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]

NCsoft addresses Blade & Soul gamemaster name reservation controversy

The Blade & Soul subreddit has been in an uproar the last few days over accusations that NCsoft EU GMs pre-claimed popular character names, rendering them off-limits for players who preordered in the hopes of securing their pet names during the name reservation event that began on Monday. NCsoft Director of Community and Social Omeed Dariani responded to a tweet about the issue:

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World of Tanks debuts on PS4 January 19

Wargaming has just announced that World of Tanks is all ready for its formal PlayStation 4 debut next week — January 19th, to be specific. “New and existing players subscribed to PlayStation Plus will get access to a very unique Premium vehicle: the exclusive German Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. J-PS,” says the studio. You can pick it up in the PlayStation Plus section of the PlayStation Store and check out the relevant videos below.

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World of Warcraft: Legion’s alpha will be back online today

Good news to those of you testing World of Warcraft‘s next expansion – the alpha for Legion will be coming back online today! No word on exactly when, but it’s a known fact:

You may remember that it was not so long ago that fans and testers were told that the return would mean a new build with new issues, benefits, downsides, and so forth. No word yet on what’s in the new build, but then, we only just found out that it’s coming back up today. Keep your eyes peeled for more information once those test servers are back online and running.

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The Realm’s creator wants to remake this 20-year-old MMO

MMO veterans might be familiar with The Realm (also known as The Realm Online), which was one of the first class of graphical online RPGs. While it’s been trucking along since 1996, creator Stephen Nichols accused the current owners of letting The Realm lapse into “deep neglect” and wants to remake the game for modern sensibilities.

“2016 marks the 20-year anniversary of The Realm Online,” Nichols posted. “If you’re like me, you miss seeing the game thrive and grow as you know it can. I think it’s time for a remake of this internet classic with a fresh coat of paint and updated technology. Perhaps you agree. Yes, it’s time for a Realm remake, and I’m gonna make it happen.”

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Dogma: Eternal Night puts up new pre-order page

Dogma: Eternal Night is not about to let a flopped Kickstarter campaign get in the way of its money. Er, dreams. Well, probably dreams and money. The studio wasted no time in getting a new pre-order page up for fans who would like to back this dark supernatural MMO, even though alpha access is a while off yet.

The pre-order page sells four packs, including a “pay what you want” selection. The packs include bonuses like the soundtrack, wallpaper, an in-game apartment, and alpha and beta access. There are also options to tack on special purchases such as having your mug made into a most wanted poster and slathered all over the game ($200) and a personal mansion ($500).

As of the writing of this post, Dogma has raised $3,778 through its store.

Source: Dogma, pre-order page. Thanks to DDOCentral for the tip!

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Crowfall on experimental design and ship dates for crowdfunded MMOs

In January’s Crowfall Q&A video, Design Lead Thomas Blair and Founder/Art Director J. Todd Coleman discuss Crowfall as an “experimental project.” So many game design elements, Coleman explains, are subject to change because of the team’s experimental mentality. “We’re going to find out what this game is all about, and we’re going to do it by trying things out. Some of them will work; some of them won’t,” Coleman says. “And through the course of this experiment, we hope to find a game that’s really compelling, that you want to play.” He further reveals that the Kickstarter was based on the idea that the right kind of exploration-driven players would step up to guide their path.

The pair also address how Crowfall defies the idea of ship dates. “I don’t even think in those terms,” Coleman tells watchers. “I’m thinking of it as, OK, what’s the 10-year strategy for this game, and what are we going to grow over time. The launch date really is just that moment when you say, OK, we’re not going to wipe again. And usually it’s when you say, ‘And we’re going to collect money,’ but we’re already doing that.” Launch for Crowfall, therefore, will be when the game — persistent characters, specifically — is no longer due for wipes.

A bit of time is spent discussing god choices and Hunger Dome mechanics in testing, and Coleman and Blair shelve a question on monsters in the Eternal Kingdoms. It’s a quick listen/watch, and you can find it below.

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Das Tal plans major PvP feature additions for April alpha

Das Tal is due for a new round of alpha testing “for all testers” come April.

Fairytale Distillery’s Game Direct Alexander Zacherl explained to fans today that the takeaway from the game’s November alpha test was that the game is just not ready for a full launch — yet. “While a good number of players enjoyed themselves intensely, too many of our testers stopped playing too early and especially newbies were churning left and right,” he wrote.

Consequently, the team is plotting a number of playthrough incentives and accessibility features that’ll be prepped for April’s alpha test, among them server end events, caravan raids, clan management tools, and game systems for goals, opportunities, emotes, and flagging. Siege and gear progression are getting revamps, as are mechanics like large-fight stability and skill balances. It’s a tall order for the spring!

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Soak up new Division gameplay footage in leaked trailer

Update: Ubisoft has released the trailer now; it’s included below.

You don’t have to speak Italian to appreciate the new gameplay footage for Tom Clancy’s The Division that made its way onto the internet (though it would help you to know what the narrator is saying). The Italian trailer showing off new areas of an underground metro and a ruined train station as well as a lengthy look at a safe zone was leaked out today then quickly disappeared. But as we all know, nothing truly disappears from the internet, and you can get a look at the flame-throwing, grenade-tossing action in the video below. The shooter is set to release on March 8th.

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Richard Garriott cuts off (some of) his rat tail to raise money for Shroud of the Avatar

Richard “Lord British” Garriott is well-known for several things: his creation of the Ultima series, his lavish geeky parties, his trip to space, and of course, his ever-present rat tail. This week that rat tail has lost a little of its majestic length as Garriott cut off a fifth of it to promote Shroud of the Avatar’s winter telethon.

Yesterday’s all-day telethon raised an additional $20,600 for the game, which had already passed $8M in crowdfunding. Fans who contributed at least $5 to the telethon will receive a few in-game gifts, including a snow emote, a cloak, and an ice nightmare mount. The devs did their part with deep dives into various game topics while taking shots for every $2,000 raised. No word yet as to how many of the team suffered from alcohol poisoning.

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The Repopulation will announce new development plans this month

The Repopulation is making plans, and they aren’t plans to shut down.

The sandbox studio Above and Beyond became ensnared in HeroEngine’s financial problems last fall and was forced to halt development last month. But the studio’s J.C. Smith told fans over the weekend that the game is very much not canceled and that the team will announce its plans later in January:

[W]e will have an announcement later this month which will outline our plans moving forward. Wheels are already in motion but it’s just not ready to be revealed yet. We don’t want to leak out information on these forums before we are prepared for the full press release and such, because it would leak to the news sites once it is here. But to quell any panic, the game is not cancelled so that is not what the announcement will be.

Aw nuts, he’s onto us!

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The next Paladins release may have a Global Agenda tie-in

Being a Hi-Rez Studios fan means looking back with a certain degree of wistfulness toward the games that didn’t quite have huge mainstream success. Global Agenda was the studio’s first game, and it certainly didn’t light the world on fire, resulting in its current state of limbo. But there’s hope on the horizon from a recent tweet about the next Paladins update:

What does that mean? Who can say? It could mean new game modes that might be familiar to Global Agenda fans, it could mean more jetpacks, it could mean Global Agenda-inspired armor, it could mean an entirely new persistent world complete with robots. It could be almost anything! But it definitely means that existing fans of the game should keep their eyes open for that next release.

Source: Twitter

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Black Desert’s Ranger is gorgeous and deadly in melee

Daum Games has this afternoon released a trailer and info for Black Desert’s Ranger — specifically, the Ranger’s melee skills. The Ranger’s ranged skills have already been established; in melee, she’ll wield a short-sword as her awakening weapon. You’ll need to speak Korean (or have mastered your Google Translate) to read up on the lore, but the pics and video speak for themselves.

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Shroud of the Avatar’s alpha testing is ‘on the horizon’

Alpha testing for Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar is “on the horizon,” says a newsletter published for followers this past weekend. It’s been in early access pre-alpha for backers and Steam buyers since 2014.

Portalarium will be running what it’s calling a “Wondrous Winter Telethon” all day today, ending at 11 p.m. EST tonight, in an effort to push fundraising to $8 million. Expect deep dives and real-world loot.

The newsletter also gave players a preview of Sanctus Spine, a snowy mountain range in the game modeled on Asia’s Karakoram Range. Portalarium’s SorcerousSteve discusses how he’s used Unity’s Gaia Terrain Tool to home in on the details of the mountaintop fortress and make “some of the highest peaks in Novia yet.”

Massively OP’s Matt Daniel is playing Shroud of the Avatar all throughout the month of January as the featured game in his Choose My Adventure column. Check out some of the new images below.

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