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]

Star Citizen: Around the Verse, alpha 3.0 bugs, and the state of refunds

Let’s just get this out of the way upfront: There are 25 serious issues still on the docket before Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 moves from Evocati testers to the next stage of testing, with fixes chiefly centering on doors, broken interactions, and multiplayer crashes. That’s a bigger number than last week, you’ll notice, because while some issues were fixed, new ones cropped up. Welcome to game dev.

The rest of this week’s edition of Around the Verse is fun, as it’s all about armor sets – specifically, how the team has gone about retooling and updating one-piece legacy armor to use new tech and split into separate pieces.

Meanwhile, there was a rash of claims on the (dodgy) Star Citizen refunds subreddit last week insinuating that CIG had stopped issuing refunds now that alpha 3.0 is in Evocati testing. You’ll be shocked to find out those claims have been rebuffed. We spoke to a representative from CIG who stated that the studio’s position on refunds has not changed at all. “If a request comes through within the statutory period, we take care of them, no questions asked,” he told us. “Everything else is considered on a case by case basis.”

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Sea of Thieves offers up its full NYCC panel on multiplayer, holds players to ‘Pirate’s Code’

This month, Sea of Thieves has been beating pretty hard on the drum of “our multiplayer is going to be better than most other multiplayer experiences” from the deck of its pirate ship. The crux of this argument came at Rare’s panel during New York Comic Con, during which the team spent an hour trying to explain some of the tools and design features that it is using to encourage cooperative play and good sportsmanship.

This panel, by the way, included a seven-article “Pirate’s Code” that the team is using as a code of conduct for all players to agree and abide.

If you need to hear it for yourself, the team finally released the full, uncut panel video for its fans and any others who might need to be convinced as to the veracity of these claims. For those who lack an hour to watch the full panel, there’s thankfully a list of written highlights courtesy of Rare Thief.

Next up for Sea of Thieves is a trip to PAX Australia, where visitors can get their hands on a demo of the Xbox One version of the game.

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Bless Online will launch on Steam in 2018

NEOWIZ announced on Steam today that the global release for Bless Online is indeed still happening, with a Steam launch planned here in the west at some point in 2018.

“Will this mean Bless Online is coming to Steam? Is it being released globally? The answer to both questions are… resounding ‘Yes!’ We are so glad you are here and are grateful for your support. Bless Online development team has been busy for the good part of this year. We’ve taken all of the feedback from our community to make the game better. Our intention is to return to you when we have the game we are all proud of. The development team will be working night and day to improve and polish the experience until the launch in 2018.”

You’ll recall that the game was once intended to launch here last year under the Aeria banner, but that deal was dissolved and NEOWIZ committed to launching the game itself. The gorgeous MMO, having just gone what it called a “rebuild project,” is currently in testing in Japan and South Korea.

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Dauntless lowers the hammer — in a good way

Multiplayer monster hunter Dauntless is taking its first steps to a new and improved combat system — and hammer-using warriors are going to be among the first to experience the coming glory.

Last week, the team explained that it is reworking weapons one at a time in an attempt to provide more diversity and options during combat: “We’re ready to build upon that groundwork and revisit each of the weapons, focusing in on what makes it special and how to reward mastery. This means expanding the available list of moves, branching out with combos, and evolving special attacks.”

This week’s Closed Beta 0.2.6 adds dodge attacks to hammer and chain blades, introduces the Quillshot armor set, and gave swords (this is true) more “whooshy” audio sounds while they are swung. Also: “New Seagull model. SCRAAAAWWWWW!”

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The Stream Team: Win a key to play The Black Death’s new Pestilence update

Pus and pestilence — the perfect combination for a gory Halloween! And The Black Death has it. The Pestilence update that launched today not only restructures the story and the UI but it also adds human autopsies to the game. Massively OP’s MJ is braving the outbreak to go in and check it all out, and she’s going to share all this disease with you! Join us live at 6:00 p.m. for a peek at Pestilence and a chance to win a key to join the early access.

What: The Black Death
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Citadel: Forged With Fire’s Halloween update includes props, blood, and trick-or-treating

Citadel: Forged With Fire is one of many MMOs and survival sandboxes sitting in beta or early access but still pushing out some sort of Halloween content, which ought to tell you just how important the holiday is to the genre. This week, Blue Isle drenched the gameworld in fog, spider webs, dead trees, and a bloodmoon, but there’s more too for builders and minigamers:

Costumes and Masks: Outfit your player for the holiday… Choose from pumpkin or ghost masks, a bed sheet ghost costume, helmets, a flaming pumpkin head and more!
Tombstone Props: Get graveyard props to use when building.
New Building Pieces: Trap doors, spike pits, acid pools and more! These items will stay in game forever.
Trick or Treat: Candy and costumes will be hidden in chests found at enemy camps and caves, trick or treat you enemies for a delightful treat!

Check out the spooky Halloween trailer below, and keep an eye out for our big Halloween guide still on the way!

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The Life is Feudal MMO finally has a soft launch date: November 17

After what seems like a million years of testing (not really though), the MMO version of Life is Feudal is finally leaving closed beta behind and launching open beta on November 17th. It looks like a soft launch early access type of open beta, with buy-to-play packages starting at $29.99.

The game is the MMO version of an ambitious survival-oriented sandbox by Bitbox that was itself a scaled-down version of the originally planned MMO, so now we’ve come full circle. The survival game (Life is Feudal: Your Own) also has a strategy sim spinoff called Forest Village too.

Life is Feudal: MMO is a large-scale group-focused RPG, that places players in a highly realistic, non-fantasy, medieval world where danger lurks around every corner. Players need to work as a team to gather resources, build shelter, craft tools and form a fully functioning feudal society in an unforgiving archaic world. Players may find a place in society as a vassal, a knight, a farmer or even royalty, as their guild builds and expands their medieval societies. While players may start their adventures 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. 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.”

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Crowfall demos more action harvesting, starts taking guild name reservations

Crowfall isn’t content to make gathering as dull and repetitive as in other MMOs, which is why the team is putting great stock in its so-called “action harvesting.” This system has come under further refinement following its introduction a few weeks back, and the devs were on hand this week to demonstrate why you’ll need to be on your toes when you’re cutting down that tree or scrounging through that bush.

One of these refinements is the addition of “energetic harvesting,” a skill that uses the new action pips to trigger buffs during the process. Players were also shown several of the optional disciplines that a character can equip, such as Logger, Quarryman, Lookout, Hoarder, and Survivalist.

ArtCraft informed the community yesterday that it has started to send out instructions for guilds to reserve their names. “Hey, Crowfall Kickstarter backers: Watch your inbox for guild name reservation info. Newer backers can reserve guild names in November,” the studio posted.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds passes up League of Legends in Korean PC bangs

If you are not at least keeping an eye on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and how it’s currently disrupting the entire online gaming market, you probably should be. Or at least let us do it for you. Today’s addition to the mounting pile of evidence that this may be slightly more than just a fall fling is the fact that it’s now surpassed both League of Legends and Overwatch, according to Gametrics, a Korean tracking service.

VG points out that Overwatch also passed up League of Legends last year before falling back down, so we’ll see if PUBG’s arc follows that same path, particularly given that the game won’t see any more patches until its formal launch.

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Closers opens up its final alpha weekend to everyone

Here’s an intriguing option for your weekend plans: Pour a tall glass of cel-shaded anime combat and down it before the buzzer sounds for the end of an alpha.

Closers has opened up its final alpha weekend to any and everyone who would like to take a peek at this title before it barrels into beta and beyond. The test begins on Friday and, again, it’s completely public: “If you signed up, you will get access; if you sign up before the alpha weekend ends, you will get access; if you want to play with your friend, tell them to sign up, and THEY WILL GET ACCESS!”

Massively OP’s MJ took a look at Closers during PAX West, during which she got a crash course in this episodic anime MMO. “As unfamiliar as I was with the controller and all the controls, the game was easy to pick up and get into,” MJ noted.

Source: Closers

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Funcom has delayed Conan Exiles’ launch to Q2 2018

Funcom announced this morning that it’s delaying Conan Exiles’ formal launch, this time to Q2 2018.

“We’ve been looking at our development roadmap for Conan Exiles, and considering the level of quality and polish we would like to meet before full release,” the studio told followers on social media. “Making sure that Conan Exiles is of a high technical and gameplay quality is our number one priority right now. As such, we have decided to take a little more time than we had originally planned, to make sure we get as much polish in as we can before it moves out of Early Access. So we’re pushing the release date from Q1 2018 to early Q2 2018. It’s not a major shift in release window, but it will make a significant difference on the quality of the game.”

You’ll recall that delays are nothing new for Conan. The game’s original early access launch was planned for September 2016 but delayed to January 2017. The Xbox One version has also been delayed in the past, originally having been slated to follow the PC early access launch last January and then for Q3 2017 (it’s in preview now).

Source: Twitter. Thanks, David and Kinya!

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Destiny 2 PC preloading has begun, while console daily logins decline

PC fans, your time is almost here: You’re finally getting a Destiny game on your platform. In fact, if you’ve already purchased Destiny 2, then get thee to the preload: Just boot up the Battlenet app and get moving.

Still need to buy it? Green Man Gaming still has the PC edition for 15% off with the SUCHWOW10 code. We’re told that while folks who buy it that route (it’s not an affiliate link, just a good deal) will be getting their keys by tomorrow so they can hop into the downloading frenzy too.

And while you wait? Ponder the discussion on Reddit, where Destiny 2 console players are monitoring what appears to be a hefty (though probably not unexpected by anyone who watches the MMO industry) decline in the console playerbase already. (Thanks, Danny!)

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Conan Exiles makes thralls awesome, considers ‘free-flow movement and combat system’

Thralls are finally becoming a lot more interesting in Conan Exiles. Currently in testing for PC is a new patch that makes those NPCs a bit more like custom companions than like the bots they once were, as you can now interact with them and fuss with their inventories, thus outfitting them so they suck less.

“One side effect of introducing the thrall inventories was that you could no longer pickup these thralls once they have been deployed [due to inventory item restrictions]. This makes it more cumbersome to move thralls over long distances. We are therefore adding support for archer, fighter and dancer thralls to follow you around instead. This should make it easier to rearrange your defenses. The follow mechanics also opens up the doorway for rescuing thralls in the future.”

Repair kits are also in testing, along with roofing pieces. Funcom says it’s working on stamping out crash bugs, building out the the Volcano dungeon, adding craftables, implemementing a new critter, and iterating on what could be huge changes to combat.

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