Betawatch: Anthem weathers tester phase as public demo kicks off

    
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Hooray, or something?

The first demo for Anthem had certain problems because launch day on any sort of online game always does, as we’ve all no doubt observed over the past forever. Not to worry, though; the game’s public demo is kicking off this weekend, and the developers claim that they’ve learned plenty to prepare for this one. Like increasing server capacity, naturally.

Other beta news? In list format? It must have escaped from a zoo.

Hooray for testing! Hooray for all the games in testing which are not in the above series of bullet points but are in our list below! Hooray for readers who let us know in the comments if something should have changed status! Hooray indeed!

As always, we consider an MMO to be in open testing if it features free, public signups and will server wipe prior to launch. An MMO is marked in closed testing if it’s running a private test phase that cannot freely be accessed by the general public; it’s usually under NDA as well. Early access and crowdfunded MMOs whose tests we deem legitimate will be included. So-called “open beta” soft-launch MMOs with cash shops, no sign of launch in the west, or limited interest for our readers will not be listed; we also do not list expansions, with occasional exceptions.

AdventureQuest 3D: Open beta
Anthem: Pre-order beta
Arcfall: Pre-alpha
Ashes of Creation: Alpha one; battle royale spinoff holding test weekends
Camelot Unchained: Closed beta (one)
Children of Ur: Open alpha
Citadel: Forged with Fire: Early access
Crowfall: Backer pre-alpha
Cube World: Closed alpha
Dauntless: Open beta
Dark and Light: Early access
DayZ: Early access
Divergence Online: Alpha
Division 2: Alpha
Dual Universe: Alpha
ECO: Early access
Edengrad: Early access
Eleven: Closed alpha
Ever, Jane: Open beta
Kurtzpel: Closed beta
Gloria Victis: Early access on Steam
Global Adventures: Closed beta
Legends of Aria: Early access
Life is Feudal: Early access
Line of Defense: Early access, removed from Steam
Occupy White Walls: Early access
OrbusVR: Early access beta
Osiris: New Dawn: Early access
Pantheon: Backer pre-alpha
Pathfinder Online: Subscription “early enrollment”
PixARK: Early access
Project Genom: Closed alpha, servers offline for restructuring with SpatialOS
Project Gorgon: Early access beta
Prosperous Universe: Early access
Rend: Early access
SamuTale: Closed alpha
Ship of Heroes: Pre-alpha
Star Citizen: Backer alpha
Starmourn: Open beta
The Black Death: Early access alpha
The Cycle: Alpha
The Repopulation: Early access alpha
Torchlight Frontiers: Closed alpha
Valiance Online: Alpha
Wild Terra: Steam early access
Worlds Adrift: Early access

Yes, MMO gamers, you too can perform the unpaid quality-control work otherwise known as game testing! Check out Massively Overpowered’s Betawatch every week for a run-down of MMOs that are still on the road to reality.
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hurbster
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hurbster

Fighting is fun (Just like Andromeda), npcs are planks (just like Andromeda), doesn’t feel like a Bioware game (just like Andromeda).

Well, I gave it a go.

Christ I’m depressed now.

Veldara
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Veldara

I feel the game is good and is a great starting point for bioware. Granted it’s still a demo and I haven’t seen everything it has to offer, but from what I got out of the demo is that I likely would pick this up on a sale a couple of months down the line after a few dlcs and patches.

Xijit
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Xijit

OrbusVR was a cool little thing, but I am still waiting for my headset to come back from getting repaired.

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Armsbend

All the discussion surrounding Anthem will make me admit this: EA is very good at marketing. They know how to get people talking about their products – for better or worse they aren’t forgotten.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

It will be interesting to see how many are still playing 2 weeks after release.

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Kevin Smith

They keep saying Anthem will be solo friendly which is my preference when playing shooters. The open beta showed me everything but that to be honest. You are immediately thrown into group play which is fine for those that want that. The thing was there was no choice to solo at all. I keep seeing you can play the story solo, but is that it when you are done with the story that’s it for you to play? It’s really just a personal preference for me.

The gameplay was good though. The controls were decent no real problems there. The music and sound did stop playing for me halfway through, so they still have some issues to work out there. Basically is just a destiny/warframe game with different paint. About the only real thing other than my playing preferences that I did not like was some of the mobs are just bullet sponges. They just stand there while you have to unload entire magazines into them. Sooner or later devs will figure out bullet sponges do not make it harder just makes it not as fun.

As far as the group play the open beta showed me exactly the things I do not like about multiplayer in games like this. As soon as we started people just running off in all directions that just want to be first to the objective. There was no time to explore or take your time and enjoy it. If you do not stay with the group it will port you to them when they finish an objective.

Again for those that want to play with there friends this would most likely be a great game, but if you are looking for a decent shooter that is solo friendly stay away till we see something different.

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rafael12104

Fair point on the solo play. You get the mission solo, but once you start it puts you in a group.

I found it fun, but chaotic. In the end, the missions were completed though.

The “freeplay” mode is where the game shined for me for exactly the reasons you describe. Basically, you get dropped in the outside world solo. It is huge like an open world but there are some walls. Others can join your instance but you aren’t grouped and are free to explore all you want.

In “freeplay” there are world events you can participate in, caves and underground areas to explore, resources for crafting you can gather, the flora and fauna which aren’t always friendly and jaw-dropping scenery you can fly around.

Give it a shot. It is well worth it.

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rafael12104

Yeah. Much more like Destiny in that mode but not confined to a mission or story at all.

You can also support missions in progress, which seems pretty cool.

Reader
3dom

Anthem isn’t exactly a shooter. There is barely enough ammo to keep shooting with 50% uptime, you are supposed to use abilities half the time and switch to guns when abilities are on cooldown.

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NeoWolf

Pretty much why I ended up cancelling my Anthem pre-order yesterday

It is a good game, a beautiful game, but for what I like and I am into in regard to solo play and even story content it is super limited and other than the story missions which always play out exactly the same (no actual choices) and aimlessly flying around in free play doing random bounties, world events or dailies or whatever.. there just doesn’t seem to be much there for me, even less than was in Destiny or the Division even…

It just left me feeling this was pretty much meant for pug groups who just want to shoot sh** and that is a little too empty for my needs long term or even short term in any other respect.

I can see myself playing it a bunch for the first week going through the story but then other than an hour here or there it just wouldn’t have anything left to offer me. And the sad reality is that I can buy games that will give me substantially more relevant content AND replayability and all for a fraction of what this preorder will cost me.

Sadly this is nice, but it isn’t enough of what I want or need either :)

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Grave Knight

The gun play isn’t fun. Can’t fly and shoot at the same time. Enemies will just spawn in front of you. Stronger enemies are bullet sponges. Difficulty seems to come from throwing more enemies that deal more damage while they all mindlessly shoot at you.

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traja

Anthem seems alright based on the demo but there are definitely things to improve. The biggest is the way flight controls feel using the mouse. It feels like the worst mouse acceleration and smoothing imaginable. Like your dragging the cursor through thick jello. Other than that the game play is decent.

Story though… I have no idea at all what is going on. Hopefully the full game does a better job establishing the world. Ultimately this is a looter game so the story doesn’t matter too much i guess.

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rafael12104

Still getting used to flight with a mouse myself. It is better than the last demo run. But occasionally I still find myself running into walls.

However, I will say that at times it is amazing as I point out below. Adds to combat and the fun.

For me, right now, it is good enough as I can adjust things with sliders in settings. It could use another pass at the dev bench, though.

Yangers
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Yangers

Well, I gave it one more chance – even though I said I wouldn’t. Mostly because my mates bugged the crap out of me to join them.

More loading screens and crashing.

I am never installing the origin launcher ever again.

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rafael12104

Back in the Anthem demo this evening. And, it’s growing on me. Why? Because you can do stuff like this. Heh.

Anthem Escape.gif
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Alex Hyer

EA

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Nathan Aldana

meanwhile I made it about halfway through the first mission before being so annoyed at how little interested the demo is in explaining the world to a non-fan like me that I couldnt be arsed to keep playing after my pug team wiped.

especially since you get so very little choice over your character right at the start

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Jack Kerras

…you start this game ten levels deep. You don’t get to see any context-building story stuff from the beginning (like joining the Legion of Dawn as it’s defeated in an intro mission, leading to the fall of the Freelancers). You don’t get any control over your character because that’s not what you’re meant to be -doing- here. They want people logging in and playing to discover problems.

Of -course- you didn’t see anything about explaining the world. o_o

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Ricardo Baião

I thought this was a DEMO and not a BETA? So it shouldn’t be about discovering problems but making people interested in the game to buy it….

Don’t know why they don’t let us play from the beginning and limiting it to just a few early missions seriously, as for right now it’s just a single player hub with just 2 missions to run and awful controls, doesn’t really feel worthwhile do buy it really, with many better games out there and a few coming out pretty soon.

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rafael12104

Yeah, full testing phases would have been better. A demo is always going to be crippled to a great extent. And this was sort of a demo/beta in that they used this demo as the stress test for the servers.

And this demo only features combat. The story aspects and the interactions at the main hub don’t serve as a measure of what the game is like at all because it is so limited.

Meh, we will see how it shakes out. I’m optimistic, but I’ve been burned before so… Heh.

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Nathan Aldana

Oh please. since when has a public beta 2 or so weeks from release ever been about testing anything.

Its a fucking ad for their game at that point, and a bad one given it drops you in contextless with barely any explanation why you should care or how to control your suit.

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Jack Kerras

Yeah, because every developer knows that the way you test your login systems is by using internal stress testing and a small team of people within your company, because that’s how you ensure that it’s going to stand up under actual launch pressure.

If they wanted it to be a better experience, they could have launched a newer client, or added a time limit. What they did was launch a nearly two-month-old build that had the same issues as the alpha test plus a little more growth and a lot more agency over the character you play.

It doesn’t matter what they called it. They threw a huge glut of people at login systems that had never been customer-facing before, and it gave them a lot of -real- valuable intel about backend changes they’d need to make in order to make the game run.

Open test weekend? Zero login issues at 12:02. Fewer crashes on join, fewer crashes when a friend joined me, fewer crashes back to the title screen when running around in instances or moving from open-world to caves, etc., etc. They were having issues, they figured some of them out, and despite the fact that very little changed in the client, they made a lot of changes to the tech that ties it all together.

Because they were fucking testing it.

Also, yeah, they don’t try to make you care or teach you to drive. Because they drop you in in the middle of the story; tutorial missions take a lot of time and are fairly dull from a gameplay standpoint (IE opening up your Q slot and then your E slot and learning what a combo is etc. etc. is not an interesting demo experience). I’ve seen the opening mission before; it’s fine, but it’s SUPER on-rails, lots of VO while you run through canyons, and a boss one-shotting you and all your buddies, and then you waking up in Tarsis after the fall of the Freelancers and trying to reestablish your good name after a catastrophic defeat.

It’s a nice little piece of story, but it’s also a half-hour of sitting and watching shit that people who are uninvested in the game probably won’t be as interested in as the story missions we got, which were mainly ‘go out, blow shit up, have some fun’, and much better for a short session to get people straight into the action.

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Akagi

That looks like the only merit this “game” has.

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rafael12104

The only thing that is really featured in this demo is combat, yup. Let’s see what the whole package looks like.