closed beta

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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Life is Feudal introduces horse-drawn carts in new video

You know the old saying, don’t put your cart before the horse? Fortunately, Life is Feudal has taken that to heart with its current effort: horse carts, which are currently being teased on the official forums. (Proper horses went in in August, so there you go.)

“You can expect horsedrawn carts to be patched into the game ‘Soon™’,” says the studio, noting that the carts have been heavily requested by players. “It is actually quite a complex feature, where four types of entities (horse, cart, player, movable objects) within the game have to interact with each other in a straight and logical way. This is the main reason why this feature has taken so long to implement.”

So far this September, the studio has also been working on castle wall modules and weapon skins, plus heavy optimization for the MMO following a “significant breakthrough in the client and server side physics calculations.”

Life is Feudal is an ambitious sandbox that was scaled-down midway through development to be a “pocket” version of its planned MMO with shared assets across the board; it has in recent years gotten underway in a closed beta.

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Dauntless delays open beta to early 2018, shares development roadmap

Let’s cut to the chase: There’s a new roadmap out for Dauntless’ future development, and that roadmap includes an announcement concerning the transition from closed to open beta. Phoenix Labs said that it is now targeting an early 2018 window for its OBT, a hefty delay.

Sounds like there are some upgrades planned, too: “Those waiting to join us in the open beta can look forward to more polish and more content. For players who are already in the closed beta, this means that you can look forward to more improvements and seeing your feedback make a tangible impact on the game that you are playing.”

Turning to look at the roadmap itself, the team has broken up the development into several projects. Some currently being worked on include behemoth variations, a transmog system, gear balance, supplementary combat attacks, new monsters, an improved hunt board, more exploration gameplay, and additional character creation options.

Source: Dauntless

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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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Korean mobile MMO Royal Blood kicks off its closed beta on September 25

What is the new mobile MMO Royal Blood all about? We honestly can’t tell you, unless the entire game is about fighting a bunch of monsters in a featureless black void over a pounding baseline. That’s where the trailer starts, and at 22 seconds it doesn’t really have time to go anywhere else. We can tell you that the game’s closed beta testing is starting on September 25th and running through September 29th in South Korea, though.

The game is supposed to feature “event-driven co-op gameplay” and is crafted with Unity, although no plans for a localized release or even a domestic release in South Korea have been announced yet. (Given the short beta test period, one can assume soon.) And hey, if you like trailers that are just what appear to be player characters killing stuff in a featureless void, the one down below will be a great way to start the day. Perhaps we’ll learn more when the beta starts.

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Worlds Adrift dev Bossa Studios picks up $10M in investor funding

Worlds Adrift developer Bossa Studios just got a massive influx of cash – 10 million bucks – thanks to a Series A investment round backed by multiple UK investment firms. Representatives of the largest investor, Atomica, will join Bossa’s board.

“This new round of funding will be used to cement the future success of the studio, supporting its recruitment of top talent that will help define Bossa’s strategic focus on AI, User Generated Content and Open Development, as the studio also prepares to launch Worlds Adrift to the public, the first ever game to be built on Improbable’s SpatialOS platform.”

Bossa isn’t known for just its MMO development on Worlds Adrift, of course; you probably also know it from Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread. Closed beta is ongoing; signups are still live on the official site, or you can pick up one of the new founder packs that just went live last week.

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Lost Ark releases a trailer for its second closed beta

We’re going to lead off with the bad news: Lost Ark is currently planning its release in South Korea and China in 2018 with no real word on a localized version for here just yet. So keep that in mind while you watch the eight-minute trailer below. If it all looks enticing and interesting to you, well, you don’t know when you’ll get to experience it in a language that you actually speak. So you may have to go your whole life without getting to play music with a group beautiful enough that it attracts a rampaging owlbear to sit down and listen happily.

Of course, having typed that line, you probably have to see what the heck is actually in this trailer. There’s a lot of more standard stuff in there, too, like sailing across the ocean, exploring ruins, and creeping through dangerous areas filled with monsters… but there’s also the aforementioned “singing and gathering woodland creatures” bit. So perhaps you out to just check it out to see everything being added to the game for its second closed beta test.

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Betawatch: Worlds Adrift takes criticism and updates free tools (September 8, 2017)

Nobody likes being criticized, ever. But it’s a reality of life, and so Worlds Adrift has been taking the feedback from players about the game’s PvP scene in stride. The team behind the game has also updated the free island creator tool, so if you feel like engaging in a round of player vs. interface and player vs. the multi-layered complexity of realizing player ideals in a three-dimensional design space, go nuts.

You want some more beta news? Well, we got a little bit of that, it turns out.

And, of course, there’s a list down below of titles in testing, many of which were not affected by the double punch of a holiday and a convention back-to-back. Go ahead and check out the list, and feel free to leave your comments on betas you’re currently playing down below. Or let us know if something jumped status, that’s cool too.

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PAX West 2017: Hands-on with Amazing Eternals (and more beta keys!)

If I had to pick a PAX West booth to give an award to for sheer fun factor, it would go to Digital Extremes’ new board/card/computer game combo The Amazing Eternals. (I’m not alone: The booth also got an award from a magazine!) The retro bowling alley vibe — complete with bowling shirts, orange shag carpet, and wood paneling — combined with the awesome old TV console frames on the monitors just screamed funky and fun.

Did that same vibe translate into the game? Yup. It was prevalent when I got to dive in and try a couple of matches. Admittedly, the first one was less fun, but that’s because I jumping in totally blind; the enjoyment spiked up quite a bit more after talking with Lead Game Designer Allen Goode and actually learning about the game. And now you, too, will have that same info so you can have a blast in your matches — or at least know better what’s going on!

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Magic: The Gathering announces new online game, still no word on Cryptic’s MMO edition

Remember how former Turbine President Jeffrey Steefel was snapped up by Wizards of the Coast this past January to head up a digital games studio for the studio’s IPs? Now we know the big project that his team was making: Magic: The Gathering Arena, a F2P digital card game that’s coming soon.

Made for PC and mobile, Magic: The Gathering Arena is a full-fledged Magic game with “full rules and ongoing content support for new card sets.” It sounds as though Arena might well be a replacement for the creaky and faulty Magic Online, although the studio wasn’t saying if this will be the case.

“We want to create the deepest, richest digital card game on the market, and for it to be as much fun to watch as it is to play,” said Steefel in a press release. Magic: The Gathering Arena is taking beta signups and will begin testing Constructed play from the Ixalan set later this year.

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PAX West 2017: Hands-on with Dauntless’ new behemoth

Although I’d recently played a bit of Dauntless, I was looking forward to my hands-on at PAX West. That’s because I was primed to see — and hopefully face — a new behemoth. I also spoke with Phoenix Labs’ Encounter Designer Reid Buckmaster about development, reception of the game at the convention, plans moving forward, and of course, behemoths.

One of the unique aspects of fighting behemoths is the fact that you can break off physical pieces of the boss to weaken them and score specific loot. Currently in the beta, there are around a dozen different behemoths, according to Buckmaster, but each of those has different variants between easier tutorial ones, the base versions, and then hard versions that include different attacks and attack patterns. “All told with the variants we have I believe it’s 27 different versions of encounters in Dauntless right now,” he said. “Every encounter has a little something new to encounter.”

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PAX West 2017: Total War Arena’s hounds of war and World of Tanks’ war stories

When you think about Wargaming, you don’t really think about characters or troops — you think about war machines. But Total War: Arena’s inclusion into the studio’s publishing portfolio is not nearly as out of place as it may first seem. Created by Creative Assembly, Total War: Arena is a lobby-based war game, just like the World of trilogy. The big differences are the time period and the use of troops instead of vehicles. And the newest troops to enter the game are the war hounds.

At PAX West, I got to sit down with Senior Producer John King to discuss the new commander Boudica while watching her unleash her war hounds on the battlefield, plus I got to check out World of Tanks’ war stories in person!

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