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]

Gamescom 2015: Guild Wars 2’s new mastery system details revealed

On the opening day of Gamescom 2015, I crept away from the buzzing hum and dazzling lights of the show floor to sit down with Guild Wars 2 Lead Designer Crystin Cox to discuss Heart of Thorns and the horizontal progression development system we now know as the mastery system. I was treated to a full breakdown of each mastery branch with a live demo, and it was full of great information about the masteries involved and the thought process behind the system’s development. We also hit on specializations, verticality, and the beta weekend during my follow-up questions, so be sure to keep reading for all things HoT.
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Order & Chaos 2: Redemption announced for mobile

“We thought we were saving the world, but we were all deceived.”

Mobile World of Warcraft clone Order & Chaos Online is getting a sequel that will be set following a world-shattering event at the end of the first MMO. Order & Chaos 2: Redemption is set 600 years later with a new landscape and epic struggle.

There’s no word as to a beta or launch date, but the official site is taking pre-registration sign-ups for Order & Chaos 2. If you do, you’ll be able to secure a few goodies for your account including an XP potion and a gem of luck. Gameloft said that it will continue to operate and add to Order & Chaos Online even after the sequel releases.

You can check out the teaser trailer for the game after the break.

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The Mop Up: FEAR is dead edition

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.

This week we’ll mourn FEAR Online’s passing, check out Atlantica Online’s latest mercenary, enjoy an intergalactic Star Citizen comic, and check out footage of Torchlight Mobile.

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Make My MMO: August 8, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Project Gorgon continued to feel the Kickstarter love thanks to the realization of its $30,000 stretch goal. Star Citizen acquitted itself well with a spiffy Gamescom presentation, and fellow space sim Elite: Dangerous announced planetary landings before becoming embroiled in one of those zomg-someone’s-getting-a-better-deal-than-me drama explosions.

The rest of this week’s crowdsourced MMO news is rounded up for you just past the break.

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Betawatch: August 7th, 2015

It’s time for the first Guild Wars 2 expansion beta weekend! Technically, it’s a public weekend, but the only parts of the public that can actually get involved are those players who purchased the expansion, which is a bit on the closed side. Still, at least players can rest assured that the expansion will launch this year.

This week has mostly been dominated by the onslaught of news from Gamescom, but there’s still some beta testing news in the mix.

And lo, there is a longer list past the break! Check it out, see if something slipped through testing without us catching it, you know how it be.

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Gamescom 2015: Gigantic announces August CBT start

Go go Gigantic beta! At Gamescom this week, the cell-shaded Gigantic announced that it will be ending its alpha test and transitioning into closed beta by the end of August.

Gigantic will be inviting “hundreds of thousands” of testers into the closed beta program. The CBT will commence on August 28th and continue every weekend thereafter. Gigantic is planning special events and other beta coolness for its tests on both Windows 10 and Xbox One.

And yes, if you want to play it on the PC, you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 10. If you’re not already signed up to get a beta key, you can head over to the shooter MOBA’s website and get your name on the list.

Source: Gigantic

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Lineage Eternal should have two more tests this year

Thus far, Lineage Eternal has only had one focus group test, but NCsoft appears to be ramping up the game’s test schedule as the year rolls on. Another two focus group tests are slated to take place before the end of 2015, with a similar format to the first one. It’d be a bit much to call that aggressive forward motion, but considering the slow pace of news coming out about the game, it’s something.

As of yet, there’s no word about a Korean release date, much less about any sort of localization for the title.

Source: MMO Site; thanks to Dystopiq for the tip!

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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns starts first public beta weekend

You won’t need to head all the way out to Gamescom this week to see the latest and greatest in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. ArenaNet is actually hosting the expansion’s first public beta weekend… right now.

During the weekend, players can check out the new Revenant class, adventure through the new jungle zones, and fight in the updated Stronghold.

The beta test will go from today at 3:00 p.m. EDT through Monday, August 10th, at 3:00 p.m. It’s important to note that this is not an open beta; you will have needed to pre-purchase Heart of Thorns to have access to the test.

Source: Guild Wars 2

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Shards Online: Proposing the ‘persistent online world’ game

Last week, our comments erupted over some game studios’ haphazard use of the term “MMO” — and how that overuse and misuse has possibly tainted the genre, leading other studios to avoid its use altogether. One of the games under fire is Shards Online, a game that borrows heavily from old-school sandboxes but is set up a la Neverwinter Nights to allow players to create their own rulesets and run their own servers, some definitely not “massive” at all.

We spoke with Citadel Studios’ founder and CEO Derek Brinkmann about Shards Online’s place in the broader MMO world.

Massively OP: First, how do you and Citadel define “MMO” in 2015? How does that differ from “MMORPG” and from earlier understandings of the terms? Do you believe your understanding of the terms has changed since Shards Online was first announced?

Citadel’s Derek Brinkmann: I don’t think you can define the term MMO by taking the literal translation of the acronym Massively Multiplayer Online (Game). This would apply to a game that allows thousands of players to interact with each other within the game. If you went purely off of this literal meaning, session based games like Diablo III technically fall into this category since there are thousands of people playing Diablo III and you can interact with any of them by jumping into the same session. And nobody thinks that Diablo III should be considered an MMO.

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Crowfall’s guild structure allows for complex relationships

Guilds in PvP-oriented games are quite essential for one’s continued survival, and Crowfall has put a lot of thought into what it’s going to offer. For starters, to counter player espionage, an account can be associated with only a single guild. However, Crowfall’s guilds are complex structures, with alliances and nested sub-guilds, so that initial limitation isn’t as strict as it might seem.

Discussion about Crowfall’s guilds came out in the August Q&A video with the developers. Other topics covered include the general 40-second time-to-kill combat design, leaderboards, protecting players’ interests when they’re offline, and campaign world player-constructed buildings.

You can check out the whole 20-minute video after the break!

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Camelot Unchained launches community modding effort

The team behind Camelot Unchained wants the game to have a solid, modifiable interface. That’s a commendable goal, but it’s also something that’s hard to do without a modding community. So as explained in a recent development update, the staff is forming exactly that with the Mod Squad, an initiative dedicated to bridging the gap between developers and backers to make the game as open, moddable, and flexible as possible. Also to fighting crime on prime-time television, maybe.

There are also plans in place to start opening the game’s servers on a more regular basis to alpha testers with Friday Night Fights. Twice a month, the servers open up, and alpha, IT, and beta 1 backers will be able to log in and try out the game in all its glory. It’s not a full test, but it’s a gander at what the game is doing; you can read all of the details in the official update.

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Black Desert’s western community manager is interviewed, doesn’t say much

Are you interested in Black Desert? If so, a new interview with the game’s western community manager might be worth a read. Or it might not be, if you want anything beyond general PR-speak.

In any event, the piece confirms that an English version of the fantasy sandbox will be playable before the end of 2015, and it also says that the dev team has just opened its European office. Predictably, community manager “Oli” dodges a question about the changes from the game’s Korean version to its English version. He does say that the team wants to “avoid at all cost the bad impression left by other Korean game companies that bring their games to the west with quality standards that don’t match the expectations of US/EU players.”

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EverQuesting: (Almost) everything we know about EverQuest Next

In a perfect world, we’d have the mana of EverQuest Next news raining down from the sky, enough to satiate our hunger for information about the game we’ve long looked forward to. Instead, to many of us, including me, it feels more like we’re wandering lost in the desert for 40 years while trying to squeeze water from a stone.

We know that Landmark news has always been EQN news, but I can certainly understand players wanting to see more concrete EQN-specific things; I want to see more concrete things! I’ve been asking for a little more show and tell for quite a while. Sadly, that just isn’t happening. I was momentarily excited when in June, devs announced that the Landmark team was shifting the bulk of its focus from Landmark to EverQuest Next. Oh that was music to fans’ ears! But what have we learned about the game since then? We’ve seen one screenshot of Qeynos and had a couple workshops, but there’s been very little concrete news. For now, we must assume that the previously revealed information is still valid. Here’s a recap of key points we know so far.

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