Beta / Special Map Size
So we've got some details as to the launch of the Beta. One thing that stuck out to me was the fact its an 801x801 map size. Last year it utilized the 401x401 map size. Frankly the 401x401 was fantastic, it seems odd to be to deviate considering the 401x401 was difficult enough to fight over. We only get so many villages to settle and chief. Of course what was conveniently left out was whether the map is Europe or "Flat" as has been used to describe the typical Travian map. However given that it is 200 days long we can assume it is the Europe map and includes regions, unless we will get a huge curve ball on the style of the server.
Regardless, 801x801 seems too large regardless of the game format. While it may officially be hosted on "COM" (and thus seemingly unaffected by the official reduction of server sizes taking place on US/UK to 401x401 on all servers), the 401x401 format is far superior particularly in a "closed" server format. It encourages fighting between alliances and if includes regions improves logistics for accounts and alliances. Presumably the servers launching in September will share the same details (minus any alterations made on Beta like the reduction in population needed to unlock regions last year), so while even if Beta can't be adjusted those in September ought to be adjusted. While there may be certain efforts to increase player numbers on the servers launched, I don't expect them to be significant enough to justify such a large map.
COM Map Size
Which brings us to another related topic. COM seems unaffected by the reduction to a 401x401 map. While COM is more populated than domains like US/UK, it is still not large enough to justify an 801x801 map. The golden days of 10k+ real players on a server are long gone. I would recommend reducing COM to at least 601x601, 401x401 may be just a bit too small. Similar benefits that are gained from the reduction utilized in the specials last year would be had here (though obviously minus the region specific benefits).