On fansites and forums, Discords and Reddits, even at conventions and on airplanes, we've been asked one question above all others: "Are we there yet?"
Today, we proudly answer: "Yes, we are there!"
Our Rend Friends & Family test is expanding into Rend Alpha, a major milestone for the game and one that we're certain the community has many questions about. While previous playtests have been focused on game client readiness and server stability, Alpha is all about gameplay and your insights as survival genre fans. This feedback-driven stage of testing will not be covered by a non-disclosure agreement or NDA: we encourage our Alpha testers to discuss the game and share their experiences in Rend with the greater community both on the official forums and external channels. Our Alpha forum is public for all to read and engage in but with a small caveat.
Instead of an NDA, this test phase will begin under a strict (but brief) media embargo as announced in December, prohibiting the publishing of Alpha screenshots, videos, and streams by players. This temporary restriction will help our team position and maximize opportunities for Rend by leveraging the game's new content and visuals, such as biomes, monsters, and game mechanics, for exclusives and features with press outlets timed to coincide with our release roadmap. We absolutely plan to engage our current and future content creators during Alpha with initiatives such as invitation giveaways, partnerships, and much more. (UPDATE: The media embargo on Rend Alpha has lifted.)
By this point, we anticipate "How do I get in?" is our new most common question but there are a number of other important Rend Alpha topics to address. We've assembled the following FAQ based on what we think you want to know about the game's next test phase but want to hear your questions as well: we've created a thread on the Rend forums so you can ask and we can answer them!
What is the purpose of Rend Alpha?
While our Friends & Family test was all about stability, Rend Alpha is all about feedback. We want to know your thoughts on what makes the game fun, what could be improved, and how. While the team are all hardcore survival genre fans, we want gamers of all types to share their thoughts on Rend and tell us how we can make survival accessible to a wide audience while at the same time retaining the challenge of the genre.
Will my feedback really have an impact on the final game?
Yes! Team members will be actively engaging with the community on our official channels as well as external channels. The Rend forums feature a Game Feedback section which we will be taking insights from daily. Throughout Pre-Alpha and Friends & Family, strong yet constructive feedback has shaped the direction of the game: player insights changed the Divinity Stone from a binary win condition to its current "spirit bleed" mechanic. Even a well-structured suggestion from a PAX East attendee about allowing mid-cycle metaprogression led to team discussion and consideration.
As our own Jeremy Wood recently stated: “Our goal at the start of this project was to continuously grow and improve Rend by gathering direct feedback from our players every step of the way. As we lovingly craft this game with the help of our fans, this project remains just as much yours as it is ours and this public Alpha marks a significant milestone as we offer even more players around the world the opportunity to enter the world of Rend and join our community.”
How do I join Rend Alpha?
Sign up for Alpha on the Rend website. If you already signed up on the previous Rend website or at our booth during an event, you're all set! Please note, signing up multiple times does not expedite your invite.
Who will be in the Alpha at the start?
Alpha will open with an initial tester pool of our Pre-Alpha players and Friends & Family testers as well as the first wave of Alpha sign-up invites. We'll continue to expand the tester pool over time with invite waves scheduled and measured to keep the servers populated and healthy.
How will I know when I'm in the Alpha?
As Alpha progresses, we'll email small groups of testers who signed up on the website or at an event in a series of invite waves. You'll receive an email from us that clearly states you've been invited to join the Alpha with instructions on how to take part in the test.
How many servers will Rend Alpha have and where will they be located?
Initially, the Rend Alpha will have one North American server and one European server. We can easily scale this number up as needed and will be introducing more server locations over the course of Rend Alpha.
Is Rend Alpha always on or limited to brief events?
To emulate what live service will be like, the Rend Alpha servers will be online 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We may introduce regular maintenance cycles but will strive to keep any downtime to an absolute minimum with any out. Server status can be tracked
How long will the entire Rend Alpha test phase last?
Until we determine that Rend is ready to enter Early Access on Steam. We want to thoroughly test Rend's gameplay and accessibility during Alpha which should take a few months.
Is Rend Alpha the same as Early Access?
No, Rend Alpha is the phase that precedes Early Access on Steam. The next development phase will begin only when Rend is in a state where even if we to never update it again, it would be considered a complete game worthy of purchase by its players. This what Early Access means to us and is our standard for entering that phase. (Rest assured, we will be updating Rend well beyond Early Access.)
How long is the media embargo? I want to create content for Rend!
We estimate the media embargo will last a little over a month and will announce when the embargo has been lifted. Until then, a watermark featuring the Rend Alpha logo and current character name will be visible in the game client. We'll be engaging with content creators and building out a formal partner program leading up to the embargo being lifted. (UPDATE: The media embargo on Rend Alpha has lifted.)
What should I do while waiting to get into Rend Alpha?
Throughout Alpha, our team will be active on the official Rend forums, Twitter, Facebook, and Steam, as well as fan-operated channels such as Reddit and Discord. We're eager to answer any questions you have about Rend, Frostkeep, or the survival genre!
We're very excited to have reached this milestone and are thrilled you're with us on this journey. Be sure to read our latest Developer Letter detailing Rend's roadmap through Alpha and beyond. You can look forward to more updates from the team as the Rend Alpha progresses and we get closer to Early Access later this year!