Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta Now Available
Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter backers that pledged $110 or more during its nearly $4 million campaign will now be able to join the Backer Beta. The Backer Beta is only available through Steam, but does not affect your redemption choice for the final product, so feel free to grab it even if you want DRM-free at launch. As of now, it's only available for Windows, but Mac and Linux versions should be arriving in the coming weeks. The first release of the Backer Beta, which went live yesterday, is the build that was shown off during Gamescom.
What's quite unique about this Backer Beta is that there is no "direct connection to the critical path/main story of Pillars of Eternity"; it truly is all about testing and gathering feedback. This should be welcome news to any backer who was wary of having the story spoiled for them during these early stages. The Backer Beta includes the village of Dyrford and its surrounding wilderness and dungeon environments. Players can choose between four difficulties (Easy, Normal, Hard, or Path of the Damned) and optional modes (Expert and Trial or Iron), and have access to all character races and subraces, all classes, and all starting cultures and backgrounds when creating their character. Aside from exploration, conversing with NPCs, and loot-grabbing, players will also be able to experiment with crafting and enchanting, hiring adventurers, and camping.
Obsidian has posted a lengthy list of areas in which the team would love feedback to be focused on: classes, races, attributes, equipment, crafting and enchanting, conversations and quests, combat, and the user interface. I advise anyone who plans on playing the Backer Beta to read what questions specifically Obsidian would like to see addressed for each topic; and it'll probably help to read the list of "Known Issues" as well. If you pledged $110 or more, simply go to your Account Profile Products page to generate your Steam key. If you're not a backer, you have until August 22 to pledge before crowdfunding ends, at which point you'll no longer have access at the reduced pre-launch price.
Pillars of Eternity is scheduled for full launch Winter 2014, assuming there are no speed bumps along the way.
Source: Kickstarter Update