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]

SkySaga’s NA alpha test begins on February 19

You won’t have long to wait at all to get a shot at playing SkySaga if you’re in the US or Canada. The sandvox title is preparing to open its closed alpha test to North American players from Thursday, February 19th through February 26th. Thus far, SkySaga’s alpha has been contained to Europe only. Interested players will need to register on the website.

We’ve got the announcement trailer and a post-mortem of the alpha to date after the break. Be forewarned: After you see the trailer, you will believe that a bear can fly!

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Warhammer 40k: You’re a soldier, not the chosen one

If you are bone tired of the MMO trope where you (and millions of other players) are the chosen hero fated to rescue the entire world, then Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade’s ego-busting approach might be right up your alley.

“Unlike traditional MMOs, we aren’t treating you like the fated hero of the land — you’re a soldier here to do a job. And if you become a hero or a leader of men, it’s because you really earned it,” Lead Game Designer Brent Ellison said in an interview. “You’re important because your team is important.”

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Dream of Mirror Online returns from the dead

After several years of being out of commission, Dream of Mirror Online (DOMO) is coming back for a second shot at success. The closed beta of the anime fantasy MMO began on February 13th under the Suba Games umbrella.

DOMO originally launched in North America in 2007 and operated by Aeria Games but was cancelled in 2012. Since then, the title has been looking to make a comeback through an already-successful Steam Greenlight campaign.

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Black Desert makes $2M in cash shop sales in one week

Wait, what did that headline say? Did Black Desert really make a cool two million in just a week?

Apparently so! According to FreeMMOStation.com, the Korean fantasy title made 2.3 billion KWN ($2 million) in its first week of open beta in the country. Those sales were powered by Black Desert’s impressive 1.5 million registered users.

Now the question is, when Black Desert comes to the west in 2016, will future sales make this look like pocket change?

[Source: FreeMMOStation.com via Reddit]

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Shroud of the Avatar previews Necropolis dungeon, new world areas

What’s new with Shroud of the Avatar? Quite a lot if you’re judging by the latest lengthy update (#112 for those keeping score at home). There’s an early look at the Necropolis dungeon, which backers will be exploring in “a few short weeks.” The post also contains some gorgeous pics of a new “marshy island” region called Verdantis Shardfall as well as shots of the Novia Overworld region.

There’s much more, too, but you’ll need to click over to the SotA website to read it all.

[Source: Update of the Avatar #112]

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Camelot Unchained hires a sound designer, preps for alpha

Camelot Unchained‘s Mark Jacobs says that his team is currently in “soft crunch” mode as CU moves closer to its alpha phase. Said alpha will be “tech-heavy and feature-light,” and the devs will need “large crowds” to log in and break stuff.

City State has also hired a full-time sound engineer by the name of Daniel Beck, who has helpfully posted one of his spec pieces on YouTube. We’ve embedded that just past the cut if you’d like to have a listen.

[Source: Friday update. Thanks for the tip, Mark M.]

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Star Citizen adds progression to its dogfight module

Star Citizen chairman Chris Roberts has posted a blurb outlining a new system called Rental Equipment Credits that is coming to Arena Commander’s 1.1 patch. In a nutshell, REC will enable a form of progression so that backers can test all of the game’s ships without pledging additional money.

Roberts says that REC or something like it has always been the goal for the game’s persistent universe, but until now it has been unavailable in the alpha dogfight module. “One of the design tenets of Star Citizen is that it needs to be a complete experience regardless of what you have purchased,” Roberts says. “Someone buying a starter package needs to have exactly as much potential as someone supporting development by pledging for a new ship or purchasing a new weapon. I do not want to make a game where you feel compelled to spend anything but time to continue playing.”

Roberts then hands the mic to designer Calix Reneau, who outlines the REC mechanic in further detail.

[Source: REC; must be logged in to view. Thanks, Mohoc!]

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The Repopulation offers $20 early access

Getting into The Repopulation’s early access program is now cheaper than ever, as Above and Beyond has announced a new silver membership tier for only $20. Previously, getting into the alpha cost $50 for a gold membership.

Those who buy a silver membership will not only get into the currently running early access program but be treated to a repop token and the ability to reserve a name. Interested parties can purchase this on both the official site and through Steam.

The team is also testing the new 15.1.1 build and is seeking out QA testers to help with the process. Finally, Josh Halls will be present at at a panel at PAX East later this spring.

[Source: Official site, patch notes. Thanks to Crow for the tip!]

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Run, Valiance Online, run!

There’s always a world of difference between viewing MMO screenshots and videos. Sometimes you just have to see a game in action to get a good feel for it, which is why it might please you to watch a test model run, jump, and fly around a town in Valiance Online.

Valiance, one of three spiritual successors to City of Heroes, has finished its transition to the new Mecanim animation solution. The team said that this is just part of the effort to get the title launched on Steam: “We’ve also decided to add the new testing environment in preparation for our venture to Steam. This huge patch has been delayed for quite sometime, but we’re certain that everyone will be most happy with the improvements once it’s released.”

You can watch the test environment video as well as see a pre-alpha screenshot after the break!

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Daybreak’s John Smedley: EverQuest Next is going to be ‘more than ok’

Worried about this week’s mass firings of Daybreak employees and wondering what might happen to both Landmark and EverQuest Next? The studio has a few words of reassurance for you on that front.

“[EverQuest Next] has the largest development team at SOE. It is going to be more than OK,” Daybreak President John Smedley tweeted yesterday. In another response, Smedley said, “The EverQuest franchise is our lifeblood and we treat it with the respect it deserves.”

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HEX throws free Valentine’s Day tournament

Whether or not you have plans for this Valentine’s Day weekend, HEX would like you to consider its arena test server as the most romantic locale between two lovers and a whole lot of enemies.

The beta title announced yesterday that it’s bringing back the arena starting today and continuing through Saturday evening. As a bonus, the team is throwing a free tournament on Saturday with booster pack prizes that can be carried over to the live game. All players will get a free entry ticket, although to participate a player must have an account that was created on or before February 1st.

[Source: Arena test server]

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Richard Garriott: Open development and crowdsourcing is a ‘joy’

There’s a lot of debate and discussion these days as to the virtues and usefulness of early access and transparent development, but at least for Richard Garriott and his team, it’s been a “joy” to experience.

Garriott spoke with the Escapist about how both crowd sourcing and open development has benefited Shroud of the Avatar greatly thus far: “Now we know, as soon as we have a half-baked idea going in, just what people think of it. Players can weigh in and help guide the creation we are making for them. [It] also let them know where we might need help. The crowd sourcing of everything from music, to art, to even code has grown out of this foundation.”

[Source: The Escapist]

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Crowfall will be buy-to-play with optional sub

Although we don’t have the full idea of what Crowfall is, today we know more about how we’ll be paying for it in the future.

ArtCraft released a pricing FAQ for the upcoming fantasy title in which it revealed that the game will be buy-to-play with an estimated retail price of $50. There will also be an optional VIP membership package (around $15 a month) that includes behind the scenes access, passive training for three character slots, priority server access, pricing discounts, and other “non-balance affecting benefits.” VIP membership tickets will also be bought and sold between players. These prices are specified for the North American market for right now.

The team also released a sneak peek at another one of the game’s classes, the Confessor, and a heaping of backstory in the form of fantasy scripture.

[Source: Pricing FAQ, the Confessor, War of the Gods (part 1)]

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