Dev Diary #73 - Open Beta and Update 1.2 overviewRead Full Forum Post
Hello and welcome! Today we'll be covering several topics relating to Update 1.2:
Open 1.2 Beta
Anticipated 1.2 Release Date
As mentioned in our last dev diary, 1.2 is a big update with some far-reaching changes, and we don't want to push it out before we feel it's ready for primetime. We're happy overall with the reception of Update 1.1, but those of you who were with us during its initial release will remember - perhaps fondly, perhaps not - how the Legitimacy mechanics seemed to change from day to day for a while there. While we finally managed to iron out most of the kinks in 1.1.2 (more on that later) this is the kind of scenario we'd like to avoid going forward. With a game as highly interconnected and complex as Victoria 3, the only way to do that is to give the patch enough time in the oven, letting our playtesters really give everything a solid rundown.
At the same time, Update 1.2 brings some substantial improvements in several areas that we know are important to you, and we don't want to keep those away from you longer than we absolutely have to. Disentangling specific improvements and bug fixes from the rest of the changes that have already been done to the branch is itself laborious and error-prone. Our assessment is that releasing those in hotfixes would be risky.
So how do we marry these two things together - giving you access to upcoming content as soon as possible, while ensuring high quality of the upcoming update? By launching our first Open Beta, of course! In this way you will have a chance to experience all the juicy parts of Update 1.2, but also share your feedback with us in advance, allowing us to improve what we are currently working on.
Our planned beta launch date is February 8th at 10:00 CET. At that point a new Steam beta branch 1.2-beta will become available to anyone who owns Victoria 3. A new forum post will be made with step-by-step instructions for how to enable it. Once you've started playing the beta, you can always switch back to the live branch in the same way. As always, your existing save games might not be fully compatible with this new version, and you should definitely not expect saves made in 1.2 to be backwards compatible with 1.1.2.
We will also launch a new beta section on our Victoria 3 Discord server where you can discuss the update with other players and report any bugs or balance issues you find. Our moderators will be active on this channel, and so will developers and QA team members as time permits. If you prefer not to use Discord you can also file bugs using our forum bug report tool, even for the beta version.
After the initial beta release, we plan on releasing two additional updates on the beta branch on a weekly basis, containing additional bug fixes, performance improvements, etc and also adjustments we've made according to your feedback. The exact release dates and times of these updates are to be confirmed, but we will keep you posted on the Discord channel.
To set expectations at the right level, playing the beta build will not be a buttery-smooth experience! Some aspects of the game will be greatly improved, but other things will be in a rougher state, and there will be bugs (if not, we'd just launch it without a beta phase!).
Also, some features will be in a less mature state at the beginning of beta than they will be at release. For example, Strategic Objectives will be limited to one per country during the beta, but the intent is to expand this to allow for designating multiple Strategic Objectives. This slimmed-down version is included in the beta to allow you to try it out and feedback on how it feels in general while we continue to work on the full implementation.
So do keep in mind that while you'll get a sneak peek at the latest features and will see many improvements, you should expect some speed bumps along the way. And when you do, we want to hear about it!
Below you can find a short list of some of the new features and improvements made in 1.2. As always, just because something is not on this list doesn't mean we're not aware of it, and may even have addressed it already! The full changelog will be published closer to the release date.
Strategic Objectives for planning military campaigns
Customizable notification settings
In-game music player
Improvements and bug fixes
Improved AI handling of economy and military, including port management
More realistic modeling of trade route profits and GDP
Worldwide Arable Land revision and migration balancing
Mega-parties limited by tweaks to party formation logic and ideology
Trade panel overhaul for easier route management
More clarity on Pop Needs, Convoys, Radicals and Loyalists
Visual upgrades to mapmodes and lenses, such as showing Infrastructure and employable Pops when expanding buildings
Outliner enhanced with pinnable market goods and characters
Reduced notification spam
We are going to cover most of these things in dev diaries leading up to the release of 1.2, so details on what exactly these entail may be sparse until then. However, all of these will be in the beta build when we release it (although to reiterate, perhaps not in their final form) so come February 8th you can explore them for yourself!
After the third and final beta release, but before the live release of Update 1.2, you can expect the beta build and the beta section on Discord to become unavailable, as we will be channeling all our resources into the release. We will keep you updated on the expected beta shutdown date on Discord as well, of course.
Our preliminary release date for Update 1.2, assuming all goes according to plan, is March 13th. For those of you who opt to continue playing 1.1.2 until then you can follow the new features in upcoming dev diaries. For the rest of you, I'll see you on Discord on Feb 8!