And We’re Off!
The long anticipated beta period for MTG Arena began on December 4th. This means that the recurring weekend alpha playtest phase has concluded and the game servers are now running 24/7 (barring any scheduled maintenance) for testers to play at whatever time is convenient for them. If you are still looking to get access to the closed beta and haven’t signed up yet, head on over to our MTG Arena Closed Beta Priority Access Guide to make sure you get priority access.
What is a Closed Beta?
A closed beta is when a software product is shared with a small set of potential customers in order to solicit feedback from those users on ways that the product can be improved before the public release. This includes both new feature suggestions and finding and fixing bugs that were not caught during internal testing. During this time only people that have been explicitly invited to participate in testing will be able to access the product, hence the “closed” portion of the name. During MTG Arena’s closed beta, users must sign an NDA promising that they will not share any information about the game with anyone that is not also participating in the closed beta. This is why there has not been much news about the current state of the game released online and why nobody can steam the game on Twitch.
After the closed beta concludes, the open beta period can begin. During the open beta, any player that wants to test the game before the full release will be able to download and play the game. This is when the last bits of user experience polish is added and stability improvements are addressed. There is no timeline currently shared on when the MTG Arena open beta might begin.
When Can I Play?
Any player that was lucky enough to participate in the alpha playtest weekends was automatically invited back on day one of the closed beta. Players that were not originally invited to the alpha playtests, but are in the priority queue should be invited to the closed beta sometime between December and January. Email invites are being sent out in waves as Wizards tests out their server infrastructure and scales out their systems to handle the additional load that new invite waves bring. Invites for any players that signed up for closed beta without priority access should start being sent out sometime in January.
Trouble in Paradise?
The closed beta rollout hasn’t gone off without a hitch however. There have been multiple reports of issues ranging from access keys that do not work, not being able to find the NDA form to fill out, and not receiving an access key after completing the NDA. Wizards has stated that it could take up to 10 business days to receive an access key after completing the NDA. This 10 day wait period seems nonsensical and points to some steps in the beta invite process not being automated. Perhaps there is an intern in Wizards of the Coast headquarters that is manually generating each individual access key and tracking them in a huge excel workbook. Hopefully Wizards can streamline this process so that they can scale up the number of beta participants quickly.