Ok guys - today we have a lot of interesting things to talk about - so we'll hop straight to it;
Open Beta Date has been set
We have set our formal Open Beta date: May 18, 2011.
With the builds over the last week fixing most critical issues (still some PB optimization and hardware issues to iron out over the next couple of builds), plus the items currently in the pipeline that addresses additional items, and the near completion of the US-East datacenter, we are now heading forward with removing all restrictions to joining the game on May 18, 2011.
However, between now and the Open Beta date (ie for the next two weeks), we will progressively permit access to MOST PEOPLE (17 or older in the US and 18 or older in the rest of the world) who do two things (1) creates (or already has) a GamersFirst Account with the appropriate info (see the link to the right of the blog) and then (2) submits his/her email (matching the G1 account) at the front of the APB page (www.gamersfirst.com/apb) in the "Newsletter Signup Email form." This will let us slowly turn up "the heat" on our servers before going fully "open."
To that end, tomorrow during maintenance we will let in another batch of about 40,000 people or so.
There are still a few important features that are not yet in the game (new skill rating system probably the most critical and skill-based district segmentation and progression), and various tweaks to spawning but those will be added as we move along, and likely some of the new ones will be there before Open Beta.
Credit Bonuses have been processed
In order to fully test our credit charging features, we offered a 100% credit refund to everyone making an APB credit purchase before the end of May 1. Those have now been credited to the eligible accounts, and the notifications (or rather - reminders) will go out tomorrow morning confirming the credits (though you can see the credits in your accounts tonight). Thanks to all Closed Beta testers who helped us test this critical feature. Next we will be working on making some of those charging screens a little bit prettier :)
New Items ready to go
Over the next two weeks we will be starting the process of releasing a new group of items for lease or purchase. We will start slowly with a couple of new leased guns this week, and then will follow that up with actual permanently purchased items, customizations, symbols etc (those are all permanent to your character). We have several hundred items in the pipeline to release over the next several months, some which will be reserved for Premium players as we go along, and some that will be rare and only available for short periods of time.
Tomorrow during the maintenance window (4:00pm PST) we will release the character restoration system, to reclaim old characters and customizations. We will send out emails to everyone that have characters that they can reclaim.
It keeps baffling us that people are cheating in one moment, then paying for premium, and then continue cheating? Seems really odd, given the amount of money you will be risking for something that literally only will help you aim. We have ON PURPOSE not kicked hackers for over a week to monitor what they are doing. That clearly will change. One semi-famous aimbot site realized that we had caught a slew of their users over the weekend (though we did so silently), then they stopped their own hack, and then earlier today re-enabled it. Sigh... when will they ever learn. Anyway - before Open Beta we will perform various changes, which will be good for the game, and bad for the aimbotters. Long term we have a more radical solution to the issue, which we will share when it's ready :). In the short term we also have what we think is a good solution, and you should see the beneficial effects of that by Open Beta.
Anyway - with that long list of items, we are steaming ahead with all the other long term changes, and I will update this as we progress on the critical long-term PvP and team improvement items.
One day the team will even schedule in some sleep time, but we are not quite there yet :)