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’s Around the Verse isolates 23 more 3.0 alpha bugs, details immersive cockpits

On this week’s edition of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse, Sandi Gardiner does a happy dance as Chris Roberts updates viewers on how Evocati testing of the 3.0 alpha is going. CIG says that the testers are getting daily builds and finding fun new bugs, which has brought the must-fix bug total back up to 23 before it moves along to release (and backers no doubt find even more).

The feature segment of the episode is all about cockpits. Get your snickers out of the way, folks, because this actually looks awesome. You’re not just sitting in a chair; the cockpit experience is trying to be fully immersive with all the sticks and gizmos and buttons and screens and g-forces and hit reactions you’d expect if you were actually flying (a spaceship) in combat. Things might even catch on fire! You might even need to hit eject! Maybe watch the whole episode first, though. It’s down below.

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Gloria Victis escalates the PvP conflict with guild territory control

Let’s do a little catch-up with Gloria Victis today, shall we? We’ll start with the medieval sandbox’s September 22nd patch, which added a new system that allows players to report both bugs and “improper behavior” from fellow gamers. Although we’re sure that button will never need to be pressed!

Things really started to get exciting with the following September 29th update, which added the game’s very first guild-controlled location: Skergard Castle. Guilds that successfully besiege the castle during a “State of War” time frame that opens up every evening will gain access to the fortress and claim the resources that it possesses.

This guild territory control system received adjustments with Gloria’s October 5th patch: “Besides of many tweaks and improvements to the guild territory control system, it introduces protected spawnpoints in all locations which can be captured! There are also events and resources added on the Azebian lands, as well as reworked questlines for Sangmarians.”

Source: Gloria Victis, #2, #3. Thanks Babagra.pl!

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Crowfall wraps up its launch lineup with the Centaur, Minotaur, and Guinecean races

Over the past month or so, Crowfall has been steadfastly working its way through the list of the dozen races that will be available during the game’s remaining testing and launch. As of today, that list is complete.

The last three beastly species are given the spotlight treatment, with racial traits for each revealed. The noble Centaur is more hardy, has an extra boot slot (because… four hooves!), and can kick players who attack it from behind. The fierce Minotaur is more dexterous, can regenerate some damage that it is dealt, and is immune to stuns coming from its front. Finally, the small but scrappy Guinecean gain more effects when they eat food, can wear three rings, and can double-jump with the best of them.

As with the other races, these three can only be paired with a small subset of classes. The Centaur can choose between Knight, Champion, and Cleric; the Minotaur picks from Ranger, Champion, and Myrmidon options; and the Guinecean may choose to become a Knight, a Cleric, or a Duelist.

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Fortnite patches battle royale, adds BattlEye anti-cheat measures, and sues cheaters

Are you one of the 10M people who’ve dipped into Fortnite’s battle royal mode? Or perhaps one of the 500K who played concurrently this past weekend? Then you’ll want to point your eyeballs at the game’s latest patch. The 1.7.1 update brings battle royale stats, a monster power balance in the Save the World mode, and changes to the progression system for Challenge the Horde game mode. At least if the studio can get the kinks worked out, anyway. My favorite patch note? “Added a few structures near Tomato Town.”

Of note, Epic says it’s making good on its promise to upend cheaters, having now implemented the contentious but widespread third-party BattlEye program, even for PvE players. The program is used in multiple games but has been criticized heavily for privacy violations, most recently by the ARK Survival Evolved community. Epic, however, has stated on Reddit that BattlEye was not to blame for the recent spate of false positives in cheat detection.

That isn’t to say nobody’s to blame. Indeed, the company is apparently personally suing the creators of two sub-based cheat service, AddictedCheats, at least one of whom has been “banned from Fortnite at least nine times,” according to the filing. MOP readers will recall that Blizzard’s enjoyed a measure of litigation success over cheat-vendors preying on its own games, so we’ll see whether Epic does too.

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Legends of Aria awakens something nasty during its final alpha

Something evil and sinister has awakened in Legends of Aria, but that is actually pretty exciting news for alpha testers seeking new challenges and content to conquer. Wednesday’s alpha patch activated “Dragon’s Den awakening spawn” that provide access to Tier III prestige abilities and loot when defeated.

The update also made crafting armor and weapons easier than before, with decreased difficulty in making them and an increased spawn rate for resources. Stealthing around is now a little more difficult but also less random, with players not being able to suddenly hide while in plain sight of others.

If you’re curious about this indie fantasy sandbox as it wraps up its alpha and eyes beta testing, check out our recent podcast interview with Lead Developer Derek Brinkmann as he gives the inside scoop into all things Legends of Aria!

Source: Patch notes

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Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon expansion launches open-world ‘landscapes’ today

It’s been a thrill, I think you’ll agree, to watch over the last couple of years as Digital Extremes‘ Warframe defied the rule that most online games in our purview shrink after launch. The game has only gotten bigger, as it does again today with the launch of its Plains of Eidolon expansion. Today’s launch is for PC, mind you; consoles can expect it in November. Oh, and it’s free. And as the DE team told us back at Tennocon this past summer, MMORPG players in particular should pay attention to this patch, as the addition of open-world landscapes, interactive NPCs, a “gripping” story, a diurnal cycle, and new mission types, all with an emphasis on exploration, definitely push the game over into more MMO-like territory.

“Plains of Eidolon is the first-of-its kind Landscape for Warframe. The Open Zone design offers kilometers of colorful rolling hills and pastures, lively lakes and rivers, active mines and caves, all during a continual diurnal/nocturnal cycle for Tenno to soak up and enjoy. As many as 50 players can converge on the makeshift basecamp of Cetus, where the race of the Ostrons offer missions and challenges, and new weapons, armor and items to craft and customize to a degree never before realized in Warframe. During the relative safety of day, whether on foot or soaring through the air (using the revamped Sky Archwing), Tenno will clash with new and old Grineer, partake in mini-games such as spearfishing and mining, and partner up with as many as three others to explore the Plains. At night, danger surfaces from the waters and haunts the storied grounds. Only the bravest and best equipped teams will venture forth in their crash-course hunt for the massive Eidolon, a towering monstrosity lured to consciousness in search of something dangerous and mysterious.”

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The Stream Team: Taking a look at Total War: Arena

At PAX West Massively OP’s MJ got to see a demo of Total War: Arena gameplay. Since then, she’s been looking forward to playing with her very own war hounds. Now, she gets to dive in for herself, but more than that, she gets to bring you with her! She’s really excited to try her hand at this new game, but how well can she adjust to commanding troops? Join us live at 3:00 p.m.for a look at game play and a chance to win your own key.

What: Total War: Arena
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

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Daybreak is launching a pro league for H1Z1 e-sports

If you were wondering what Daybreak is up to as we have been, wonder no more: It’s been putting together a pro league for H1Z1, which it is now characterizing as a “groundbreaking survival battle royale game.”

“Daybreak Games has partnered with Twin Galaxies, whose new Pro League Division will establish the H1Z1 Pro League for Daybreak’s fast-paced, last-man-standing game, H1Z1. The goal of the league is to create a sustainable esports ecosystem in partnership with teams for the benefit of H1Z1 players, viewers, and League partners. Focused on a ‘player-first’ approach, the H1Z1 Pro League will include a guaranteed player minimum salary, team owner and player representation on the governance committee, along with a comprehensive Player Bill of Rights and a well-defined revenue sharing model. The H1Z1 Pro League will launch its inaugural season in early 2018.”

The studio says it’ll form the league around 15 teams of 5 players that will come together in live 75-person matches over two 10-week splits next year. “There will be no fees or buy-in costs for teams to take part in the league,” Daybreak notes, “and teams will be selected through an application process that will begin this fall.”

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Fortnite’s infographic claims 10 million battle royale players within the last fortnite

Remember a few days back when Fortnite broke half a million concurrent players with its contentious free-to-play battle royal mode, the one that earned ire from both paying PvE players and PUBG studio Bluehole? That was just the peak concurrency. Today, Epic Games has put out an infographic to give a slightly more complete picture of just how the game is doing.

The studio boasts that 10 million folks have logged in to play the PvP mode in the last two weeks since it opened, racking up almost 45 million hours played. The other stats are superfluous and fun, like number of people who leaped from the battle bus (almost 300 million of you). So, 10 million bodies then. No wonder Epic’s had no public comment on Bluehole’s complaints.

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Crowfall’s hour-long stream previews the game’s next big patch

Testing for Crowfall is still in full swing, and that means that when you watch something like the most recent hour-long stream, you do so with full knowledge that everything in the game can still change. Case in point: For a very long time, the game has encouraged every class in the game to wear any weight of armor the player desires, with each weight having its own strengths and weaknesses. You can still mix and match armor types, but the next patch will change the system so you’ll have to equip a minor discipline to use armor that’s not normally used by the base class.

Other previews include the Knight’s ability to choose between blocking and dodging attacks, the multiple different types of bow on display, and the upcoming dual-wielded pistols for Duelist characters. You can check out the full video just below, but be warned, it is an hour long. Don’t start watching if your boss is coming over in five minutes.

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Chronicles of Elyria unveils its official launch kingdoms

Monty Python and the Holy Grail forever gave us the perfect test for whether or not someone is the king: see if he’s got fecal matter all over him. Presumably, the kings behind the official kingdoms of Chronicles of Elyria will themselves be free of such refuse, allowing them to focus more upon tasks like keeping down the poor, executing those who do not kneel in deference, and arranging peasant houses in the shape of naughty words.

But why speculate? You can jump into the recruitment channels and threads for the various launch kingdoms to sign up as a loyal vassal well ahead of the game’s launch. It’s perfect for nobles who enjoy politicking, aspiring nobles who enjoy politicking (or backstabbing) until they’re no longer simply aspiring, and peasants who wish to protest that lobbing around very large Kickstarter donations is no basis for a system of governance. (Let us know how that last one works out for you.)

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Fractured introduces its complex horizontal leveling system

Since this past summer, we’ve had our eye on Fractured, yet another SpatialOS MMO on the way to hard drives everywhere. If it’s not on your radar yet, it probably ought to be be, as it’s touting planetary colonization, crafting, housing, skill- and reflex-based combat, and most interestingly, no grind and no forced PvP.

The team’s most recent dev vlog covers character progression, specifically a “knowledge system” that is “different from both level-based and skill-based systems.” In fact, Dynamight Studios is saying it “can be defined as the first accomplished example of horizontal progression in an MMO,” which I’m sure will quirk the eyebrows of all the other games with horizontal progression, yeah?

In any case, this does sound pretty cool. The goals, Dynamight says, are to keep newbies competitive from the start with “minimal power gaps,” while providing “long-term objectives for character development,” avoiding grind, and creating opportunities to change builds during play. If anything, it reminds me of systems used in the Fallout series: Exploring the worlds, encountering new critters, identifying items, and discovering relics all help you earn knowledge points, which you can then spend on a talent tree, which looks more like something you’d see in a sandbox than in a typical themepark or OARPG with class trees.

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Wild West Online delays early access alpha: ‘It just ain’t ready yet’

A couple of weeks ago, MOP’s Justin and I expressed heavy skepticism that Wild West Online could ever be ready on schedule this fall. “No way, that’s just not gonna happen, that’s total fantasy,” I believe was our exact phrasing. Last spring, the studio told us it wasn’t running behind, but in September, 612 Games shut down the tech alpha early after just two weekends, saying it would still launch the early access in mid-October. Now it appears that 24-7 early access alpha is being delayed too and won’t begin tomorrow, although the team is still holding tight to October. Here’s the team’s statement from Facebook:

“Over the weekend and today we’ve done company wide playtesting of the build candidate for the early access alpha, and we’ve decided that it just ain’t ready yet. We want the next time you play to be a great time, and right now some critical elements are not up to those standards. What we learned from the community and by observing the activity of streamers and youtubers during Technical Alpha is that people want a game that’s better and more complete, not just early. So we’re not going to release with things that are really not there yet, and madly patch stuff in as it passes muster.”

The studio does say it’s going to take the extra time to “better perfect the new changes” and will reveal more details of the early access launch features “soon.”

Source: Facebook

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