From the start players have been able to sign up and register their interest for early access to Paragon. This can be done directly through the official website. A confirmation email will be sent confirming your registration, but this might be delayed depending on how busy the website is at the time.
Early access phases
There are a number of phases to pre-release early access that we have been made aware of. These are (in chronological order):
A survey was sent out to potential testers to assess a few factors such as availability to play and previous game experience. It's unknown how much of an impact the survey has on the likelihood of invites, particularly as the online tests have been referred to as a lottery. Surveys were linked directly through Epic's login servers to link the surveys to accounts. Surveys are constantly being sent out in batches so it's always worth signing up for a chance at receiving one.
Online Testing is the stage of development before paid early access, which features a very early alpha version of the game. It is subject to a strict NDA. This is not the beta.
- Online Test 1 was the very first test Epic Games ran for Paragon on 22nd December 2015. It was primarily a stress test and featured very early alpha gameplay. The test was for PC only. A tutorial video was also released explaining to testers the basics of the game. It was also announced that a total of 20,000 people were invited for the first online test.
- Online Test 2 was announced on the 8th January to be held on Saturday 9th January. Another tutorial video was released explaining any updates to the game. 20,000 more invites were sent out.
- Online Test 3 was announced on the 11th January to be held on Saturday the 16th through Sunday the 17th January. 20,000 more invites were sent out. PS4 testing is expected to begin soon after.
- Online Test 4 will be held through the entire weekend of 23rd January to the end of the 24th. 20,000 more invites sent out bringing the total to 80,000. PS4 testing still not started.
- Online Test 5 introduced more cards and was held on 29th and 30th of January. For this test 16,000 invites were sent out.
- Online Test 6 was announced on the 3rd of February to be held on just Saturday the 6th. This test had a shortened time span to concentrate testing on crossplay with the Playstation 4. The Playstation 4 tests were only available to Epic Games employees. For this Online Test they added more cards to the pool and gave returning player 5 cards packs. No additional people were invited for this Online Test.
- Online Test 7 was announced on the 9th of February to be held on Saturday the 13th. This test, like the one before it, has a shortened time span to concentrate testing on crossplay with the Playstation 4. Alpha testers are being invited to connect their PS4 accounts to their Epic accounts to participate in the crossplay testing.
- Online Test 8 was announced on the 17th of February to be held on Saturday the 20th. Alpha testers are being invited to connect their PS4 accounts to their Epic accounts to participate in the crossplay testing.
- Online Test 9 was announced on the 25th of February to begin on Saturday the 27th and end on the 28th. This test they have extended the play time for players along with introducing a new build and update for the game.
- Online Test 10 was announced on the 3rd of March to begin on Monday the 7th and end on the 12th. This test Is the longest so far as Epic gets ready for their Early Access Season starting on March 18th. Online Test 10 is the last test of the Alpha testing phase as Early Access will signal the beginning of the Beta testing phase.
Friend invites were introduced before the start of Online Test 5, allowing Alpha Testers to invite their friends to join in the Online Tests. 4 invites were given to testers who had played more than 5 hours over the course of the previous Online Tests, while testers who played less than that received 1 invite. The last batch of friend invites were released prior to OT9. Friend invites are unusable during Early Access.
Paid early access
On March 3rd, Steve Superville announced on Reddit that the game will go into paid Early access on March 18th. Players can gain access to the paid early access by buying a founders pack which will be available on March 14 for $19,99 USD. Challenger packs ($59.99 USD) and Master Packs ($99.99 USD) will include a huge number of skins, unlockable items, boosts, a unique skin, and a Founder's Pack to give to a friend. More details to come.
Players who participated in the Online Tests during the Alpha phase of testing will able to continue playing during Early Access for free - they do not need to buy a founder pack.
For the Early access season the servers will go live 24/7 and the Non-Disclosure Agreement will be lifted.
All statistics and achievements will not be reset after the start of the Early Access. You will keep it from now onwards and into the final release of this game.
By the time of the early access, almost 1 million people have signed up for the beta on Epic's Paragon website (source).
During the Early access there will be weekends where anyone without a found pack can play Paragon for free.
The first free weekends where announced on April 21. The first free weekend were held from Thursday, April 28 through Sunday, May 1, and the second free weekend from May 5 through May 8. Read up on the conditions for partipation in the announcement.
The fourth free weekend was announced on June 9 and will run from Thursday, June 16 and running through Sunday, June 19. See announcement here.
Early Release for Playstation Plus members
Paragon has been released for free for all PlayStation Plus members on July 5, 2016 and will be available for download throughout July (until the August Plus games become available). In addition to Early Access phase, subscribers also got access to a Starter Pack including three Master Challenges for heroes Murdock, Rampage and Gadget, and a few skins and currency boosts.
Open beta was originally scheduled to arrive in Summer 2016 for all players, before the official launch of the game. The exact date was announced on June 10 and is scheduled for August 16 2016. Open beta will be free, contrasting to the previous paid early access phase.
Official launch of the game. The game will be free2play.