There are possibly much more questions that could be asked and answered so feel free to complement this FAQ. Just post the Question and, if you have it, the answer and I will implement it here.
A short Disclaimer:
It has happened quite a few times now that people somehow associate me with PGI. Just to make it clear: I am NOT an employee of PGI and whatever is written here is kept up to date by me, but is NOT the final say of PGI. Everything can be changed at ANY moment by PGI.
So, here it goes:
I. Closed Beta
II. Operation: Inception/Founders Pack
III. Game Launch
I. Closed Beta
Q: What the heck is a "closed beta"?
A: The "closed beta" is a way of testing the game. Through this, the devs can find bugs, fix them or do any kind of adjustments to the game mechanics to balance everything. "Closed" means that only a small amount of people can partake and that these people need to be invited to partake in the beta. Normally, before a game goes into Closed Beta, there is Alpha Testing (most commonly done only by the developers) and a small "Friends and Family" Beta. After the Closed Beta, sometimes (As is the Case with MWO) there will be an Open Beta for everyone and after that the game will go gold and be officially released.
Q: So I can play the game before everyone else?
A: Theoretically yes. Practically, a (closed) beta is for testing out all different kinds of stuff, not for a normal gaming experience.
Q: Okay and how do I apply for this?
A: You need to create an account for the forums. Then, you press "Profile" at the very top of the page. This opens up the "Closed Beta Registration" Page. Just fill in all of your Information that is asked of you and your status will be "Pending". This means your application is accepted and all you have to do is wait for an invitation.
Q: Sweet! And who gets an invite? Can everyone participate?
A: We don't know any specifics about what the devs are looking for in testers. But they are probably looking for a wide range of people: High-End PCs, Low-End PCs, people who know their Battletech stuff as well as Beginners and possibly people from all over the world. There is no IP Blocking for the Beta, so even when you are from Timbuktu you can apply, but expect lag and such if you are not from North America. From all the people who applied and fit the devs interests the testers are selected completely at random. But up until now only about 28.000 (+/- 1000) people have received an Invite. The last batch was released on 26th July. When the next batch will be handed out is not known.
Additionally, the Beta is put into two parts. Closed Beta 1 is made for 10.000 people. After that, beginning with 10th July, there will be Closed Beta 2 with much more people.
Besides of that, right now only Founders buyers are chosen as beta testers. After buying a Foudners Pack you will receive a Beta invite immediately.
When or even whether Non-Founders will be chosen again depends on the number of Founders and how many players the current and future hardware can hold.
Q: How will I know that I have been accepted?
A: Your status will change from "Pending" to "Approved" and you will receive an E-Mail. So, no need to check the page every five minutes.
Q: And what is this NDA I keep hearing about?
A: NDA stands for Non-Disclosure-Agreement and is a legally binding contract. The exact content of these contracts varies. Generally, it means that you are not allowed to talk about the beta or release any kind of information. This is done to prevent people talking about features that may not be implemented or that are broken, thus keeping everyone from making bad press. Besides of that, some NDAs (including the one for the MWO beta) include that you are not allowed to tell anyone that you partake in the beta.
Q: If it is a legal contract does that mean I can't take part in it because I am not 18 years or older?
A: Sadly, yes. You need to have to be of legal age to sign this contract.
Q: Will I get approved faster or get any special treatment if I PM the developers repeatedly?
A: No, you most likely will be left out of the Beta pool for this.
Q: Do I receive a message If I am not chosen for the Beta?
A: No, besides of not being 18 or older, there is no reason to discard anyone from the pool of possible testers, so everyone will remain "pending" until they are approven or the closed beta ends/Operation: Inception begins. Even when you are under 18 your status won't change.
II. Operation: Inception/Founders Packs
Q: What is this Operation:Inception?
A: It is a promotion by Piranha Games. You can buy one of three different Founders Packs after the 19th June that will grant you, along with different other things, early access to the game in closed beta after buying the pack. (For information about the three packs, visit this page). Your Founders' stuff will be implemented on 7th August. After this date, there may still be resets of the game. These resets will only end when Open Beta starts and you will get your Founder's Package anew then (For specific information read this and here is Bryan Erkmans verification of this answer). Also, technically the Founder's Period is still closed beta, so it is possible that everyone who buys a Founders Pack will have to sign an NDA.
Q: Sign an NDA? Does that mean I can't buy one if I am not 18 years or older?
A: Yes, as long as the closed beta runs, you will have to sign an NDA, which you only can do if you are of legal age in yoru country. Once the Open betastarts, this NDA will no longer apply, so yo ucan still byu a Founders Pack to enjoy the assets it gives you as soon as Open Beta starts.
Q:The Operation: Inception thread says it is only for North Americans! What is with us Europeans/Australians/Asians/Africans/Antarcticians/Marsians/....?
A: Again, there is no IP Blocking, so everyone will be able to play on the North American Servers.
Additionally Information, picked up from here:
This means, that there will be a possibility to migrate later on and that everyone (not only the Europeans) can buy the packs, too. When the servers will be launched is not known, but there are talks with publishers for European servers and according to Garth it is:
Q: What are these "special Founder 'Mechs"?
A: If you buy the Elite Pack for 60$ you will be able to choose from one of four Founder 'Mechs: An Atlas, a Catapult, a Hunchback or a Jenner. Those are the prime variants but are fully customizable and have a special paint job. Additionally they will have a lifetime boost to your received C-Bills (ingame Money) of 25% after a match if you played that match with this founder 'Mech. If you buy a legendary pack you will get all four of those 'Mechs.
The Founder 'Mechs do not take up Garage Slots. So, when you buy a 'Mech or all four you get additional Garage slots, so to say.
You will also need to choose your 'Mech for the Elite Package before buying the pack. At the moment there is no possibility to switch this, but maybe there will be in the Future.
Q: What does "premium account" mean?
A: This means that you get a 50% boost on your C-Bills an experience points rewards after the match. The premium accounts are tim limited (Veteran 1 Month, Elite 2 Months, Legendary 3 Monts) but can propably be rebought as soon as the game launches.
Q: Great! So where Do I go to buy it?
A: Just visit this page.
Q: Hey, After buying the Veteran/Elite package I get an upgrade option. How long does this stay?
A: Probably until the end of the Founders Program.
Q: And how long will the packages be on sale?
A: As it stands now, there is no official end date, but the devs will announce it, when the tiems comes.
Q: But I have still more questions!
A: Take a look at this thread. Here, Russ answered additionally questions regarding the Founders' Packs.
III. Game Launch:
Q: I don't want to test the game or pay for a free to play game! When can i start destroying other mechs for free?
A: There is no definite date yet, but there will be an open beta "this summer".
Q: Hell! What does open beta mean now?
A: It means everyone is free to play and test the game, but that the game is still under development. That said, a feature that is in the game for one day, can be out of the game the next. When the open beta starts is not announced but on the "Week in Review - June 4th-8th" they stated that:
(Emphasis by me)
So maybe, just maybe, we don't need to wait that long anymore.
Q: And when can I play the real game, no beta or things like that?
A: As soon as the open beta ends, but there is no definite date announced yet. For more Information on all these dates as well as tons of more information take a look at this topic.
I hope this answers at least most of all your questions. If not, feel free to ask in this topic!
Edited by Faenwulf, 06 August 2012 - 12:49 PM.