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]

Shards Online prepares for pre-alpha test on May 9th

Shards Online is preparing to give players a brief taste of its future potential, as Citadel Studios is planning on a pre-alpha test to run on May 9th at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The playtest is one of several announcements in the April newsletter, as the team mentioned that it’s implemented a day/night cycle and finished the prototype for the metalsmithing and salvaging skills.

The game also has a new executive producer — and he is in love with the game’s modding potential. The new EP is Brett Robinson, formerly of Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online, and FusionFall, and in the newsletter he talked about what’s thrilling him about Shards’ potential.

“I have had a chance to tinker with modding, and even in pre-alpha and without our full spectrum of planned tools I am amazed at how powerful and flexible it is,” Robinson said. “The ability to completely mod the game from top to bottom to create your own unique Shards to experience is going to be one of SO’s most exciting and powerful facets.”

[Source: April Newsletter]

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A guide to building and using your kingdom in Crowfall

Crowfall‘s individual campaign worlds are intended to be reset over time. That’s by design; each world will flourish, then wither, then die. But the game still has a perpetual element in the form of eternal kingdoms, and a great deal of information about these never-ending spaces of personal land has just been revealed by the development team.

If players want to focus on customizing their lands and structures, there’s plenty of opportunity to do exactly that; several different sorts of structures and the like can be added to the expandable kingdom region. Of course, doing so requires resources that are found in campaign worlds, meaning that players either have to brave those tumultuous regions themselves or pay others who are willing to do so. Check out the full piece for more details on making a kingdom in the game that can stand the test of time.

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Eternal Crusade lead level designer is the latest in a string of desertions

Eternal Crusade seems to have a retention problem with its employees, as Lead Level Designer Steven Lumpkin just became the latest of a series of devs who have left the project this year.

Lumpkin announced that he is leaving Behaviour Interactive for another game studio: “In a week, I will be departing my role as Lead Level Designer on Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. I feel gratified to have worked with this team for the past two years, and they’re well positioned to deliver a strong founder’s access. I look forward to battling alongside you all when it gets into our hands later this year.”

When he departs, Lumpkin will join the ranks of fellow ex-Eternal Crusade developers Studio Head Miguel Caron and Lead Programmer Patrick Balthazar, both of whom have left in the past few months.

[Source: TwitLonger, official forums]

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Project Genom gameplay video shows off its high-tech weapons

The sci-fi shooter Project Genom is making great strides with its post-Unreal Engine 4 transition, and the dev team put together a new gameplay video to show off how shockingly good-looking the game and its models are.

The following video shows a heavily armored character running around in one of the environments and fighting mobs with a variety of weapons while a developer discusses the options that players will have. There’s also talk of the leveling and skill system, and how that will differ in Project Genom compared to other MMOs. You can check it out after the break!

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Enjoy an exclusive look at Cabal II’s PvP battlefields

If you’re a PvP junkie, you’re going to want to give Cabal II careful consideration as a possible future playground. ESTsoft released a new video today that will take you on a tour through two intense battlegrounds. These maps are the Forgotten Desert Temple (18v18) and Maelstrom Castle (6v6).

The GM not only points out the highlights of each area but discusses the PvP system in Cabal II. Apparently, building up one’s war rank is vital, as the stat boost that this gives can leave players at a distinct disadvantage if they haven’t kept up with the Joneses.

Cabal II is beginning its first closed beta test today, which runs through May 3rd. Check out the PvP video after the cut!

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See Black Desert’s Plum Flower fighter in action

She’s fast, she’s furious, and she will cut you to ribbons if you’re standing in her way. She’s the Plum Flower, the female version of Black Desert’s Blader class. Wielding a sword, the Plum Flower slashes furiously in combat while shouting and shedding flower petals.

The Plum Flower just went into Black Desert’s Korean beta test, and while you can’t play her in the west, you can check out her hyper-kinetic moves in a new video after the break. See if you can keep up with her!

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Elite: Dangerous tests interplay between Mac and PC versions

Being a member of the Mac gaming tribe no longer means that you have to be quarantined from the glorious PC master race, at least in Elite: Dangerous. The devs shot out a post today to say that the crossplay testing between the Mac beta and the PC version is underway, and they asked for players’ help isolating any issues or bugs.

The team also took the opportunity to summarize many of the changes with the coming Powerplay system, especially involving the bounties that players can accrue. Further expansion of this system was teased with the possibility of interstellar bounties: “These occur when fines and/or bounties for minor factions within a major faction cross a threshold, then they are combined into an interstellar bounty. They work in the same way as normal bounties except that the jurisdiction is counted as the whole of the major faction.”

[Source: Dev update. Thanks to Phoenix_Dfire for the tip and Krazy_Wabbit for the header pic!]

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City of Titans demos its first costume and combat prototypes

It’s been a little quiet on the City of Titans development front for a while, but when you see the game’s most recent video, you’ll understand why. A spiritual successor to City of Heroes wants to hold something back to surprise people when the game’s 11th anniversary rolls around, after all. So late last night, the team showed off the combat, and perhaps more importantly, the costume creator.

The official post on the subject notes that for the first time in development, City of Titans is a full game: It functions completely, with combat, death, respawns, and so forth. It also talks about a technology created for the game to allow the engine to render even complex characters much faster and more efficiently than other games. Read the full post, watch the video down below, and if you’re an old City of Heroes stalwart, be prepared to get a little smirk of satisfaction in the process.

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Tree of Savior’s beta is really a beta

Are you wondering what to make of quirky Korean import Tree of Savior? Steparu’s been playing the beta, and he has a lot to report in terms of both textual impressions and video footage.

The beta was definitely a beta, as it featured plenty of bugs, random crashes, and FPS issues. That said, his overall impressions are positive thanks to the game’s areas and their aesthetics as well as its unique job system.

[Source: Steparu]

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Land of Britain takes you through a leprechaun dungeon

Following its conversion to the Unreal Engine 4, Land of Britain is champing at the bit to show off its fantastic new visuals. To wit, Potato Killer has released a new video that takes players on a quick tour of its moody Fen Dhathach dungeon, a place that allegedly contains wondrous leprechaun treasures and a sinister new presence. If the instance has actual leprechauns to go with its treasure, we’re prepared to dub this the best dungeon of all time.

Potato Killer says that it’s preparing a huge news announcement about “an ambitious and exciting idea” that’s coming soon. While you wait on that, check out the video after the break and let us know what you think!

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Landmark is refunding players for basic material packs

It’s not much fun to play a building game like Landmark if you don’t have the materials to actually, you know, build. This is why the game has made dirt, ice, snow, stone, and sand easier to build with, as these five basic materials no longer have a resource cost associated with them. All well and good, but some players had purchased material packs for specifically these resources in the marketplace, which means that players spent money on an obsolete form of resources.

By way of compensation, players who purchased any number of bags or chests will received Orbs of Reclaimed Energy, along with an item that can be traded said orbs for more bags or chests of limited resources like tin, cotton, and plain wood. Players will also be given orbs to compensate for copper purchases, as copper’s functionality has changed, but the material packs for copper are still available in the marketplace.

[Source: Builder’s Bundle Compensation]

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Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns beta FAQ clears the air

Guild Wars 2’s beta test for the Heart of Thorns expansion is one of the hottest tickets in town this spring. Because of this, there’s a crush of people looking to get into it and some confusion over the details.

That’s why it’s helpful that ArenaNet has posted a 15-point FAQ to clear the air on all of the beta test details. The studio said that future beta tests haven’t been announced, and as such, accepted players can’t create characters until those tests begin. When the test does occur, players are free to blab about it as there will be no NDA.

So how can you assure yourself a spot in the next round of beta testing? The team outlines two important steps to making this happen: “We selected a small number of testers for the first round from our newsletter subscribers. Our next test will use this method as well as the ‘Portal to the Heart of Maguuma,’ an in-game item which has a chance to drop from enemies in Dry Top and the Silverwastes. Players who find this item and are signed up for our mailing list are guaranteed a spot in the next closed beta test!”

[Source: Beta FAQ]

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Cabal II closed beta begins April 30th

Those of you sitting on the edge of your seats and waiting eagerly for the first Cabal II beta test in North America need wait no longer. You can sit on the whole seat now. In fact, you should probably always sit on the whole seat. The closed beta test for the game starts on April 30th, and you’ll want to be sure that you’re getting proper support from your chair while playing.

Said beta will run until May 3rd, allowing testers to explore the game through the weekend and a bit beyond. Streams are also planned to show off what the game has to offer for those not involved in the testing. See? All that good news, and you really didn’t need to be perched on the very edge of your seat. That’s an expression. You don’t have to really do that.

[Source: Official forums; thanks to Khalith for the tip!]

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