Alphas & Betas Category

MMOs in various stages of testing and crowdfunding, playable and… not. Don’t forget to follow our Betawatch and Make My MMO columns for a weekly rundown. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Betawatch: A Bless Online-ed event (March 23, 2018)

After all of the false starts, delays, and dearths of information, we finally know the truth this week. Bless Online is coming to early access in May, finally making its way over here. We even had a lengthy interview about the game’s development plans, so if you’ve been watching it for ages, you can find out more about it. And that includes no lockboxes, thankfully.

So let’s move on, shall we? There’s other beta news, and we’re dropping it right… here. After the end of these sentences.

And after all that getting, why not get yourself down to the list of games in testing below? If you got something we didn’t get, you can get in touch with us in the comments to get things back on track. Get the idea?

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The Black Death has spawned an actual popularity contest

If you thought your days of losing popularity contests were over when you left school, think again! Indie survival sandbox The Black Death is bringing back your chance to do all the work on the class yearbook while some hunky loudmouth takes all the glory by asking its player testers to nominate and vote on each other’s contributions to the game. The studio says it’s a way to thank the community, letting the community “endorse” the people it thinks “have put a significant contribution to the development of The Black Death.”

“Today we would like to give YOU the opportunity to nominate your fellow players for the prestigious Founders title and a Gold name in game. That’s right, it is now you, the community, who will be choosing the Founders. We are still going to play a part in this, but it will be limited to making the final decisions on the top nominations, and those will be based completely on your feedback.”

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Mavericks takes battle royale in the direction of an MMO

Normally there’s a firm line of separation between battle royale-style multiplayer shooters and the full-fledged MMORPG, but Automaton’s Mavericks may be about to change all of that.

The online tactical shooter has a couple of advantages that may set it apart and above its competition when it comes out this year. For starters, it’s using the Cryengine to create a large “photo-realistic” and “high-fidelity” environment. Then Mavericks is opening up its doors to 1,000 players at a time in its persistent world, thanks to SpatialOS’ tech.

“We’ve combined a number of new and proven additions that drastically expand on what you’ve seen from the last generation of games,” the studio said, ‘including character progression, deep narrative, intelligent mission systems, social hubs, and a huge world rich in content.”

The team hasn’t started doing dev diaries yet, but it HAS created a dev diary for the upcoming dev diaries, which you can watch after the break and then feel generally fulfilled about your life.

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Dauntless continues to refine its user interface to balance form and function

As Dauntless pushes through beta and toward launch, the team is hard at work refining its user interface to strike that critical balance between being seamlessly integrated with the game’s art style and providing useful information on the fly.

The team said that it is giving increased focus to the UI right now, taking cues from Halo 2’s matchmaking system (which it labels “humanity’s greatest achievement”) and figuring out the UI for game controllers. Other UI projects include transmog, customization, cosmetics, color blind options, status effect icons, quick crafting, and rebindable keys.

“The art of user interface is providing immediate and relevant information without creating a distraction or incongruity,” the dev team said. “It’s important to us that our UI is snappy, fluid, and intuitive.”

Source: Dauntless


WoW Factor: Allied races and a dearth of class choices

Last week, we got confirmation that Kul Tiran Humans and Mag’har Orcs are coming to the Allied Race roster for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. We don’t know when, but I have a bit of a theory about that as it is; from what we know, it’d make sense to have Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs brought in at the start of the expansion, while the Kul Tiran Humans and Zandalari Trolls are brought in after you’ve finished the leveling story for the respective factions. The former are more solidly members than the latter, after a fashion.

But we don’t know for certain when they’re getting added, just that they will be. And that’s interesting, because it means that both factions have significantly increased their race options within one expansion. And that becomes kind of relevant when you look at how many choices individual players have in terms of having something for all of these different races to do.

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Here’s how Star Citizen’s character customizer is coming along

Sea of Thieves’ character customization got you down? Star Citizen won’t be making that mistake. This week’s Around the Verse details the game’s roadmap for the character customizer arriving with the 3.1 alpha – and yes, tweaking your dudes and dudettes is going to be a game in itself.

“The character customizer being introduced in Alpha 3.1 is being polished by several teams working to fine-tune this highly anticipated feature,” says CIG’s Eric Kieron Davis. “The gameplay feature team is tweaking the options for eye and skin color as well as the way they’re presented within the customizer. We want to make sure the interface is intuitive and responsive as possible and the UI team continues to make adjustments to the customizer to ensure that. The character customizer is one of the most exciting new features coming online with Alpha 3.1, as it will allow citizens to begin their journey, creating an avatar that can fully represent them within the Star Citizen universe.”

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Fractured’s alignment and karma systems put a spin on MMO PvP

Is it even possible to put the diametrically opposed playstyles of PvE and PvP into the same MMO game world and make it work? Well, obviously it’s been done in the past to varying degrees of success and failure, but the upcoming fantasy sandbox Fractured thinks that it has struck upon a “unique” solution that caters to both sides and the spectrum between.

Part of the team’s plan is to create three worlds with different rulesets (PvE, lawful PvP, and lawless PvP) so that players may choose the level of interplay between the two crowds. Another part of that solution is giving an alignment to each character.

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Ship of Heroes’ map is ‘larger than the starting maps in City of Heroes’

If you’re a City of Heroes fan – or any kind of superhero fan – then you’re gonna want to check out the brand-new and never-before-revealed early-game Ship of Heroes map that Heroic Games just sent over. Remember, SoH is literally set on a starship, but it’s so massive that it fits all kinds of real-world zones inside.

“Every new MMORPG gets to the point where they can begin sharing the current version of the persistent level with their community,” Heroic Games writes. “Ship of Heroes is at that point right now. The map below is our first viewable version of the map of Apotheosis City. While every part of the city has not be allocated to a zone yet, it is clear that there will be about a dozen zones in the first playable level.”

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Chronicles of Elyria demos its character creator in front of a live studio audience

Who’s ready to look super-duper freaky? Chronicles of Elyria, that’s who!

The in-development indie MMO demonstrated the first iteration of its character creation system in a livestream yesterday. The character creation is coming with the game’s 0.2.0 release.

The team is obviously proud of the wide selection of faces and body types available to represent the game’s different “tribes” of humans. Want a sturdy chin? Anime-style eyes? Deformations that will haunt you late tonight when you are trying to sleep? And unless you’re dying to know how the team feels about their precious coffeepot, you’ll want to skip ahead to minute 11 on the video for the scoop on character creation.

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Crowfall Q&A turns its focus to NPC creation

Don’t be fooled by the PvP nature of Crowfall — the game world (or worlds, plural) will feature many NPCs to add flavor and interaction in these campaign settings.

For the March 2018 developer Q&A video, the team sat down to talk about its creation of NPCs, from their brains down to their powers. “From musk hogs and hellcats to risen and spiders, Crowfall has an aspiring medley of creatures in the world. Each type of creature needs its own brain, a set of instructions on how it should act and react,” the team said.

It’s definitely the rare video that satisfies both fans of giant spiders and giant spreadsheets, so check it out below!

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Worlds Adrift is trying to melt its servers and getting rid of a major currency

What are those wacky devs up to over at Worlds Adrift? Apparently trying to “melt the servers” with this Thursday’s update and stress test. The team invites as many testers as there are to jump into the game on March 22nd to see if the servers can handle it. Famous last words, eh?

Meanwhile, the team says it’s getting rid of Sky Atlas coins, instead listing “transactional items” only with real-world currency. It’s part of a larger virtual currency system change.

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Trion plans Defiance 2050 closed beta for April – here’s how to sign up

Defiance players itching to give the game’s reinvention as Defiance 2050 a spin are going to get that chance in April.

“We’re thrilled to announce that the Defiance 2050 closed beta test runs April 20 to 22 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC,” the studio posted. “Team up with players in co-op events to explore this partially terraformed world and accomplish compelling story missions or battle it out against fellow Ark Hunters in fast-paced PvP combat.”

It sounds as if testers will be playing the Assault class specifically during this leg of the beta. Signups are on the official site.

Trion announced the console-friendly reboot back in February; the MMORPG studio has since promised it won’t abandon the original game and can’t support full crossplay but will credit classic Defiance players in the new title.


Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s devs take you spelunking in the pre-alpha

Here’s a neat two-for-one deal for fans of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The developers recently hosted a livestream in which they showed pre-alpha spelunking in Halnir Cave while also discussing the game and its ongoing development.

There were a lot of details to be gleaned from the livestream, including how the improved user interface functions during adventures, a glimpse of the touted perception system, some of the Rogue’s abilities and descriptions, and plenty of examples of loot.

Over the two hours, the dev team covered many topics: hotbars, macros, craftings, light sources, death, the class system, alternative advancement, and so much more. The team said that alpha is not scheduled as of right now as the game is moving through several pre-alpha phases at the present.

Pantheon will be present at PAX East next month with a limited demo that lucky players (and press!) will experience, so stay tuned.

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