Microsoft Studios, the digital publishing arm of the Washington-based mother ship, recently cleared some time on their Twitch channel to host the folks from Signal Studios and their upcoming free-to-play RPG, Ascend: Hand of Kul. For over an hour, Ascend‘s developers fielded general questions about the game, the ongoing closed beta and an eventual release.

While an exact date hasn’t been locked down, Lead Designer Ian Scott commented on the ballpark release window. “We don’t know specifically but I would guess over the course of the next couple of months,” Scott said. “More and more people will have access [to the beta] and then the game’s going to kind of gradually launch into open release.”

“We’re going through the process of doing another update which will open up more stuff to get to the end of the game,” explained President of Signal Studios, D.R. Albright III. “When we do that, which should hopefully be within a few weeks, we’re going to release the rest of the beta codes. Then we’re going to update again [based on] that information, and that’s when it’s going to go live.”

The Ascend beta has been running strong since the beginning of the month, welcoming players who originally signed up to get a taste of what’s to come. While we can’t get into specifics about the beta content, it’s a small sample of the early game and from what we’ve played, you should be excited to get your hands on it. But it’s not all fun and games.

Signal Studios has urged players to identify issues and leave feedback during the experience, and so far it’s working. Item durability has been given a boost, allowing you more time with your hard-earned equipment before needing to patch it up. Additionally, spells will automatically carry over to your next champion after ascension, rather than needing to spend souls to designate them as legacy items. Both changes are credited to community feedback.

For that reason, Signal’s planning on showing their appreciation for your participation. “Beta players are going to be rewarded with unique items when the game transitions out of beta,” Scott revealed. Similarly, any in-game purchases of souls (Ascend‘s only currency) will carry over into release. “If during the beta, you buy a pack of souls, you don’t lose those. We will reset characters when the game goes into full release, but all of the soul packs you purchased are essentially refunded.”

That’s welcome news for beta members, but if you haven’t yet received your invitation, or haven’t signed up to take part, there still might be time. “There will be more beta invites,” confirmed Associate Producer Yesenia Cisneros. “I know some of you signed up in the beginning, hang tight we’ll get you in as soon as possible. We’ve just kind of got to do it in waves, we can’t just let everyone in [all at once].”

“The first wave we sent out 1000 invites,” Cisneros continued. “The last wave we did was 500 invites. We’re just going to be gradually sending out 500 to 1000 at a time.” In order to get one of those coveted golden tickets, you’ll need to register for access with Signal Studios. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an email housing the standard confirmation info, as well as a referral link which can be used to goad friends or strangers into signing up as well. The more people that register using your link, the better your chances of making the invite list.

Source: Microsoft Studios