"I drove my tractor through your haystack last night (ooh arr ooh arr)" announced The Wurzels as they bragged, using farming metaphors, about their prowess in the real-time strategy genre. Well, good news, The Wurzels, because Total War: Arena [official site] - the Creative Assembly free-to-play game which sort of went quiet but then returned with a publishing agreement with Wargaming - now has a dev diary about what's been going on.
The first part of the video is just explaining that partnering with a publisher familiar with military free-to-play games is useful when you are working on a military free-to-play game.
It then goes into some staffing changes and programming plus expanding the online services team. From about 2:25 you get to things the players will notice so UI changes and the like.
It also sounds like the game has had a big old overhaul since we last had a peek at it, thus the devs are keen to point out this is very much a work-in-progress. As such, the game is at the closed alpha stage as they get people in to play and test things out to see how they hold up.
If you were part of the previous version of the game's alpha and beta phases apparently you can expect to be invited as soon as is feasible (which is kind of promising but in a "how long is a piece of string?" way). There is some sort of reward tier system for players who participate in these test scenarios which will manifest when the game is stable and no more resets are on the horizon.
What else? The team hope to develop the game up to the early medieval time period and include new nations and new technologies. It's kind of nebulous stuff all-told but it's generally good to get a status report when a game has been off the radar for a while to find out what's going on.
I can't see a signup link for any of the closed alpha stuff on the official site, just a mailing list enrolment form, and the previous link for signups seems dead so I assume it's a case of keeping an eye out for emails if you were hoping for an early look/had been part of the previous alpha and beta tests.