I know a bunch of RPS readers play the free-to-play Diablo-ish online RPG, Path of Exile [official site] even though it hasn't wormed its way into the staff playlist yet and thus I am going to pick my way through the upcoming beta info for the game's expansion, The Fall of Oriath!
Let's start with the trailer which blitzes through glimpses of the different acts:
The Fall of Oriath is due out for realsies in July but, because it's such a chunky beast of a thing and does some rebalancing, there's going to be a beta phase where the team works out if they've hit the mark or if something has gone dreadfully wrong.
The beta is currently set to start on 7 June with potential wiggle room a few days either side, so roughly a week after the Legacy challenge league finishes on 29 May. I think the challenge leagues are the things which swap in and out to make changes to the game economy and offer up new experiences (this particular one lets players revisit previous leagues hence the Legacy title).
To bridge the gap between the expansion and the Legacy league end, the main client will be getting events while waves of invites will be sent to active players for beta access. If you want to get in you can either hope for an invite or buy your access via supporter packs (there isn't any pricing info specifically for those but the current crop range from $30-$440 depending on how much merch and other associated gubbins you're after).
If you're super into Path of Exile and have dropped the levels of cash on that game that I've thrown at Dota 2 you should also note:
"In addition, we will likely invite players with significant previous support immediately without the need for a purchase. We define this as a purchase of any top-tier pack ($440 or above) or people whose total lifetime purchases combine to $500 or more. For everyone who supports in any amount, thank you. You make expansions like this possible."
The beta will include a big chunk of the expansion but the team are withholding the last two acts. I assume that's because they don't want people burning through the whole thing in days and then being done with the expansion before the full release is even out.
Beta characters and items will be destroyed when the beta ends rather than porting over and if you ask the devs for a key they will ignore you. "We get flooded with thousands of requests, so it is not possible to fairly judge the merits of each person asking. Mails or messages asking for beta keys will be ignored. Please do not ask us for Beta keys. Sorry!"
OH! and just as a point of note about the rebalancing, the big thing the devs are getting rid of is "double dipping":
Alas, double dipping is not about putting soiled chips into the communal hummous in this context. It's essentially a situation where a damage modifier is applied twice to the same damage source, once to the initial hit and then to the secondary damage over time bit. Knowing how to exploit that particular set of interactions and modifiers can significantly affect builds so I'm guessing that its removal might really switch up how people play.
In more specific terms:
"In the Beta for The Fall of Oriath, we're going to be trying out a new damage over time system. Skills will calculate their Ignite, Poison or Bleed values as a separate damage value, taken straight from the base and added damage of the skill. This will give skills that deal fire damage a minimum and maximum Ignite Damage per Second value that will be rolled on Ignites that the skill causes. Poison, Bleed and Ignite damage values will be based on the base damage of the skill, and then affected by appropriate damage modifiers. Some damage modifiers will affect both the hit and the Ignite, Poison or Bleed, while some may only affect one."