The Banner Saga Goes Into Open (Paid) Beta

By John Walker on November 19th, 2012 at 11:13 am.

Update: Huzzah! The issue is all fixed, and the beta now loads.

It’s been a mere nine months since The Banner Saga was a twinkle in the internet’s eye. But now the teeny team of former BioWare artists have put their tactical RPG into open beta. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, providing a big funding boost, those who backed have been in the beta for a while. But as of today, the rest of the world is invited to form an orderly queue. And pay. There’s a new trailer to celebrate, below, but there are also some technical issues getting the beta working at the moment.

Getting into the beta will cost you $15. When you pay, you’ll get two Steam keys, so it’s essentially two for the price of one. And of course this is for the “Factions” version of the game, that focuses on the combat. The full story-based RPG is going to take a lot longer to develop.

Here’s the new trailer:

One thing – both Adam and I have tried to launch the beta through Steam, and both encountered an error where the game gets stuck on the loading screen. It’s an issue others have mentioned on Stoic’s forums. And indeed in the last few minutes a new thread has appeared with people joining today and having the same. It may not be universal, and we’ve contacted Stoic to let them know, but of course they’re tucked up in bed just now. I’ll update this story when there are more details.

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36 Comments »

  1. scorpion_wins says:

    I would be throwing money at the screen to play this beta, broken or not. Only I don’t have any friends. Blast.

  2. zeroskill says:

    I am a bit confused about this game. As far as I understand it, there are two parts of this game, A single player campaign, and a multiplayer component called Banner Saga Factions? The multiplayer componend will be free to play on Steam, but, you have the choice to buy early access right now. Will you get the single player part as well if you buy it for the metioned $15? Is the single player component free to play as well?

    Can anybody shed some light on this for me?

    Other than that, the game looks really nice to me.

    • Chizu says:

      Their page says this is NOT a pre-order for the single player game, this is ONLY access to the multiplayer.
      So basically you are paying $15 just for the privileged of early access.
      Factions will be free when its released proper.

      I dunno, its a little too money-grabby for me, since it is only early access to a free product.

      The singleplayer component will not be free.
      Which I will probably be buying when it comes out, I didn’t have the money to spare back during the kickstarter.

      • Wraiths says:

        It does seem a little money-grabby. Although, you do get a couple of bonuses from pay the $15, a gem for your banner and early access to new features and classes.

        • derbefrier says:

          eh can you blame them? I mean there’s people out there willing to pay to test your game so why not let them? Someone willing to pay for the privilege is more likely to actually find bugs and give good feedback than some random guy who signed up on a website who just wants a free demo and doesn’t really care to actually help.(someone like me :P). Its not like people are paying and the going “WTF this game is going to be free!!?!? I got ripped off!” nope these are people who want to be a apart of the testing process. I say let them they can always send out some invites if they cant enough testers this way anyways.

          • chase4926 says:

            Actually when I have to pay to test a game, I’m way more likely to not give them my opinion on it. If the game is given to me freely for testing, then I feel like I have to give back in some way. In this case my $15 is certainly worth more to them than a few bug reports, so I don’t feel obligated.

          • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

            I’m in complete agreement with chase4926 on this one.

  3. JFS says:

    I got that error as well while trying to run Banner Saga in Steam’s offline mode. I thought it had to do with a pure-multiplayer game not being able to connect to the internet, but apparently it’s really a bug. I hope they fix it fast, such stuff is pretty embarrassing.

  4. AlwaysRight says:

    I am very excited for this game, have been since it was first announced and will probably be signing up for open beta.
    I would have thought I’d be all ‘turn-based out’ by playing so much xcom but now I’m actually wishing more stuff was.

    (Sorry to derail this article but I just want to thank John for speaking out about MCV and their disgraceful and dishonest Hitman article. People need to be called on this behaviour to create a more positive future for games journalism, and I am very proud that John has the integrity and balls to do what very few people are prepared to.)

    (Apologies if this is an inappropriate time and place to voice this)

    • f1x says:

      Derailing a bit more,… I’m not aware of that, any link? or is it inside the RPS hitman Wot? I might have missed that part

      • Tau Psi says:

        You should follow his twitter account:
        https://twitter.com/botherer

      • YogSo says:

        I had to google it as well. Check this thread in NeoGAF, it has the pertinent information.

      • f1x says:

        Thanks guys, believe it or not… I dont use Twitter

        but now I’m no longer an uninformed chimp

      • AlwaysRight says:

        I didn’t post a link because I don’t want to direct any more traffic towards MCV.

        Tau Psi is right, Johns twitter account is probably the best way of finding out about this story.

        I understand that I probably should have tweeted my support for John instead of derailing an RPS article, but I only have about 10 followers and most of them are bots. I thought I could reach more like minded people in here.

        • derbefrier says:

          and so you did. I would have never heard about it as I don’t use twitter and never go to any of those other sites. I do find it quite hilarious though. It immediately made me think of movie previews when you see crap like “best movie of the summer” -5dollarsforpositivereviews.com or whatever unheard of reviewer that got bought off.

  5. karthink says:

    This beta is all I’ve been playing since it launched a few weeks ago. I don’t know what it is about this game (besides the gorgeous graphics), I don’t even play competitive turn based games (against humans) because I am invariably shit at them.

  6. tigershuffle says:

    So basically they want you to pay $15 to help test a game they are still making :-/

    *turns to Deborah Meaden and Theo Pathetis….shakes head* “Im out”

    whatever next …..theyll want you to pay for patches and dlc …I blame Cameron

    • Butler says:

      Incidentally, Deborah Meaden and Theo Pathetis would probably be equally bemused with the value proposition to consumers.

      Old world thinking.

  7. f1x says:

    The game looks fantastic and neat, tho it would’ve been nice if they went a bit more wild with the characther designs, I mean everybody is just wearing a robe : oh yeah historically accurate

    On the other hand, yep, rather wait for the release or travel in time until the moment when the singleplayer version is finished

    • Zephos says:

      I for one am really glad they kept the character designs as simple and elegant as they did. I’m sick of overdesigned costumes.

      • f1x says:

        You are right, I just wanted to complain about something, thats the only thing I could find ;D

      • Mattressi says:

        Yeah, I really like the relatively low-fantasy of it. I’ve become tired of games where all Vikings have horned helmets and huge chain mail and plate armour with their torso inexplicably exposed. There’s enough other games (really, almost every melee game) where people are ridiculously overdressed in completely infeasible armour. It’s really great to see the elegant, relatively accurate clothing/armour seen in this game.

  8. Rymdkejsaren says:

    I have been beta testing this for a few weeks (or a total of 72 hours according to steam) and I have had an excellent time at it. The developers are great, doing a great balancing act of listening to the community and following their own vision. They are putting a lot of hard work in and the results show every week.

    The multiplayer game is tactical, fun and not to slow-paced (which I find is often a problem with similar games). The way the turn mechanics work takes some getting used to but in return you often can not be sure to have the win until the final blow has fallen, keeping you on your toes for the entire match.

    What can I say more except that I heartily recommend it?

  9. AlexStoic says:

    Hi everybody! We’re quite aware of the connection problem that just cropped up but was not happening at 2 AM this morning. It has already been resolved, thanks for your patience!

    In response to other concerns: we considered back and forth a bit about whether to charge for beta. We wanted to add players to beta for more consistent online numbers, but by offering it free we would be putting out KS backers who had paid money for access. We’re using any money made here for contractor salaries.

    We don’t expect everyone to want to chip in for early access and that’s ok, too. We’ve been surprised by the way different segments of the community want to be involved, frequently getting requests for pre-orders or to get into beta because they missed a chance to back us on Kickstarter. Others dislike the idea of paying for testing, which we understand as well. If you’re not interested in paying, no worries! We’ll still be launching the multiplayer game for free and the full game later next year.

    • MrLebanon says:

      Cool stuff! Thanks for the reply here!

      Question: other than getting into the beta alongside a friend, and feeling like a good person and all that – are there any additional benefits to spending the $15?

      Will there be some kind of in game moniesss of some sort (apologies as I’m too lazy to search this up myself)

      • AlexStoic says:

        Getting into beta will get you two keys, a special crest on your banner that shows you’re an early supporter and all the production updates that the backers get. It’s basically a way to be involved in the production phase, which we were surprised a lot of people wanted to do even after the Kickstarter campaign ended.

    • karthink says:

      Your game is awesome. I’ve lost every game I’ve played, but I still keep playing.

  10. UncleLou says:

    It looks so splendid, but I am only interested in the single-player mode, I am afraid. Which will be a day one purchase from me unless things go horribly wrong.

  11. mondomau says:

    ” those who backed have been in the beta for a while.”

    I bloody well haven’t. >:(

  12. Trashcanman says:

    Dunno about you guys but the game is still hanging for me when it hits the loading screen.

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