Make My MMO: Dual Universe vrooms into another pre-alpha test (October 21, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, the much-anticipated indie sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe dropped a starship-load of tutorials on ship construction, the interface, territory, and more. They’re aimed at folks in the pre-alpha, another weekend of which kick off earlier today – it’s a nice chunk of backers, if the activity graph posted to Twitter earlier is any judge. (Cheers, Cotic!)

Meanwhile, HEX launched on PS4, Star Citizen confirmed it’s still granting refunds but isn’t launching S42 this year, Legends of Aria wrapped up its alpha, and Albion Online launched a new trial program.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Freeman: Star Edge is a slick-looking space sim that might go multiplayer

Have that urge to explore the wild galactic yonder? Here’s a potential candidate to steal your time in the future called Freeman: Star Edge. Billing itself as a “mash-up of Mass Effect and Skyrim,” Freeman is an open world RPG that contains a little bit of everything. Bar hopping? Fleet building? Trading? City construction? Galactic dominance? Interior decoration? Sure, that plus a lot more.

In addition to its striking good looks, Freeman: Star Edge is drawing attention by the virtue that it’s playable right now by anyone as an alpha build. Its studio launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this month for the single-player RPG with the hopes of raising at least $80,000 to finish things up.

Wait, single-player? Yes, but multiplayer could be a possibility: “We have multiplayer features as our final stretch goal and we really hope to be able to deliver both single player and multiplayer modes once it’s met!”

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Camelot Unchained adds a post office messaging system

It’s a productive era for the Camelot Unchained, as the team has reduced testing in order to “buckle down and focus” on development projects.

One of these is a new messaging system for the game that the team is calling the Post Office: “This allows us to send information from one entity to another in cases where we either don’t know where our intended receiver lives or if we have multiple receivers (and we don’t know where they live). We utilize this kind of system in gameplay, so we can tell players (or really anything that cares) what’s currently happening in the heat of battle.”

The team continues to have its hands full with other projects, such as improving the stability of the client, beefing up the character info screen, adding more sounds to siege engines, and refining weapon animations.

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LOTRO Legendarium: A shocking Halloween twist

Two of my absolute favorite “inconsequential” elements of Lord of the Rings Online have to be the Haunted Burrow every Halloween and the whole Bingo Boffin saga, the latter which I just enjoyed for the first time this past summer. When I discovered that these two features were on a collision course during this year’s Harvest Festival, I about fell off my chair. I might have even ranted a little to my kin about how I was disappointed that no one informed me of this fact. You think that I should start reading patch notes or something…

Since I have run the Haunted Burrow to death (pardon the pun), I eagerly turned to devour this new scrap of holiday content and to reunite with one of my favorite characters in the game. Ever since I’d finished up with the wonderful conclusion of the Bingo quest line, I’ve been secretly hoping that this wouldn’t be the end. That the developers would, one day, bring back this character and Bingo would ride again.

And while his much smaller quest series for the Harvest Festival is a breezy and mostly unremarkable affair, Bingo Boffin brought back his goofy charm — and a shocking twist that might be hinting at dire events to come in LOTRO’s game world.

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The Stream Team: Down with ARK’s dragon!

The first time Massively OP’s MJ tried ARK’s dragon boss raid, things didn’t end particularly well. But the team learned from that experience and they’ve prepared even better for this second attempt. Will the team prevail and succeed in blasting that overgrown lizard out of the sky, or will everyone — and the dinos they rode in on — just be dragon kibble? Join us live at 12:00 p.m. for Dragon Raid, the Sequel.

What: ARK: Survival Evolved
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 21st, 2017

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Secret World Legends promises ‘major’ quality-of-life update next month

As Secret Worlds Legends’ Samhain 2017 is in full swing and Funcom has released Hide and Shriek as a free title, there’s a lot of (excuse the pun) buzz swirling about the community this week. Fortunately, it’s not too tough to stay on top of it, thanks to the latest info roundup by the studio.

Funcom recapped a lot of what is going on lately, including the Halloween event, the small patch from this past week, and teased a small surprise that is coming soon. Players are widely speculating that this is a new system that allows tanks and healers to store and equip a second set of DPS gear.

And while players wait for new content later this year, at least there is a “major” quality-of-life update scheduled for November: “Topics include Elementalism, the aforementioned tease, and other oft-requested improvements. Details are still being finalized, but we really want to make sure y’all know you’re seen and heard on a lot of topics such as gearing, how the game teaches you concepts, drops, itemization, and other features we’d like to squeeze in.”

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WRUP: Of balls and pins thereof edition

Why are pinball machines so expensive? All right, that one’s obvious, they’re rather elaborate things with lots of moving parts all wired up to sturdy tables. They should be expensive. But it’s insanely frustrating that there’s no real way to get the proper feel of a pinball machine without spending a couple thousand dollars on a large, heavy table that plays one game.

And even “plays” feels a bit overly generous, because this isn’t, like, a similarly expensive arcade cabinet. A pinball machine is a matter of frantically mashing flippers and hoping for rain as various things happen with only moderate control. It’s incredibly frustrating and it’s pricey and I want one, because all of the digital solutions don’t have the tactile feel that is literally half of the fun of these things.

In summary, someone needs to make an MMO variant on pinball. Let us know why that’s stupid in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO rules at Halloween events?

I’m almost never happier in MMORPGs than when October rolls around. There’s so much moodiness and festivities revolving around Halloween, thanks to developers’ undying love for the holiday. Practically every MMO out there — even some of the ones which haven’t launched yet — are doing something pumpkin-related.

Of course, some games are much more serious about delivering a premium Halloween experience than others, and there’s a kind of escalating war of ghosts and goblins between MMOs. I’ve always loved LOTRO’s Haunted Burrow, and WildStar’s Shade’s Eve was quite excellent back when I was playing that game. But I can’t deny that some old timers like World of Warcraft and EverQuest II have built up a mountain of Halloween content over the years.

So… which MMO rules at Halloween events? Which always get you to come back, year after year, because it absolutely nails the theme, the fun, and the treats of the season?

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The Stream Team: A Black Desert Halloween

Halloween is all about the treats, and Black Desert’s event promises lots of treats! Massively OP’s MJ is going to take on the daily challenges with her Valkyrie to net herself some holiday-themed coin, candy basket, and cookie rewards. She also wants to wander about and take in the spooky decorations. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. for more Halloween celebrating in…

What: Black Desert
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 20th, 2017

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Betawatch: Closers Online’s alpha is totally open this weekend (October 20, 2017)

Welcome back to another edition of Betawatch, the game where literally everything is in early access forever. Except Closers, of course, which is open! I never get tired of that. Yes, Closers Online is running a fully open alpha this weekend, which I guess is what we do now when open beta is actually soft launch. Regardless, you can play it and check it out. What else happened in the world of eternal testing this past week? Let’s see…

  • Go Project Gorgon! It put your crowdfunding to work on a programmer to overhaul the in-testing UI.
  • OrbusVR kicked off its third round of closed beta testing. Backers could also take part in Dual Universe’s second pre-alpha, which begins tomorrowday.
  • Both Legends of Aria and Prosperous Universe put the wraps on their alpha testing.
  • Crowfall talked up its action harvesting, while Ship of Heroes went all pew-pew with lightning.
  • H1Z1 changed its name. Again. This is its third try and it’s still in early access! So is PUBG; it broke 2.3M concurrent players last weekend. Not too shabby.
  • Don’t get your hopes up about Star Citizen spinoff Squadron 42; it’s not launching this year. Star Citizen itself is still busy breaking alpha 3.0. But Bless Online is definitely coming (to us) in 2018!
  • Conan Exiles, on the other hand, will stay in testing an extra quarter.

Did we miss anything? Other than Eliot, who will be back in action next week? Send it along to us! And in the meantime, check out our ongoing list of MMOs-purporting-to-be-in-testing that we’re watching.

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Gloria Victis wants to make you fight over guild castles

Ever wanted to fight over a castle in the sky and shout “winter is coming” at your enemies? Gloria Victis will oblige. It recently dropped a new snowtop location dubbed Skergard Castle for everybody to fight over. “This addition greatly expands the world PVP formula, allowing the best guilds of each faction to compete for rulership over their own fortress,” Black Eye Games says. “In the future, guilds will have numerous benefits coming from controlling territories, such as the ability to select which workshop will be built, the possibility to regulate taxes for each workshop, and a chest for collected taxes.”

In fact, the studio has lots of big plans for the sandbox’s world PvP. It’s working on turning more existing locations into guild hotspots, adding new castles and towns, building out a market system, and “implementing a system which will link these locations in order to create visible frontlines, while maintaining the player’s freedom to choose where to strike with their warband.” The latest update includes a catacombs-based world event. Halloween is on the way too!

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TwitchCon 2017: Get sneak peeks of ARK’s Aberration today

Are you eager to learn more about ARK: Survival Evolved’s upcoming underground expansion? How about watching some gameplay live? Three streamers at TwitchCon are sitting down with devs today and exploring Aberration. We’ve already gotten to see the giant crab that can be tamed and used as a mount, and we discovered that the Reaper Queen can impregnate characters. What else is different? Day/night cycles are random, and the massive Rexes and Gigas will not be present.

There’s a ton of info being revealed, so don’t miss out on learning more secrets of this cave realm. Tune in tonight and watch live.

If you miss the streams live, that doesn’t mean you miss out completely. We will be adding finished videos as they become available.

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Ashes of Creation shows new images, talks about its ‘mini-Sim City’ design

Following a flurry of blog posts, its PAX West appearance, and its crowdfunding campaign, Ashes of Creation has gone downright silent this fall. It’s probably more fair to label it “quiet” than silent, as the team is still discussing the game as it pushes hard to get it done. Apparently there’s that December 15th deadline looming ahead for the start of Alpha Zero…

This week during Intrepid Studio’s livestream, the team talked about various parts of the game and showed off 20 new images from Ashes of Creation. These included pictures of architecture, some concept art, and plenty of shots of the game world itself. The developers also took questions from the community and shared how towns will become “mini-Sim Cities” in practice.

We’ve got all of the new images plus the full livestream for you below!

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