There’s no way to mince words here so to get right to the point: We’re very sorry to say that this next update, planned to come before the weekend, will cause some disruption to all Beta players.
The bad: The coming update will involve a large download-you will need to wait in line at the snowy scene screen, then download dozens of megabytes of data. This is necessary for two reasons: one, the AC2 Update team is merging in tons of fantastic-looking graphics to use in AC2’s monthly updates. You won’t see this stuff right away, but it will pay off in the end-you’ll see grand new art, without a download, in the free monthly updates you get after AC2 is launched. Not to mention the end-of-beta event… Secondly, all the in-game movies will be downloaded to you once and for all, so you won’t need to wait at the black screen anymore after you touch a new Shard at the end of a Vault. For those who do not want to endure the in-game download and who want to be able to reinstall without re-downloading, within a week or so we plan to release a last Beta 2 setup including totally up-to-date data requiring very little in-game download.
The worse: We need to perform a character wipe on all worlds with the next update. We found one remaining case where we don’t have enough bit-depth for a particular aspect of the characters. If we kept it this way we’d have to frequently “roll over” these IDs after we launch, posing risks to the stability of all characters. We thought we caught all these cases a month or so ago, which triggered what we really thought would be our last wipe, but these things are very tricky and we only realized the remaining problem recently. We recently concluded that the wipe is necessary. However we also just verified that we could do…
The better: To make up for the character wipe, and to get as quic**y as possible to an advanced character base, all characters that you start up for the week following the next update will be made level 20. Completing the Mend Statue quest will zip you to level 20 instead of level 2. You will still need to work your way up through harder monsters to get good loot-don’t expect to run right off to Omishan-but we’ve done similar things on the Green world and it should take only a few hours to be equipped as a level 20 character should be. Any number of characters you start will all be level 20, so this is a great chance to check out a variety of character types. However, about a week after the next update, we will stop boosting new characters to level 20, to allow the lower 20 levels to be tested again.
We are very, very sorry to do the character wipe. We very much wanted to avoid this, and we searched very hard for any alternative. The boost to level 20 was the only one we could pull off. Of course we have put in a lot of extra thought to make sure that this really is the last wipe we need to do before the end of Beta.
Thanks for sticking with us. You are helping make AC2 the most reliable, robustly updateable online game ever created, and we greatly appreciate your effort and patience.
Matthew “Stucco” Ford
Lead Program Manager of AC2
@Microsoft Game Studios