players want. We do not want everyone’s first experience with the game to be that nothing changes for a month. If any unexpected problems arose or the game became very popular in December, the support team wouldn't be at full strength to service the needs of all players.
Our development team have worked incredibly hard year-round and this will be their first break in a long time. For most of them, this is the only time they get to travel to see their families or not have to worry about the constant challenges we throw at them at work. Grinding Gear Games is not going to ask them to cancel their holidays. Instead, they’ll come back well-rested and just as eager as you to launch Open Beta.
The other advantage of the extra time is that Jonathan, Erik and I will do extra polishing and testing before the influx of Open Beta players. Between now and January, our Alpha testers will push the 0.10.0 patch to its limits. Their feedback is critical to making sure that the new content is ready for public consumption.
We understand that some community members may be disappointed with this news, and we’re very sorry that we have to adjust the date one final time. You've been patiently waiting for the Open Beta for over a year, and we want to make sure it’s just right. We strongly considered ignoring the dangers of a mid-December release, but in the end we decided that the extra safety would be worth the wait. We have only ever specified an exact date once before - when we entered Closed Beta on August 10, 2011 - and that deadline was met. We will be releasing the Open Beta on January 23, 2013 (US time).
We’ll probably be doing a small media trip in January to show the game to journalists in Los Angeles and San Francisco. If you’re a journalist in one of those cities and would like to talk to us, please get in touch!
What to do while you’re waiting?
Over Christmas we’ll be ramping up the number of events that we run for the community in preparation for the quantity we plan to run during Open Beta. If you enjoy participating in these events, you should find the schedule rewarding.
You may be pleased to hear that the current forum titles that you have received for purchasing supporter packs (such as "Supporter" or "Gold Supporter") will be not be available for people who have joined after the Closed Beta has ended. You’ll be able to keep those exclusive titles forever and display them to show that you were one of the early supporters of the game. We expect to have support for the paysafecard payment method before we enter Open Beta if all goes well.
Every day we’re going to send out 500 Closed Beta friend keys to random Beta users. If you receive one, give it to a friend to try out the game with you before Open Beta.
We’re also adding people to the list that we select Alpha users from. Many have applied so far, and we’re carefully reviewing the feedback and post history of the users to make sure they’re good candidates before we select them. If you’re interested in joining this list, please PM me. Note that the Alpha will still exist once we are in Open Beta as a place to test upcoming patches.
We've been working on Path of Exile for over six years now. I’m so excited that we’re getting close to the Open Beta release, and am really looking forward to the day we get to unleash it on the world.