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]

Betawatch: Radical Heights springs out to predictable lows (April 13, 2018)

Good news, Boss Key fans! After the studio pretty blatantly gave up on LawBreakers, it turned around and quickly launched its next project, a battle royale title dubbed Radical Heights. It sprang to life on Tuesday, and then it… sort of limped right after that. The numbers do look at least slightly better after the rest of the week, so hooray? Maybe?

Looking back, I started that paragraph with “good news.” I’m not sure why I did that.

Other beta news? Hey, sure.

Other beta titles? Oh, listed below, as we do. If you notice something jumped test phases without our noticing, do let us know down in the comments. We really appreciate it.

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Lazarus sponsors a free weekend in order to break its game

What’s the fastest way to ruin your house? Throw a free party to people with no inhibitions, of course. So what’s the fastest way to break an online video game? Drop the price to zero for a weekend and throw the doors open wide.

This is the current plan of Lazarus, the early access space shooter with a Groundhog Day complex. From today through Sunday the 15th, the game is running a stress test with the intent to “break the game” so that the team can prepare it for a global launch in the future.

It might be a challenge to break Lazarus, as the team has made significant server improvements to handle the load. Other recent changes include upgrades to the NPC AI, a streamlined tutorial, and an anonymous data logging tool to help diagnose connection issues.

Source: Steam

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Here’s how to playtest Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset chapter next week

Summerset is closer than you think! The Elder Scrolls Online team announced today that the chapter is expected to hit the test server on Monday. In fact, all of update 18 will be playable there too. Getting in is the tricky part.

“Invites will be sent to a large group of new PTS testers, but if you participated in the ESO: Morrowind PTS beta last year, you’ll be able to log into the Summerset PTS from the ESO launcher yourself, no invite required! Just don’t forget to enable ‘Show Public Test Environment’ from your launcher settings. Note that as always, anybody can install the PTS client, log in, and test the base game changes, but they won’t be able visit Summerset or experience any of the new Chapter’s features unless granted access.”

Do note that the main quest and story are under a strict NDA (agreement, watermarked screenies, the works) that lifts May 1st.

MOP’s Andrew and Eliot got hands-on with the chapter at GDC and PAX respectively, both of them finding it to be basically exactly what Elder Scrolls Online fans want and expect out of a big content dump.

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Star Citizen runs down ships and kicks off a free-fly weekend

On this week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse, I can’t decide whether Sandi Gardiner or Eric Kieron Davis has the cooler shirt, but it also doesn’t matter because internet spaceships! No really, this episode is all about spaceships thanks to the fact that the entire piece is one long Ship Shape segment, sales pitch, and tease for a new ship.

Well, almost the entire piece. If you stick around for the endcap, you’ll note that CIG has laid out a free-fly event all weekend, running through April 16th, meaning that everyone – even if you’re not a backer – can jump into the game and check out the 3.1 patch.

You can watch the whole episode down below, complete with a lot of handwaving (literally) from Disco Lando, plus the chart listing off all the ships (and which ones are actually usable right now) courtesy of Reddit.

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Ashes of Creation looks back at PAX East while promising a Q4 alpha

If the only thing you want to take away from the latest bit of Ashes of Creation newsletter is information you may not have had before today, here it is: Alpha One is due for fourth quarter 2018, and there will be no NDA in place. You can freely talk with anyone and everyone about what you see in the game. That may sound more like a beta to our definition-minded readers, but let’s not quibble.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to see how the game managed things on the show floor of PAX East 2018, you can check out the video just below that cuts together a 10-minute highlight reel of what took place on the show floor. (It might also give you a decent idea of just how crowded said show floor actually is if you’ve never been.) You could also check out our own hands-on piece from the convention, if you haven’t already.

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Conan Exiles begins the countdown to launch with a new trailer

Fourteen months after hitting early access, Funcom is getting ready to launch Conan Exiles for real. Ahead of the May 8th release, the studio has posted up a brand-new teaser trailer to kick off the countdown. It’s just over 24 days, if you’re wondering or bad at math.

“Besides being the first time it’s available on PlayStation 4, the launch of Conan Exiles brings with it a massive expansion of the game world, game-changing new features such as monster invasions known as the purge and an entirely new action-oriented combat system, as well as many other major additions that truly makes this the ultimate vision of Conan Exiles. If you were ever on the fence, or you are just discovering it for the first time, May 8th is the time to join the adventure.”

MOP’s MJ got hands-on with the launch build earlier this month; you can check out her impressions right here! There’s a clipping issue in one of the screenshots – gold star if you find it!

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Lost Ark prepares for its final Korean closed beta test

Ready to raid Smilegate’s Lost Ark? You’ll still have to be this Korean to ride the ride, but if you’re able and willing to handle the translation, you could find yourself checking out this action MMO this spring.

This is thanks to the fact that Lost Ark is preparing to accept applications for its final closed beta test in Korea. Once April 19th hits, interested parties can apply on the website for the Korean CBT. This build will include two additional classes, the Hawkeye and the Soul Master, as well as several new dungeons and a card battling minigame.

As one of our 20 MMOs to watch in 2018, Lost Ark has generated a lot of excitement over its visuals and fast gameplay. Last summer the title launched its second closed beta test in Korea that featured treasure hunting and sailing while busting out a brand-new website.

Source: MMO Culture

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Pantropy reboots its Kickstarter campaign a month after its last one

Give Pantropy credit for pluck: Less than a month after developer Brain Stone canceled the sci-fi shooter’s Kickstarter halfway through its campaign, the game is back up on the crowdfunding platform.

This time around the studio is attempting to raise a modest $24,633 for its vision of mechs, crafting, and base building. So far, it seems to be doing fairly well, with over $10,000 pledged by fans. The studio said that the community had grown by 50% since last month, which is another encouraging note.

Brain Stone encouraged fans last month by saying, “We have received multiple publishing and investment offers. We have decided to stay independent! Don’t worry we’ll continue to develop the game and it will be released on Steam early access this year.”

In the meanwhile, the team is busy working on flying bases, a tier 2 gatling gun and mining laser, map zoom, jetpacks, mech jumpjets, and additional concept art.

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Project Genom prepares major alpha patch for release

Project Genom is on the cusp of bringing an extensively tested build over to its live alpha servers. As the team makes final preparations for this patch, it’s running some final tests and refining certain systems. Once this transfer goes live, players should see more regular updates to the alpha client.

Among the tasks keeping the devs busy on this sci-fi MMO include adding more quests, connecting dungeons to the in-game world, wrapping up animations on the Slider mob, and creating high-polygon models of the Slider larvae.

The team also trumpeted the fact that it had fixed a “critical error,” which has resulted in stable servers and databases since the correction.

Source: Steam

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Ship of Heroes posts a timeline for the first half of 2018

With a combat alpha under its belt, the superhero MMORPG Ship of Heroes turns its attention to the challenges that lay ahead. The team has posted up a detailed roadmap that included a visual plan of the first half of 2018, including what’s to come over the next three months.

The aggressive development schedule for the near future includes a login and network test, more enemies, more powers, more costumes, a day/night cycle, the addition of PopcornFX, an initial look at Controller powers, and better outdoor lighting are all on the table.

Past that, the team hopes to accomplish a raid test in the third quarter and then move out of alpha testing into the beta by the end of the year. Ship of Heroes’development plans and a talk with its lead designer, check out our PAX East interview with Casey McGeever.

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Dark and Light buffs ranged attacks to counter accidental nerf

The eternal struggle between online game developers and combat balance continues, with the focus this week going over to Dark and Light. Turns out that the last time the team balanced the game, they accidentally nerfed ranged fighters. Time for more balance!

“Previous patches buffed character hp and melee attacks, which ended up indirectly nerfing ranged combat and spell casting,” the team explained. “We want there to be more options for each Adventurer, so they can choose which combat style is right for them. In order to do this, we’ve adjusted the balance for ranged weapons and spells.”

As ranged fighters have some fun with their new buffs, beginning players in Dark and Light will find it an easier go now that the team has culled aggressive carnivores that were patrolling outside of the starting cities.

Source: Patch notes

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Crowfall details the mechanics of building within its eternal kingdoms

If you’re going to share a plot of land with other people in Crowfall, you need to understand what that sharing will entail. If you’re still unclear as to how the game’s eternal kingdoms will allow people to work together to build up, the latest official development entry spells it all out in clear language, and it’s fairly straightforward. You just need to understand how the various ranks interact and what will be expected of any given player.

Any kingdom has its monarch, its nobles, and its vassals. The monarch is the owner of the overall area, while the nobles are invited members who can place parcels of land as they wish. Vassals cannot place parcels, but can decorate on the parcels placed by nobles or the monarch. It’s a fairly complex interrelated hierarchy, so feel free to peruse the whole rundown on the official site to find out how to work with others to build a kingdom everyone can enjoy. Assuming they were invited, anyhow.

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The Daily Grind: How long is too long for early access?

Let’s be real here, there’s no question in anyone’s mind that DayZ has been in early access far longer than it should be. By the same token, I don’t think anyone would begrudge Radical Heights for still being in early access. But somewhere between those two extremes lie a large number of games, some of whom have been in ostensible early access for months, some of which have been there for years, and so forth.

In many ways, early access is like the new version of the game in perpetual open beta; there were many free-to-play games that never technically launched, just stayed in open beta forever until they finally shut down. And yet those games were selling things normally, making the distinction between launch and open beta into a very blurry and nebulous thing. Early access is already blurry, since it asks for money for a game that is decidedly early in its development cycle.

So what do you think, dear readers? How long is too long for early access? Is there a clear limit beyond which games should just bite the bullet and launch, or is it entirely down to the specific game?

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