beta testing

Escape from Tarkov roadmap points to open beta and a more hardcore experience

With lots to do to get Escape from Tarkov ready for the upcoming open beta test, the development team has jettisoned its plans to produce a video summarizing the year previous and elected to jot down a roadmap for the upcoming months.

Obviously, the most important priorities are to get the open beta client for the multiplayer shooter fleshed out, stable, and optimized. The team said that it is focusing down on balance with the hopes of adding new features and locations after the beta arrives.

Past that, the roadmap outlined specific initiatives that the team is undertaking to make the game “more realistic and hardcore” to increase immersion and realism. These efforts will include adding time-consuming magazine loading, mandatory animations if you are trying to heal up, longer restoration time after suffering injuries, smoke grenades, weapon misfires and jamming, drug addictions, faction-specific skills, personal quests, and a flea market. Work is also being done on a new game mode called Arena, although specifics on what this area will entail were not given.


SoulWorker Online will not wipe servers but will apparently be IP blocked

There are certain expectations you have when a free-to-play game is in open beta with a full launch planned for later. For example, you kind of expect a character wipe. But not so with SoulWorker Online; the developers have confirmed via Twitter that no character wipe is incoming, so anything you do now will still be relevant when the game fully launches later. That does make the distinction between the current state and launch a bit fuzzier, though.

What’s not fuzzy is the game’s IP blocking, which apparently rolled out without warning for all players not located in North America or Europe. As MMO Culture reports, no confirmation or explanation of IP blocks or the lack thereof had been offered by publisher Gameforge prior to the blocks being rolled out, and the game’s Twitter and Steam landing pages still make no mention of them.

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Check out TERA’s console features preview video ahead of this weekend’s beta

Still pumped for TERA’s Xbox One and PS4 launch this spring? En Masse sure is. The publisher has pushed out a new trailer today giving players a “first look” at what gameplay will look like on console – and what exactly is changing along the way.

“The new trailer released today demonstrates the detail of improvements made to TERA: streamlined interfaces, intelligent button mapping, and new gameplay systems complement TERA’s trademark fast-paced combos, dodging, and targeting mechanics,” says the studio. The port is promising native voice chat, a lock-on system to keep enemies square on your screen, new remappable per-class control schemes, and Twitch integration. While the video shows some classic hotbars galore, En Masse says the UI is being “redesigned with a new, fully customizable Radial Menu for quick and intuitive access weapons and items.”

The open beta begins Friday, but you can take a peek at the new trailer right now.

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A Tale in the Desert has launched its eighth Telling since 2003

Last summer, we included classic sandbox A Tale in the Desert in our Whatever Happened To column as one of those games that had just slipped off our radar. That was because of how relatively quiet the game had become since its ownership changeover in 2014 and seventh Telling in 2015. Back then, there were whispers of an eighth Telling – that’s the world reboot the game periodically goes through – but there’d been nothing major since.

Until now. ATITD sent out a news blast to players this week alerting them to the fact that the beta test for the Tale 8 is complete and the real deal has launched as of yesterday..

“Tale 8 introduces factions to the game, upon leaving Welcoming Island you must decide on a faction you wish to be apart of,” says Pluribus Games. “Your interactions with your faction will be rewarded, giving you new powers to build community buildings and participate in community events.”

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Betawatch: Camelot Unchained is working for its beta on July 4 (March 2, 2018)

After a lengthy wait, the first beta for Camelot Unchained is here at last! That’s what we’ll be saying in about a hundred days, because that beta doesn’t actually start until July 4th, but there’s a lot of work being done in the ramp-up for that beta. So now we have a bit of time to kill until then. Who’s up for Scrabble?

Meanwhile, we bid farewell to H1Z1, as the game… technically launched? It’s kind of ambiguous. We’ll go with a launch. Get out of here, H1Z1. Let’s get on with other beta news.

Below us, the list of games we have in testing can also kneel in deference. You, dear readers, can just look through the list at your leisure. Do let us know if something is on there that ought to be listed differently, though, or if there’s something else awry. We appreciate it.

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The Stream Team: A first look at SoulWorker

Do you like anime? Action? Multiplayer games? Put them all together and you get SoulWorker, a new anime action multiplayer that just launched into open beta this week. Massively OP’s MJ is going to take a peek inside and check the game out. If you want to see what it’s all about, join us at 2:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…

What: SoulWorker
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 2nd, 2018

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Here’s your first look at newbies playing the Ship of Heroes combat alpha

Ship of Heroes has something to cheer about today as it’s just begun its combat alpha, complete with “signature heroes, the Apotheosis City environment, their offensive powers and powersets, enemies, UI, AI, and several other gameplay features, all of which are integrated into the Alpha version of the game.”

More alpha tests are expected this year, along with beta by the end of 2018, “but that does depend on the results of the intermediate alphas,” Heroic Games’ Gasey McGeever said in the press release today.

Take a peek at the combat alpha video down below: A trio of devs took a trio of total newbies and ran them up against a trio of enemy groups just to see how they’d all fare. “With one exception, each team member is playing a signature hero from SoH, and employing superpowers shown in previous videos. Sword Blossom, the Dual Swords Brawler, shows off a new offensive melee powerset for the first time,” Heroic Games told us.

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Camelot Unchained has 126 days to get everything ready for Beta 1

One hundred and twenty-six days. That’s the current countdown timer reading as Camelot Unchained looks ahead to its July 4th beta launch, and it couldn’t have both the community and the studio more excited.

In the February wrap-up newsletter, City State Entertainment stirs up enthusiasm for the beta while also talking about the improvements made to the combat system, giving an overview of the state of the current build, and dishing out a couple of images of player-created castles. The team said that it has a lot of work in these remaining 126 days to get the combat balanced, stress test the servers, finish up the user interface, and more.

“Next, it will be our turn to make good on our promises and justify your faith in the game,” said the team. “We hope you hop into Beta 1 with us for an early taste of the RvR madness to come!”

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Legends of Aria may delay its Steam early access start

Don’t go taking any time off work in April with the hopes of playing Legends of Aria’s early access program. In an Ask Me Anything session on Wednesday, Project Lead Derek Brinkmann said that the team is evaluating the progression of the game’s closed beta and may not be able to make the April target for early access.

“There is a very good chance that our Steam release date will slip,” Brinkmann said. “It is really important to the team that we deliver the absolute best experience possible on that day of the final wipe because we only get one shot at it. Expect an announcement about our release date in the coming weeks with a more specific answer.”

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Hearthstone is planning three expansions for 2018’s Year of the Raven

Watching any Hearthstone video is always a weird experience for me since Blizzard’s Ben Brode looks and sounds and acts exactly like my brother-in-law, but the latest episode of Hearthstone Chat is definitely worth five minutes of your attention. After recapping last year’s releases, Brode announces what Blizzard is calling The Year of the Raven. Past years had their own animal mascot, as well as three expansions, and this year will be no different.

The first of these expansions, Brode says, will be revealed “real soon,” though he shows a teaser image of all three (expect druidy and arcane things in the future, in other words). There’s a new druid hero card on the way for standard format, plus the requisite shift of cards to the hall of fame. Maybe the coolest bit is that Hearthstone is finally adding a custom tournament mode.

“This feature will help players run a Hearthstone tournament from their own home or Fireside Gathering. Players will be able to create a custom tournament and invite friends – all from within the Hearthstone game client. [We] will begin with handling matchmaking and checking decks, but we’ll continue to add new features and functionality over time. We’re planning to launch in-game tournaments as a beta around the middle of this year, but that will just be the beginning as we expand on this early version of the feature.”

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Interviewing an Asheron’s Call Shard Slayer: On griefing, doxxing, losing mates, and winning MMOs

Last month, I put together an article and pair of videos discussing Asheron’s Call’s Shard of the Herald event to celebrate the game’s first deathiverary. It was a bittersweet experience for me, as it was not only my first MMO but the game that taught me a lot about life, and a lot of those lessons occurred during the Shard event.

Naturally there was some good nostalgia in there for fellow AC players, but apparently for some families as well. Someone claiming to be the son of Vidorian, the infamous Shard Slayer recruited by Turbine to end the event in a way that would respect the lore they built, reached out to us in the comments section. A quick chat with her verified that yes, she was the infamous savior of Bael’Zharon, and she agreed to answer some of my questions about the event. Even better, she’s provided us an unseen screenshot of the event! More than a decade after release, I feel like I’ve learned a lot more about what occurred behind the scenes of one of the seminal in-game events of our early genre.

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Legends of Aria reveals founder’s pack rewards

Planning on dropping a shiny dime (plus several hundred additional dimes) on one of the founder’s packs for Legends of Aria? You’ll gain access not only to closed beta testing and the promised seven-day headstart when the game launches but several in-game rewards as well.

Founder’s packs and their associated rewards are now available for purchase. These begin at $30 for the “noble” package and scale up to $90 for the “lord” bundle. Each of the three packs contains a different type of cloak, with the higher tiers containing niceties such as crowns, thrones, and furniture. Just the thing to correct the oversight that no one has made you a king yet.

Legends of Aria is currently in closed beta testing and is working on expanding the team and packing in more features for launch, such as better mob AI and a new player tutorial.

“We have lots of great features in the pipeline and we are making strides in adding depth to our core sandbox features which really set us apart,” the team said.


First impressions of ‘wizarding world’ MMOARG Maguss

If it weren’t for my promise to write this article, I would have given up on Maguss in less than 15 minutes had I been a consumer.

I understand the game’s in open beta, but from the start it was repeating issues I’ve seen too many times: bad tutorial, terrible UI, and aggressive monetization the likes of which I’ve only heard of in terrible games and dating apps. Like many of you, I grow defensive when seeing industry terms used as shields against bad design when developers (actually) need funding to continue. I’m jaded, I’m suspicious, and I don’t want to be nice or patient about it, especially when my money is on the line. What sounded like a great Pokemon GO challenger left me once again questioning why I bother with video games as a hobby at all.

But then I got past it. I found some things I genuinely liked that were in and functioning (mostly) as advertised. No, I’m not a convert, but I’ve dug through the dirt and found a bit of gold, and if the developer, Mawa, is able to make some changes to the game before really trying to attract a launch playerbase, Niantic may actually have a rival in the location-based alternate reality game genre.

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