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]

Black Desert gets a Tamer, darker nights, and lanterns with oil

Daum posted a project manager diary on the Black Desert forum yesterday announcing that the Tamer class will not only be playable at launch but be available in the closed beta that is currently planned for December.

Daum also says that thanks to feedback from roleplayers(!), it has implemented walking and darker nights. “When the night cycle kicks in with clouds moving in front of the moon, you will require the use of lanterns,” the firm explains. Lanterns may be purchased from NPCs, though the devs are also working on craftable versions complete with oil that extends their use.

Click past the cut for a video look at the Tamer class.

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Sphere 3 gets worldwide launch on December 2

Looking for a fresh new MMO to take you into the last month of the year? We humbly present to you Sphere 3, which has just announced a launch date of December 2nd.

The free-to-play fantasy title has two core attributes in its design: “hardcore” and “PvP.” Players won’t be coddled with a targeting system but are instead challenged to use skill and reflexes to dominate the battlefield. Sphere 3 promises hundreds of quests, castle sieges, and a happy-go-lucky storyline involving “political deceit, war atrocities and vile treachery.”

The developers paid special attention to making sure that Sphere 3 will run smoothly on a wide range of machines so that performance won’t be a factor in the action gameplay.

Source: Nikita Online press release. Thanks to Feodor for the tip!

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Camelot Unchained unveils its healer archetypes

Killer class reveals are old hat for Camelot Unchained at this point, so it should come as no surprise that CityState has unleashed another one here on Thanksgiving eve. This time around we’re talking healers, and as usual there are three archetypes to choose from: the Empath, the Stonehealer, and the Physician.

The Empath takes the wounds of his mates onto his own body, but he also has access to some of the most powerful heals in the all the realms.  Stonehealers are “among the most stubborn, thick-skulled defenders” in the game, while Physicians rely on potions, elixirs, and magical abilities to do their thing.

Source: Healers; thanks Spykedruid!

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Check out the new Druid bear forms from World of Warcraft’s Legion alpha

What is the number one threat to Azeroth? Bears. That’s why Druids can turn into bears, after all. The new World of Warcraft expansion brings in further customization for Druid forms, and you can see these new customizations in a short gallery highlighting the many different flavors of bear available.

While the gallery doesn’t include the other most frequently used form for Druids (kitties!), it does give the tanks in the group an idea of what can be done with the new customization. Also, there are stone bears in the mix. So that’s pretty cool.

Source: Reddit

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Black Desert answers questions on localization and release

There is no way in the world to know when the second closed beta for a localized Black Desert will take place, although the first is planned for December. Why can’t you know? Because it’s all up in the air and depends wholly upon the localization process. There’s a lot of text to translate before the game is ready for wider testing and release. That’s an important takeaway from a recent set of community questions answered by the official sources.

Players who aren’t interested in playing any of the starter classes at launch will be able to reserve names and such for the post-launch classes; however, only the launch classes will have access to the pre-order costumes and such. There are also changes planned from the game’s native client for the first closed beta, and a later reply confirms that the game will feature very dark nights (you can check that out in a video just below). Fans will have to keep waiting for more news about the game’s release, but the first beta test should be firing up next month.

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Crowfall: Milestones from eight months of development

Crowfall has been in development for eight months now. That sounds like a substantial amount of time until you think about how long games typically take to go from “Kickstarter concept” to “playable game.” A new video from the development team shows off a part of the process by highlighting the development team’s biweekly sprint meetings and how they aid the overall process.

The short version is that sprint meetings are quick opportunities for every developer to jump in, highlight the past weeks of work, and touch base about moving forward. Really, though, the video does an excellent job of showing the process over time. Settle in and watch just below – it’s about half an hour, though, so make sure you don’t have anywhere that requires your urgent presence in five minutes.

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Elite Lord of Alliance launches today with promotional giveaway

How elite are your alliance lords? If you answer that question with a bewildered stare and a phrase that rhymes with “cut the truck,” that is entirely fair. But Elite Lord of Alliance (or ELOA if you’re into the whole brevity thing) launches today, and it may be assumed that the alliance lords in that game are quite elite. Very elite indeed.

Not convinced simply by the promise of lords and alliances? Perhaps you’ll be more interested in getting free stuff. Players who manage to fill up the in-game monster log between now and December 8th will receive a special gift box with a chance of containing a unique pet. Next month will see an increased level cap and a new raid dungeon, so you don’t have to be worried that the game won’t be updated. Or perhaps you’ll be too busy hacking and slashing away at the game as it is to be overly worried.

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Devilian begins open beta next week, launches on December 10

Trion Worlds’ action-RPG import Devilian will be out in time for the holiday season this year.

The studio announced today that the game will be going into open beta on Wednesday, December 2nd, for anyone who would like to try it out. A week later on December 10th, Devilian will release in the west for real, although players who have purchased one of the founder’s packs will get to jump into the live game on December 8th.

Curious what Devilian is like? Then we encourage you to check out our first impressions of the title and watch it in action from a past livestream!

Source: Trion Worlds press release

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Stash successfully completes its second Kickstarter campaign

Stash is proving that there might be no limits to how many crowdfunding campaigns a studio can run, as the tabletop-themed MMO successfully completed its second Kickstarter early this morning.

“BOOM! Flawless Victory. 4 for 4 on Kickstarter. THANK YOU EVERYONE! Gamers rule!” Lead Developer Michael Hartman tweeted.

This most recent Kickstarter campaign was created to allow fans one last chance to get in on backer rewards. It asked for only $1,000 in funds but ended up raising an additional $13,202 for the title.

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H1Z1 warns players of full server wipe happening tomorrow

Can an apocalypse happen after the apocalypse? That’s the ironic state of affairs for H1Z1, which will be experiencing a full server wipe tomorrow with a new patch that promises to make the game more stable. The wipe will get rid of all inventory, characters, names, storage, and player-built structures while leaving account items intact.

Daybreak said that it’s taking measures to combat teaming in the solo versions of Battle Royale, such as possibly restricting vehicle use to one player apiece. The studio also warned players against violating the rules in these game modes: “We’ll be reviewing cases in which we think teaming is disrupting the game, and potentially taking action against those accounts.”

Good to know that in 2015 there is still one MMO studio out there brave enough to fight against the evils of socialization and teamwork.

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Interview: Pantheon devs on funding, Unity, and the launch window

Brad McQuaid‘s Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is an MMO that’s suffered more than its fair share of drama and setbacks, but even detractors will agree that its creators appear utterly determined to see it made. In fact, this past fall, Visionary Realms acquired fresh investors, produced a new website, hired new employees, and demoed a playable build.

CEO Chris Rowan, CCO Brad McQuaid, and Creative Director Chris Perkins recently answered my questions about the game’s stormy history, past and future funding, playerbase size, and release date.

Massively OP: Visionary Realms has obviously come a long way since 2014, when former employees made accusations about money mismanagement and work on the game slowed down. A lot of our readers have some serious trust issues with Pantheon given that and given the problems that preceded with Vanguard. What makes the current incarnation of Visionary Realms different? Why should they trust in Pantheon and its leadership?

Visionary Realms: Pantheon started in late 2013 as an idea and seat of the pants game development effort. In early 2014 a small team of game designers and programmers was trying to simultaneously juggle game development, a Kickstarter campaign, and running a company.

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The Repopulation: ‘The risk of downtime is very real’

Throughout November, we’ve been covering The Repopulation’s troubles with Idea Fabrik, the company that runs Hero Engine, on which The Repopulation was built. Idea Fabrik admitted to its community that its funding was at issue and that it was expecting service blackouts as a result. Above and Beyond halted The Repopulation’s updates while it worked with Hero Engine to keep the game’s hosting up, saying it was in a “holding pattern” but “still [had] outs” in the event of catastrophe.

Might one of those “outs” be a new engine? New comments from A&B’s J.C. Smith lean against it. On the game’s official forums, he wrote,

“We’d prefer to get Repop out, finish up things (15.10.1 and 15.10.2 are huge updates in terms of stability and features) and ship the game rather than starting completely fresh in a new engine (though you can never say never). Because if we went to a new engine we’d basically be rebuilding the game from scratch code wise, though some things would convert over (art, data). There are options if they fold or if they do not fold but hosting is no longer viable. Neither is particularly attractive, and the latter would require us to seek outside investment or partnerships. But there are quite a few different possibilities depending on how things play out.”

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Pathfinder Online is in talks with a new investment company

Pathfinder Online players have been in a cruel state of limbo these past few months following the collapse of Goblinworks. However, the game’s fate might be far from sealed, as Acting CEO Lisa Stevens said that there has been “promising” talks with a new investment company.

“Last week, a new company has entered the arena and I am super-excited about the possibilities,” she posted. “It is still early in the process of talking with them, though I have been on the phone every day helping them get the data they need to make a decision. If they decide to move forward, Pathfinder Online will benefit from a significant infusion that will allow the development team to expand to the largest it has been.”

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