Obsidian has announced that players will now have the chance to try out Pillars of Eternity patches while they’re still in beta, in a post at the game’s forums.
If you’ve done this sort of thing before with other games, the process will be pretty straightforward. It enables people to opt-in on beta patches through the Steam client (and opt out again, if they want.)
To get in on that beta action, right-click on Pillars of Eternity in your Steam library, hit Properties, navigate to the beta tab and pop the password BETAPASSWORD in the little box. Then press “Check Code.” You should now have a “beta branch” option from the drop down menu above the box. Select it, and Steam should start downloading the latest beta version.
I’ve just done it myself and got a 500MB patch, which I assume is 1.04 (or 1.04 in progress.)
It’s only possible to do this with the Steam edition of the game. Obsidian explain this decision as follows: “The reason is that Steam provides a simple way to get folks into the beta. If any players know of any games that ran betas on GOG, please let me know so I can investigate.”
The studio hopes that by allowing people access to beta Pillars of Eternity patches, any patch-related bugs will be discovered in advance and cut down on the number of hotfixes.
Beta opt-ins are completely optional, and if you’re happy with how your current game is going it might be best to just wait for official, finalised patch releases. It’s possible that beta patches will be unstable and create unforeseen problems, so opting in is an “at your own risk” kind of thing.
In Obsidian’s words: “avoid using any saved games that you do not want to get corrupted.”