alpha testing

This week in survivalboxes: Valnir Rok, Hellion, Next Day Survival, and ARK

It’s time for another survivalbox roundup! What’s new in the world of eternal building, unbuilding, ganking, ganking buildings, and consuming adequate food and water so you don’t keel over dead from all the fun you’re having?

Valnir Rok

Viking-themed survival sandbox Valnir Rok is currently conducting closed alpha rounds, having opened up new servers in Asia, South America, and Russia for this weekend’s test event.

“Looking back, it was a good decision to make another closed alpha weekend before the launch,” wrote the devs this week. “Although the player’s feedback was very positive overall, we found several bugs and some serious problems. We managed to fix some issues over the weekend and patched a few performance problems. Now our task is to fix severe bugs, which influence gameplay, to have a successfull launch. Nevertheless, we are looking forward going in Early Access by the end of September.”

What else have we got here…

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Betawatch: Fortnite rolls out a free-for-all mode that’s free for all (September 22, 2017)

Remember when Fortnite’s whole thing was that it was going to be about co-op survival gameplay without any PvP aspects? That clearly didn’t last, as it turns out the game’s new Battle Royale mode is going to be free-to-play and seems to be getting an unexpected share of the game’s development. Oh, and the game accidentally turned on cross-platform play before turning it right back off, so that was great too.

In unrelated news, we bid farewell to Guardians of Ember as it has actually, like, launched now. It’s not in early access any more! It’s just access. Guild Wars 2 has also dropped its second expansion, and The Elder Scrolls Online has its latest DLC up on the test server.

More beta news? Yes indeed! Including titles you might not have seen this week otherwise.

  • All right, Pantropy, do you really think that the only thing you need to seduce someone into survival sandbox games is to include a bunch of stompy mechs? Because you are very possibly right.
  • The stress testing for MU Legend is running on September 23rd, which is the server equivalent of packing tons of college freshmen into a phone booth and daring them to fall out. Taking part will earn you 500 Bound Redzen for use in the future, so if the simple joy of stress testing isn’t enough, do it for the bribery.
  • You’ve missed the first alpha testing weekend for Closers, but there are several more weekends coming up, such as this weekend. Would you like a whole schedule for the next few weeks? You’ve got one.
  • The closed alpha weekends for Survived By are starting very soon, with several closed alpha weekends planned over the next several weeks. Exact dates aren’t given, unfortunately, but considering that there are only so many people being invited, that seems at least moderately sensible.
  • Around 350 players took place in the second OrbusVR closed beta, and you can catch up on the notes from that second beta right now. It’s a good chance to keep an eye on the game when you’re not keeping both eyes in the headset.

And as we always do, there’s a list of titles in testing and early access just below, because that’s how we operate. Did something hop to another phase of testing without letting us know? Fix that oversight in the comments. You can also use the comments for other comments, of course.

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Star Citizen is down to only 7 must-fix issues before alpha 3.0 goes to the Evocati

What’s that sound? That’s the sound of Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 creeping ever closer, as the teams say they’ve made “substantial progress.”

In the latest edition of Around the Verse, Chris Roberts says the dev team is focused on “clearing out the remaining blockers,” while “the dev-ops team is going through the process of preparing the build for distribution.” They’ve cleaned up 19 more must-fix issues, with 7 more to go.

The feature for this episode centers on air traffic control, which sounds like a weird and boring thing my kids would play, but nope – it’s actually pretty important to landing ships in an open-world MMO, as it’s critical to help players land in a spot that’s actually big enough and actually empty. Otherwise, you’d be landing Serrenity II on top of my Millennium Falcon IV, and we can’t have that. The whole episode is below.

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Wild West Online begins its second tech alpha test today

The first technical alpha for Wild West Online was a success, at least in that lots of stuff broke. But when you’re running a technical alpha, you want things to break. So the game has gotten a round of fixes over the past week, and now the developers want the testing cadre to swing in and break all of those fixes with the start of the second technical alpha test today. You’ll have to work hard to break stuff, though; the developers say they’ve worked their tushes off on crashes and stability bugs.

If you’re not interested in just paying to play a game to get it to not work, you can also take part in some actual content, as this build adds in missions (chiefly for tutorial purposes) and new HUD graphics. There are also better systems in place to track discoveries and better maps, so you’ll have more to do just riding around. If you’re in the testing, get ready to mosey on back in and start breaking a whole new set of fixes.

We streamed the first alpha test last weekend; take a peek down below.

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Ship of Heroes shows off improved character creation in new video

Supporters for Ship of Heroes are going to be able to test out the alpha version of the game’s character creator this year. That is awesome. But what will it look like? Take a look in the video just below; it’s right there in the game’s 14th released demo video, clear as day. The developers take the opportunity to recreate the game’s “signature” hero while looking at the plethora of powers, costume options, and body options already available even in the early development state.

“This is the first time the improved ‘big guy’ character model has been shown in the character creator. The standard version of this character is 6’7″ tall, and heavily muscled,” Heroic Games says. “A number of technical improvements have been added to the CCT, including an eye zoom camera, a hide helmet buttom, and additional morphs to precisely control the character’s facial features.”

Obviously, the video doesn’t go through every single part line-by-line; this is a superhero game, so that would take forever. But you’ll get a good sense of the fine control over body parts and the diverse options you’ll have available to you in the game. Check out the video just below, and if you’re a supporter, get ready to try it all out for yourself sometime this year.

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Crowfall puts the ‘action’ in its harvesting system

With Patch 5.3 on the horizon, Crowfall is striving to add more than just race and class options. One feature that’s going to be worked into this newest alpha build is what the team is calling “action harvesting.”

Basically, this means that harvesting will become a lot more involved than running up to a node and jamming on the F key. Instead, players have a new survival tray — a dedicated hotbar — that stores all of a player’s harvest-related items and skills. When players switch into harvesting mode, this bar will pop up and they will “attack” nodes by left-clicking, a process that is augmented by the abilities and items they use.

Check out the hour-long development team Q&A on this revised system after the break!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 136: Westward ho!

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree saddle up for discussion on Wild West Online’s alpha, Star Citizen’s back-backlash on schedules, the miserable state of Phantasy Star Online 2, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Stream Team: A first alpha look at Wild West Online

There are so few western MMOs, but Wild West Online is fixin’ to change that. And by golly, thanks to Alpha Test 1, Massively OP’s MJ has a chance to peek in and see how the game’s a-farin’. Now it’s just the beginnings of the first alpha test — basically a core mechanics shakedown — so there’ll be much more a-comin’ between now and release (and beyond). Tune in live at 6:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team rounds up a first look at…

What: Wild West Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, September 16th, 2017

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Betawatch: Crowfall shares lots of fun stuff (September 15, 2017)

Good news for Crowfall fans this week because there’s plenty on the docket about the game’s development. You might not consider a whole lot of discussion about how the game succeeded at crowdfunding to be new content, but you’ve also got the full list of race/class combinations at launch and a dangerous beachhead for players to fight around. So there’s lots of good stuff happening for fans, yes?

The remainder of the beta news… well, there’s some good stuff in there, too! And one thing that’s perhaps not so good. Let’s head right in.

Meanwhile, we’ve got that full list of games down below with all of the information you could possibly expect at this point from our regular weekly column. Did something jump to a new phase of testing without us noticing? Let us know down in the comments, we find that fascinating and only marginally annoying. (And the annoyance is with the studios who don’t let us know, mind.)

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Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 inches closer to testers, CIG touts its mission system

In this week’s episode of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse, Cloud Imperium says it’s reduced its must-fix issues by 50 over the last week, bringing us that much closer to the release of the 3.0 alpha for the earliest outside testers, though we should probably note that not all the issues were actually resolved, just set aside. That means there are now 26 must-fix problems left to go.

“We’ve tightened the focus of our first test plan for the Evocati, which will be traversing and experiencing the expanse of the new universe and all that entails,” CIG’s Eric Kieron Davis says. “Then, while we’re getting larger test support, we’ll continue to polish and bugfix more features, push them out for more testing, and so on and so forth until release.”

The episode’s content preview this week focuses on the mission system specifically. It’s heavy on the tech jargon, but toward the end, the devs dig into the philosophy behind really building out every detail of the mission system — customization built on top of procedural generation, not just one or the other, and not just slapping down some quest text and NPCs or letting a spreadsheet do the heavy lifting.

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PAX West 2017: Chronicles of Elyria’s monetization philosophy, tribe evolution, and the PvP sandbox stigma

What is Chronicles of Elyria? We first learned about the game and its goal to redefine the MMORPG genre back in 2015. Since then, CoE has been developing steadily, especially after the huge influx of capital gained through Kickstarter and then on-site crowdfunding. Folks could follow the progress through numerous dev blogs, videos, and even the chance to test bits of gameplay at various PAXs. Some bits of that development, however, have raised questions; prospective players have voiced concerns about the pay-to-win and gankbox stigmas, the complex tribe system, and the admittedly broad scope of the game.

I sat down with Executive Producer Vye Alexander and CEO/Creative Director Jeromy Walsh at PAX West to discuss these issues and more.

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Wild West Online’s first closed alpha has officially begun

“Open-world action-based, online multiplayer” game – somewhere between a survival sandbox and an MMO – Wild West Online officially hits closed alpha today, or at least its first phase for those who’ve ignored detractors and bought their way in with a preorder package. The refund deadline is September 27th, meaning that you’ll have less than two weeks to check it out and potentially refund your purchase.

“During the multi-week Closed Alpha timeframe, players will experience a “Gold Rush” setting gameplay style. In this release, most activities will focus on finding gold, mining it from streams and rock deposits, and grouping with other players to establish mining camps before then transporting hard-earned gold to towns to be sold for in-game currency. Throughout the process players must beware of outlaws – other players who have chosen to play as bandits that will ambush, kill and steal gold from hard working prospectors. Players can also embark on exploratory explorations in search of treasure loot chests and rare plants that can be used to craft medical remedies. Throughout the game players can upgrade their weapons, tools and unlock new cosmetic items.”

The game isn’t behind much of an NDA; in fact, testers will be able to stream it, provided they repeat about a million times the disclaimer that it’s not finished, it’s an alpha, things will change, the usual. Massively OP will be streaming it this weekend too, so stay tuned!

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Star Citizen denies claims that a backer sought and received a $45000 refund

[Update: ArsTechnica now reports that a Cloud Imperium rep has gone on the record stating that some of the Redditor’s claims are fabrication, including the amount (CIG maintains it was $330, not $45000) and that the screenshots and videos depicting poor customer service are forgeries. We can confirm the same statements have now been made to us by the same CIG rep. Cheers, Cotic! The original article follows.]

If you’re as “fed up” with waiting for Star Citizen as Chris Roberts is “fed up” with providing endless moving release dates for alpha 3.0, there’s one recourse left to you: get a refund.

That appears to be precisely what one guild has done. A report on ArsTechnica points to claims on the Star Citizen Refunds subreddit, where an anonymous player has seemingly provided proof to the public and to moderators that he and his guild sought and received refunds on $45,000 worth of completionist packages (three for $15,000 apiece). He makes clear his antagonism toward the game, too.

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