The Daily Grind: What was the last MMO beta you sought out?

Beta fish.

You might think that our work here at Massively Overpowered means that your friendly neighborhood MMO journalists get into any beta we want without any problems, but that just isn’t true. Sometimes studios don’t invite us into betas. Sometimes they only invite a couple of people and I have to cede the floor to people who will do more with the beta key. Sometimes we get into the beta and it’s Bless Online. The point is that we don’t always get a free pass in.

But sometimes it’s even more of an intense procedure. There are times when you have a beta you really want to get into, but for various reasons you have to spend a bunch of time working to get a key. You have to scour giveaways, or pre-order, or be a Kickstarter backer, or otherwise expend more time and money than you otherwise would to get a beta invitation. So what was the last MMO beta you sought out? Was it recent or a while back? For that matter, was it worth the effort?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

Albion. Was fun to play for a while, but then I’ve got bored with the grind and quit.

Kickstarter Donor

Before that SWTOR.

Was I in Skyforge? Or the Division 1? Can’t remember.

Most time spent beta-testing on TSW testlive server before new patches and issues. Killed devs there too :3

Tee Parsley

Elder Scrolls Online. And the advice I gave them in Beta feedback was proven apropos considering the changes they’ve made since. They were all fired up to make a game that didn’t appeal to the ES fans. Oh well.

Although maybe Warframe if you consider that to be an MMO now. And they gave me a cool, unique gun for the effort!

Oleg Chebeneev

Lost Ark. let everyone in to check a single dungeon. So I hooked in. Cant wait to see more of this game


The last one was Black Desert. I’m pretty glad I participated in it too because we were able to save our character creation presets via a tool provided. So, day one, I was playing right away and not playing OCD in character creation.

Castagere Shaikura

Anarchy Online
Earth & Beyond
Auto Assault

Fenrir Wolf

I believe the very last was Guild Wars 2, and thanks to Path of Fire I don’t regret that. Giant cat beasts with power armour, inverse kinematics, and jumping puzzles. The only way it could be better is if it’d been mushed in with DDO for a hearty dose of riddles, non-jumping puzzles, and joyous mantling. Mantling is a lost art.

Aside from that, I think it was only Ultima Online’s and Champions Online’s that I bothered with. Got in early with Free Realms, DDO, and Istaria, and I adored them, but I don’t think I sought them out as a beta in the way the question implies. Largely because I wasn’t aware of them while they were in beta.

I suppose there’s the why of it…

Ultima Online — I loved Ultima VII and I didn’t really have much of a concept for what the genre was beyond entertainingly broken, strange, and peculiar experiments like The Realm and Meridian59.

I liked crafting in Ultima Online, though, and doing that with like-minded people seemed like it might be fun. It was, too. I was especially fond of mining. Though, for me, the entire experience was just entirely and soundly outdone by Istaria, which gave me DRAGONS.

Actual, proper, honest-to-goodness dragons, too.

My heart will never forget being a dragon. It’s just a shame that the average person can’t seem to appreciate an experience so fantastic. Just another reason to be thankful for autism, I suppose. I loved being a dragon.

I loved riding a dragon in Drakan, too. Good times. Even Lair was a laugh if you could understand that you’re holding the reins of a dragon rather than flying it directly, which most couldn’t wrap their heads around. I actually got amazingly good at Lair, I couldn’t understand why it was so inexplicably loathed.

Maybe because it wasn’t a two-legged peach-skinned bloke saving damsels from beasts to guard their machismo against their insecure masculinity. Bitter? A bit, yes.

I never did throw in with the neurotypical lot, though. I don’t slay dragons, I ruminate with them. They’re usually lovely conversationalists. And failing that? I throw dirty diapers at them to scare them off (Ultima VII’s best tactic for anything).

Full circle back to Ultima! Sort of.

Champions Online – The appeal of “be anything you so desire” cannot be understated for a person like myself with a broad imagination. The tales I told, the characters I weaved, and the min-maxing I got surprisingly good at??? And usually I’m of the ilk that despises min-maxing.

There was something oddly intuitive about Champions Online’s system though that made it entertainingly easy to create broken, overpowered characters and I loved it. I stayed with them for years, rolling alt after alt, buying costume packs, right up until the balance changes managed to overcome my ability to smoosh fun personas together out of the most peculiar concepts.

My favourite was the steampunk pirate werebear I had, which a certain friend of mine both hated and respected as it came together in a really successful way that couldn’t be criticised. They felt like it shouldn’t be allowed to exist, but it just worked so well. The build was amazing, too.

I also made a talking deathclaw and beat Frank Horrigan on one of the few times I played PvP, which soon became one of my favourite stories despite how I don’t play PvP either.

Champions Online was a weird game of coincidences, ironies, serendipity, and glorious, wonderful, beautiful cheese.

Guild Wars 2 — Good grief, I’m tired of noble savage beastmen. Humanity has a problem, and that problem is species-wide narcissism. We collectively have our head so far up our own collective arse that we can’t actually see our multitudinous and varied imperfections.

So, naturally, if a game is to include beastmen—or any form of non-human life—it has to be less-advanced, psychopathic, warlike, and guided by angelic humans in the same way that white saviours “righteously” guide people of colour.

Humanity’s narcissism is untenable. Cloying. Unpleasant!

Gosh, it really is. I mean, there’s just no self-awareness of it. Does this species ever stop and think “Oh my, I’m awfully full of myself in a Universe where I’ve not met any of the other forms of life out there, yet.”

I think that one day we’ll meet a species that’s far more advanced, peaceful, intelligent, and prosaic than our own and who just so happen to look like frogs. The furry haters will commit immediate seppuku followed shortly by the collapse of society.

I wish that could be as tongue-in-cheek as I desperately want it to be.

“Frogs! As a form of life worth more than humankind??? Why did the God we invented in our image not warn us about this? There was nothing in the bible about this!”

I guess that’s what happens when you deify your own fiction, dear.

So, anyway, along comes Guild Wars 2.

“Hello, I am Guild Wars 2!”

“Yes, so?”

“I have technologically advanced beastmen—”

“I’m listening.”

“No, that’s all! Come on a magical journey with me!”

“No, what’s the catch?”

“Well, they are a little bit psychotic and warlike, just a bit. A smidge. A lot. Quite a lot, actually. And lead by angelic human-like people. But still technologically advanced!”

“Sigh. I’ll… I’ll take it.”

And so I did. I don’t regret it much. I enjoy my giant cats and their big feet what do the inverse kinematics.

I really like inverse kinematics.

It’s sad, the number of games featuring non-humans who were peaceful, kind, advanced, and not lead or slaughtered by humans could be counted on one hand. Albion, Istaria, umm… No, that might be it. That says something about humanity as a species.

One day I’ll get a new game featuring non-humans who aren’t savage, psychotic, warlike, and/or lead/slaughtered by humans. I think by that time though we’ll have been enslaved by a kindly AI that’s undertaken the task of educating us to not quite be so taken with ourselves, to prepare us for the galactic stage.

I’m really disenfranchised with humanity right now. Awareness is a horrible, terrible, awful thing.


The Division 2 and Anthem “betas” in February – if you may call these “MMO”. Both were disappointing: I had to wait for debugs and quality-of-life improvements (and discount) on Anthem. And I’ll never buy The Division 2: no debugs can improve ugly characters and cosmetics (somehow the devs managed to make equipment and cosmetics look much worse than in the first game).

There is a good part: there is nothing especially interesting left to wait.


AGS’ New World.

Got in, played it. Wasn’t worth it. Might try it again after they bring it back up again with fresh updates, but to be honest the core gameplay/focus just isn’t my cup of tea.

I mainly applied to find out if it was actually an MMO, or if it was just falsely labeled as one like so many others. I was very pleased to discover it is actually an MMO (meaning it supports 500+ players within a single virtual environment), even if the gameplay sucked.

Before that, last beta’s were for ESO (combat sucked, far too shallow) and FFXIV (I liked most of it, but heavy instancing and vertical progression put me off). Whilst neither beta made me want to play the games, I was still glad to have done them.

Next beta will likely be Camelot Unchained. It’s the only MMO in development where the devs (MJ + co) seem to have taken the time to figure out what it means to be massively multiplayer, and the innovations they are attempting in terms of mechanics look amazing. However, as it costs money to join the beta’s, I’m waiting until it is a bit further along. I don’t believe in spending money on a promise, so when I become a backer it will be because the game is already worth the money to play it.

Kickstarter Donor

EQ. I don’t like action-oriented, free look clicky combat, so most of the new breed of MMOs are non-starters for me.