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Beta may refer to three different things, all are related.

Beta Users

Beta users, more formally known as "Founding Citizens", are members of Smallworlds that had played during the Beta Test Period of the game, which was any time from April til December 1st 2008. All beta users have a small beta symbol by their name. All beta users received a Beta Cape as a gift at the end of the beta test period.

Beta Cape

The Beta Cape, or "Founding Citizen Cape", was the gift given to beta users at the end of the beta test period, most were given two days early however. The cape is a simple, vibrant blue cape with an orange beta symbol on it, the symbol is outlined in silver. Beta capes are primarily in Tokens, though some are in Gold due to some being sold for gold, before the "Standardized Currency" updates, which make items that start in one currency, stay in one currency. (2)

Staff Beta Capes

There are two staff Beta Capes in game, that were left in a room when it was sold to another user. This event was also the first known sale of a house outside of developer testing. The room was sold before the update of removing items from a space when the space is sold, so the two staff capes were left in the room were given to the new owner, who is still unknown. It is not sure if the capes are even tradeable, or even if they still exist at all.

Beta Period

The Beta Period was the first public release of Smallworlds, where users could test the games features. During this period the game had a "Report Bugs" button on the top left of the screen, to allow the beta users to report any issues they find. During this time, staff were everywhere, and meeting mods, admins, or even the owner was a fairly common ordeal. Every day until June 5th, 2008,(1) there was a meeting of staff, where users could watch but not chat unless they were allowed to, these meetings were held in the only room in Smallworlds history where 500+ users could be in a space at one time.

Trivia

- The beta test period had an almost "Space" theme to it, where things like stars and planets were used as backdrops and on the title bar.

- There was no VIP in the beta period until June 5th, 2008.

- The Advertisements for Smallworlds during this period were only on Crazymonkeygames.com

- During this time, Dan Smallworlds would visit new players, due to the relatively low new user per day count.

(1) June 5th 2008 is also known as "Beta 2.0", as it was a mini update with a few new features that related to the beta process itself.
(2) This update was put forth after the inflation of gold really started to take hold, gold had always been 10 tokens per 1 gold before that point, but when gold started to be sold in the Shop panel, the value of it rose.

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