Blizzard Entertainment posted the FAQ to explain what the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is about, and what their plans looking forward for the game are. Another article continues sharing details about the Technical Alpha.
Q: What is a Technical Alpha?
A: The main goal of the Technical Alpha is to test stability and improve the game service, which will allow us to handle more players online. This phase of testing is necessary for us before we move into wider scale testing with more players. Feedback from this phase will also help us fine-tune the game’s features and balance prior to releasing it for larger scale testing.
Q: How can I get access?
A: Currently, the Technical Alpha will only be offered to a small number of players in the United States who have opted in for testing, as well as a select group of international journalists and community contributors, with the goal of expanding that player base as testing goes on. If you are interested in testing Heroes of the Storm or other unreleased Blizzard games, log in to your Battle.net account at www.battle.net, go to account management, click on Beta Profile Settings, and select which game universes you want to be opted in for. You will be entered into a pool of players that we select from as we open up game testing for any of the game universes you selected.
Q: Why is this test restricted to US players only?
A: The main goal for this phase of testing is to test stability and improve the game service. In order to make this process as fast and efficient as possible, we need to keep the scale of the testing relatively small and restricted. We’re very eager to get players from many regions testing and giving feedback on Heroes of the Storm, but in order to do that we need to start small first and then expand once it makes sense from a development perspective.
Tech Alpha testing will take place on servers based in the United States and in-game purchases can only be made using USD (United States Dollar) during this phase. As such, we will primarily be including players from the U.S. so that we can observe the environment and gather relevant data before we include players from other regions. We want all of our global players to have the best experience possible, and in order to do that, we need more time to improve features, such as being able to purchase items in more than one currency, as well as other in-game experiences.
Q: If the Alpha is US-only, then why are all these foreign press sites and personalities playing the game?
A: While we’re not quite sure when we’ll be ready to extend access to the rest of the world, we are going to invite a few international press sites and Blizzard community contributors so that players from all of our global communities can keep up with the latest Heroes developments. Please know that we’re working hard to ensure the Heroes experience will be great for all of our players before we expand access to additional regions in the future. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding during this early testing phase.
Q: I’m in the United States. How do I know if I’ve been chosen?
A: If you are selected to participate in the alpha, you will receive an invite via email. Opt-in invites will always be sent to the email address associated with your Battle.net account.
To help avoid phishing attempts, if you believe you’ve received an invite, it’s best to refrain from clicking on any links in the email(s) you receive. If you received an opt-in invite, you can verify that your account has been granted a technical alpha license in Battle.net Account Management.
Q: I opted-in for testing. Why wasn’t I chosen?
A: Testers are chosen based on many factors, including your Battle.net region, when you signed up, your computer hardware specifications, and an element of luck. Our goal is to have a good variety of player types to test the game. As mentioned previously, however, this initial testing phase will include a very limited pool of players. While a few participants may be selected from opt-ins during this time, we will likely wait until the closed beta phase before we begin granting access to a larger number of players who have opted in via Battle.net.
Q: I’ve seen sites offering alpha and beta keys. Should I sign up?
A: No! As of now, we have not released any keys to websites to offer to their readers, so any alpha/beta-key offers on these sites are fake and could be attempts at phishing for your account information.
Q: Will there be any other ways to get into the alpha besides the opt-in?
A: Not at the moment. If this changes, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.
Q: How many players do you plan to invite to the Technical Alpha?
A: The number of players we invite will be based on our testing needs. If during the course of testing we determine we need more players to participate, we’ll continue to invite more players from the opt-in pool.
Q: What game content will be available in the alpha?
A: The Technical Alpha will start with a matchmaker, an assortment of heroes, a small selection of skins and mounts, a basic tutorial, and a progression system that players can use to unlock more content and features. Remember, the goal of this phase is to test stability of the service, so the content we have here is just the beginning. Our plan is to add more content and features over time as we expand testing, until we’re ready to launch the game. We may even remove certain content and features as we enter different phases, and then reintroduce them later.
Heroes of the Storm will be a constantly evolving game, and you’re getting a front row seat into the development process as we grow the service. Your input along the way will be valuable in making sure the game gets better and better as more of the community gets in to the game.
Q: Will testers be able to purchase items using real money?
A: Yes; however, testers must use USD (United States Dollar) payments to purchase items in the game. Purchases are capped at $325 for this phase of testing. Once the Technical Alpha comes to an end, accounts will be wiped, and testers will receive a Battle.net Balance credit for the amount spent. As mentioned previously, real money purchases are enabled only for players in the North America region using USD as their currency at this time.
Q: How long will the Technical Alpha last?
A: We’re not sure yet, but we’ll provide testers with advance notice before it ends.
Q: What’s the difference between alpha, beta, and the final game?
A: Alphas and betas are still considered “work in progress” versions of the game. This means all the content included is subject to change and might not be representative of the final game.
Q: Do I have to participate in the alpha in order to get access to the beta?
A: No, we will continue to pull players who opted-in as we progress into closed and open beta testing.
Q: How long until the closed beta test starts? How long until other regions can participate?
A: This timing has not been determined yet. A lot will depend on the results of the Technical Alpha and the progress we make during this phase of testing. Stay tuned for more details as we get further along in development.
Q: When will the game be released?
A: We have not announced a release date.
We’ve been hard at work on Heroes of the Storm since you last got your hands on the game at BlizzCon 2013 and we’re gearing up to invite a very limited number of players to join us in an initial phase of infrastructure and technology testing that we’re calling the Technical Alpha. In the meantime, there are a few important details that everyone may want to keep in mind as we prepare to enter this very early Alpha testing stage.
What does Technical Alpha mean, anyway?
While Heroes of the Storm is playable and much of the core experience is present, it’s still very much in the early stages of development. Work is ongoing and we’re far from considering the game in a polished or finalized state, but after a period of extensive internal testing, we’re ready to crack open the Nexus for the very first time and invite some players to step inside.
This initial testing phase is intended to help us better examine how our infrastructure and tech will function across a much broader spectrum of machines and connection types. What’s more, inviting external Alpha testers will allow us to take a closer look at our hardware needs so that we can be absolutely sure we’re able to support the entire Heroes population as the community grows.
Since we’re focusing on our support systems for Heroes of the Storm right now, we’ve dubbed this testing phase the “Technical Alpha” or Tech Alpha, for short.
Once again, we’d like to remind you that Heroes is still a work in progress. Please keep in mind that invitees may encounter bugs and game features that are not yet implemented, as well as temporary sounds, user interface elements, and graphics. We will continue to iterate on Heroes of the Storm throughout each testing phase, so don’t be surprised if you see many aspects of the game start to level-up in the weeks and months that lie ahead.
We’re going to kick off this initial Tech Alpha phase with a very limited number of participants and continue to expand the pool of invited players as our testing needs evolve and grow over time.
Since our current focus is set on determining how we can further develop our tech to serve a growing population, Alpha access will be limited to players in the United States. While we’re not quite sure when we’ll be ready to extend access to the rest of the world, we are going to invite a few international press sites and Blizzard community contributors so that players from all of our global communities can keep up with the latest Heroes developments. Please know that we’re working hard to ensure the Heroes experience will be great for all of our players before we expand access to additional regions in the future.
So, how do I get in?
Contrary to popular belief, surrounding yourself with lit candles and shouting “Tech Alpha” into the mirror three times will not grant Alpha access, but it may amuse your family members. No, the only way into the Nexus is through an official email invitation from Blizzard Entertainment.
In order to give yourself the best chance at gaining access to testing in the future, you’ll want to make sure you’ve opted in to Heroes of the Storm testing using the Beta Profile page found within your Battle.net Account. When prompted, you’ll need to download and run the System Check tool in order to attach your computer’s specifications to your profile and then check the Heroes of the Storm opt-in box, as pictured below.
As always, be extra mindful of shady characters who wish to steal your login credentials through phishing attempts, which are often disguised by falsified emails and websites. What’s more, Alpha keys are not necessary and are not being given out during this testing phase. Please be warned that any key generators or other offers for a Tech Alpha key are most certainly suspicious.
The best way to ensure an invite is the real deal is to avoid clicking any links. Instead, log in to your Battle.net account and check the Summary section to see if a Heroes of the Storm license has been added to your account.
As mentioned previously, however, this initial testing phase will include a very limited pool of players. While a few participants may be selected from opt-ins during this time, we will likely wait until the closed beta phase before we begin granting access to a larger number of players who have opted in via Battle.net.
When can I share Tech Alpha content?
As mentioned previously, we’ve been testing Heroes of the Storm internally for some time now and, over the past few days, you may have seen a few forum threads and conversations spring up from players who managed to access an early version of this client through various means. While you should feel free to discuss the content you’ve seen thus far, we’d like to remind you that accessing and posting these files is a violation of the Battle.net End User License. As such, we’re kindly requesting that you refrain from streaming or posting videos of the Heroes of the Storm client until we begin sending out Tech Alpha invites.
Once the Tech Alpha arrives, there will be no NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), which means that you’ll likely begin to see many new Heroes of the Storm streams, screenshots, blogs, and more once we start sending out invitations. If you do receive an invitation to the Tech Alpha, we want you to know that it’s totally fine to share your thoughts about the game with others through any medium you please at that time.
We’ll be adding a ton of content to Heroes of the Storm in the coming months and hope you’re as excited as we are to embark on this journey together. Stay tuned, because we’ll have plenty more details about Heroes to share with you soon! In the meantime, you can check out our Frequently Asked Questions blog if you’d like more information.