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]

Camelot Unchained explains its guild and group philosophy for beta one

Mark Jacobs and City State Games have a big surprise for Camelot Unchained followers in this week’s dev blog: a major update to the beta one document focused on guilds, groups, and all the social organizations in between. And bigger. Really, this game is going to have a lot of different types of groups, with every niche from soloers to small crews (Warbands) to big guild-like crews (Orders) and even some formations that are more like raids, but nothing so big that little guilds or lone wolves need to panic. The document is lengthy (nothing new there, right?), but no matter what kind of group you’re in (or aren’t in), it’s worth a deep-dive to understand how the game’s community will be structured in a PvE-less RvR MMO because while it shares a lot on common with games like Dark Age of Camelot, it’s also got a few tricks I’ve never seen done before (like permanent groups that aren’t quite guilds and specialty mega-groups that are more about project management than fighting).

The dev blog also has some work-in-progress renders of character faces, super-detailed, down to the freckle — we’ll include some of those down below.

Want more social systems info? Mark Jacobs sat for what I can legitimately call a massive interview with us on this topic and a few others, so stay tuned for Monday, when we’ll be publishing the goods!

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Red Dead Redemption 2 kicks the can on its ‘summer’ announcement

Rule lawyers, please advise: Is it fulfilling the terms of a verbal contract to have promised more details on a delayed game by the end of summer and then announce hours prior to the start of autumn that an announcement was coming? Does that count?

Because that’s exactly what Rockstar Games did with Red Dead Redemption 2. When the studio revealed back in May that it was delaying the multiplayer sequel to its hit western game to 2018, Rockstar promised more details by the end of summer. The details that we got just before the seasons passed the baton? An announcement of an upcoming September 28th announcement. Seems a little disingenuous from where we are sitting.

Rockstar previously said that RDR2 would contain an “online multiplayer experience” when it arrive on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but the studio’s been considerably more cagey about whether or not the rumored PC version will actually happen. Maybe we’ll find out more next week?

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This week in survivalboxes: Valnir Rok, Hellion, Next Day Survival, and ARK

It’s time for another survivalbox roundup! What’s new in the world of eternal building, unbuilding, ganking, ganking buildings, and consuming adequate food and water so you don’t keel over dead from all the fun you’re having?

Valnir Rok

Viking-themed survival sandbox Valnir Rok is currently conducting closed alpha rounds, having opened up new servers in Asia, South America, and Russia for this weekend’s test event.

“Looking back, it was a good decision to make another closed alpha weekend before the launch,” wrote the devs this week. “Although the player’s feedback was very positive overall, we found several bugs and some serious problems. We managed to fix some issues over the weekend and patched a few performance problems. Now our task is to fix severe bugs, which influence gameplay, to have a successfull launch. Nevertheless, we are looking forward going in Early Access by the end of September.”

What else have we got here…

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Betawatch: Fortnite rolls out a free-for-all mode that’s free for all (September 22, 2017)

Remember when Fortnite’s whole thing was that it was going to be about co-op survival gameplay without any PvP aspects? That clearly didn’t last, as it turns out the game’s new Battle Royale mode is going to be free-to-play and seems to be getting an unexpected share of the game’s development. Oh, and the game accidentally turned on cross-platform play before turning it right back off, so that was great too.

In unrelated news, we bid farewell to Guardians of Ember as it has actually, like, launched now. It’s not in early access any more! It’s just access. Guild Wars 2 has also dropped its second expansion, and The Elder Scrolls Online has its latest DLC up on the test server.

More beta news? Yes indeed! Including titles you might not have seen this week otherwise.

  • All right, Pantropy, do you really think that the only thing you need to seduce someone into survival sandbox games is to include a bunch of stompy mechs? Because you are very possibly right.
  • The stress testing for MU Legend is running on September 23rd, which is the server equivalent of packing tons of college freshmen into a phone booth and daring them to fall out. Taking part will earn you 500 Bound Redzen for use in the future, so if the simple joy of stress testing isn’t enough, do it for the bribery.
  • You’ve missed the first alpha testing weekend for Closers, but there are several more weekends coming up, such as this weekend. Would you like a whole schedule for the next few weeks? You’ve got one.
  • The closed alpha weekends for Survived By are starting very soon, with several closed alpha weekends planned over the next several weeks. Exact dates aren’t given, unfortunately, but considering that there are only so many people being invited, that seems at least moderately sensible.
  • Around 350 players took place in the second OrbusVR closed beta, and you can catch up on the notes from that second beta right now. It’s a good chance to keep an eye on the game when you’re not keeping both eyes in the headset.

And as we always do, there’s a list of titles in testing and early access just below, because that’s how we operate. Did something hop to another phase of testing without letting us know? Fix that oversight in the comments. You can also use the comments for other comments, of course.

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ArcheAge’s mobile edition hits app stores next month

Need a little of that ArcheAge magic on the go? You won’t have to wait long; starting next month, Gamevil is going to roll out the mobile version of the MMORPG to players worldwide.

ArcheAge Begins is slated to hit the Apple Store and Google Play on October 25th, offering a different take on the established (and ever-so-controversial) sandbox. Developed with XLGAMES’ help, ArcheAge Begins gives players the choice of 30 heroes and has them battle their way through the world using a “flip card” system. There’s also PvP because why wouldn’t there be?

The main claim to fame here, other than the relation to ArcheAge, is the mobile’s advanced graphics, which are rendered in the Unreal Engine 4. Gamevil is specifically targeting the North American and European markets, saying that these regions showed a “high participation rate” in the game’s testing.

It looks as if most of the official discussion and reveals for the mobile MMO are being posted on Facebook. Check out the trailer and gameplay after the break!

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Dauntless gets better at dodging monsters, not its community’s feedback

With a ways to go before its launch, multiplayer boss slayer Dauntless is trying to use the time afforded to it by an open beta delay to shore up some of the game’s more noticeable weak spots. One of these problem areas, as identified by the community, is improving collision between monsters and their killers.

“We’ve gathered and analyzed community feedback on issues impacting combat,” the devs wrote, “and are implementing changes to improve the mechanics of collision and the feel of dodging. These changes will make fights feel tighter, better reward skill, and allow you to continue practicing the way of the Slayer.”

To assist in this endeavor, the devs are tightening up hitboxes on characters and mobs, helping players move better while dodging, and fixing some bugs that were giving an unfair advantage to the giant behemoths.

You can read this week’s patch notes for the closed beta on the site.

Source: Dauntless

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Snail Games is launching ARK Park for PSVR in December

ARK Park has a release date. Well, a release month: December. Yep, it’ll be out by the end of the year.

“We have just announced the launch date for ARK Park at Sony’s TGS 2017 Conference! A brand new VR experience based on the world of the popular survival game ARK: Survival Evolved, ARK Park will be launching in December this year on Playstation VR. ARK Park will support both controller and PlayStation Move, and supports English, Chinese, and Japanese voiceover and subtitles. ARK Park also features online play for an exciting online multiplayer experience.”

We’ve previously covered the Snail Games-led VR-oriented spinoff of ARK: Survival Evolved; the studios have touted the title’s 10 maps, dino breeding mechanics, multiplayer activities, a puzzle-like crafting-and-discovery system, and a battle mode. What, you didn’t think the dinos were going to just let you stare at them through the glass in peace, did you?

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Star Citizen is down to only 7 must-fix issues before alpha 3.0 goes to the Evocati

What’s that sound? That’s the sound of Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 creeping ever closer, as the teams say they’ve made “substantial progress.”

In the latest edition of Around the Verse, Chris Roberts says the dev team is focused on “clearing out the remaining blockers,” while “the dev-ops team is going through the process of preparing the build for distribution.” They’ve cleaned up 19 more must-fix issues, with 7 more to go.

The feature for this episode centers on air traffic control, which sounds like a weird and boring thing my kids would play, but nope – it’s actually pretty important to landing ships in an open-world MMO, as it’s critical to help players land in a spot that’s actually big enough and actually empty. Otherwise, you’d be landing Serrenity II on top of my Millennium Falcon IV, and we can’t have that. The whole episode is below.

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Crowfall’s action harvesting makes it ‘waaay more fun to run around and harvest’

Yesterday, ArtCraft posted a live Crowfall Q&A video showing off what the devs are calling “action harvesting” – and it caused a surprising amount of uproar in our comments. Essentially, the game will simply put players into a harvesting mode with a special skill bar. Instead of clicking, grabbing, and darting off, you’ll be finger-dancing skills on the node.

Incidentally, it’ll also leave you exposed to enemy attack, but the chief complaint was actually that it’ll be a boring timewaster, the sort of things other MMOs have tried in crafting and rejected because they’re fun a few times and then, a chore.

Today, the studio’s gone into more depth on the system, explaining that the changes “mesh” with the game’s action combat and were actually inspired by the game’s ongoing power tray redesign as the devs played around with trying to build harvesting that wasn’t just a click to get stuff.

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Wild West Online begins its second tech alpha test today

The first technical alpha for Wild West Online was a success, at least in that lots of stuff broke. But when you’re running a technical alpha, you want things to break. So the game has gotten a round of fixes over the past week, and now the developers want the testing cadre to swing in and break all of those fixes with the start of the second technical alpha test today. You’ll have to work hard to break stuff, though; the developers say they’ve worked their tushes off on crashes and stability bugs.

If you’re not interested in just paying to play a game to get it to not work, you can also take part in some actual content, as this build adds in missions (chiefly for tutorial purposes) and new HUD graphics. There are also better systems in place to track discoveries and better maps, so you’ll have more to do just riding around. If you’re in the testing, get ready to mosey on back in and start breaking a whole new set of fixes.

We streamed the first alpha test last weekend; take a peek down below.

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Massively Overthinking: How will Star Citizen make money after launch?

During this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I attempted to tackle a question sent in by commenter and listener Sally Bowls – specifically, she wanted us to speculate on what a post-launch monetization plan for Star Citizen might look like.

“Assuming they have a lot of overhead and expense, are they going to fire most of their employees at launch? Keep them and support them with subscriptions? DLC? Cosmetics? A stream of new ships would be my first guess – but new ships good enough that people spend $50M-$100M per year withouth causing old customers to think the new shiny invalidates their previous purchase? That seems to me a non-trivial tightrope to walk.”

Put away your instinct to joke that it won’t matter because Star Citizen is never coming out. Let’s just reasonably assume that it does eventually launch into something the studio will call more or less ready. How do you think Star Citizen will make money after launch? That’s the question I’ve posed the Massively OP team for this round of Massively Overthinking.

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PUBG ‘contemplates further action’ against Epic’s Fortnite battle royal mode

Remember that whole ordeal earlier this week when Epic announced that next week’s Fortnite patch will be a free-to-play PvP-centric battle royal mode? PvE players were understandably miffed, given it’s an about-face on Epic’s original plan to focus on PvE instead of PvP, but they’re not the only folks mad: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole has all but accused Epic of ripping off the mode, which Epic has previously said was inspired by PUBG as well as H1Z1.

In a press release this morning, Bluehole vice president Chang Han Kim says the company is “concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known,” down to parts of the UI.

“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”

He concludes by suggesting he’ll be “[contemplating] further action.” That’ll be an interesting day. Wonder what they’ll do with all the other games with such a mode? Anybody got a popcorn gif?

Source: Press release via VG247

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Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire has launched; get caught up on the expansion here!

Update: It’s live now! Have fun!

Guild Wars 2 officially launches its second B2P expansion, Path of Fire, today. In just two hours in fact. And if our polls are any judge, quite a lot of our audience is hyped for the release!

We’ll be streaming the fun later today (with special guests if we can pull it off), but in the meantime, ArenaNet has a pre-show on Twitch beginning at 10 a.m. EDT this morning, leading up to the noon launch when we all go charging into the desert.

Personally, I’m aiming to finish chapter one and then head straight for drinks on the Lily of the Elon. Who’s with me?

We’ve also rounded up all of our Path of Fire coverage to date, including our columnist’s impressions of the preview weekend, our look at mounts, our deep-dive into the new elite specs, and our team’s thoughts on the expansion as a whole. Happy expansion day!

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