Update 52 is old news – Shroud of the Avatar is already looking ahead to release 53 and beyond. So sayeth the game’s latest newsletter, which offers a peek into the development of the bustling and cozy Viking-themed town of Westend. “Westend is located on the western end of Verdantis in close proximity to the Verdantis Shardfall. Alongside this it is in close proximity to Norgard, so for this particular uncloning we decided to bring in our Viking style architecture and improve the theme of the area as a coastal swamp biome,” Portalarium writes. “The NPC center and cluster of shops in the heart of town have now received a major makeover with multi-level platforms that rise above the swamp alongside the addition of bringing in viking themed architecture, furniture and additional propping.”
The studio is also teasing the addition of brewing and a plan to run a double-experience event thanks to the “incredible” turnout for the stress test last month. In fact, Starr Long says the team had to boost capacity on the QA server for the event: “There were so many people, 330+ at one point in three instances!”
Finally, Portalarium has a business model change on the way thanks to its move out of early access and expansion around the globe (and into new taxation territories): It’s eliminating the store credit system entirely. But don’t worry; you’re not losing anything.
The dust may be settling after Shroud of the Avatar’s final launch, but that doesn’t mean the game is done. On the contrary, Portalarium clearly means to keep right on its strict monthly update schedule.
As the title’s latest dev update explains, R53 – due out this Thursday – includes the rebuild of multiple scenes and locations (like Tenebris Harbor and Penmawr Island shown in the gallery below), plus the looking-for-group system, better loot, offline drop rate tweaks, additional side quests, heraldry, and new “plunderer NPCs,” plus the promised UI polishing pass.
The planned stress test on the QA server kicks off as this post goes live; as previously noted, a quorum of participants will ensure a double experience event come the launch of the update.
Meanwhile, if you’re into world exploration, swing by the Twitter feed of Portalarium’s Richard Garriott; he’s been chronicling a well-earned trip to the Arctic.
Want some bonus XP in Shroud of the Avatar? You’re going to have to put in some effort to make that happen, kiddo.
Portalarium is planning a performance stress test of the game’s QA server this Monday and wants to load as many players as possible onto it to see if it can handle the load. This will take the form of a party on a boat (seriously) which will also involve summoned bosses and other server-smashing activities.
The studio said that if it can get at least 50 people to stick around for 45 minutes on the boat, it will activate a double XP bonus on the live servers for a week after Release 53 is launched later this month. Other incentives to showing up include random prizes handed out to party goers, such as a scorpion chair.
What’s the fastest way to ruin your house? Throw a free party to people with no inhibitions, of course. So what’s the fastest way to break an online video game? Drop the price to zero for a weekend and throw the doors open wide.
This is the current plan of Lazarus, the early access space shooter with a Groundhog Day complex. From today through Sunday the 15th, the game is running a stress test with the intent to “break the game” so that the team can prepare it for a global launch in the future.
It might be a challenge to break Lazarus, as the team has made significant server improvements to handle the load. Other recent changes include upgrades to the NPC AI, a streamlined tutorial, and an anonymous data logging tool to help diagnose connection issues.
What are those wacky devs up to over at Worlds Adrift? Apparently trying to “melt the servers” with this Thursday’s update and stress test. The team invites as many testers as there are to jump into the game on March 22nd to see if the servers can handle it. Famous last words, eh?
Meanwhile, the team says it’s getting rid of Sky Atlas coins, instead listing “transactional items” only with real-world currency. It’s part of a larger virtual currency system change.
Wizards of the Coast’s most famous card game continues to prepare its newest multiplayer version for public consumption. This Thursday, Magic: The Gathering Arena will update its closed beta to be more public and full-featured.
Thursday’s update will mark the end of the NDA and allow testers to discuss, stream, and share the game with the larger community. Wizards will be sending out 100,000 more players to come try the game out and some of its newer additions, such as preconstructed decks and the recent Amonkhet cards.
Interested participants can sign up to be part of the upcoming stress test over on the Magic: The Gathering Arena site.
“This new phase is an exciting time for us,” Wizards said. “As we’re still in closed beta, we’re still testing many aspects of the game, looking for feedback, and learning a lot along the way. That means there are plenty of areas we want to add more polish and finish to, plus additional functionality and content to be implemented. But we’re very excited to see what discussions and feedback arise out of this new testing period.”
The open beta for TERA’s
console edition has arrived, and as a result, the developers want the servers under pressure. It’s the only way to be sure that when the game launches they can handle the mass of players logging in, after all. So how can you help with that? Get into the open beta and stress the heck out of those servers
, obviously. There’s even a schedule of specific stress windows just for logging in and staying logged in on Saturday and Sunday (March 10th and 11th, don’t you know).
Players can also earn rewards by getting up to the open beta level cap of 38 during the open beta period. In fact, you’ll earn rewards for every 10 levels you reach, but the best rewards are reserved for those at level 38. So get into the game, stress those servers, and start pushing yourself to the level cap. It’s how you win fantastic prizes, after all.
Just in case you read that headline and made a mad dash to this first paragraph with the hope of seeing that Rare has changed its mind on making players pick Sea of Thieves characters from a random generator, sorry, it is not to be. According to the team, this generator has been in the works for four years now and the devs are pretty proud of it.
It is certainly strange to hear the studio claim that it wants players to “be the pirate they want to be” while taking direct character customization out of their hands, but it sounds like a moot point at this juncture. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to customize your character at all; you will be able to collect and wear different cosmetics as you progress in the game.
Meanwhile, a third stress test is taking place this weekend as Rare attempts to get Sea of Thieves shipshape for the launch later this month.
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!”
Don’t get too comfortable, because the real war is about to begin. Right now, Escape from Tarkov’s development team is in the final stage of preparations for the upcoming open beta test.
While there’s no announced date for the open beta test, the team did say that it should be coming in the early part of 2018, perhaps within the month. To make sure that the beta will be as smooth as possible and able to handle the influx of many more testers, Escape from Tarkov ran a New Year event over the holidays to stress test the servers. The team said that the event topped previous population records and greatly increased the game’s presence on Twitch.
“We were able to perform a quality and quantity assessment of the required server base expansion in different regions. New servers are already being ordered to ensure the minimum matching wait time,” the team wrote. “Soon after the next patch we’ll be able to determine a precise open beta start date.”
Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Let’s run down five more floating to the top of the pile this month.
First up is a Russian indie MMO called Rogalia that I first heard of thanks to former Massively columnist Jeremy Stratton (heya Jeremy!). It’s cute and cartoony and will definitely appeal to old-school isometric sandbox players with its crisp cartoon graphics and detailed UI. Combine all that with the gameplay and it’ll remind you more of Ultima Online than most games that namedrop it! It’s currently $12 on Steam, though it’s set to launch out of early access at some point this month, when the price will likely increase.
Did you think Christmas came too early this year? One of my hobbies was already rolling out Valentine’s Day hoopla in August, so I feel you. Escape from Tarkov, however, has already moved on to New Year’s. We’ll let this one slide, however, since the game is focused on its open beta launch, so the New Year’s event is really a stress test that kicks off on December 28th and is intended to attract people who’ve never tested before. “Seven-day access to the game will be granted to a part of the players, who will be picked randomly among the total number of subscribers, with bias for those who have been registered earlier,” says the team.
Previous beta testers (and preorder purchasers, of course) will also pick up a pair of week-long access keys to hand out to their mates.
So what’s on the horizon for the game?
Welcome back to another quick tour through the very latest in mobile MMORPG news. Let’s begin at the beginning with…
Yep, the GAMEVIL-produced mobile spinoff of this core sandbox MMORPG has released on both iOS and Android worldwide, with 100K players having signed up for pre-registration. “Developed with Unreal Engine 4, ArcheAge Begins features impressive-looking character models and environments, intense strategic battles and engrossing online multiplayer features,” GAMEVIL says. (Thanks, Jason!)