The TERA EU forums are showing a post from developers teasing that the alpha stage of the game’s development is coming soon. Developers say that testing will initially be internal and small, but will expand and go to the public in a limited way after that.
They’ll begin inviting a small number of community members to play the game as alpha testers in the first stage, adding them to their internal testers. Then new players will continue to be added to the pool in stages.
Some tools to be tested include internal Customer Service AGents, Game Masters, and Quality Assurance for the team as well as a new client rollout that will need testing on a variety of system configurations.
Other items include the Elin race being included for the first time. All testing will be in non-disclosure agreements, so players will not be allowed to talk about it with the outside world until that NDA is lifted.
Alpha is the first step and this indicates that the new MMO RPG could go into beta testing sometime in 2012.