CES, an Age of Conan Developer stated they would forego the traditional open beta process and would instead draw more players from their applicant pool as the beta expanded. We know that a month ago over 10,000 invites were pushed out, that number is currently at 15,000 according to the AoC beta fairy. With over 100,000 in signups finding testers isn't a problem, and as word from CES spread the AoC forums erupted in nerd-fury. Today, a new happy day, Shannon 'Pharamond' Drake, AoC's community manager posted that it was all a misunderstanding.
"We are planning to have an open beta for the game as we get closer to launch, however, it will be through specific partners and require an application/registration process, much like most of the other betas for most other games."
So there will be some type of an open beta. Well, this message stinks of Fileplanet. It seems to be the cool thing to do nowadays for those looking to run an 'open beta.' I'd prefer some early type of pre-order beta or early launch that Pirates of the Burning Sea are doing, and Hellgate: London did. Age of Conan's beta is definitely one of the more secretively run in the past few years. I don't know anyone in the beta, nor do my friends know anyone in the beta either. Do you?
It should be interesting to see whether or not a smaller beta test is more beneficial than larger open betas that normally last for several months on end. I hope so. It sucks not getting into a MMOG beta you want to play, but the negative buzz created by players early-on is not helping traditional pay-to-play MMOGs succeed in a genre dominated by World of Warcraft. Age of Conan is due to launch on March 25, 2008. Let's hope that is not when the real open beta begins. Be sure to check out our AoC coverage from CES if you are looking for our latest infos and some exclusive videos.