We have come to a decision, not without much internal debate, that instead of commercial release this Wednesday as planned we are going to launch the game for playtesting first. We also believe that we owe the community a thorough explanation for this last minute decisions, so the reasons behind it are the following:
- While we have done a lot of internal testing for the game, the platform has been thoroughly field tested, and the game has also been tested by external partners, we have always felt that the game should be tested by the players and last checks corroborate this. Time however was not on our side.
- Secondarily, some of the reasons which caused us to slip from our original launch date last month are not yet fully resolved to our satisfaction and a bit more time is needed. For the record, what’s left shouldn’t take more than a few days longer.
- Being Greenlit on Steam so quickly was beyond our expectations, this success was 100% community driven and it showed us how important to the community this is. After evaluating the procedure needed for proper Steam integration, we realized that if we launch on schedule it would be impossible for us to launch with Steam.
Despite considering this a setback, we actually also consider it a perfect opportunity to get the community involved directly in the fine tuning of the game features before launching on Steam. We have been working with the dream of making Darkfall Unholy Wars the best competitive experience ever and lack of community feedback would have been a missed opportunity. We also believe that a Steam launch can help the game get the critical mass it needs to be as fun as it can possibly be, and we feel it’s important to have the game tested more thoroughly before this happens.
So now what?
- We’re launching a fully playable beta version of the game as soon as we get the build ready. We have a firm ETA for Monday,December 17th. By beta version we mean the game will be running in debug mode so that we can quickly get valuable feedback from playtesting and we can identify and address issues as quickly as possible.
- Pre-orders get beta access; we’re making pre-orders available on Friday so you can download the game over the weekend.
- Some details regarding the pre-order: returning Darkfall players will get the game at the price of the subscription during pre-order. New players will get the game at a discount. Pre-orders get 30 days of game-time when the game launches, beta access for as long as that is live, plus you can reserve your character’s name. We will also explore offering a head start. Pre-order slots may be limited and will be throttled if needed.
- We can focus on playing and working with you to identify any bugs and imbalances and will continue working closely with our players to improve the game so that by the time the game launches it will be as perfect as possible. There will be developer – player interaction on issues that come up, and we want to keep developing a user-centric culture throughout the lifecycle of Darkfall Unholy Wars.
- We will also be working round the clock on getting the game ready for a Steam launch with all the Steam features we want integrated.
- The Darkfall Unholy Wars launch should happen as soon as we’re cleared to do a Steam launch, we assume that the game will be properly tested by then as well. Our estimate is January after the holidays. We will announce a specific launch date as soon as possible. We need to estimate the exact time it takes to integrate all the Steam features, and to assess what feedback we get from our playtesters.
We feel there are compelling arguments for us to take a little extra time and to involve the community. The very amusing community insider joke “we’ll do it live” is not how we prefer to do things, but in the past we had been forced to by our circumstances or by external factors.
We regret the last minute announcement, we had to agree on this with several parties and get approval from all our departments so we’ve been agonizing over this since last week. We do appreciate your understanding on this, it was not an easy or a pleasant decision for us to make, especially at the last minute, and we feel badly that we’re not true to our word even though everyone at Aventurine has been working extremely hard for tomorrow’s planned release date. However, we also feel that this is the best possible option for the game, for the players, and we promise to make the best of it involving you as much as possible in making Darkfall Unholy Wars reach the potential it deserves.
More information on the playtesting process and on the pre-orders, will become available in separate announcements starting tomorrow. We’ll also be happy to address your concerns and provide answers to your questions.
Thank you for reading.
via Darkfall Blog http://www.darkfallonline.com/blog/?p=3448