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]

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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Shards Online’s third pre-alpha starts December 3

Citadel has announced that Shards Online’s third pre-alpha phase will soft launch for all backers at the $75 tier and above on December 3rd. All backers at $40 and above will get access on December 10th. Pre-alpha 3 is “one of the biggest updates to the game since we fully funded its development,” according to Citadel CEO Derek Brinkmann.

PA3 will see the cluster system go live, which is a “key step toward the vision of Shards‘ interconnected worlds,” since it will allow admins to connect maps and games and ultimately realize larger player-run universes.

Most of the game system tweaks in PA3 involve controls and the new player experience. You can get a glimpse of what that’s all about via the video after the cut.

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Albion’s closed beta is live for legendary founders

It’s closed beta time for Albion, and if you’re a legendary founder, you can log in right now. Or not if you’d prefer to wait until the danger of character wipes has come and gone.

Albion revolves around PvP in the form of sieging, claiming, and defending terrority. There’s a player-driven economy, too, as well as the ability to customize your real estate and take part in classless progression. The devs are making no secret about their intended audience. “In an age where MMOs are increasingly casual in nature, Albion Online represents our vision of what a true modern MMORPG should be,” Sandbox Interactive CEO Stefan Wiezorek says via press release.

The cross-platform title is attempting to combine “the classic, challenging gameplay found in classics like Ultima Online, EVE Online, and RuneScape.”

Source: Sandbox Interactive press release



Brad McQuaid advises Pantheon community on how to deal with skeptics

Every up-and-coming game is going to have both its defenders and its critics, with hyperbole and questionable prognostication often spinning out of control. Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid was concerned enough about managing the message that he wrote up an instructive post on the forums advising supporters as how to respond to and educate the game’s “skeptics.”

“We need to be honest about what Pantheon is all about and to whom it is being made for, the audiences we are targeting,” McQuaid wrote. “Trying to hide the more controversial tenets so that some people aren’t scared away would be a marketing tactic involving dishonesty, and I’m not OK with that.”

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Elite Dangerous shows off the system specs for Horizon in its latest newsletter

What will it take for you to land your ship on planets in Elite: Dangerous? Well, at the very least it will take a computer powerful enough to run the Horizons expansion. The most recent official newsletter unveils the official system specifications, and while the specifications in question are not bargain-basement level most recent computers shouldn’t have many issues. Running 64-bit Windows 7 with a quad-core processor and a GPU manufactured within the past five years? You’ll be fine.

Fans can also check out some illegal racing footage (from inside the game, that is), along with a thank-you letter from David Braben and instructions on taking part in the expansion beta. You can also check out that racing footage just below if your greatest ambition is to land on planetary surfaces just to defy local laws and drive on stuff you’re no supposed to. We’re not here to judge.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite Camelot Unchained class?

Camelot Unchained has been revealing its classes for a few weeks now, and the fantasy RvR sandbox has no shortage or interesting archetypes. So far my favorite is the Black Rider, not so much for how it likely plays but for the fact that it uses its severed head and spinal chord as a weapon. The mages sound interesting too, but that’s mostly because I always roll mages.

What about you, Camelot Unchained fans or curious onlookers? What’s your favorite class reveal and why?

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The MOP Up: Tera’s expansion launches in Europe (November 22, 2015)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we’ll rejoice that TERA‘s Stepstone update has finally reached Europe, hear from Star Citizen’s lead writer, celebrate Vainglory’s birthday, and more!

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Star Citizen alpha 2.0 goes into testing

Star Citizen fans have had a long wait for the game’s big Alpha 2.0 update — but that wait is just about over.

CIG announced over the weekend that 2.0 is finally on the test server, where select players are stress testing the patch for its future release. The studio is increasing the testing pool size by 15,000 which was sent out in two waves of invites. Currently bug fixing and polish is the studio’s primary concern for this update.

“This release really is a landmark in Star Citizen and video games history as we’re now pioneering technology that’s never been undertaken to this scale before,” CIG said, “and it’s all thanks to the belief in the backers who helped fund the team to make the dream a reality.”

Source: Star Citizen


Camelot Unchained reveals gloomy Spirit Mages and glam faces

Friday evening, Camelot Unchained revealed its eighth class triplet, the dark and sinister Spirit Mages:

  • The Slaughterwolf (Vikings): Summons and commands a pack of pissed-off spirit wolves.
  • The Morrigan (Tuatha Dé Danaan): Summons and commands spectral crows, cows, and wolves, “feed[ing] off the death around them.”
  • The Dread Caller (Arthurians): Masters of tainted souls. “These dark mages power their spirit magic with the souls of those convicted of crimes.”

In the game’s most recent newsletter, studio boss Mark Jacobs further noted that CSE has “successfully loaded [its] first ‘large map’ into the game.” It’s “sixteen times as large” as the current map and is being tested by alpha participants this very weekend.

The newsletter also contains a new lore piece and a shot of some of the faces being worked on. Check out that image and the whole Spirit Mage stream reveal below.

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Make My MMO: Infinity funds, Star Citizen teases 2.0 (November 21, 2015)

It was a huge week for crowdfunded space sims. First, Infinity: Battlescape met its $300,000 Kickstarter goal with over a day to spare. Then, Cloud Imperium released Star Citizen version 2.0 to a select group of testers. What’s 2.0? Only the first incarnation of the game’s expansive persistent universe! Sources indicate that vaporware trolls suddenly made themselves scarce both on MOP and across the intrawebs.

The rest of this week’s MMO crowdfunding roundup is just past the break.

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Albion starts closed beta next week

Cross-platform fantasy PvP MMO Albion Online starts closed beta next week. Sandbox Interactive has posted the start times, which are dependent on what sort of founder’s pack you’ve purchased. Legendary members can start at 7:00 a.m. EST on Monday, November 23rd, while Epic founders and Veteran founders start at the same time on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Albion devs recently took to Reddit to host an AMA session, so be sure and check that out if you’re curious about what the crowdfunded sandbox has to offer. Albion boasts 35,000 founders, 250,000 registered players, and has raised over $2.5 million in crowdfunding, according to the AMA text.

Source: Reddit


The Stream Team: Getting up close and personal with ARK’s Giganotosaurus

It wasn’t long ago that one of ARK: Survival Evolved’s newest dinosaurs wreaked havoc on MassivelyOP’s server. One giganotosaurus decimated a fort and gobbled up almost all the dinos (one escaped!) in the north, while another one was doing the same in the west. It was a sad day. MassivelyOP’s MJ actually tried to help subdue and tame the beast, but it proved too much for the MOP team. Now you can see the savagery for yourself as MJ sets a giganotosaurus loose in a ready-made pen. Tune in live at 12:00 p.m. to see how fast it can chew through the various building materials (and anyone who gets too close!).

What: ARK: Survival Evolved
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 21st, 2015

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