Today’s a pretty big deal for the team, as we’re pleased to confirm that we’ll be releasing the first Alpha test next Tuesday, July 6th, continuing through the completion of Milestone 0.2.0! Once Milestone 0.2.0 is completed, we will extend the testing duration by a further two weeks for those who have been unable to join. After that, sign-ins will be disabled until the start of our second Alpha test.
We know the first Alpha test won’t be perfect, but it marks an important milestone and a new approach we’re taking to development. We’re no longer holding onto what we make, and instead will let you get your hands on it - warts and all - so that we can not only react to your feedback, but also use it as a community-driven foundation to build upon.
So let’s get onto the important stuff: who can participate, when the launcher and client will be available, and how and where to give feedback.
As discussed in our blog “The Road Ahead”, development of KoE is being accompanied by three opportunities to Alpha test KoE, the first of which begins next week. Tests two and three are scheduled for later in the year. Access to all three Alpha tests will be broken down as follows:
We appreciate that many more of you will want to play it. However, and just for now, we’re trying to balance giving as many people as possible an opportunity to provide feedback on the game’s development, while ensuring it’s a positive testing experience. Opening up to just the Alpha 1 backers for this first Alpha will give us plenty of opportunities to gain feedback while testers put the game through its paces.
That brings me nicely onto how you’ll get your hands on the client.
A week from today, all backers with Alpha 1 access will receive an email with instructions on how to download the launcher. Following that, all backers with Alpha 1 access will receive, in descending order of Influence (those with the highest influence first), a second email confirming that they have access to log into the launcher, download the client, and get started playtesting.
As a result of Windows Defender and Windows SmartScreen, players should be aware that they may receive a notification that the launcher is unsafe to download. This is because gaining trust for an executable downloaded from an untrusted website takes time.
However, we understand that cyber security is incredibly important and we want you to be able to trust the installer. Between now and then, we are working on getting the installer and website added to the list of trusted sources with the appropriate certificates to prevent this from occurring in the future.
If you do attempt to log in to the launcher but don’t yet have access (or do not have the appropriate access level), you'll be given a message saying so.
All being well, this slightly staggered start, combined with email confirmations of access, should see everyone able to dive in over a day or two, just to ensure there’s no major server issues.
Where feedback is concerned, we want to hear any and all feedback you feel will make the game better for you. During the tests, we'll also regularly ask for specific feedback via the “Latest News” stream within the launcher itself. We’re super keen for you to answer those questions in particular and we'll be rewarding people with a small amount of Influence Points for their part in making Kingdoms of Elyria (and Chronicles of Elyria) into the game you want it to be.
As for providing feedback, you’ll be able to do this via a form in the game’s launcher, or from within Kingdoms of Elyria. Included in the launcher will be release notes and instructions for the currently downloaded Alpha test. This is to aid testers in knowing what to evaluate, as well as to aid them in identifying known and outstanding bugs or missing features they don't need to provide feedback on yet.
Lastly, and I suspect this goes without saying: this is a closed and private Alpha test. We kindly ask that all participants accept a Test Agreement which, among other things, includes a confidentiality (non-disclosure) clause.
We’re being fairly strict here, and breaching the NDA will result in having login access revoked and removal from any future testing cohorts for Kingdoms of Elyria, Chronicles of Elyria, and any other Soulbound Studios products or services.
This isn’t to say that you can’t discuss your thoughts on the alpha test. To help you connect with your fellow testers and talk about your experiences, we’ll be setting up an Official KoE Discord channel for Alpha testers before the completion of the first Alpha test. At that point, discussion of the Alpha test will be limited to the Discord server and appropriate channels.
In the meantime, we’ll also be contacting aristocracy and nobility to invite them to register their community Discords with us to be included in the KoE launcher. The registration process will include filling out a survey so we can add the appropriate tags & filters to the launcher in order to help people find new communities to join.
As always, you’re free to get in touch with me and the team at [email protected] where we’ll do our very best to answer any questions you have.