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September 3, 2010

Microsoft Game Studios details the AOEO Beta invite process


NWGameDad of Microsoft Game Studios has commented on Age Community detailing exactly how the beta process is going to work for Age of Empires Online. Good news for those who have not been invited to the beta yet – Microsoft looks at the possibility of adding new players to the beta weekly so there is a good chance you may be invited soon. The full post can be found below:

Hello Age Community!

I wanted pop in and answer some questions about the Beta.  Age of Empires is a large successful franchise with millions of fans, and the response to our announcement of the new game at GamesCom a couple weeks ago has been phenomenal.  The number of sign-ups we had for the Beta were quite large, so try to understand the scale of things when you don’t get the invite you’ve been dying to receive in Wave 1.  There are just a large number of people that want into the Beta and we can’t accommodate everyone right now (see 1. below) To answer some specific questions on the Beta selection and invite process:

1. Every week we evaluate if we’re ready to add more people to the Beta from the sign-up pool.  We are building an online game and the Beta is helping us not only get feedback on gameplay, but also to test our server environments.  When we add new people each week, we need to test and analyze the results of new people joining to ensure the server environment is stable and able to handle another wave of people.   If we find bugs with the servers then that may mean we have to skip adding new folks that week  in order to fix problems.  This is a big reason why Batsy Batsy has been so non-committal on when Beta invite waves will happen.  We don’t want to definitively state a week we’re adding people, then that not have that happen because of bugs.  In an ideal situation we will have weekly Beta invite waves, however, Betas are not ideal by their nature of not being done, so expect that we will be at least evaluating whether we can add more Beta Testers each week.

2. As some have noted in various posts, we don’t invite exclusively from one segment of our fan base so that we get a good cross-section of feedback from players.  I know it may feel like we haven’t invited enough hardcore RTS gamers, but honestly I can say the hardcore RTS gamers are well represented in every Beta wave invited.  In fact, we did a special fast track of several RTS gamers recommended by Robot about a week ago to insure we were getting that voice in the Beta.  The reason it may feel like it isn’t enough is quite simply because the pool of fans is just so large.  As we expand the Beta more and more of you will get invites.  We certainly are not ignoring all the great players from past Age games.  There’s just that scale of numbers thing to pay attention to right now.

3.  This is a Closed Beta still.  That means that those of you that are invited are under NDA and are not allowed to speak about the Beta outside of our private Beta forums.  We do this because we are still working on the game and it just isn’t ready for everyone to know every last detail.  A lot is still changing and although we want Beta feedback we still need to keep stuff under wraps to allow us the freedom to develop a great game.

Hopefully this helps you all understand a bit more of our process around the Beta.  I am really excited that for this iteration of Age of Empires we can have such a long and large scale Beta compared to past products.  It allows us to really build a game that I think you’ll love and you will have had the chance to check it out and give feedback on before we launch.  The feedback we received from our Alpha Testers and now our Beta Testers has been really helpful.  I look forward to seeing more of you in the Beta.


Executive Producer

Microsoft Game Studios

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Side note: It is pleasing to see Microsoft is using the Age Community website after the concerns that were previously raised regarding Age Community utilisation.


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