that is just the worst way to use early access branching.
use it to give us access to the next upcoming "unstable" build (that is how every single early access dev does it, except you.....) not the previous version.....
No, you have to see that from a developer's point of view. The branch continues to evolve in its Early Access phase, one does not start a new public, stable branch for each new set of features.
In software development and continuous delivery practice, it's exactly how a team proceeds, they keep a default stable branch, develop a new feature on a separate branch (which should not be accessed by others), then merge back onto default when it's validated (I'm skipping the release and fix/hotfix branches to keep it simple).
Since Steam is not the best platform and forces the user to always update, Larian had to find a workaround, with a new fake branch they had to create especially on the point before merge because of people who would otherwise complain about the loss of saved games (even though we all knew about this). On GOG it's simpler, you can choose not to update.
They shouldn't do that really, and just go on with the update and wipeout (or let user prefer GOG on Steam). When I participated in several other games in development, that was the standard procedure, you don't want to see any further issue reports related to old releases.
maybe you should have keep reading before posting this cuz you are making a fool out of yourself..... cuz you can't be more WRONG. the way larian is doing it, is not the way early access game dev does it(in general) I posted a list of some game took at random in my huge early access list and they all did it and still does it with a EXPERIMENTAL branch , you have the stable version of the game and the unstable version of the game the experimental one more uptodate but more bug. it updated regularly (every day) and when it reach a sufficient stable state they push it on the stable version.
i can cite you example if you want but most if not all early access game does it that way. with some exception like Larian who don't have a clue
the way you describe it is very rare among early access dev. in my 73 early access game on steam I could only find 3 games that did not when the experimental branch way. and BG3 is one of them.
keeping back up of previous version can be done manually. or, by not pressing the update button, yes you can do that on steam too. you can disable it all.
and it does not need branching. it's not the proper way to use the BETA patch feature on steam even when you go and read what is the beta patch branching feature from the steam wiki , you can see its not meant to be use as back up version but as a way to provide your player base a way to test upcoming feature before implanting them for good.
and by doing it that way you can retain more active and engaged player who want to give feedback and test the game.
oh and losing your save file , is like a feature on a early access game. don't buy one if you not ready to face bug crash and lost of data.
be we all know by now this BG3 EA is not a EA. the communication is only 1 way.
I would say Redglyph provided an accurate description of what the development process looks like. What you're discussing is something else.
As a reply to this (your) post and your earlier post about experimental branches:
Larian has stated that they are not entering early access for playtesting purposes (even though of course there is a lot of bug-related feedback) but rather to involve the playerbase in shaping the game. Assuming that this is indeed their intention, then there is no reason what so ever to have an experimental branch, because the current state of the game is experimental in itself. There is no stable branch. The other games you are talking about are most likely releasing as early access for other reason and thus have the incentive to provide both stable builds and less stable/really unstable builds for unfinished mechanics and features.
The beta feature is an interesting solution to let people finish a playthrough and to continue exploring in their own pace, if they aren't ready to or interested in moving on. Even if it's not how developers usually make use of the beta function, it is a rather clever option for the user/player.