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]

Dark and Light explains its item-based magic system

How do you merge a survival sandbox game with a magic system? This is the challenge that Dark and Light’s team has been grappling with as it rebuilds the game into a new vision. The solution that emerged was to make spells as item-dependent as anything else in the game rather than inherent abilities rooted in characters’ innate talents.

The team put out another one of its awkward self-interviews to try to explain how Dark and Light’s magic system differs from what you normally see in online games. The gist is that you’ll need to craft special items and catalysts in order to use spells, and those spells will aid with surviving and crafting in the world. Eventually, players will start to specialize in certain types of magical crafting, enabling them to bring something unique to a group setting.

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The stream Team: Take a gander at the new Games of Glory

If you’ve been waiting for a new top-down action team shooter set in a sci-fi universe, then Games of Glory may be for you! The game just opened its beta doors this week, and Massively OP’s MJ is barging in to check things out. What will the champions be like? How are the play fields designed? And how well will the death counter feed? Join us live at 9:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…

What: Games of Glory
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 27th, 2017

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ARK: Survival Evolved brings underwater doom to consoles

Remember the big ol’ underwater-themed ARK: Survival Evolved earlier this month that sent PC players into a tizzy over the big bird nerf? (Not the Big Bird nerf — that’s something else entirely.) That selfsame patch has landed for console players this week — without all the nerfs, mind you, as many (though not all) of those have been sorted out on PC in the meantime:

“This huge new patch (v256) arrives bursting with new content, including vacuum-sealed underwater bases and aquatic creature breeding, TEK teleporter pads and wireless generators, and four powerful creatures. Today also brings to console players the first major menu redesign of ARK, as the Inventory UI receives a complete visual and functional overhaul – introducing a modernized and streamlined new look. This is a huge upgrade that makes inventory management a breeze.”

Want more survival sandbox coverage? Check out our new column, The Survivalist, which covers ARK and the now dozens of other titles in this subgenre, and don’t miss our weekly ARK: Survival Evolved streams, which take place on our streamer’s very own ARK server (which you’re invited to join if you wanna)!

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Hellion invites you to decorate while you’re scrambling to survive in space

Carving out a niche of your own in the deep of space is part of the full Hellion experience. In a new dev diary, the team discusses how players can claim ships or outposts as their own, naming them and setting permissions for others to visit (or not). There is always the possibility of hacking another’s security system to gain unwanted access, however.

Once you own a ship, apparently it’s yours to decorate inside and out as you please: “While exploring the world of Hellion players will be able to find various customization items that can be placed inside ships and modules. Some of these include posters, pictures, emblems, logos, etc. In addition to premade items, players will also have the option of placing written messages.”

Can we cover this game with “MOP RULES” graffiti? Let’s make it happen, people! In fact, now’s a good time to jump into the game: The 0.1.12 patch is live today, and yes, it fixes the ship HUDs!

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ECO explores climate change with the power of video games

If you’re averse to politics, science, and education, you might want to give ECO wide berth. Otherwise, Strange Loop Games CEO John Krajewski hopes that you and the upcoming generation of students might learn a thing or two about the impact of humans on a closed environment through ECO’s 30-day cycle.

“Within the experiential power of games, I believe we can find some of the power to untie the political knots that wrap up climate change, creating an experience in a virtual world where climate change is a problem you can see in front of your face, and it immediately threatens you,” Krajewski wrote.

Krajewski said that by allowing players to experience first-hand how the environment reacts to siphoning off resources and changing the world itself, the players might come to a conclusion through their experience. “Within ECO, the processes of climate change and societal impact happen over the course of 30 days, with a few dozen friends or classmates, in a world small enough to see all of it,” he said.

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The Survivalist: Is gaming’s early access the new launch?

Previously, while discussing ARK: Survival Evolved’s big bird nerf, I touched on the subject of the early access model. My focus then was on the model in relation to ARK, but it isn’t unique to the dinosaur survival game by any means. In fact, that model pretty much defines the entire multiplayer survival genre, which appears to be (perpetually) stuck in early access. Just take a gander at our guide: Practically every title is in EA. Some have even been in this unfinished state since 2013!

So what gives? Why isn’t anything getting completed and actually launched? Or is this really what launch looks like nowadays? I certainly hope not. Early access certainly has its place, but there are issues — especially with games that use the model for years on end. And that isn’t doing the survival genre any favors in the long-term.

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Shroud of the Avatar rebalances combat, adds Path of Truth in R41 out today

Shroud of the Avatar’s 41st release is rolling out to players this morning, stuffed with fresh content for testing. Probably the most important bit arriving today is the finished Path of Truth quest arc and its accompanying Halls of Artifice.

“In this single-player, plot-driven experience, the avatar will delve into the mystery of why the satyrs of Elysium are welcoming pilgrims into a life of bliss… Of course, I am sure that a place called Artifice along the Path of Truth would not be filled with lies, right?”

Players can also expect to see the Solace Bridge outskirt map; five new scenes including Ruins of Kas and Verdantis Mines; The Fall, a “free-for-all full of crazy powerups centered around a giant vertical shaft”; new deco; the first stages of localization; and a major combat balancing pass.

“We made major improvements to Taming, Summoned Creatures, the entire Bludgeons combat school, creature resistances, and more,” says Portalarium. “We also added two new Moon Spells, new weapons, and our first new ranged weapon since ranged combat was introduced: Crossbows.”

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Worlds Adrift delays closed beta by ‘a few weeks’

What’s going on with the Worlds Adrift testing? Since the launch of its 6.1 alpha play test two months ago, the Bossa Studios team has been hammering out bugs and new features — but it says it just needs a bit more time.

“There’s a few important features that aren’t quite done yet, [so] we’ve decided to delay the game,” Bossa’s Luke Williams explains. The most important feature is the character creator, but there are also updates coming for the world map, ship frame salvaging, bomb combat, gliders, and the “bottom storms” that help destroy the detritus of the gameworld.

Consequently, Bossa says, “We’re moving back the start of closed beta by just a matter of weeks, not months.”

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Life is Feudal MMO begins another round of its closed beta

Bitbox is unleashing another round of closed beta testing for the MMO fork of Life is Feudal, expected to run two weeks. Accompanying the beta announcement is a new trailer from the team going through the game’s laundry list of features, from crafting and weather to survival skills and a persistent world to territory and terraforming.

“While players may start their adventure in Life is Feudal: MMO alone, as they gather and craft supplies needed to make it to the next day, they will quickly meet up with others to form groups, then guilds, and finally work their way up to complete medieval societies and nation-states,” says the studio. “Life is Feudal: MMO is a realistic social experience, where the best way to thrive in the world is to work together and build a fully functioning society, where everyone has a place, from the most basic hunters and gatherers, to farmers, soldiers and civic leaders.”

Closed beta is available to peeps who pick up one of the early access packs, the cheapest of which is $39.99. We’ve got the trailer below — anyone jumping in?

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Rend’s arsenal offers many ways to bump off your enemy

“Your choice of weapon will have a big impact on your play-style in Rend, from using massive ballistae to assault your enemies, to launching a spirit-world stealth bombing run — there are many choices for players to make.”

With its PvP focus, Rend is stocking up on plenty of weapons for players to use with impunity upon their competitors. A new dev diary talks about the “blasters and bombs” that can be chosen for the fight. Due to its survival sandbox nature, players will begin with crude weapons (such as throwing sticks) and work their way up to portable high-tech death.

The path of progression goes from stone age to medieval (crossbows, bows) to industrial (spike-launchers, bombs). There’s even a super-powerful ballista, which comes in several varieties and has to be mounted upon your fortress or club house.

Source: Rend

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Mars survival sandbox ROKH pushes early access to May

Mars-themed survival sandbox ROKH is inching closer toward release, a new post on Steam announced today, as early access is now planned for May 16th.

“Playing on persistent servers, you will experience a truly sandbox experience. No mission or quest here, define your own goals according to your own needs! And to succeed, find your own way to play with the many game systems available. As a newcomer on ROKH and its Mars Colonization Program, you must find ways to survive by exploring Mars in your basic astronaut suit, looking for resources. Oxygen, food, water – all your life support systems will have to be cautiously managed.”

We first heard about ROKH back in 2015 when it released its teaser to the world. Just about a year ago, developer Darewise Entertainment launched a Kickstarter for the game seeking over $100,000, but that crowdfunding attempt was canceled when it achieved only about a fifth of its goal. Since then, the early access launch has been kicked around a few times — first to September 2016, then January 2017, and now to next month. Stay tuned for more on the game as it’s one of the titles we’ll be covering in our nascent survival column!

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Players purchase and revive defunct MMO Crowns of Power

An abandoned fantasy MMORPG might be getting a second lease on life thanks to its players, although the road ahead looks to be challenging.

Back in 2008, Rampid Interactive launched Crowns of Power, a MUD-inspired PvP MMO that was deeply focused on the theme of magic. While the game did have its followers, for some reason the game fell into disrepair and Rampid abandoned it in 2011. Now in 2017, one player purchased the title and is looking to repair and rebuild it for a future launch.

“We have officially purchased Crowns of Power,” the new owner posted on the site. “This is the first major step in bringing this game back to life, this isn’t just a remake; this IS the Crowns of Power we all know and love.”

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Pantheon studio Visionary Realms finds firmer financial footing

Looking at Pantheon today, you almost wouldn’t know it flopped its Kickstarter way back in 2014. That’s because the team kept at it and has been raising money from investors and gamers to keep the dream alive for the past three years.

“Visionary Realms today announced that Series A funding for their upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, is now complete,” reads this morning’s press release. “Series A funding allows the company to expand the team in almost every department and bring the game into a semi-private pre-alpha state where external testers and focus groups can begin sampling the game.” This funding round is typically venture-capital-oriented and follows seed funding like the capital the studio raised back in 2015.

In March, Visionary Realms’ Brad McQuaid told gamers the team now counts 15 people. Public testing (pre-alpha) is planned for later this year.

Source: Press release

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