Alphas & Betas Category

MMOs in various stages of testing and crowdfunding, playable and… not. Don’t forget to follow our Betawatch and Make My MMO columns for a weekly rundown. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Make My MMO: Star Citizen in small claims court, Fractured nearing the finish line (July 21, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Fractured ramped up its Kickstarter dev blogs as it nears the finish line of its crowdfunding effort, which ends in just four days. As I type this, it’s less than $10,000 away and I think it’s looking good. The studio posting up the details of its Star Wars Galaxies-esque player city system probably helped.

Meanwhile, Albion Online teased its upcoming crafting changes and recapped its largest battle ever, Elite Dangerous saw a teensy patch, Shroud of the Avatar prepped the upcoming patch, we took a look at Legends of Aria’s closed beta, and Star Citizen had a dose of drama as a backer took CIG to court over its refund policy and effectively lost, having been sidelined to arbitration. It capped off the week with a fresh concept ship sale, too.

Finally, Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs did update backers last night on the current state of the build, as the game’s beta was delayed an additional few weeks over its crash rate. “Testing overall has been great,” he says. And yes, the crash rate is still coming down – higher than he says he’s seen in some live games, but not good enough for him.

Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Fantasy Life Online launches in Japan this month, no word on Western release date

Game historians might recall that way back in 2002, game development studio Level 5 and Microsoft were collaborating on bringing the cel-shaded True Fantasy Life Online to Xbox. The project fell apart partially into development to the dismay of many who were anticipating the MMORPG, but Level 5 didn’t quite give up on its dream.

The studio has seen great success on mobile platforms, including its Fantasy Life series of Nintendo DS games. Now Level 5 is returning to its MMO dream with this months’ launch of Fantasy Life Online in Japan.

Described as an “MMO-lite,” Fantasy Life Online gives players the opportunity to quest and live out a career as one of several classes. There are both combat and non-combat options, and the title definitely has a lot in common with the Animal Crossing series when it comes to presentation.

There is no word as of yet on a Western version or release date, but chances are good that it is heading our way. In the meanwhile, check out the trailer after the break!

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The Stream Team: Surviving the first steps in Survived By

She has but one life to give. Massively OP’s MJ tried out a demo for Survived By — a different sort of survival game with a bullet hell bend — back at PAX West. Now, it is a bit farther along in development and has moved into closed beta. Just how long can she stay alive in her first return to this game since that con? Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you MJ’s first steps in…

What: Survived By
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 20th, 2018

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Betawatch: Legends of Aria wants you to break it (July 20, 2018)

Please, break the servers for Legends of Aria. The developers want you to break the servers. There’s a big event this weekend and everyone is being encouraged to go hog wild and log in until the servers buckle under the strain. You probably should not whisper that it’s been a naughty, naughty server as you do your best to break it, but we suppose you should follow your bliss.

Other beta news? Aw, heck, just because we’re friends.

Are those stories strange enough for you? Perhaps you’ve got some strange stories of your own to share down in the comments, or perhaps you’d just like to let us know if something slipped into a new test phase without us noticing. Both are neat!

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Dauntless previews the flaming exotics arriving with The Coming Storm expansion

Dauntless turned heads earlier this week by announcing two things: It’s racked up 2M players in free-to-play open beta, and it’s got a big patch coming up in August, complete with a hub makeover, new content, and new gear. Among that gear are two new flaming exotics, which Phoenix Labs has previewed in a new dev blog. One is a fiery morningstar that turns the floor into lava, and the other…

“The first of our two new Charrogg exotics is the Skullforge. With a heavy metal structure and dynamic flame effects, this piece will add flare to any Slayer’s setup. Battle is where this helm really shines, though. When you land your first hit, you’ll see flames start to flicker from the helm’s metal crown. Land a few heavy blows in a row, and you’ll light up hotter than an aether-fueled bonfire.”

Look, if somebody comes at me with a hat that is literally on fire, I am backing away slowly and then very, very quickly.

The game’s most recent version fixes Godhand bugs, duplicate gear, and sword and pike issues.

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Rend discusses sweeping content changes, wipes alpha servers ahead of new testing surge today

Keep an eye on your inboxes today if you’re hoping to get into Rend’s alpha test: Frostkeep announced this week that it’s added two new servers and “thousands” of new testers today. The downside? The existing four servers will be wiped, so all testers are effectively starting over.

In addition to the character redesign and talent rebalance features in progress, Frostkeep says it’s also targeting “sweeping changes to the game’s harvesting and crafting logistics and overall game cycle timing” plus updates to the Yggdrasil biome, taming, metaprogression system, “increasing early to mid-game competitiveness to reduce the snowball effect of one faction getting ahead. The overall goal is to make a cycle of Rend last longer and play like less of a frantic race to the finish line.” You’re not going to be able to port a truckton of mats across the map like it’s nothing anymore, either.

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The Stream Team: Looking at Legends of Aria’s closed beta

Alpha is but a memory from the past — Legends of Aria has moved on to closed beta. That means Massively OP’s MJ needs to dive in and see how things are going. She already likes the choices on character create. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to check out the beta version of…

What: Legends of Aria
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 20th, 2018

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Stardew Valley is finally really truly launching PC multiplayer on August 1st

Stretch your mind back over two years ago, when the much-loved Stardew Valley first confirmed it was getting a multiplayer version, thereby justifying our burning desire to write about it on Massively OP. Original creator Eric Barone and the studio he brought on to handle multiplayer, Chucklefish Games, kept a tiny trickle of hope coming over the last two years of seeming delays, but multiplayer went into beta testing this past spring, and now we have a real release date: August 1st. Yes, soon! That’s for PC, Mac, and Linux; the YouTube blurb says Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch are still underway.

As previously reported, the patch allows four players at a time, so three including the host player; you can marry other players, divorce them, chat, share farms, and share money, but only the host can pause the game (and it pauses play for everyone), and a few things are separate, like inventories and relationships. And everybody gets a cabin.

“In deciding what to share vs keep separate, our main goal was to encourage cooperation and teamwork,” the devs wrote on Steam when the beta was in testing. “Since the farm and your money pot are your main way of progressing through the game, they have to be shared in order to facilitate cooperation. Without this, there would be no need for players to even interact!”

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Fractured’s player city system is the evolution of Star Wars Galaxies

MMORPG sandbox Fractured has five days to secure another 16K to make its $116K Kickstarter goal – and it just broke the $100K barrier as I’m typing this sentence. Dynamight Studios has a big housing and town update out today that ought to give players a reason to push it over the edge.

“In Fractured, having a base of operation is something really desirable for all players,” says the studio. “As with all our features, we don’t want to exclude any part of our userbase from enjoying the game, and that’s why we’re giving everyone plenty of options on how to live their social life. In the system we’re building, lone wolves can claim their own lot of land outside of a town, where they can build a home, basic crafting stations, cultivations and livestock. More social players can instead band together and start a settlement, or join an existing one. The most ambitious players can become the elected leaders of a free town through politics, or autonomously rule one connected (and dedicated to) their guild.”

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Crowfall improves performance by changing terrain

It’s far too early in Crowfall’s testing to worry about optimizing the game’s frame rate and overall performance, but there’s a difference between “optimizing” and “improving.” The latest change made to the game exists precisely in that space, as the game should now perform better just because the game’s terrain is now being rendered using custom-built meshes instead of built-in Unity meshes. That… had a pretty distinct improvement on the rendering and overall performance!

Why? Well, the game’s engine no longer has to convert from default options before rendering things, which cuts down on processing power and results in terrain that should look identical but just render more smoothly. There’s also a new way of handling the grass rendering that significantly cuts down on processing as each chunk of the landscape is rendered. All of which should result in an improvement you see in terms of frame rate, but the game itself shouldn’t look different… which is a performance upgrade for you, really.

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Star Citizen is working on the AI patrols to make griefing much harder, reveals medical concept ship sale

On this week’s episode of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse, Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts recap “emergent gameplay” events recorded by the community, including a humorous take on the Cry Astro protest we wrote about last week.

“The mission team has been working to implement FPS AI into persistent universe locations, and they’ve recently started testing AI patrols around Cryo Station,” Roberts says, hinting an end to the protest fun may eventually be coming when the NPC lawmen show up even if players can’t break the lines themselves. “This is the first step to bringing a more robust law system to the EU, which will eventually make it harder for players to throw their weight around like they’re doing at Cry Astro right now.

Meanwhile, CIG has revealed the RSI Apollo, a medical concept ship that will run $225 to $270 depending on variants chosen; there are packs up to $1550 too. That’s in real dollars.

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Grab a Survived By closed beta key from Digital Extremes and MOP

Digital Extremes’ retro permadeath/bullet-hell MMO Survived By entered closed beta yesterday and rolled out a patch with a new 10-man raid, hardmode dungeons, UI buffs, and a graphics upgrade. But what good does that do you, person reading this who has no closed beta key?

We can fix that: In celebration of the CBT, DE has granted Massively OP 2000 keys to get our readers into the game right now. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Warlords Awakening just sunset in Korea, and now it’s coming to Steam early access here

As we reported in June, Paywith’s Warlords Awakening MMOARPG is coming westward, with a launch planned for October and an early access date now set for July 26th. The base game will run for $11.99, on up to the top bundle at just shy of 30 bucks.

What we didn’t immediately realize last month is that this game is a rebrand and remastering of Elite Lord of Alliance aka Kuntara Online: The Elite Lord’s Awakening aka ELOA, licensed to a new company. That would probably be fine, except that as MMO blogger Murasama has pointed out, the circumstances surrounding the Korean relaunch of the game last autumn and its recent sunset are concerning. In spite of what appeared to be a respectable playerbase and following in its home country, Playwith shut down the game in Korea just a week ago, and it’s not clear how long the western version will be supported.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first temport we’d ever seen, though for $12, it’s not much of a cash grab. Caution is probably advisable in the meantime, and y’all know the early access rules anyway.

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