beta testing

Betawatch: Pathfinder Online isn't dead yet (March 24, 2017)

You could be forgiven for kind of thinking that Pathfinder Online was dead in the water, but it turns out that there's still hope. A surprise announcement stated that the game is moving forward once more, that it's going to be finished, and that there's reason to be hopeful from here on out. So if you're a big fan of the game or what the designers originally promised, don't give up just yet!

Other beta news this week was... well, let's face it, it was weird. What do I mean? See for yourself.

See what I mean, though? It's been a weird week. Perhaps you can feel a bit better about the week by checking on the list just below, which has all sorts of games on it. Of course, some of them may have crept into a different test status without our notice, which is also weird, so please let us know in the comments if you spy that.

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Gigantic has plans for bot matches, accessibility, and Windows 7 support

Motiga Community Manager Evan Teicheira has a new state of the game post up for Gigantic today -- a most welcome one as the game laid off another 15 employees earlier this month to "reduce burn rate."

"One of the most important revelations we’ve had during the beta is that Gigantic is complicated – not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that makes it difficult for new players to pick up the game and get over the steep learning curve of the game," he acknowledges. "There are a lot of intricate mechanics that differentiate Gigantic from other games, and only make sense when players understand how each mechanic plays into the much larger picture. For a brand new player, Gigantic can feel like a hectic, fast-paced, visually overwhelming, and ultimately confusing experience. Even for veteran players, it can also be difficult to test new heroes on the live battlefield."

Consequently, Motiga is working on bot matches, balancing accessibility with challenge, Tripp tweaks, chat and voice implementation, an achievements system, new heroes, new battlegrounds and -- drumroll -- the move to Arc, which should allow players on Windows 7 and beyond the chance to play the game.

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Dark and Light soldiers on past delays with new game previews

In the brief time since its Chinese branch announced another delay, Snail Games has put out a pair of previews for its upcoming reboot of Dark and Light.

"Many of Dark and Light's creatures exhibit the features of their environment, both in appearance and ability," says the studio on Facebook in showing off what look to be some nasty spiked sabercats. "You'll need to prepare proper elemental defenses against them if you go exploring in any extreme climate zones. Because they're already acclimated to their environment, taming such creatures will give you an invaluable companion when exploring these regions."

The second piece is an ultra-brief gif of players racing into battle horseback.

A week ago, the game's Chinese website apologized to players for "again" making the decision to extend development, thereby delaying beta until summer. It was originally intended to launch in the fall of last year, as we chronicled last week.

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Kickstarted survival sandbox Planet Nomads hits early access on April 18

Planet Nomads is one of those gorgeous sci-fi multiplayer survival sandboxes that's been kicking around on our Make My MMO list for so long that I'd almost forgotten about it. Not anymore!

"After the 2+ years of caring, cuddling and upbringing, Planet Nomads has finally grown up tall enough to get out there and fight for its future," studio Craneballs (best name ever) says, as the actual "survival" update has this week arrived in the game's alpha, and the early access is now slated for April 18th.

The game originally pulled in $140,000 in Kickstarter funding in early 2016 -- no mean feat the past few years. Another game for our new survival sandbox column, eh?

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Dauntless recruits bold and beautiful warriors for its alpha program

Will you be among the first members of the public to pick up your oversized weapon and go monster hunting in Phoenix Labs' co-op RPG Dauntless? You might have a chance if you sign up for the alpha, which you can go ahead and do right now.

As the game eyes a 2017 release, there's a lot of testing that needs to be done between now and then. First up are a series of invite-only alpha tests (covered by an NDA) that will take place over the next few months. These tests should begin in late April. After that will come the open beta "later this year" that will allow players to stream and discuss the title.

"Much like the floating islands of the Shattered Isles, Dauntless will shift, grow, and evolve over time," the studio said in a press statement. "We will be rolling out our closed, invite-only alpha tests over the coming months to help us deliver the best experience possible to players later this year. As a prospective slayer, this is your chance to play Dauntless early and contribute to its development. We can’t wait to jump into the thick of battle and take down behemoths with you!"

Dauntless received Massively OP's PAX East 2017 award for "Best Multiplayer RPG."

Source: Alpha sign-up page, press release

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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Rumor: Destiny 2 leak hints at September 8 launch

Reddit is buzzing this morning over posters uploaded across the internet that if legit -- and they do look legit -- seem to reveal a September 8th release date for Bungie's Destiny 2.

That revelation comports with Activision-Blizzard's last investor call in February, during which the companies said the game was on track for a fall 2017 rollout and would be catering to a "casual first-person experience."

The posters also suggest a June beta. Is everyone excited about watching the world chase this game and hearing people fight over whether it's an MMO? No? Yeah.

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Elite Dangerous addresses ship nameplate concerns

Yesterday's Elite Dangerous community livestream is full of good news for sci-fi fans anxiously watching the 2.3 beta. Of note, Frontier's Sandro Sammarco and Ed Lewis address the ship nameplates issue -- and the fact that these tools will be available as cash shop items only -- saying the studio means to keep to its plans. Keep your eyes locked on mega ships too; the studio promises these gargantuan edifices are super important and that it'll divulge more in the future.

Lewis reiterated the studio's plans on name plates in a forum post this morning, explaining that every ship will have a name, but "the ship name plates will offer an added layer of cosmetic personalisation for Commanders wanting to wear their name with pride, much like paint jobs and other cosmetics currently available in the store."

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Ever, Jane's latest open beta update adds horseback riding, carriages, and new homes

Ever, Jane's fourth update of open beta has gone live this afternoon, bringing new homes and horses to the Jane Austen-themed period MMORPG. "We’re eager to add the townhouses and cottages to home ownership, fundamental changes to the Story system, additional construction on the Estate, carriages you can both drive and ride as a passenger, the first implementation of much awaited horseback riding and more!" 3 Turn Productions writes today.

Expect new and larger buildings (with basement!) in Tyrehampton, but be warned: If you've not logged in within the last month, you'll be getting a warning email and then an eviction notice.

And as for horses? 3TP says it's not a "polished experience" with finished animations or jumping, but you can indeed trot through the village now -- or be ferried around in a multi-person carriage. Just don't try to summon your horse inside a building (it will work, sort of!).

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Master x Master announces closed beta, adds City of Heroes' Statesman

Today's good news for Master x Master fans is that the game has a closed beta coming up. The next test will be between April 6th and April 27th, ahead of the game's full launch in the summer. All of that is good news, but it kind of gets overshadowed by the game's other simultaneous announcement of a new hero in the game's lineup... Statesman.

Yes, from City of Heroes. Someone decided to add one of the most loathed characters from a dearly departed game that many fans are still upset about losing. It's one of those rare situations where you're not even sure what to be upset about first.

The bright side is probably that Statesman at least seems to play true to form, so he's got all sorts of melee abilities, moves around quickly, and can activate Heroism as his ultimate ability. And he's from a game that NCsoft shut down, we cannot stress that point enough. Just... check out some screenshots and a trailer down below; no one here is sure how to feel at the moment.

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Legends of Aria begins focused testing, delays Steam launch

Legends of Aria is shaking things up from the old Shards Online paradigm. In addition to the name change and broader focus, the fantasy title announced that it is going to adopt a "more conventional MMO testing platform" going forward.

"Future play-tests will now be conducted in phases of focused testing, geared towards specific areas of gameplay in preparation for final implementation," Citadel Studios said in this week's newsletter. "To accommodate the need for extra testing periods, our Steam launch will coincide with the release of the Legends of Aria Beta instead of Alpha 2."

The current Alpha 1 test will conclude on March 26th, to be followed by Alpha 2's start on April 28th. The team said that its taken a shine to the concept of a single large official server (in addition to the private ones) and that it will start to talk about all of the changes in store for Legends of Aria on March 31st in a new development blog.

Source: Newsletter

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Master x Master introduces Koom and Vonak

Eager to know when everyone gets to play Master x Master? We can't tell you that, on account of not actually knowing. Still, the game is introducing us to two new heroes, so forward motion is still happening! This pair is Koom, an enormous stone juggernaut, and Vonak, a spindly guy with a popped collar and two guns. Care to guess which one is the defensive hero and which one is the assault?

That's not a trick question, by the way. It's pretty obvious. Koom is a huge dude made of stone, he's all about defense. That should not be a difficult evaluation.

As always, the videos for both characters show off their abilities and some of the customizations available for the characters to tweak abilities and attack. You can check out both videos down below, and presumably join the "eagerly waiting for a beta announcement" crowd.

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Betawatch: The Repopulation is back in the saddle again (March 17, 2017)

It has been an odd and not altogether happy ride for The Repopulation, but the good news is that the game is back into a playable state. It's also the exact same game from when it got shut down, so if you were expecting some huge changes, you will be somewhat disappointed. And, you know, there's the whole change in ownership that's left a bad taste in many people's mouths. Still, it's online!

Other beta stuff also happened this week as it turns out. Which is good and hopefully will be less depressing. Let's see.

Some of that still found a way to be sort of a downer, huh? Well, you can check out the full list of games in testing below, perhaps that will bring you more joy. As always, let us know if something hopped test phases in the comments! We're trying to get rid of all the cash shops that take your money in supposed beta tests, but they're remarkably resilient. Some of us suspect there's a hive.

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