After a lengthy meeting with the Network team, it was concluded that it would require a considerable amount of effort (read: expensive) to release beta 2 with it crippled (like beta 1 is) for the public.
Therefore, Beta 2 and 3 are being combined so that from here on out, all builds will be the “full beta” (minus the Workshop mod options and campaign). This way, the network team doesn’t have to put a bunch of code in to turn off certain parts for the public build versus what we use internally.
This means that starting with Beta 2 (rather than 3) you will be able to give all the feedback you want on both single player and multiplayer in terms of what you would like in the game (either before release or as a post release update).
It also means that Beta 2 (rather than 3) should start being (I dare say) fun-ish.
The updated schedule which now includes some of our post release plans can be found below:
The change does not affect the beta schedule one way or the other except that players will get the full graphics engine a bit earlier than originally planned.
When Beta 2 (rather than 3) hits, the clock starts ticking towards release. Typically, the gameplay beta (based on The Corporate Machine, GalCiv, Sins of a Solar Empire, etc.) occurs roughly 90 days prior to street date. That isn’t a promise mind you. But it does show just how much things change in that final 90 days (GalCiv beta testers and Sins beta testers can tell you – GalCiv didn’t have starbases 90 days before street date and Sins didn’t have phase lanes or infinite resources).