I was convinced I'd already posted this but apparently not. It's deep in general discussions and schedules. Apologies. So here are the launch dates we're on target for.
This next plan is for the meat on the bones.
Here is what we are planning.
Closed Beta - Some time in March 2012
The basic story encouraging players to have a good reason to move characters over will be ready and sent out and posted.
During this period the players will assist in building up Family history, military history, NPC stories etc working alongside us. The whole premise of the closed beta is that players are going to start roleplaying within a small area and help us get ready for open beta three months later.
Closed Beta players are those we invite. They agree to give up any existing characters if any to play here with a new character. We will not allow players to come in and then unretire on launch and move over their characters - in other words they cannot use closed beta as a chance to simply dip in and experience things for the hell of it then kill off their character. So this requires a firm commitment: you come in during closed beta and you have retired your current character and may not unretire them for a time period stated elsehwere. In return you get to play and they get our love and attention.
We have 30 confirmed closed beta players.
Closed Beta players agree to die a lot and to be assisting us with bugs, code problems, design issues, stuff not working etc etc while having the unique opportunity to be the first to walk the world of SOI3.
Open Beta - End of June 2012
The Transition of old player characters begins at Open Beta. The build up to this should have happened in terms of stories being sent out and discussions with staff - we propose that all players whenever possible should try and band together to come over as groups to help us out.
During our Open Beta we rely on the existing characters playing since Closed Beta to help us get the transitioning players up to speed and fitting in to how it all works.
The New Character Experience needs to be worked on during this period by Elanor and her Guides and helpers. By the time this three month period is over we go live with the new character creation and the backup of documentation etc etc.
Fully Open Launch - End of September 2012
The main game launches. New characters can be created by those who had no characters to move over, or have new accounts. These people will be chomping at the bit to get in so we need to be ready.
At no point will we open a group/clan/business that cannot be filled. At no point will we build and open areas that are pointless.
And that's it. We have a far more complex plan in place, filled with schedules and timelines, but that's the simple version.