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]

Camelot Unchained’s procedurally generated terrain build runs for over 100 hours

This evening’s Camelot Unchained update has some good news regarding the recently concluded “100 hours of glory.” In a nutshell, the fantasy RvR title’s servers ran for 113 consecutive hours without a hitch, which is impressive due to the fact that said servers were running a build with the first iteration of the game’s new terrain system.

“A barely-tested build with a brand new procedurally generated terrain system debuted, and not only didn’t it crash, it didn’t even come close to crashing, during a four-day shakedown cruise,” writes Mark Jacobs. “So, a great debut for a rather complicated and important system, and a big step forward for our game.”

Tonight’s post has a lot more info about the terrain system, so be sure to follow the link below to read all about it.

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The Stream Team: H1Z1’s bad-news bears

Life after an apocalypse is hard, and even more so after a wipe! H1Z1 reset all the servers again, meaning MassivelyOP’s MJ has to jump back in and start from scratch. And when there are evil viscous bears hell-bent on devouring you around, survival is less than assured. Tune in live at 7:00 p.m. to see how long MJ can tempt fate (and tease bears).

What: H1Z1
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

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Eco offers doomsday device Kickstarter tier, then pulls back from the brink

In the final hours of its successful Kickstarter campaign, the global survival sandbox Eco pulled out the big guns: a new tier that would allow those backers to obliterate the world with a doomsday device.

Theoretically, players who bought into the Destroyer of Worlds tier would be able to research and develop the doomsday device to either use it or wield it as a bargaining chip. It would have played into the game’s themes of both societal conflict and collaboration and was priced at $750.

Lots of past-tense references in the previous paragraph, you might have noticed. That’s because creator John Krajewski backed off of the idea fairly quickly: “It’s doing more harm than good, so we’ll adjust it and offer refunds to those that backed (past the KS campaign too). I’d still like to explore a design expanding ‘players as villains’ in the game, but will do so later in development in an inclusive way, where we’re not beholden to backers who paid the $750.”

Source: Kickstarter #1, #2. Thanks to Dengar for the tip!

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Order & Chaos 2 is launching next week

Need a hearty mobile World of Warcraft fix? The best substitute for a while now has been Gameloft’s Order and Chaos Online, which, while a trifle generic, has been a big hit for the company.

Now Gameloft is trying again with a sequel, Order & Chaos 2: Redemption. The studio announced that the mobile MMO will be launching on Thursday, September 17th. The game will be available across several platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows.

Order & Chaos 2 takes place 600 years after the first game and includes a playable reptilian race and a new class called the Blood Knight. You can check out the prelaunch trailer after the jump!

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Albion Online previews a learning point rework

The original purpose of Albion Online‘s learning point system was to create a balance mechanism for players with varying amounts of time to spend in the game. All well and good, but it caused another problem insofar as players could level up to a new tier and then wind up stuck there for an extended period of time. So the new version of the system makes learning points a bonus to acquire skills faster rather than the core mechanism for skills.

Learning points now acts as a quick way to level up to the next tier of fame, while fame requirements have been increased by a large amount. The net result is that hardcore players can still grind away after spending learning points, but it’ll be much slower going, and the gap between players who can grind and those who cannot remains small. It’s an interesting revision to the system, and players will have a chance to take it for a spin during the game’s closed beta.

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Star Citizen changes forum permissions to combat harassment

Star Citizen is cracking down on forum abuse by instituting a new set of restrictions that went into effect yesterday.

CIG changed permissions so that only players who have financially supported the project or who have been gifted a game package can post across the entire forum. Those who do not meet these criteria can still read most of the forums and post in the new “recruiting station” subforum.

“As the project progresses we’re attracting more and more spam and harassment-only accounts, and this action will considerably curb that phenomenon, as well as alleviate much of the resource strain on our volunteer moderators and staff, and ultimately allow us to better serve the members of our community,” Community Manager Jared Huckaby explained.

Source: Official forums. Thanks to Cotic for the tip!

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Blade and Soul beta begins October 30th, still launching Q1 2016

You can stop holding your breath now: The beautifully rendered action MMORPG Blade and Soul arrives on western shores very soon. NCSoft officially announced today that the closed beta for its premier wuxia MMO will begin on October 30th, giving the development team plenty of time to prepare the localization for it impending first quarter launch in 2016. And you can sign up for the beta starting today!

Blade and Soul has been a huge hit in Korea already. Its action combat and the incredible art by Kim Hyung-tae set it apart from other Asian imports. Also the 1v1 arenas that play very much like a fighting game — testing skill against skill — have put this game high on the most-anticipated list of many MMO players.

At this year’s PAX Prime, I had the chance to see the game in action and also sit down with a couple of the developers to learn what to expect when the game launches.

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Eternal Crusade starting closed alpha testing on September 14

It may not be as big or as soon as Behaviour Interactive originally wanted, but Eternal Crusade’s closed alpha test is finally ready to begin next Monday, September 14th.

The closed alpha will be quite limited in scope, both in terms of numbers of players and available features. Behaviour is restricting access to founders who have ponied up at least $120 and said that many of the bigger features — including the persistent world, territory conflict, remaining factions, and “other MMO aspects” — won’t be present at the start of the test but will be gradually added as time progresses.

“It’s true; we once said we’d have individual modules of these available, then we changed focus and scope to a full vertical slice available this fall,” Behaviour posted. “Then we got Unreal, good people left, good people joined, things changed, designs iterated and optimized, playtesting lead us in new directions and voila, we were confident we could move closed alpha, a vertical shooter slice from fall to summer. And here it is, still technically summer.”

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Eco details its hydrology, pollution, crafting, and food systems

Eco’s Kickstarter drive ends this week, and though Strange Loop Games has already made its goal and then some, the developer is continuing to reveal aspects of the survival sandbox’s functionality on its project page.

One such reveal is the game’s crafting system, which Strange Loop says is very different from those in other voxel titles. There’s no crafting grid or recipes, for starters. Instead, players craft directly in the world by creating buildings with gameplay effects.

The Kickstarter page has also been updated with details on how Eco’s food and skill systems work, as well as its pollution and hydrology simulation sub-components. You can view a video on the latter by clicking past the cut!

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Albion introduces crafting shrines and treasure chests

Albion Online is currently focusing on preparations for its upcoming closed beta, but that didn’t stop Sandbox Interactive from posting a dev blog that highlights a couple of new features.

First up are the shrines of Albion, which are basically open world crafting stations that will play an important part in enchanted gear crafting. There are different shrines for offensive, defensive, and support items, and the size of a shrine affects the maximum level of craftable items.

The second feature highlighted in the dev blog is treasure chests. Chests are placed all around Albion’s world and feature a cooldown once opened. “The bigger the trease, the more dangerous it will be to get to,” SBI says.

Source: Roundup

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Check out more than half an hour of Crowfall’s current test version

Crowfall is transparent. Not in the sense that you can see right through it, but in the sense that the development process is open and allows players a thorough look behind the curtain. The game is currently in pre-alpha testing, but it’s not hidden behind an NDA even though it’s admittedly very early in the development cycle. How early? Well, you can see for yourself.

Seriously; you can see for yourself, there’s a whole lot of the game’s pre-alpha footage down below. The footage covers character creation before moving on to the game proper, putting it through the expected paces of messing with keybinds, unleashing combo attacks, and getting engaged in large-scale combat. It’s an early test build, but there’s also plenty to admire (the trees look quite good even on an untextured map). Check it out below.

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The Repopulation closes a test server to prepare for a hardcore shard

It’s both an ending and a new beginning: The Repopulation is closing down one of its test servers today, but this is being done to make way for a new hardcore server.

“We are bringing the server down and will be wiping it,” the devs explained back in August. “The server will be repurposed later for a hardcore server. In the meantime, we are closing it down.”

The Hudson (US West) server is no more, requiring players to have transfered characters to either the US East or Europe server. The move has been in the works for a while now; Above & Beyond was preparing players for the shutdown and transfer back in June.

Source: Twitter, shutdown noticeserver transfer FAQ. Thanks to Pepperzine for the tip!

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Anime MMO Onigiri coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ‘soon’

The anime-saturated Onigiri is about to make the leap from Japan to the west on consoles as a free-to-play MMO.

What we have here is an action MMO with lots of button mashing, dungeon diving, and wholesale slaughter of Japanese mythical creatures. Players slip into one of five classes and take on the role of a demon hunter in ancient Japan.

Onigiri was originally supposed to release this month on the Xbox One but was delayed due to “scheduling issues.” A PlayStation 4 version is expected to follow later this year. You can check out the quick trailer after the jump!

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