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]

Landmark dev: Dungeoneering will become a large part of the game

Landmark is a sandbox MMO that allows players to engage in a number of non-combat activities, but playing as a pure pacifist might be difficult — especially if you like to explore the game’s world.

Daybreak developer Deletionist said on the forums that players should brace themselves for a greater focus on dungeon content in the future: “We don’t really want to change the fundamental way exploration works right now, outside of better combat and better caves (more connected networks, less reliance on pulverizing around to find caverns, etc), but in the future we do want to make dungeon mastering a large component of the game, and dungeons will require combat.”

Deletionist said that the team is working on incentives to encourage explorers and builders to dive into Landmark’s dungeons. He also reassured fans that “this doesn’t mean [Daybreak wants] to remove pure exploration.”

Source: Official forums. Thanks to Atryue for the tip!


Albion Online’s newest dev answers community queries, snaps at EVE trolls

Albion Online is surely milking its acquisition of Game Designer Matt Woodward for all its worth. After Albion heralded his arrival with a level of pomp normally reserved for royalty, Woodward took to the wilds of Reddit for a round of questions and answers with the community.

When asked what he is working on right now, Woodward replied, “First thing I’m working on is a mission/quest-style system, just to get my feet wet. From what I understand we’re going to have another internal planning session once the summer alpha is over, and hopefully I’ll be able to contribute some ideas there.”

He also had a snarky rejoinder to the EVE Online fans who showed up to troll him in the thread: “Hey guys, you know I stopped working on EVE, right? How about you make your obligatory witty, biting comebacks, and then we all just move on with our lives?”

Source: Reddit


Valiance Online plots its strategy going forward

What’s going on in the super-powered world of Valiance Online? Quite a lot, actually. The spiritual successor to City of Heroes posted a list of 10 development updates to bring fans up to date on the project.

Among the list is word that the team is overhauling the user interface, trademarking a new logo, improving the animations, fixing “hundreds” of bugs, preparing the new website, and coming up with a clear production schedule. “We’ve worked with a few more developers from City of Heroes to gain a large perspective of where we need to improve overall,” the team posted. “One of the main areas being the world scale. Those developers will also be in a live Reddit AMA and gameplay walkthrough with us soon.”

We’ve also got five new screenshots from Valiance Online to share with you after the break. Looking pretty good so far, don’t you think?

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Shroud of the Avatar gets slammed by DDoS attack

If you’re having trouble accessing Shroud of the Avatar’s website or game, don’t worry — it’s not you. The devs posted a notice on Steam to inform the community that they’re currently weathering a DDoS attack and hope to be back up and running normally soon.

In the meantime, there’s a new Update of the Avatar to digest, complete with news about a charity tie-in, the breakdown of Release 17, and a link to the game’s soundtrack on SoundCloud. You can watch the devs hash out the Release 17 postmortem after the break!

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Guild Wars 2’s ‘movie monster’ Necromancer spec outlined

Did you miss Guild Wars 2’s Points of Interest stream on Friday? Me too. Every game seems to stream on Friday, and it’s hard to watch ’em all! Fortunately, Dulfy’s done the hard work of parsing the whole stream for the highlights on the recently revealed Necromancer Reaper spec in the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion.

Game Designer Robert Gee reveals that the Necromancer’s spec was the first one ArenaNet worked on, and it set the tone for all of the class specializations, in particular the themed minors (the Necro’s is the “movie monster” theme, but there’s also a chill-based line and an AoE brawler line). The very first minor, Shadow Knight, brings on the new shouts and greatsword that will define the spec.

Check out Dulfy for the complete list; the video recap is below.

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How Crowfall deals with changes to player purchases

What do you do when you’ve already sold something that hasn’t been fully built yet — and might need to be changed from its original design? For Crowfall, the strategy is to come out ahead of such changes and communicate with crowdfunding backers as to what will happen when this occurs.

ArtCraft posted five steps that the team will follow in its approach to changing player-purchased digital items as development progresses. In summary, there will be efforts to be transparent, to make the changes to benefit the players, to compensate for any downgrades, and to offer refunds for store credit if not satisfied.

The team also posted concept art for some of its player strongholds and said that players will soon be allowed to unbundle their pledge packages to upgrade, sell, or gift some of their goodies.

Source: Crowfall #1, #2


Make My MMO: May 16, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Gloria Victis developer Black Eye Games let us know that it’s in “the home stretch” in terms of upgrading its fantasy sandbox to the Unity 5 engine. What’s the big deal with that? Well, a 50 percent framerate increase, for starters, not to mention improved eye candy.

Elsewhere, indie PvP sandbox Das Tal officially kicked off its Kickstarter campaign. The rest of this week’s crowdfunding roundup is just past the cut.

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See two of Overwatch’s superheroes in action

Which Overwatch character are you going to pick when you get into the beta? That’s a hard call to make before you can actually get in and sample each of them, although preview videos are the next best thing in making this decision.

Today we’ve got two Overwatch gameplay videos for you, both showing off a PvP match in this upcoming superhero-themed game. The first features Zenyatta, a robot monk with some funky moves, while the second stars the angelic Mercy and her power rod. Power staff? It’s a stick and it does some amazing stuff, so call it what you will.

You can get 20 minutes of non-stop action from Overwatch after the break!

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Test fly Star Citizen’s Aurora and Mustang for free this week

If you’re like me, you bought into Star Citizen way back in 2012 and you haven’t dropped a dime since. Don’t get me wrong because I’m still looking forward to Cloud Imperium’s space sandbox opus like no other game, but I don’t see the point of spending real money on pretend spaceships that I’ll be earning in the finished title anyway.

Fortunately for people like us, CIG periodically makes portions of its ever-growing fleet free-to-fly in the playable Arena Commander module. This week, all of the ships in the Aurora and Mustang lines are open for test flying without having to purchase them, and all of the poking and prodding has the dual benefit of providing CIG with “valuable testing metrics.”

Source: Starter ship test drive


Betawatch: May 15th, 2015

I’m not going to lie to you, dear readers: I don’t care much about Star Citizen. I am aware, though, that the actual big news about the game over the past week was a big information drop regarding the game’s FPS module. But for my money, the big thing was the silly little Flash-based shooter. That’s the sort of stuff I like.

Yeah, I might have played that a lot.

Did anything else happen over the past week? No. And by no, I of course mean yes.

Do we have a huge list of games that are currently in testing down below? Oh, you know us too well. Probably because we do this every week. Check it out, and let us know if something sneakily changed testing status while we weren’t looking all secret-like.

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Camelot Unchained’s Friday update talks blowing stuff up

Mark Jacobs has posted Camelot Unchained’s traditional Friday update. In it, he thanks a couple of backers for their gifts to the team, and he also talks a bit about the “39 new completes and four new adds” to the user stories section of CU’s website. These include everything from the ability crafting system and the combos that result from it to the ability to destroy structures in the game world.

“Blowing, blasting, and otherwise reducing the hard work of your opponents draws ever closer,” Jacobs notes. He also hints at some good news on the hiring front in the near future.

Finally, the blurb features some updated golem art assets and it mentions Jacobs’ appearance on this Monday’s Twitch stream.

Source: Friday update


Here’s a look at the latest Black Desert open world boss battle

Want to see the newest Black Desert boss battle? Head to Steparu’s site, as he’s got video clips and screenshots of the new creature that lives inside Serendia Temple (an open world dungeon, if you’re wondering).

Steparu says that his footage is a bit laggy because of the number of players who descended on the boss, but you can still get a good idea of what Black Desert’s high-end PvE looks like.

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Gloria Victis prepares to pull the trigger on Unity 5

Those anticipating Gloria Victis’ glorious transformation into the new Unity 5 game engine won’t have long to wait at all. Black Eye Games said that it is in “the home stretch” with the transfer, and after it’s done, players can expect to enjoy much better game performance and improved visuals. How much better will the experience be with Unity 5? The team reports that testing has shown an up to 50% increase in framerate.

The new engine isn’t all that’s on tap for the medieval sandbox. The team is working on a territory control system, an optional first-person camera, and “big changes” to the crafting system for future updates.


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