beta testing

Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on guilds, groups, and the social systems that make an MMORPG go ’round

Over the weekend, the studio behind crowdfunded RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained released a hefty chunk of its ongoing beta one document, revealing extensive insight into the way the game’s social systems will be laid out. Parts of those social systems will look familiar to MMO players, such as groups (Warbands), guilds (Orders), and raids (Battlegroups). But there are more layers to contend with, including perma-groups or mini-guilds (Permanent Warbands), as well as project-oriented raids (Campaigns), all designed in the service of an ambitious RvR-centered MMO that makes space for soloers and small guilds by not over- or under-privileging the largest teams in the genre. That’s the goal, anyway!

CU boss and MMORPG veteran developer Mark Jacobs, whom many of you know personally thanks to his ubiquity in our comments section, gamely answered about a thousand of my questions over the weekend, which we’ve compiled into an absurdly long interview about how to properly smush together all these groups into a social system sandwich that makes everybody happy. There’s even a Star Trek quote and a bonus question about Warhammer Online’s development and CU’s budget at the end!

I strongly urge you to check out the original doc first, as the interview assumes knowledge of the basic terminology and structure of the game. Fair warning: While Camelot Unchained’s document is almost 6000 words, this interview itself is close to 4000. You put Jacobs in a virtual room with me and my questions go on forever, and damn if he doesn’t answer them exhaustively. It’s a whopper, but it’s worth reading for a glimpse into what could be the future of MMO community planning.

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The MOP Up: Monster Hunter World’s Tokyo reveals (September 24, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from LawbreakersHyper UniversePlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pokemon GoWorld of TanksDC Universe OnlineCrossoutMonster Hunter WorldRunes of MagicAtlantica OnlineRevelation OnlineLeague of LegendsCrossfireHeroes of the Storm, OverwatchPath of Exile, and Dungeon Fighter Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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MMOs you’ve never heard of: Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet, Ironsight, Until None Remain, and Battlerite

Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Today we have four fresh titles to take a look at.

Savage Hunt

Gamigo announced Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet this week, the successor to Dragon’s Prophet, which Gamigo is calling “one of the most successful MMORPGs ever launched.” MMORPG players will recall that Daybreak sunsetted the US version of the original game in 2015, though it continued on overseas. The company says the free-to-play title will launch on September 28th in English, German, and French, and yes, you can still “hunt, train, and fight with […] dragons.” Over 600 of them, in fact, though you’ll probably be distracted by “4000 exciting quests and events” and PvP battles. The official site doesn’t appear to be live just yet.

Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet is the newest release after the long-standing success of Dragon’s Prophet. Discover new and epic adventures and find your own path in Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet. Explore a fantastic world that combines classical MMORPG elements with unique features. Search through forests and mountains for rare dragons, items and always be prepared for the fight. In the new Book of Dragons, you can collect your dragons and plan your journey. Find, hunt and tame over 600 dragons with individual strengths and skills. Only the best hunters and collectors can improve their dragons and items.”

What else have we got?

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Camelot Unchained explains its guild and group philosophy for beta one

Mark Jacobs and City State Games have a big surprise for Camelot Unchained followers in this week’s dev blog: a major update to the beta one document focused on guilds, groups, and all the social organizations in between. And bigger. Really, this game is going to have a lot of different types of groups, with every niche from soloers to small crews (Warbands) to big guild-like crews (Orders) and even some formations that are more like raids, but nothing so big that little guilds or lone wolves need to panic. The document is lengthy (nothing new there, right?), but no matter what kind of group you’re in (or aren’t in), it’s worth a deep-dive to understand how the game’s community will be structured in a PvE-less RvR MMO because while it shares a lot on common with games like Dark Age of Camelot, it’s also got a few tricks I’ve never seen done before (like permanent groups that aren’t quite guilds and specialty mega-groups that are more about project management than fighting).

The dev blog also has some work-in-progress renders of character faces, super-detailed, down to the freckle — we’ll include some of those down below.

Want more social systems info? Mark Jacobs sat for what I can legitimately call a massive interview with us on this topic and a few others, so stay tuned for Monday, when we’ll be publishing the goods!

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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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Dauntless gets better at dodging monsters, not its community’s feedback

With a ways to go before its launch, multiplayer boss slayer Dauntless is trying to use the time afforded to it by an open beta delay to shore up some of the game’s more noticeable weak spots. One of these problem areas, as identified by the community, is improving collision between monsters and their killers.

“We’ve gathered and analyzed community feedback on issues impacting combat,” the devs wrote, “and are implementing changes to improve the mechanics of collision and the feel of dodging. These changes will make fights feel tighter, better reward skill, and allow you to continue practicing the way of the Slayer.”

To assist in this endeavor, the devs are tightening up hitboxes on characters and mobs, helping players move better while dodging, and fixing some bugs that were giving an unfair advantage to the giant behemoths.

You can read this week’s patch notes for the closed beta on the site.

Source: Dauntless

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Amazon continues to flesh out its Lumberyard engine

As it will be powering MMOs like New World and Star Citizen, Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine deserves attention as it continues to be built and improved. Amazon released a development update to shed light on just how far Lumberyard has come and what is being worked on for the future.

“Simply put, our focus for the next few releases is to make Lumberyard easier, more powerful, and more modular,” the company said. “A lot has changed since we first launched the beta: We’ve replaced over 60% of the original codebase, switching out older, redundant systems (e.g. CryEntity) for more modern, performant ones (e.g. Component entity systems).”

Improvements on the way for Lumberyard include a new visual scripting language, a revised animation system, more integration with Amazon’s other tech (like Lex and Polly), the ability to store games in any location, better optimization, a new shader system, and Mac support.

Source: AWS

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Massively Overthinking: How will Star Citizen make money after launch?

During this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I attempted to tackle a question sent in by commenter and listener Sally Bowls – specifically, she wanted us to speculate on what a post-launch monetization plan for Star Citizen might look like.

“Assuming they have a lot of overhead and expense, are they going to fire most of their employees at launch? Keep them and support them with subscriptions? DLC? Cosmetics? A stream of new ships would be my first guess – but new ships good enough that people spend $50M-$100M per year withouth causing old customers to think the new shiny invalidates their previous purchase? That seems to me a non-trivial tightrope to walk.”

Put away your instinct to joke that it won’t matter because Star Citizen is never coming out. Let’s just reasonably assume that it does eventually launch into something the studio will call more or less ready. How do you think Star Citizen will make money after launch? That’s the question I’ve posed the Massively OP team for this round of Massively Overthinking.

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Classic EverQuest’s 24th expansion, Ring of Scale, is set to launch in December

Are you sad that the original EverQuest is so neglected? If so, you are wrong. It’s not neglected at all. Even if you have zero desire to go jump on one of the game’s progression servers, the game is launching its 24th expansion in December. EverQuest: Ring of Scale will be up for pre-order and beta testing in October, so you only have a little while left before you can start seeing the latest expansion for yourself.

This expansion sends players back to Kunark for new gear, new monsters, new skills, new AA, and more new stuff. Plenty of content for players to plow through as they finish off what was started in the 23rd expansion as the Combine faces its greatest challenge yet. It’s good to see that even years later, new expansions for EverQuest still come out on a regular basis. And that’s not counting plans for more updates to the game’s time-locked progression servers, to boot.

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MU Legend’s new site, stress test, and open beta date

After a delay or two, MU Legend is confirmed to be coming our way this fall: November 7th, to be exact. The hack-and-slash MMO sequel finally “committed” to an open beta test release date this week now that quality assurance and localization has been wrangled.

You won’t have to wait until then to get a taste of what MU Legend has to offer, however. Webzen is planning a stress test for this Saturday, September 23rd. The team hopes that by jamming a ton of people into the game, it can generate enough “precious technical data” to help with the OBT launch.

The studio even makes this test sound somewhat awesome: “We cannot adequately test all worst-case scenarios virtually, so we will need the cooperation of our fans to push our server to breaking point.”

There’s a new official website to check out while you’re waiting, and you can also watch the stress test trailer after the break!

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Choose My Adventure: The return to Guild Wars 2

Many moons ago, when I was first hired on Massively-that-was, my fellow hire at the time was a lady by the name of Rubi Bayer. We hit it off pretty well and became friends. She was also very excited about a title that had yet to come out at the time, a game by the name of Guild Wars 2. For those of you coming to this story without knowledge of names, she’s now working for ArenaNet on that exact same game, along with two other former writers from our staff, all of whom are people I consider friends of mine.

So perhaps it’s a bit odd that I’ve not played Guild Wars 2 since well before Heart of Thorns launched. I have some history with the game, but it’s never been one of my main titles. And now that I’m heading back into it for its second major expansion, I think it’s a fine time to walk back through my experiences there, what I hope to find, and also ask a few reader questions along the way. Because that’s how polls work, after all.

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Hack-n-slash MMOARPG Guardians of Ember launches today

After wandering the lands of early access since last December, the Runewaker-developed hack-and-slash Guardians of Ember has now gained enough confidence, experience, and (most importantly) development to officially launch.

Even better, the release of the MMOARPG is being treated to a large patch but not a wipe from beta testing. “This patch will be unlike the others as it seeks to bring quality of life to the citizens of Olyndale. You can expect to see changes to the loot orb system, shared XP in group play, free reskill, Spanish localization and the much-requested nightmare mode,” the team said. New and updated since early access are arena battles, a wave-based Horde Mode, a guild skill system, crafting upgrades, an enhancement system, new mounts and pets, and alterations to the cash shop based on early access feedback, including those free respecs up to level 25.

The basic edition of the game is $20 on Steam, although you can pick up the deluxe edition and the deluxe DLC package for 33% off through September 27th. As we’ve previously covered, the game ran a small ($10,000) Indiegogo campaign for German localization but actually secured $77,000 and put the extra money back into the game with a hardcore mode and launch event.

We’ve got the launch trailer, pics, and a roundup of all our coverage to date for you down below!

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EverQuest II announces 14th expansion, Planes of Prophecy, accompanied by name purge

EverQuest II Producer Lauren “Mooncast” McLemore has penned the September producer’s letter for fans of the franchise. The chief announcement? The game is getting a new expansion called Planes of Prophecy:

“This year we’ll embark on exciting adventures to the planes… and more! You’ll explore the perils and mysteries of the Plane of Magic, the Plane of Innovation, Solusek Ro’s Tower, and the Plane of Disease, just to name a few. Are you ready? The planes await! As you cross to the planes, you’ll encounter many obstacles, not the least of which is the mechanical sentinel in the Plane of Innovation, the Manaetic Behemoth!”

She’s promising more news on the expansion next month, including preorder and beta details, while heralding a Kunark Ascending 50% off sale, a prelude storyline (which is live now), and in-game bonus hoopla.

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