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]

Salem isn’t dead! It’s launching June 17th

Salem might have slipped off of your radar over the past few years. It’s a permadeath, open-PvP sandbox that fell into the perpetual beta trap. It also lost its original publisher, which is never a good sign. But no more of that; the game will now officially be launching on June 17th this year. In a Facebook post yesterday, the current owners declared that the game is actually doing rather well:

A group of veteran players who prided themselves on possessing an intimate understanding of the title, and were working on a similar title themselves, decided to scrap everything, purchase the remaining shares of Salem from the powerhouse that is Paradox Interactive, and quite simply evolve the game into the masterpiece they always felt it could be. Slowly but surely, Salem’s population began to rise, and the player-base seemed to reward the efforts of Mortal Moments for the risk they took. The performance of the title is now operating at nearly 800% compared to the time of acquisition, growing strictly by word-of-mouth due to the positive reception of the sweeping changes made.

So if you ever wanted to tool around in a pseudohistorical version of bobblehead colonial America with the very real risk of dying forever, the option of doing so arrives in June.

[Source: Facebook]


Guild Wars 2’s Stronghold public beta is today; here’s a guide

You can play Guild Wars 2‘s upcoming expansion PvP mode right now! The Stronghold public beta is today! And then it closes up shop again tomorrow, so if you don’t play it today, you’re going to have to wait. You should probably do that now if you can. Maybe not if you’re at work; your boss probably wouldn’t appreciate your running off to play instead of doing your job. You know what we mean.

Are you nervous because you don’t have the slightest idea how to play the map beyond the universal points of not dying and doing damage to other players? Not to worry; there’s a helpful video guide available from the preview events that should give you a clear picture of how to play. And if all else fails, you can always fall back on the defense of this being a beta wherein no one is an expert just yet. The old standby.

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Take part in a flying raid with Icarus Online

Even if they share common lineage, MMOs must have a distinctive angle or face death by mediocrity. For the upcoming Icarus Online, that hook is flying combat — and lots of it.

Icarus Online is moving forward in Korea and Japan and features both ground and aerial combat. In fact, the title even boasts “flying raids,” which is a good indication that the flight aspect is more than a marketing gimmick.

The fantasy title is using the CryEngine 3 and is heading into open beta in Japan on April 16th. While the Korean version has a regional block, it’s uncertain whether Japan’s beta will too. You can check out the Japanese trailer for Icarus Online after the jump!

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How to get into Path of Exile’s Awakening beta

So you want to test the next big update for Path of Exile? That’s understandable; it’s a big update that promises a whole lot of new content and new play options. While the developers aren’t yet prepared to reveal all of the mechanical details, there’s plenty of information on how to get into the testing process and what happens when you’re in.

Players will be selected randomly with a rolling timer system, along with some closed beta keys being given to streamers and news sites. Not everything will be available during the test period, but new features will be added over time, just as more testers will be added regularly to ensure that a fresh set of eyes gets exposed. Take a look at the full FAQ for more details, and make sure to sign up on the game’s account management page if you’re looking to get in on the testing.

[Source: Closed Beta FAQ]


Black Desert demos its new Valkyrie class

Eager to take a look at the newest class being added to Black Desert? The fine folks at Steparu have posted a trailer demonstrating the class in action against random generic enemies, giving players a look at how the class operates. Parts of it are similar to how the Warrior plays, but the visual effects and other skills are entirely distinct to the Valkyrie.

The visual effects of the class have been overhauled to stark white flares and silhouettes, which certainly give it a unique visual impact. If you’d like to run around as a lady smashing enemies into the ground and summoning holy storms to demolish your enemies, checking out the trailer past the break might be a fine idea.

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Shroud of the Avatar works on street signs as it preps Release 17

Even things as small and seemingly mundane as street signs can represent a lengthy undertaking in the MMO development process. Shroud of the Avatar devoted a section of its most recent newsletter to talk about how the team took suggestions for street names and the difficulty of adding them with their proper signage.

Shroud of the Avatar is preparing to unleash Release 17 on April 30th. In addition to its dev-added enhancements, it will host various community-run events, including a scavenger hunt and a play written and performed by players. Before that happens, however, you might want to watch the following post-mortem of Release 16 as well as a studio tour of Portalarium.

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Make My MMO: April 11, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, we said goodbye to Descent Underground‘s fundraising campaign. It was a fond farewell, though, since the sci-fi space shooter reboot topped its $600,000 Kickstarter goal with just over three hours to spare.

Also this week, Star Citizen updated us on the progress made in March, showed off a new dev studio, released alpha version 1.1.1, and addressed community concerns about the length and accessibility of its Squadron 42 single-player campaign. The rest of our crowdfunding roundup is just past the cut.

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Star Citizen releases alpha 1.1.1 and a design blog on breathing

Cloud Imperium had a busy Friday, as the firm released Star Citizen Alpha 1.1.1 to backers and also published a couple of notable blog entries. The first was penned by Chris Roberts and it concerns version numbering. Since the dev team is gearing up to release bigger chunks of Star Citizen beyond the Arena Commander dogfighting module, Roberts says that it makes sense to start using Star Citizen Alpha 1.1.1 (for last night’s patch) and Star Citizen Alpha 1.2.0 (for the upcoming Star Marine FPS functionality) instead of AC 1.1.1, etc.

The second post is a high-level look at the design goals for the first person shooter module’s stances and breathing mechanics. “When we pitched a ‘living, breathing universe,’ we weren’t kidding,” CIG says. “Stamina and breathing will be an important part of Star Citizen’s FPS mode, simulated in order to make first person combat a much deeper and more tactical experience than many familiar FPS titles.”

Finally, the 1.1.1 alpha patch made the Anvil Gladiator into a flyable craft, introduced multicrew mechanics in the form of functional turrets, and featured “a variety of bug fixes, balance changes and general updates intended to improve the Arena Commander experience.”

[Source: 1.1.1 notes; thanks LordofBread and Cardboard!]



Betawatch: April 10th, 2015

Would you like to talk about Black Desert? Stuff’s happening with the game. You can learn how to hunt whales, white or otherwise, and you can learn about the game’s next class. Or you can read a fandom rant about the issues that have cropped up with the game during its testing phases, although as always you might want to take that rant with a grain of salt or two. It’s a good habit to get into.

Elsewhere in the MMO space, meanwhile:

You want more? Ah, all right, jump on past the break and check out our full list as always.

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Cabal 2 has a leather class fetish

Don’t you dare think for a second how strange it is that MMOs segregate the player population not by who they are but by what fashion they wear. For example, leather-wearing classes might not be the toughest around, but at least they can die in style!

Cabal 2 posted a new video today casting a spotlight on the upcoming game’s two medium-armor classes: the Force Archer and Force Blader. The Archer is a great pick if you like to hit several enemies at once, while the Blader is all about the biggest DPS number in town.

Early access for this MMO sequel will begin later this month, but as you wait you might as well watch the character spotlight video after the break.

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Sci-fi shooter Project Genom begins alpha testing

Why can’t intergalactic colonization ever go smoothly? There always seems to be at least one continent-shattering war that has to happen before the first McSpaceDonalds is established. We guess that’s part of the tradition, which is why we’re sure that Project Genom will be a great instruction manual for when the human race ever does start populating the galaxy.

The sci-fi shooter began its closed alpha test today in anticipation for a June release on Steam. Project Genom takes place on the planet of Avalon where human colonists and a territorial alien race are struggling over land rights. The game just upgraded to the Unreal Engine 4 engine and features a flexible class creation system, an in-depth economy, “advanced” PvP, and pets.

You can watch an early gameplay video and teaser trailer of Project Genom after the break!

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Camelot Unchained’s Friday update talks alpha progress, stretch goals, and more

This afternoon’s Camelot Unchained update is a lengthy one, as head honcho Mark Jacobs has a lot to say about topics ranging from stretch goals to new builder tiers to alpha testing progress reports.

CityState is approaching the current stretch goal, which means that the firm is also preparing the next one. “It’s not a hiring stretch goal (yay!), and it’s one that I think will surprise and excite some people,” Jacobs hints. “It’s a clever one that keeps both the spirit of the Foundational Principles and to the statements I have made in the past about what we would like to do.”

On the alpha front, CU has had “a less-than-expected number of bugs,” and other than a troublesome player positioning bug that may affect this weekend’s test, things are going well. There’s a lot more to the update, so be sure and read the full post at the Camelot Unchained website.

[Source: Friday update]


Crowfall unveils the badass lady Champion

Crowfall unveiled the concept art for the female Champion today, and… well, it’s pretty great. She’s huge, she’s visibly powerful, and she’s intended to be threatening. You should really look at the full thing even if you’re not usually all that concerned with Crowfall. Honestly.

There’s also a new video available in which artist Joe Mad and his brother wax poetic about their mutual love of Shadowbane and their excitement for Crowfall, which is much more specific to those of you who are concerned with Crowfall. Seriously, though, that lady Champion concept. That’s some good stuff.

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