For those of you who did not receive the email with your Factions test key, here is the information and instructions included in it...
- - - - - - - - - - - -
You've gotten a golden ticket to the beta for The Banner Saga: Factions, the multiplayer combat standalone for The Banner Saga. There are not many turn-based strategy games out there and even fewer have great multiplayer. We'd love to get your feedback to make this one of the best!
All we ask is that you please read this email before jumping in. If you have any questions, drop by the Stoic forums where we've set up a section just for beta players.
What's the plan for beta?
Beta is going to evolve over the course of production. Depending on when you've been accepted to beta it will be in one of these states:
1st phase - Instant matchmaking with a pre-made party. Each character in the party is fully functional as is chat. You'll be able to compete and win, but not much else. This will mainly help us make sure eveything is running smoothly before adding a lot of players.
2nd phase - We'll open up the Proving Grounds. This will let you arrange your own team rather than the default loadout. From here you'll be able to change the initiative order. Lastly, you'll be able to reassign stat points as you see fit. This includes 4 base classes and 4 advanced classes. Once your team is ready, head to the Great Hall to find a match.
3rd phase - We'll be adding 4 more advanced classes and let you upgrade their abilities in the Proving Grounds. This will really open the game wide for a full range of tactical decisions both in and out of combat.
4th phase - We'll start rolling in all the additional features. The Mead hall lets you buy new units. The Trophy Tower shows you achievements. The Weaver's Hut lets you customize your banner (and upload your crest in the future). We'll be making sure all these systems are running smoothly.
5th phase - We'll be doing final polish, and try to hammer out any bugs we find. At this point the game should be fully functional and we'll be regularly making balance tweaks based on the data we collect from your matches. At this phase you'll be getting a head start on building your characters in beta, and we'll roll your progress over to the real game when it's ready to launch.
This game is more complex than I expected! How do I play it?
There are three ways you can learn to play the game:
- The tutorial screen shows you all of the major things you need to know. You can see it by pressing the ? button during combat.
- The info bar at the top of the screen always tells you what you need to do next. It also tells you what abilities a selected character has.
- Just click on things. Actions have tooltips and we've made sure that you can never click the "wrong" button.
How can I help as an early tester?
We don't expect every player to approach beta as a tester, but if you're willing to help us we can make this the best game possible! The most important thing you can do is fill out the surveys we'll be sending out at the end of every phase. These surveys are far and away the most important thing you can do, and shouldn't take more than a couple minutes. We will also have a thread dedicated to bugs and suggestions in the beta forums. Lastly, just play the game. We're always running metrics, so without doing anything but playing as normal we can find out all kinds of things about how the game is being played.
What is the best way to find other people online?
When beta starts with few people you may not always be able to find a match. On the match screen you'll be able to see how many people are currently playing and for the most part you should only need to see a couple other people to get in the game. We also recommend playing at two particular times each day that we officially endorse:
- 10:00 AM CST
- 6:00 PM CST
The developers will be playing during these times as much as we can. We also recommend that if everyone jumps on at these times you'll be more likely to find other players.
As we roll more people into beta it should become easier to find a match at any time. We'll be adding more people each week.
Ok, I read it, honest. How do I download the game?
Right now the beta is available through Steam. If you've gotten this email that means we've added the Steam key to your forum account! Click here to go there directly. If that link doesn't work for you it's easy to find. Log in to The Banner Saga forums and click "Settings" at the top of the screen near your login name. On the toolbar appearing on the left side of the screen called "My Settings", click "Edit Profile". You'll see a window called "Beta Testing Information", and there will be your Steam key.
If you've never used a Steam key before, it's easy. Open Steam. Open the "Games" tab at the top of the screen. Click "Activate a Product on Steam". It'll prompt you to enter the key you received which you can just cut and paste. You'll now see The Banner Saga: Factions in your library and you're ready to go! When you hit "PLAY" you'll be prompted on which version you want, just use the default (top) one that says "Play the Banner Saga: Factions".
Congratulations, and enjoy!
Alex, Arnie and John