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Keeping the code clean allows Internet startups to have stable but feature-incomplete Beta phases. This way they can implement features while observing real customers. Google famously left the Beta label on Gmail for five years and Minecraft had four million purchases before it left Beta. When Tiberium Alliances released, it had a Beta label for about six months because not all the features had been implemented yet. I still enjoyed playing Beta quite a bit, and yes I paid for it.
The most important goal during Early Access Beta is the Crowdforging process.
We want the community to be involved directly in the features as they are being created and added to the game. Some of the player feedback will come from forums or direct email to and from the design team. Other feedback will be purely analytical - we will be able to track and see exactly how players are playing the game, and we hope to get some insight into what is fun for them.
That brings me to what I expect to be the toughest part of Beta - gameplay changes.
The biggest reason the Beta is paid is that it is a real running MMO. We have bandwidth costs, server costs, a customer support team, and live operations to keep the servers online. We are running the Early Access period exactly the same way the final game will be run after Release, just on a smaller scale.
Not everyone wants to pay for Beta access while some of the major gameplay systems are still being developed.
If you choose to join us for Early Access Beta, we will make sure that you have a great time! A lot of the game systems will be implemented around you, and you'll be able to see them evolve and change to meet your needs. More importantly, we'll be paying lots of attention to your feedback and trying to make a game that facilitates your gameplay style - whatever that is.
Early Access Beta requires a leap of faith for both the community and Goblinworks.
But this is how Pathfinder has always been developed -- in collaboration with the fans. We're excited to be part of that tradition. See you online!
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