alpha

Crowfall brings in the Assassin and Ranger for today’s Pre-Alpha 5 test

Even games that haven’t technically launched yet are getting into the whole pre-holiday MMORPG frenzy. Take Crowfall, for example: Instead of kicking their feet up and sipping the finest of eggnogs, ArtCraft’s team members decided to release Pre-Alpha 5 today. Maybe it’s to impress their Elf on the Shelf.

Testers have a couple of tempting new options to play with this build. Both the Assassin and Human Male Ranger are available to try out, so you’ve got your pick of stabby-stabby or shooty-shooty. Crowfall has also added crafting stations, more keybinding options, the ability to anticipate and chain skills more smoothly, and something called “Wwise implementation.” Actually, this sounds like a good thing: “That will keep others’ sounds quieter than your own and support sound dropoff.”

Check out the full dev livestream that covers this patch after the break!

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Shroud of the Avatar creates the quintessential cozy inn, changes up free trial offerings

When travelers wander in to Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 49 later this week, they’ll find that one watering hole looks much improved than before. The team has been busy remodeling the Soltown inn to make it “cozier and more pleasant” for visitors.

Release 49 has a lot more than just a better-looking rumpus room; players will experience improved framerate, revamped wetlands, the new Elysium Mines, more ore nodes, UI polish, and winter recipes.

The team also notes that it is improving and experimenting with the free trial system (the next of which starts on December 20th). Free players will be marked as visitors, be moved over to the Path of Courage, have a level 50 skill cap, and restrict trade with others.

“Making these changes will allow us to leave the free trial up almost continually therefore maximizing the ability for players to try the game before they buy,” Portalarium said. “We feel firmly that giving players this no obligation opportunity is great for the health of the game and a fair business practice that we wish to pursue.”

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Perfect Ten: 20 upcoming MMOs to watch in 2018

It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).

This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!

As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like Sea of ThievesThe Crew 2Monster Hunter WorldDayZRed Dead Redemption 2Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.

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Pantheon’s begins pre-alpha testing for high-end backers

It’s a big day for indie MMORPG Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, as it’s the first day the gates open to external pre-alpha testers to help test the game.

“Our testers are starting off in Thronefast, but not a complete, fully-polished, ready-for-shipping Thronefast,” Visionary Realms wrote this morning. “They’ll get to literally see the game grow around them as they help us squash bugs, offer feedback and be a part of the development of this grand MMORPG, arguably earlier than public has ever been invited into an MMO – while there’s still grayboxing!”

As we’ve previously covered, you do need to have purchased the Originator’s package to get into this stage of testing; it’s currently a thousand-dollar package, so it’s not for the casual tester but rather the hardcore backer. “Originator’s packages are still available until December 20th, after which they will no longer include Pre-Alpha access,” warns Visionary Realms.

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H1Z1 preps first-ever free week and holiday outfit

Ever been curious about original-flavor H1Z1 and its battle royale sauce? You can try it out without having to drop any money during the game’s first-ever free week. This event starts on Thursday, December 14th, and runs through the 21st.

Also, if you like what you play, you can pick up the title during this period for 75% off. It’s almost like they planned this.

The spirit of the season is alive and kicking in this game about the end of the world and brutal last-person-standing brawls. Players who finish 30th place or higher during a holiday event match will win one of four parts of a new holiday ensemble that definitely will continue to be fashionable late into the spring.

Source: H1Z1

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Ship of Heroes recaps 2017, teases Christmas event, and looks ahead to 2018’s beta

Who says you have to have launched to have holiday events? Not Ship of Heroes. The City of Heroes-inspired indie superhero MMORPG has a new video out this afternoon teasing what will eventually become its Christmas event once the game is in a playable state.

“Meltdown is collecting Christmas gifts by racing around Apotheosis City,” Heroic Games explains. “As he finds each one, he opens it and receives both in-game money (Dust), and a gift that goes into his inventory. We’re also showing picture-in-picture clips of the most important milestones SoH has achieved in each of the last twelve months. Through the PiP, we are sharing an overall tale of success, of moving from a website with a bit of concept art and story, to our current working game prototype.”

The studio is also reminding fans that it’s still planning on launching open beta by the end of 2018 and that donations – with their associated rewards, including access to the alpha – are still open.

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EVE Evolved: Calling time on EVE Online’s five-year vision

When Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren walked onto the stage at EVE Fanfest 2013 and delivered her long-term vision for the future of EVE Online, the excitement in the room was palpable. EVE was riding its highest peak concurrent player numbers in the game’s history following the overhauls of the Crucible, Inferno, and Retribution expansions, and players were ready for a new blockbuster feature to fire their imaginations. CCP delivered its ambitious five year vision to hand the reins of EVE‘s living universe over to its players, with player-built stargates and deep space exploration in completely uncharted star systems.

We’re now about four months away from the five-year mark on that vision, and many parts of it have now been completed, but no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. We’ve seen some big feature drops such as the release of citadels, the industry overhaul, and the recent moon mining overhaul, but that deep space colonisation gameplay still seems far off. Some players feel as if EVE is currently in a holding pattern, with everyone waiting for the next big feature or overhauls to their favourite part of the game before deciding what to do next. So what does come next?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the progress toward Nordgren’s 5 year vision so far and talk about the possible next steps I think CCP could take to make it a reality.

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Dragon of Legends starts Steam early access testing next week

It has been a long, long while in the coming, but gorgeous pixelart RPG Dragon of Legends is finally coming to the public stage next week. Thrive Games announced that the title will launch on Steam early access next Friday, December 15th.

Dragon of Legends is a Norse-themed 2-D action RPG with a retro style that ran a successful Kickstarter last year. It offers a lot of character customization, seven classes, and lots of hand-designed pixel art.

While the early access version will be single-player only, the team will be working on getting multiplayer functionality ready for the full launch version. Also planned between now and release are additional classes, Steam Workshop integration, and cross-platform play with mobile devices.

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Betawatch: There’s factions in them there hills of Wild West Online (December 8, 2017)

Let’s start with something that you probably already ascertained: Wild West Online is being delayed. It delayed its early access alpha, and that delay leads rather naturally into a delay for for full early access into 2018. But the good news for those who aren’t fond of free-for-all PvP is that the game appears to be moving to a factional PvP system instead of a free-for-all. So less like the hypothetical wild west and more like the actual wild west as it existed in history, then.

Meanwhile, the beta band plays on.

That got a bit sad toward the end, didn’t it? Let’s see if we can’t ameliorate that with a nice shiny list just below. Let us know about the tests you’re taking part in down in the comments, or just let us know if something has soft launched without us noticing it.

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Who does Star Citizen love now? HOVERBIKES!

Is Star Citizen alpha 3.0 going to make it past the PTU testers to the live server by Christmas? It’s looking pretty tight. According to the game’s weekly Around the Verse, CIG is “making steady progress” thanks to the latest influx of testers, thousands of whom are helping the studio test stability and server performance on some of the heavy game features (like shopping). The team says it has 240 must-fix issues to go before 3.0 goes “live.”

The second half of this week’s episode digs into “gravlev tech,” which is basically a fancy way of explaining the physics system that makes bikes appear to levitate off the ground when traveling on planetary surfaces, without using some sort of kludgey “invisible wheel” to make it happen. Hoverbikes, basically, but as realistic-looking as possible. Check it all out below!

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Sea of Thieves announces March launch date for PC and Xbox One

Well this is a bit of welcome news before the year rounds out! Rare finally announced a launch date for Sea of Thieves: March 20th, 2018. That’s for both PC and Xbox One.

The announcement came in the form of a new trailer that gives a quick overview of the general gameplay and quirkiness that comes with this pirate title. We are especially excited about the quick bit where they showed a rapid succession of cosmetic outfits — because a buccaneer has to look fashionable, after all!

Pre-orders will get into a January five-day closed beta and secure a Black Dog pack for the live game. Get pumped up with the launch trailer below (and say hello to the chicken when you do so)!

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Chronicles of Elyria to start taking name reservations next month

Thinking about reserving a character name in Chronicles of Elyria? It’s going to cost you, but if you’re willing to pony up the dough, you should be sitting pretty some time next month.

Soulbound Studios announced this week that it will start taking family surname reservations in January. The studio explained that this is more important than your typical MMO: “When you reserve a surname, that surname becomes a part of the game’s history. Every character is born to a family in Chronicles of Elyria, and it’s possible new characters will be born into your dynasty and will inherit your surname! Once you reserve a surname, no other player can claim it; it belongs to you, and you alone!”

There are some hoops to be jumped through in order to lock in your surname, however. You’ll need to either buy a minimum $135 pledge package by itself or unlock the a la carte store by buying a minimum $45 pledge package and then picking up the surname option for another $25 (so, $70 total). Additionally, surnames will be reserved according to player influence, so those with more in their account get dibs over the rest of the crowd.

Yeah, you’re probably not going to get “Stark” and “Baggins.” Sorry to break it to you.

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Conan Exiles might have to cut some PC features for launch

This week’s Conan Exiles newsletter covers some of the changes coming to the PC version (a plant-harvesting sickle!) and hints that the team might be cutting some of the planned features to get the title launch-ready.

“We’re reviewing the various features to look at what we’ll be able to implement, what needs to be scaled down and what, unfortunately, might need to be cut before full launch,” Funcom said. “We’ll be able to do a lot in four months, but we won’t be able to do everything.”

If you were thinking of picking up Conan Exiles on Xbox One or PlayStation 4, do it very, very soon. As we reported earlier this week, the price of the early access survival sandbox will increase on consoles from $35 to $50 to bring it in line with the pre-order pricing. However, the studio is also throwing a sale before that price increase arrives, selling Conan Exiles for $17.50 from December 8th through the 10th.

The PC version will remain at $30, as it will see “a very small retail presence and at a different price tag at launch.”

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