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 covers character concepts and the Vulture, while CCP throws shade

Set aside the many Star Citizen dramas of the week and feast your eyeballs on the game’s latest edition of Around the Verse, which couldn’t possibly be controversial, right?

Oh. Oh it’s about the Vulture too. OK then. In fact, the Ship Shape segment focuses entirely on the controversial new concept ship. CIG even discusses the ship’s origins, noting that it’s a spin on the Dragonfly ship.

Incidentally, CCP Games threw some lighthearted shade at CIG over the Vulture/Venture shenanigans, tweeting about it last night.

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Chronicles of Elyria explains the origins and purpose of its Sedecim festival

It’s not that common to see MMOs in development talk about the festivals that they’re planning to hold; that sort of thing is a post-launch affair, mostly. However, Chronicles of Elyria apparently deems that this is just as important as any other part of the game, which is why the team spent a good amount of space this week talking about Sedecim, a sort of farmer’s faire that also involves the nobility.

“Every 16 years (in game), a Sedecim takes place, where the nobility, aristocracy, gentry, and best craftsman of a continent all get together,” the studio explained. “They hash out the land boundaries and trade agreements, arrange marriages, and purchase and sample each others best wares. Weddings and festivities are held, and there’s temporary booths set up so merchants can show off their goods.”

While fans obviously can’t jump into the game and enjoy the festival right now, Soulbound doesn’t mind if they want to spend some money on in-game items this month. You know, for the spirit of it all. There is livestock to be purchased, a beer tent to be erected, and even some minstrel’s gear for the musically inclined.

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E3 2018: Hands-on with Bethsoft’s Elder Scrolls: Blades (yes, in portrait mode)

Out of all the announcements Bethesda had at its pre-E3 presser, The Elder Scrolls: Blades was the last title I thought we’d be offered. Oh, we had asked about others, but they sadly weren’t being shown, nor did they have anyone around to answer questions. Beyond the basics, Blades was the same.

Which was a shame, since there was excitement about the title in the MOP newsroom, especially once we heard it would include some sort of multiplayer. Scaling from PC VR down to mobile is a vast tech difference and gameplay experience. And being able to potentially play in portrait mode? All jokes aside, that’s actually some promising stuff!

However, of those awesome selling points, I only experienced portrait-style ESO mobile goodness during my demo.

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Fractured rallies fans for Kickstarter with a gameplay teaser

With hopefully all of the elements in place for a successful campaign, the team behind intriguing sandbox MMORPG Fractured said that it’s ready to take the blossoming title to Kickstarter on June 25th. This is only a slight delay from the team’s original intent to seek crowdfunding in early June.

To get fans hyped, Dynamight Studios has put together three short gameplay videos to demonstrate the game. The first of these was posted this week, with two to come in the days ahead.

The video below takes players on a tour through a nasty-looking swamp with all sorts of oversized mushrooms, tentacles, enemies, and even man-made structures. The vantage point, you might note, is very similar to that of Diablo III.

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Action MMO Warlords Awakening hits Steam, planning early access soon

So here’s a new one for the consideration pile: An MMORPG called Warlords Awakening has just dropped on Steam. Developer Playwith says it’s in the “last stages of development,” with launch planned for October and early access expected to run three months – meaning we should expect that early access in the next few weeks.

Warlords Awakening arrives with vast and beautiful maps to explore. Areas invaded by hordes of monsters that challenge the strength of even the most powerful lords. Dangerous dungeons guarded by the most terrifying enemies await those willing to challenge them. With a revolutionary Action-MMORPG style, you can change your Battle Stance mid-combat with 3 different skill trees instantly. Pets are more than just companions! Rareness and the race of your pets will all come into play as they provide distinct benefits to help you along your journey. Some can be used as mounts to help you go wherever you would like.”

Is it a real MMO? Looks like it – the devs are touting “thousands of adventures” in the same space. It’s set to include both PvE and PvP modes, five classes, 30 zones, and six dungeons, with more coming at launch.

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ARK Survival Evolved Mobile has officially launched for iOS and Android

The mobile version of ARK: Survival Evolved is officially out and live for your mobile devices – both iOS and Android – as of today. Studio Wildcard and War Drum Studios promise it’s not some crappy mobile knockoff; it’s really truly the “same multiplayer game” from PC and console with all the same territory and dinos, except in that the mobile edition is “free-to-play with more accessible gameplay developed specifically for on-the-go dinosaur fun.”

“In this free on-the-go experience featuring real-time crossplay between iOS and Android gamers, survivors will tame one of 80 amazing dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts! Fly a Pteranodon squadron over the snow-capped mountains, race through the deep jungle with your pack of trained Raptors, tromp through a fortified enemy base along a convoy of gigantic Brontosaurus, or chase down prey on the back of a raging T-Rex. Players will quickly learn that dinosaurs aren’t the only dangerous creatures on the island. Other players are organizing rebel tribes to accumulate resources, experience, and tools, and to construct sprawling villages and cities, with technology spanning the primitive stone-age to the modern electric-powered era and beyond!”

Oh yeah, and there’s an optional premium subscription because it’s 2018. You can pick it up now for iOS and Android, just bear in mind that super old devices aren’t gonna be able to touch this one.

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E3 2018: hands-on with The Division 2 – a major upgrade over the original game

At this year’s E3, Ubisoft creative director Julian Gerighty said team behind The Division 2 tried to learn “everything” from The Division to help make the sequel better. As he reminded me, the original game’s final DLC was especially meaty in terms of PvE content and PvP balance, but it’s the first impressions of the game that mattered most: The initial Dark Zone iteration is still what gamers remember best, and that’s not necessarily a compliment. I myself was not impressed with the original demo back in 2015.

But based on my preview of The Division 2 at this year’s E3, I can say that Gerighty’s team obviously learned quite a bit – and absolutely improved on the original.

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Pantheon gets ready for Pre-Alpha 3 and throws all of its features into a single zone

The third pre-alpha build (which will include four zones and a level cap of 40) is on the way for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, and the Visionary Realms team has a lot to talk about as it shares a trio of new classes.

With this newsletter, VR debuted a section called “under wraps” in which it could share some of its design philosophies and upcoming projects. Discussion was given as to how the team approached the “horizontal identity” of classes: “These is the parts of a class that make them feel like they genuinely belong in the world. This is the immersion factor […] These are the elements that give our classes a tangible place in a shared world.”

The studio also shared an early look at the zone of Faerthale, a beginning zone for some of Pantheon’s Elves and the first zone planned to have all gameplay systems integrated. This is a huge deal for the game, as there are so many systems to include for a feature-complete zone. These include the day/night cycles, time-based spawns, specific atmospheres, the perception system, harvesting, places to climb, and NPC dispositions.

Source: Pantheon

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Star Citizen and EVE Online players unite to call out lookalike concept ship

Fancy staring at some pixel spaceships this morning to weigh in on the latest Star Citizen drama? ‘Course you do. The ship on display today is Star Citizen’s Vulture, the latest concept ship that’s been teased all week.

The problem, as multiple Reddit and Twitter threads have pointed out, is that the ship looks really freakin’ similar to an EVE Online ship: the Venture mining frigate.

It’s certainly possible that the artists were inspired by the same source material; it’s not as if pincer/forklift combine type vehicles are unheard of. That hasn’t stopped both Star Citizen and EVE Online players from mapping the ships onto each other and calling shenanigans.

We’ve reached out to CIG for comment and will report back when we hear more.

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Crowfall cranks out Pre-Alpha 5 while working on 5.7

This week, Crowfall’s testing phase moved into Pre-Alpha 5 — but you wouldn’t know that to listen to the developers. The team seems much more interested in what’s coming with Patch 5.7, which is why it spends to much time sharing the advance patch notes from this build.

So what’s coming that’s so exciting? Well how about the addition of the final two races to the game’s roster: the Stoneborn and female Half-Giant. There’s plenty of other features being baked into this build, including harvestable hunger crystals, the day/night cycle, a bereavement map, more animal variety, and a much easier way to interact with other players while on the go.

ArtCraft said that the “first round of zoning has been implemented” as well, which points to bright days ahead for this PvP game. Get the full scoop after the break, but be warned, it’s going to take you an hour to listen through!

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E3 2018: Skull and Bones fleshes out its gameplay with the Hunting Grounds

Player choice and random map elements are the key to the meat of Skull and Bones’ replayability said Ubisoft at this week’s E3 2018. The studio made a concerted effort to show how its upcoming multiplayer pirate title wasn’t just PvP and nothing but.

In fact, the big reveal this week was the Hunting Grounds, which sounds more PvE than PvP. These special areas will be modified by “fortunes” set before players head toward them. When there, player crews will take on various quests while also having the freedom to simply explore and hunt boats. One such quest was to hunt down an NPC bounty hunter with another player.

“You log in and decide where in the world you want to go, which factions you want to take on, whether you want to do it by yourself or call your friends, or meet new friends within the world. All of those things are based on your own objectives,” said Creative Director Justin Farren.

The studio confirmed that it will be pushing out Skull and Bones some time next year. In any case, we have several videos from Ubisoft’s E3 showing after the break, so dig in!

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Here’s everything you want to know about Fallout 76, including the making-of documentary

With players compiling a massive amount of useful information and Noclip releasing a making-of documentary for Fallout 76, we’re starting to arrive at a much better understanding of what this game will be.

We learned a lot of new information from this video, such as the fact that all players will be able to see where each other are on any given map, that players will have to work together to solve puzzles in order to unlock the nuclear warhead bunkers, and that there are safeguards in place to keep consensual PvP from becoming a ganker’s paradise. The team also mentioned things like mutation traits, cosmetic microtransactions, free DLC, the ability to repair weapons, special perk cards, and the lack of player corpse looting.

The studio dealt with the major shift from single-player to multiplayer as well “It’s a mindset change,” said Design Director Emil Pagliarulo. “You have folks here who have been making single-player quests for so long, and what does it mean to support more than one player? So there’s a lot of things that go into that.”

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E3 2018: Mavericks is battle royale on a massively multiplayer scale

Battle royale is all the rage these days, but as we’ve been covering over the last few months, the SpatialOS-based Mavericks is aiming to bring a new approach to the wildly popular new genre: by making it truly massive, which by studio Automaton’s count means 1000 players in the same persistent world.

We got hands-on with the game at GDC, however, and had a hard time seeing how 1000 people made a significant difference in the gameplay in practice. “It’s much more for the battle royale crowd than the MMO crowd,” MOP’s Andrew wrote at the time. Hopefully, the E3 demo will change our minds.

Closed beta is expected to launch in August; you can already sign up on the official site. The company will also launch its founder system later this week. The splash page for that says lootboxes aren’t on the table, but there will be what looks like an optional subscription in the form of “citizenship” that unlocks “a variety of content within the game.” Check out the new E3 trailer below.

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