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]

Trials of Ascension attempts another Kickstarter campaign

Permadeath, corpse looting, and no mini-map: Will this be tempting enough to get the community on board with donations? Trials of Ascension hopes so, as the fantasy sandbox has launched a new Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising $600,000 for further development. The team says that it already has a product worth backing: “We have a playable prototype on very stable network code along with a solid server infrastructure.”

Forged Chaos undoubtedly hopes to overcome its failure from its 2013 Kickstarter campaign. After only pulling in $86,835 out of a $750,000 goal, the studio canceled the campaign and switched to an open donation system.

If all goes well with the campaign, Trials of Ascension is looking at alpha and beta tests in 2016 and a planned 2017 launch.

[Source: Kickstarter, old Kickstarter]

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Shroud of the Avatar’s Starr Long on gameplay vs. graphics

Shroud of the Avatar executive producer — and original Ultima Online director — Starr Long was interviewed by The Escapist this week. Long discusses his early Origin days, where he worked on everything from the Wing Commander series to a long list of Ultima products.

He also talks about Tabula Rasa, Kickstarter, and of course his newest project as well as his general design philosophy. “If I see a light, I should be able to turn it on and off. If I see a candle, I can blow it out. If there is a door, I should be able to open and close it, to lock it and unlock it. I should be able to take that cup off the table, hold it in my hand, and drink ale out of it,” Long explains. “That requires a lot of computing horsepower and a lot of memory, which means you have to take it from somewhere else. The easiest place to take it from is the graphics, but I would always much rather have a high degree of simulation than the best, newest graphics.”

[Source: The Escapist]

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Otherland beta test focuses on server stability

Otherland continues its trek back to public consciousness and notability after being dropped by Real-U and picked back up by Drago. Currently, the multi-world MMO is heading into its second closed beta test. This time around the team says that the main focus is on server stability.

“Based on this data, we have made changes to the server in an effort to make them more stable than they were before,” the team posted. “[These] changes now will need to be tested to verify that the changes did the job.”

Other aims of CBT 2.0 including tweaking DPS balancing, implementing the crafting system, and adding the auction house. The team promises that it will be handing out more beta keys compared to those distributed for the first test.

[Source: Official forums]

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Camelot Unchained teases alpha start, ‘major feature’

Yesterday’s Camelot Unchained update delivered quite a bit of good news to fans of the fantasy RvR sandbox. City State boss Mark Jacobs revealed the fourth iteration of the pre-alpha test checklist, several items of which have already been addressed, leaving the dev team in a good spot relative to its end-of-the-month alpha goal.

Jacobs says that potential snags may still delay the alpha launch a week or two, but he does promise “one major feature that wasn’t expected to be in until this summer” for the kickoff. “It is safe to say that by the time summer comes along, that major feature will be a lot further along than we thought it would be based on our last year’s schedule,” Jacobs writes.

[Source: Afternoon update. Thanks Amber!]

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The Division is on track for a 2015 release

Getting your next Tom Clancy gaming fix shouldn’t be too hard this year. Ubisoft announced this past week that The Division will be coming out in 2015 in addition to Rainbow Six Siege.

Of course, you might not even know much about this open-world online RPG yet, which is understandable. If that’s the case, then there’s an excellent 12-minute “everything we know” overview video after the break that sums up the progress and features of this post-apocalyptic military title.

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Skyforge’s guilds will offer stat bonuses, sub-guilds, and housing

From the sound of Skyforge’s first dev diary on pantheons (guilds), it sounds as though joining a group of players will be a near-mandatory move, especially if you want to reap the benefits of cool features like stat bonuses or special missions.

Pantheons will be easy to create but will require effort and resources to grow in its capabilities. One interesting feature is that guild leaders can create several clans to function as sub-guilds that officers oversee in order to share the load of leadership.

Individuals can benefit from being part of a pantheon by receiving character stat bonuses, special missions, and useful items. Pantheons can build up their own bases (strongholds) and participate in wars with other pantheons.

[Source: Welcome to the Pantheon!]

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Revival is launching player housing this month

After October, February seems perfect to tap into the dark, terrible nightmares of gaming. Why? Because you just know some elder god ate those extra days at the end of the month.

In any case, you’ll soon be able to get your H.P. Lovecraft on with Revival, an open-world sandbox that channels the late great horror writer’s spirit. Revival is planning to do a limited release of its player housing system this month. This will allow fans to move in while the rest of the game continues to be built.

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Pathfinder Online lays out its territory control design roadmap

While Pathfinder Online has been playable for many of its backers for a few months now, it’s still only in an early deployment phase. Players can take part in control of the game’s various towers, but territorial control is not yet implemented. That’s going to be changing soon, however, and a recent development post outlines the road to fully putting territory control in action for players and companies.

The first stage is the influence system for companies, which is earned via achievements and spent on holdings and outposts. Once that system is in place and working, the aforementioned holdings and outposts can be implemented (since companies will have the currency to spend on them), which clears the road for settlement placement and ensures that the complex web of resources shipping across the map is viable. You can take a look at the full rundown for a more detailed look at the relationships and an overview of what players can do now to prepare for the fight over land.

[Source: Territorial Conflict Roadmap]

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The Stomping Land creator apparently abandons project

Friends, it pains me to say this, especially when dinosaurs are involved, but it might be time to give up hope on The Stomping Land.

After far overshooting Kickstarter goals for his dinosaur survival sandbox, The Stomping Land creator Alex Fundora has seemingly abandoned the project. Freelance artist Vlad Konstantinov, who had been hired work on the project, said that he had attempted unsuccessfully to contact Fundora [link now dead] numerous times over the past month and hadn’t been paid for his recent work.

To make matters worse, early access to The Stomping Land is still being sold on Steam despite players warning others off in the comments. The title raised over $114,000 from a Kickstarter campaign in 2013.

[Source: The Stomping Land forums [link dead], Eurogamer, Steam]

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H1Z1 eyes battle royale season pass

Would you pay for a season pass to H1Z1’s popular battle royale content? And if so, how much would you shell out for it?

Daybreak President John Smedley was publicly musing about this idea on Twitter yesterday. “Seriously considering doing a season pass for BR. What would the right price be for a season pass?” he asked. In a follow-up tweet Smedley added, “H1Z1 is not just a game. We view it as a platform for other games. Battle royale is just the start.”

The battle royale mode throws players into an intense PvP match where the world boundaries begin to close in with the help of toxic gas. Some players decided to recently rebel against the setup by staging a hilarious mass “stop the violence” campaign even as their toxic doom approached. You can see how that ended in a video after the jump.

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OARPG Lost Ark might be destined for the west

Great news for those who had their minds blown with that Steparu Lost Ark video last year: The Diablo-esque action RPG may indeed be coming to the west.

In an interview with Worlds Factory, Tripod Studios said that it’s aiming to bring this game out of its home country: “First, we will be launching in the Korean market. In 2015, we are going to proceed with [the closed beta test]. We are considering launching Lost Ark in western market, and the date will be finalized after solidifying the service schedule in Korea.”

The interview goes on to discuss Lost Ark’s many features, including explorable regions, a PvP battleground system, ownable islands, a “broad and extensive” economy, 18 classes, and NPCs who must be won over before you can access their secret adventures. A business model has not been decided as of yet.

If you’re just hearing about Lost Ark for the first time, check out the gameplay trailer after the jump to see what all the fuss is about.

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Warhammer 40K aiming for early access this fall

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson posted a State of the Crusade letter today, saying that the team is moving forward with “a rapidly advancing schedule.”

Richardsson revealed that the team has been quiet lately because it’s been reviewing its plans and isn’t quite ready to discuss specifics (it’s noteworthy that he did mention “expansion” as one of the forbidden topics). However, Richardsson did point at “autumn 2015” as a target for early access and clarified that fans will need to be paying founders to get into the multi-month alpha and beta tests.

[Source: State of the Crusade]

 

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Nebula Online seeks crowdfunding for ‘perfect’ sci-fi MMO

What is it about outer space that elicits the cutthroat nature of sci-fi MMOs? Well, get ready to go on that adventure again, as Nebula Online is running a crowdfunding campaign to build an “old-school hardcore sci-fi” MMO that corrects the mistakes of games such as, oh, EVE Online.

“Some people may think that it is just bad copy of EVE Online. But we can say to you — it’s not,” the team posted last month. “This game was made to correct all mistakes and collect best things to make the perfect MMO.”

Nebula Online is looking for $130,000 CAD in donations to build its three-faction game with features such as landing and battling on planets. The game will hold fast to a buy-to-play model (with no cash shop) and is looking at an alpha test later this year. The team is also pushing a Steam Greenlight campaign and has released a trailer that you can watch after the jump.

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