Official Site: Durango
Studio: Nexon
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: Dinobox
Business Model: N/A
Platform: PC

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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Durango testers build 6.3 million buildings in beta

Mobile dino MMO Durango wrapped up its first closed beta test back on January 16th, and the game has many stories to tell from it. As is now tradition in the video game industry, it is doing this via infographics.

Over 340,800 players participated in the limited beta (a third of those from Korea), averaging 8 hours and 40 minutes of playtime apiece. During the month-long beta test, 13,000 clans were formed, 98,000 islands were created, 6.3 million buildings and structures were erected, and 20.9 million dishes of food were cooked.

Check out some of the stats in infographic form below.

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Perfect Ten: Mobile MMOs coming in 2017

This past year, we couldn't seem to go a week without bumping into news of some new mobile MMO or a tablet spin-off of some existing franchise. It seems as though the mobile market is still blowing up, and MMORPG developers are looking for a way to take advantage of the popularity and market penetration that these devices offer.

What does this mean? It means that in 2017, we have a whole lot of games heading our way. With any luck, some of them might unseat the low-quality half-breeds that seem to make up a bulk of the existing mobile MMO library and set a higher standard for fun and engagement.

Let's take a look at about two dozen mobile MMOs we could be getting in 2017 -- and which ones might be the new contenders for our undivided attention. Unless we mention otherwise, these titles will be coming out for both iOS and Android platforms.

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Grab a key for dino MMO Durango's Android limited beta from Nexon and MOP

In celebration of the launch of mobile dino MMO Durango's Android beta, Nexon has granted Massively OP a bundle of keys to get you into the testing. Yeah, Android-only stuff! Wheee!

The testing period is live already and runs through January 4th, and the codes should work in all regions where the English version of the game is available on Google Play, excepting mainland China and Japan.

Click the Mo button below (and prove you're not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Betawatch: These are the dates of our lives (December 2, 2016)

I never wanted to be writing about betas for a living, you know. I wanted to be a novelist (once I realized that "combination scientist/race-car driver" was not an actual job). But sometimes these weeks provide you with some interesting contrasts. On the one hand, the biggest news this week was that ARK: Survival Evolved is landing on PlayStation 4 on December 6th as its testing continues before its full "launch." Everything else was just a series of dates... but what dates they were.

And it only seems fair to note some non-date news, while we're here:

Whew! Those were some dates. But we've got more stuff in testing in the list down below, so by all means, check that stuff out. And let us know if something jumped categories without us noticing, if you would be so kind.

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Durango opens up beta signups; testing to start on December 14th

Yesterday brought the first hints of upcoming testing for mobile dinosaur survival game Durango, but today brings even more. Nexon has opened up signups for players to take part in the game's limited global testing, starting on December 14th and running until January 3rd. Players can sign up right now on the official site, with keys going out to registrants... well, starting today, although the beta itself is coming a bit later.

Keys will be distributed everywhere other than mainland China and Japan, so if you live anywhere else, you're eligible to get in on the action. You can check out some screenshots of the game just below if you're debating whether or not it's worth registering for the test, as if there was ever a situation where not having access to dinosaurs on your mobile device was the right call. And if you do want to register, head over to the site and toss your email in the hat.

It's a metaphorical hat, not an actual hat.

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Mobile dino MMO Durango eyes global beta test

Have those post-Turkey Day blues? A good dose of dino fun is bound to pick up your spirits. Durango, the mobile survival sim featuring plenty of prehistoric beasts, just started taking pre-registrations for its global limited beta test today.

Fans can register for the test on the new official website, although at the time of this writing it doesn't seem to be fully operational (but that's just what the Emperor wants us to believe). The test looks like it will be for both Android and Apple devices.

You can catch up with Durango by watching its G-Star preview video after the break!

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Nexon is bringing a truckload of MMORPGs to G-Star this year

Nexon's MMORPG catalogue is about to get a whole lot bigger. In a press release issued today, the studio has announced 35 new games, quite a few of them MMORPGs and mobile MMOs. Some of them were already known to us, and many are even at the stage that they'll be shown at G-Star later this month.

Of note, we're looking at

LawBreakers is also heading to South Korea after its debut here earlier in 2016. And there are a few other MMORPGs with little information available, including Project Meta, Dragon Nest II: Legend, and Durango. Given Nexon's track record of porting its games westward, we think there's plenty to be excited about. Check out some of the trailers below!
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Nexon pumps out a half-dozen new mobile games in Korea

Nexon is continuing its assault on the mobile games market with a planned release of a half-dozen titles this fall in Korea and China. With so many games coming out at the same time, the studio is making an event of it, calling it Nexon Mobile Day.

Some of the titles have roots in Nexon's MMORPG lineup, such as MapleStory M, Elsword Slash, and Dungeon & Fighter: Spirit. There's also a quiz game, a fantasy kingdom builder, and an incredibly cute PvP game called Arena Masters.

Nexon has been doggedly pursuing the mobile field with projects this year such as Oz: Broken Kingdom, Heroes of Incredible Tales, Durango, and the Final Fantasy XI conversion. You can get a glimpse of each of the six titles in the Nexon Mobile Day trailer below!

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Betawatch: Das Tal weathers the summer alpha storm (July 22, 2016)

The doors are open for Das Tal's summer test, and the result has been good and bad. Good because a lot of people want to play, naturally, but bad because there have been some server issues and associated bugs. The team is hard at work on making sure players can jump in and enjoy the game, with a small patch just released to improve server performance. That's what tests are all about, after all.

Other beta news? Sure, we'll share that with you. Because we're nice.

Oh, and we've also packed plenty more games just below if you just want an idea of what's in testing right now. If something opened up a cash shop unexpectedly, please do let us know. You'll be invited to our birthday parties that we'll cancel at the last minute.

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Durango kicks off its pre-alpha testing July 27th

Normally, surviving while playing a game on your smartphone is pretty easy, unless you do something like compulsively wander on to train tracks. Durango is a survival game through and through, though, so you'll want to be extra careful about surviving in both the game and the real world. You can get some advance practice in that field by signing up for the game's pre-alpha testing starting on July 27th.

That's practice surviving in the game, we should note. Being in the tests will not enable you to survive real-life injuries in any way, shape, or form.

The test period will run from July 27th until August 2nd. Would-be players can test on both iOS and Android, whichever mobile device suits you best. Signing up also appears to require opting in to the game's newsletter, so keep that in mind if you really dislike email newsletters or really can't get enough of them. Head over to sign up now if it tickles your fancy, and do your best to avoid playing the game around trains. Or actual dinosaurs.


Durango is pioneering a new mobile MMO genre

Don't be too hasty in dismissing Durango as yet another pseudo-MMO mobile knockoff. The previous developers of Vindictus are dead serious about forging new territory in the mobile market.

"Assuming the days of a quest-based or theme park type of MMORPG had already passed, we tried to bring innovation to the genre by making a new type of MMORPG that hadn’t previously existed," What! Studios Project Director Eunseok Yi said in a recent interview. "Since we didn’t have any preceding model to use as a reference, we had to go through tons of prototypes in the development process. The technical parts were also a huge challenge, since we wanted to let lots of players enjoy the open MMO world in real time."

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Nexon had a good year in spite of its NCsoft disengagement

You might think Nexon would be smarting after selling off its NCsoft shares at a substantial loss in the wake of what was apparently a failed hostile move by by one South Korean giant against another. And maybe it'll hurt in the four quarter -- Nexon itself predicts revenues to drop -- but its third quarter financial report sure looks rosy.

Nexon says its Q3 revenues neared 50 billion yen, "up 9% year-over-year." The bulk of the revenue came from PC online games (almost 40 billion yen), while mobile game revenue clocked in at just over 10 billion yen, all up year-over-year. Of note, it says, "Dungeon & Fighter in China showed solid results" in the PC space, with Fifa Online 3M and DomiNations leading the mobile pack.

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