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]

Here’s a helpful summary of Star Citizen’s release schedule

The best laid plans of mice and men don’t hold a candle to those creating a virtual universe from scratch. The shifting dates and missed development targets of Star Citizen have been of some concern and confusion this year, especially considering that the game is being released piecemeal instead of all of once.

To help set things straight, Star Citizen fan site Imperial News has done the footwork to compile all information pertaining to the release schedule going forward. The article also draws in rumors and developer quotes to provide as accurate a picture of the future as possible.

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World of Warships launches September 17th

If you’ve been waiting until the official release to launch your naval career in World of Warships, mark your calendar: In two weeks, the game goes live.

Wargaming has announced that after a successful open beta, its naval warfare MMO will officially and formally throw open its doors on Thursday, September 17th. Those interested in captaining various historical battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers, and destroyers — such as Warspite, Tirpitz, Midway, Aurora, and Yamato — will have two complete tech trees from the U.S. and Japan to work through. Additionally, a number of ships from Germany, the U.S.S.R., and the U.K. will be available, with more nations slated to join in the war later this year. In total, over 80 different ships will be available to help you set sail and decimate your enemies.

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Free-to-play WildStar ‘Reloaded’ arrives September 29th

No, that isn’t a typo in the title: WildStar fully converts to free-to-play on September 29th. Carbine and its crew are calling this significant change to the game’s payment model WildStar Reloaded. Carbine isn’t just changing how you pay for the game, however. There are also significant changes to the new-player experience.

The studio has also announced that the second phase of closed beta will open up today (as of press time, the closed beta server is offline due to technical difficulties). This second phase opens up the cash shop for the test, and Carbine is confident it’ll be a risk-free testing process. We have the full details of the testing process and our take on the new tutorial for the game below.

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Pathfinder Online lays off almost entire staff

Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens has announced to Pathfinder Online supporters that the majority of the Goblinworks team working on the game has been laid off.

We knew we needed a certain amount of money to finish to build the game, and we came really damn close, but we just couldn’t find the last bit of funding that we needed. […] Last Friday, we had to lay off most of the staff. […] I couldn’t pay them anymore. We gave them lots of warning, so they all knew this was coming.

CTO Mark Kalms, Art Director Mike Hines, and Designer Bob Settles are all that remain of the studio. According to Stevens, Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey left the company two weeks ago for personal reasons unrelated to the layoffs. Lee Hammock and Steven Cheney were also apparently among those let go.

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Eco’s proposed death penalty doesn’t mess around

Eco, the global ecosystem survival game that recently blew through its $100,000 Kickstarter goal, has added a player-run criminal justice PvP system as a stretch goal.

Currently, the game design will “prevent laws from being broken” by stopping various player criminal actions before they occur. If Eco tops $200,000 in funding, the devs will implement a flagging system that allows players to break laws and also opens them to consequences including arrests and some pretty harsh punishment. The game’s Kickstarter page details the theoretically nifty mechanics, including criminal flags that are only visible to players who actually witnessed the crime as well as forensic skills that enable highly skilled players to become a witness upon investigating a crime scene.

Consequences for lawbreakers include automatic currency/item fines, in-game jail time, and a death penalty that sees the offending character deleted from the server and the user banned from logging into that server in the future.

Source: Kickstarter; thanks Dengar!

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Project Gorgon adds guilds and new movement system

An early version of the guild system went into Project Gorgon yesterday, according to the game’s launcher.

The guilds that are in the game are about as bare-bones as they could be, sporting ranks, a chat channel, and a message of the day feature. The devs have discounted the cost to create a guild in order to incentivize players to test them out. The patch notes warn that the team reserves the right to reset guilds if there are technical issues.

Other changes that came with the September 1st patch include a rewritten character movement system, an update to the Unity 5.1 engine, and a four-character cap per account.

Now how about those all-cow guilds already?

Source: Project Gorgon launcher

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Horse World Online gallops into our hearts

Clear the slate of your gaming plans for the near future, friends, because we’re here to tell you that your dream game has arrived: Horse World Online.

Blog Clean Casuals alerted us to the existence of Horse World Online, a browser-based horse breeding game in which players build up a farm, throw different types of horses together in the pastures, and, we don’t know, put on some Barry White or something. There is an incredible array of horse breeds available along with facts about each.

However, it’s not merely about making baby horses in an endless quest to produce pretty foals. Horse World Online also lets you race your beasts, enter them into competitions, and buy and sell them on the market. The game came out at the beginning of August and is free-to-play with various timers and an optional subscription.

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Guild Wars 2 unleashes fresh Mordrem event next week and blogs about raids

ArenaNet just confirmed the rumors it sparked about a Mordrem event coming to Guild Wars 2:

From 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) on September 10 through 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) on September 13, Mordrem will be staging periodic incursions into Brisban Wildlands, Kessex Hills, and Diessa Plateau. Keep an eye on the world event UI, which will let you know when Mordremoth is launching its assault. Coordinate with other players to stop the Mordrem in their tracks, and you’ll earn Mordrem Blooms. Mordrem Blooms are the research samples the Durmand Priory seek. In exchange for the research samples, the Durmand Priory is offering concessions as a reward.

Even if you’ve just jumped into the game as a freebie player, you should be able to participate as the minimum level requirement is 18, which you can easily achieve by next week.

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Elite: Dangerous welcomes pilots to close quarters combat

Players have a new way to experience Elite: Dangerous with the advent of the close quarters combat (CQC) mode. The beta test for the new mode began yesterday and includes several new ships and outfitting for CQC.

Close quarters combat is a timed arena mode that pits players in quick firefights in smaller ships against each other for rankings and rewards. Players can utilize the game’s matchmaking service to find opponents quickly. CQC is available on PC, Mac, and Xbox One.

The new CQC ships that came out with the 1.4 beta patch are the Federal Assault Ship, the Federal Gunship, and the Imperial Eagle. There are also a mountain of bug fixes, tweaks, and optimizations going on, so pilots will definitely want to read up on the patch notes and check out the CQC trailer after the break.

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WildStar enters the second phase of free-to-play testing with real money, explains Runecrafting changes

The first stage of testing for WildStar‘s free-to-play conversion has been a success on the whole. Sure, there have been aspects that veterans didn’t like, such as the Sprint changes (which are being altered anyhow, allowing players to turn off the always-sprinting option), but the majority of the changes have been well received. So now it’s time to move on to the second stage, and that means that the game needs you to spend cold hard cash.

The second stage of testing will be removing all automatically granted NCoins and will award the player only NCoins that have actually been purchased. Lest you worry about spending coin on something that’s about to be wiped post-testing, there will be “test” NCoins added to the beta servers while the “real” NCoins remain in your account to spend on other NCsoft games or on WildStar once it finishes its free-to-play conversion. Check out the full rundown for all the goals of the second phase of testing.

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Wild Terra delivers an isometric sandbox medieval world

Looking for an up-and-coming sandbox that isn’t some weird jumble of voxels? Wild Terra would respectfully submit that you check out its isometric medieval world as a possibility.

Survive, craft, build, fight: These are the core pillars of the Wild Terra experience. Juvty Worlds expects that players will shape the game world and build up towns and castles while fighting each other through the open PvP system. There’s also “realistic animal behavior” for those tracking and hunting beasts.

Wild Terra was formerly free for anyone to access, but as of August 25th the team had to rope off the game to paying customers due to the strain on the server. The cheapest early access bundle that will get you into the game goes for €9.99 (just over 11 bucks in US dollars). The devs project a release date for the end of 2015.

You can watch the trailer after the break.

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This is how Crowfall has evolved over the past 16 weeks

Crowfall’s latest video is a 25-minute affair that shows you how the crowdfunded PvP fantasy title has progressed from stacks of Post-It notes, index cards, and little round stickers to a playable virtual world over the past five months.

The piece is titled Combat Strike Team, Milestone 1, and as you might expect, it features an in-depth look at a 16-week development sprint courtesy of design lead Thomas Blair and designer Tully Ackland. See for yourself after the break.

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Camelot Unchained’s newsletter recaps August, looks to DragonCon

Camelot Unchained fans, I hope you have a caffeinated beverage and a lot of free time, because the 13th edition of the game’s newsletter is here and it’s looooong.

It recaps all the development updates for the previous month, as well as the current stealth stretch goal, which CityState says is coming along nicely and which has been well-received by the community. There’s also a state-of-the-build update penned by Brian Green, as well as details about the dev team’s upcoming trek to Atlanta where they will show off the game at this weekend’s DragonCon.

And of course, there’s a whole lot more to the newsletter. Click the link below to read it for yourself.

Source: Newsletter #13; thanks Flying Dutchman!

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