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]

Multiplayer survival sandbox Outpost Zero hits Steam early access

The super pretty survivalbox Outpost Zero has planted roots in Steam’s early access program. It’s currently $15.99; tinyBuild and Symmetric Games say it’s a fully featured version of the game, though the devs are still working on more mechanics and balancing, particularly in regard to PvP and base raiding. The full launch is expected early next year.

“This Early Access version is a fully featured version of the game. Animals, Pirate Raids, PvP combat, Base Building, Corporations, and Bot AI are all implemented to create a full cohesive survival experience. We will continue to polish and improve these systems over the course of Early Access release. […] In the final version of the game we will be introducing many more powerful and fun Bot AI classes to craft, many additional Pirate Raid mechanics, Flying Vehicles, Massive Battle Mechs, several additional game modes (like horde mode and team vs team base defense), and of course a ton more content, from Equipment and Weapons, Structure types, Animal classes, and more.”

Massively OP’s MJ has been touring the game this summer as part of her deep-dive into multiple survival games for her ongoing column; you can check those streams out below, along with the official quickstart tutorial and trailer.

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Betawatch: Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen kicks off character creation (July 13, 2018)

It’s important in an MMO to feel like you own the bundle of stats and spells that you lovingly refer to as a character. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen has taken a step toward improving that feeling with the first version of its character creator, just patched into the game’s test client. Hooray for making characters!

Meanwhile, Defiance 2050 has moved out of its test phase and into full-on relaunch territory. Hooray for launches!

There has been some other beta movement, too. Some of it is rather silly. Cases in point:

So, somewhat silly, but rather quiet. Not a bad week! We’ve got our usual list of games in development just below, and as always we appreciate anyone letting us know if something swapped phases without us noticing down in the comments. It’s very kind of you.

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Bless Online outlines next week’s Migra Turis update, plus balance and combat changes to come

It’s Friday, and that means the requisite Bless Online producer’s letter. Fans of the game who’ve stuck with it through the rocky start will want to know that Neowiz has several tweaks on the way. Next Wednesday’s update specifically targets Migra Turis; it’ll add a new elite level of difficulty, complete with new level 45 heroic weapon from the last boss.

Everything else is still flagged “coming soon”; that includes the PvP balance changes, optimization, the doubled dungeon drop rate, and the combat targeting revamp.

“Many of you have been asking to have the option to switch targeting mode for different classes. As such, we have been working to bring you more options. In the next change to the targeting mode options, you will be able to switch between modes with all classes except the Berzerker and Paladin, which will still be locked to action targeting and tab targeting respectively. As the Paladin needs to use tab targeting to effectively heal and the Berzerker skills were optimized for action targeting, we have not yet been able to give both mode options to these classes that resulted in a positive player experience. We will instead be adding a target tracking function for the Berzerker (and the other classes as well) that we think will address many of your issues.”

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Arr! Puzzle Pirates: Dark Seas has fully launched on Steam

Arrrr! If Sea of Thieves isn’t doing it for you, maybe you should board a more classic ship, like Puzzle Pirates – specifically, Puzzle Pirates Dark Seas. Puzzle Pirates, of course, has been around for 15 years as an adorable puzzle-oriented MMORPG. Developer Grey Havens has been hard at work on a more PvP-centered version of the game with a new ocean map and a clean economy, and that version, dubbed Dark Seas, has just formally launched on Steam after a stint in early access. Notably, this version is Steam only, whereas the “classic” game also works in-browser; the devs have plenty of fun lined up to get the game’s initial economy rolling.

“In celebration of our Full Release Launch we’re going to have a series of blue grey tournaments and competitions. These festivities will culminate in the opening of the first large island, Melanaster, for blockade on July 14th. We suggest you start recruiting mates and making plans in Parley.”

Did we mention it’s free-to-play? You can dive in right now!

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Blossom and Decay offers emergent narrative in an anything-goes sandbox

In the market for a full-loot, retro-themed MMO sandbox? Your specific tastes may be satiated by Blossom and Decay, an up-and-coming MMOARPG that will offer crossplay between PC and mobile platforms.

The team is designing the game so that players, not developers, provide the core content: “Instead of scripted quest-lines in the game, players fashion their own narratives through a wide set of social mechanics and external PvE pressure. The world’s story is constantly molded by its citizens. […] Everything is created and arranged by the players wherever they choose, from buildings and roads to respawn-points, quests, goods, trade and the laws of the land. Players will toil to imprint their history in this virgin world.”

In one interesting twist, the game allows for automated offline play in which a person’s character will continue to execute activities by itself.

Currently, Blossom and Decay is enjoying some additional promotion from Square-Enix Collective. The team is lobbying fans to vote for the title to gain support going forward.

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Fractured releases development roadmap as Kickstarter campaign enters final weeks

Dynamight Studios has released a development roadmap for its would-be crowdfunded MMO Fractured, which is currently sitting at $66,907 US of its goal of $116,762 with 12 days to go on its Kickstarter campaign. The roadmap lays out the studio’s plans for the game’s development and testing phases, which have been split into four parts: alpha 1, alpha 2, beta 1, and beta 2. Fans will also be excited to know that the first test for the current development phase (alpha 1, of course) will be coming in December of this year. The full roadmap spans from this year into the farflung future of 2021, when the game is slated for release in the third quarter of the year.

Most of the focus, however, is on the game’s current development phase and what players can expect when the first round of testing rolls around in December. At first, the only playable area will be the planet of Syndesia, and players will likely be limited to playing as Human characters, though the post notes that over the course of the alpha 1 development phase (which is planned to conclude around Q3 of next year), the devs plan to give life to all three of the game’s planets and races. In addition, the official post highlights some details of the game’s crafting system, player-run towns, and the unique knowledge system. You can see the full roadmap and get all the details on the aforementioned features over at the game’s official site.

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PWE announces co-op survival shooter Remnant: From the Ashes

Perfect World has a new game up its sleeve: It’s called Remnant: From the Ashes, and it’s being built by Gunfire Games. It’s not exactly an MMO, but it’s at least multiplayer; PWE characterizes it as a “survival-action shooter featuring dynamic worlds, intense combat and strategic co-op” that “transports players to a bleak future where Earth has been overrun by extradimensional beings.”

Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival-action game set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by mythical creatures. Players build characters to suit their individual playstyle and survive the perils of diverse and deadly environments, alone or alongside a team of up to three other players. The game offers unique, customizable gameplay experience filled with intense shooting, melee combat, gear and weapon crafting, character progression, deadly enemies, epic bosses and dynamically-generated levels that offer an infinite number of ways to explore.”

Launch is planned for 2019 and PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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Disgruntled Star Citizen players blockade a space station in protest over Arena Commander

Cloud Imperium has dropped a couple of new tidbits for Star Citizen fans to dig into this week with a new lore post and the latest installment of the studio’s weekly Around the Verse development videos. On the development end of the spectrum, the latest Around the Verse is all about the recently released patch 3.2 and the currently-in-testing patch 3.2.1. In it, Director Chris Roberts and VP of Marketing Sandi Gardiner recap the newly implemented mining system and improvements to the game’s quantum linking gameplay. The video also features a few short previews of what players can expect to find in patch 3.2.1, currently in testing on the PTU; the studio covers upcoming sound-design improvements, the upcoming “99% complete” touring module, and a sneak-peek into the process of designing the upcoming utilitarian habilitation environments, plus there’s a segment on player-led bug-fixing efforts.

Not everyone is happy with the current state of the game. According to Star Citizen player and prolific MOP tipster DK, the pause on Arena Commander has plenty of players riled up; a group of players were last night blockading the Cry Astro refuel/repair station, shooting at everyone who came near it in “protest” over the halt in AC development. “They blew up my 600i,” he tweeted. Reddit has characterized it as a “pirate takeover” and is warning players to avoid the area and the protest even while welcoming it as the “start of the emergent gameplay of Star Citizen.”

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Crowfall explains its new Vivox chat integration

The chat system in Crowfall was developed in-house for chatting within the game, and it had only one problem insofar as it didn’t actually provide a solid framework for chatting. It worked well enough, but it had issues with custom channels, zoning, and so forth. So the latest development entry is all about the new Vivox-based system integrated into the game starting with patch 5.7, which provides players with far more robust options for managing channels, contacts, and all manner of discussion.

Players will be able to create new customized chat tabs, along with individual chat filtering and autofilling commands. The team is still working on making the new system as useful as possible, so it’s important to note that the current iteration is just the first and most basic option for chatting across zones and with your faction. Check out the full breakdown if you want to see more of the tools you’ll have at your disposal for conversation with the next patch.

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The Culling 2 appears to be dead on arrival thanks to quality issues and angry Culling fans

Does the industry need more battle royale games? Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a second and say that it does. After all, if you want a genre to become its best self, it needs scrappy underdogs redrawing the lines and pressuring the leaders toward innovation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean people actually want to play those scrappy underdogs, and we may be in just such a situation with the newly released The Culling 2.

Xaviant Games’ The Culling 2 billed itself as a new-and-improved sequel to The Culling, described as “the world’s first built-from-scratch Battle Royale experience” with a “lush island arena, brutal melee combat, and a long list of perks to help you define your playstyle.” Here’s the official description of the new title:

The Culling 2 expands on every aspect of its predecessor: The arena is now a massive space, with 20 square kilometers in which to explore, loot, and fight. In addition to the established melee combat system, a wide range of firearms are now on offer, from 9mm pistols to high-caliber sniper rifles. All ballistics have been carefully tuned to match real-world equivalents, making for tense and tactical firefights. With 50 players, the matches are set to be fast and brutal, while still accommodating players who prefer a more cautious approach.”

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Identity’s town module — with player housing — is about ready to go live

While the idea of a mere “town square” taking up the total landscape for an upcoming MMO test might seem small, that’s only the case if the game in question isn’t Identity. If it is, then you should expect a huge amount of detail and content packed into this “social gameplay module.”

Part of that content is player housing, which will initially take the form of purchasable apartments. The team is currently putting the finishing touches on the housing system (at least for this version), promising players that they will be able to tour all of the apartment types before they make a decision to buy.

Identity has raised $1.26 million to date from 28,152 backers. These are pretty patient backers, too, since the promised town square module has been repeatedly delayed. Check out some housing goodness below!

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The Stream Team: Working through Outpost Zero pirate invasions

Massively OP’s MJ can’t seem to get much base building done in Outpost Zero because she keeps being interrupted by rude pirates! She’s not about to let that deter her from building her compound and amassing a robot army. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. to see how much progress she can (and the alpha itself has) made.

What: Outpost Zero
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

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Pantheon rolls out the first iteration of its character creation system

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s pre-alpha test continues to progress forward, as the team just patched in the first version of the MMO’s character creation system this week. Six of the nine playable races for the game have been modeled and textured so far. These include male and female versions, because genders aren’t just cosmetic!

This month’s newsletter introduced players to the Giganaa, massive giants who tower over players and buildings. No doubt, they will make for fine targets with deep loot pockets in the future.

One project that the team has been working on is expanding class functionality in Pantheon. “Short term, I’ll be adding special support for all the other player classes. Today that means getting all the cool special ranger functionality into pre-alpha. Long term, I’d like to help us redefine what it means to play an MMORPG,” said Senior Programmer Jason Weimann.

Source: Pantheon

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