beta testing

A fluffy casual’s starting perspective on World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

Let me tell you a bit about me and how I play MMORPGs. Between two jobs and a family, my gaming time is relegated to the deep evening hours where peace descends upon our household. If it’s a good night, I can get in two full hours of adventuring through virtual worlds before I grow too tired to continue. Some nights it’s less.

It has been a long time since I was able to sprint alongside the pack when a new expansion or game launches, so you have to picture me as the slowpoke waaaay in the back who keeps getting distracted by small details, stops to read the quest text, and takes screenshots like I’m putting together an art book.

That’s me, the fluffy casual, and while plenty of folks have devoured vast swaths of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth this week (including our own excellent Eliot), I’ve been rotating through my roster of characters and experiencing this engaging expansion at my own tempered pace. Does that mean that I lack a perspective or any observational details? Absolutely not! In fact, here are some things that I’ve been thinking about and looking at this week from the position at the far back of the pack.

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Betawatch: Fallout 76 shares details on PvP and crossplay (August 17, 2018)

There’s still stuff happening with Fallout 76, even though players aren’t testing it yet. You can at least test things out in your mind now that you know about the game’s progression and PvP plans. Perhaps “testing games in your mind” could be a Perk. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you have the game on the same platform as your friends, as a lack of crossplay has been confirmed at this point.

But let’s not stop there; let’s catch a few other beta stories, yes?

So this is all rather shady, but we promise you that our list below is properly illuminated and trustworthy. We have it all vetted by you fine people! Notice something on there that shouldn’t be? Let us know so we can fix that! And that includes if something skipped phases without us noticing or just went quiet for an extended period of time. We appreciate your notifications.

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MapleStory 2 is getting really close to launch, you guys

With its second closed beta run and done, MapleStory 2 is turning its sights to something bigger. Something grander. Something… launch-ier.

Nexon said that it’s going to announce the launch date for this 3-D sequel to the hit MapleStory on August 21st. “Not only will we reveal the official release date, but our team will also discuss the future content schedule of the game,” the developer said.

In the meantime, players can start reserving their names and even create their first character so that they can hit the ground running when MapleStory 2 launches. You’ll need to buy a founder’s pack to access this perk, however. It’s probably a good thing that Nexon has made these packs available for purchase again!

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Wild Buster is back as Champions of Titan under a new publisher

Remember Wild Buster? Back in February, Valve booted its publisher, Insel Games, off Steam, accusing it of review manipulation after a dev leaked a damning letter from the company boss seemingly coercing employees to buy and review the game on the platform. At the time, Insel Games denied wrongdoing, but the loss of Steam clearly hurt; it resurfaced this past spring to announce that it had struggled without Steam and would instead be transferring publishing rights to IDC Games, which would relaunch the title as Champions of Titan.

That brings us to today, when IDC has announced that Champions of Titan is rolling into open beta ahead of a “full commercial release” later this year.

“Open Beta is available from today and players can start exploring the new world, conquer fierce monsters, challenge the rival faction in PvP and enjoy grouping with their friends. Champions of Titan MMORPG combines a fluid and fast combat with a world full of adventures, challenges and an original graphic design set in Sci-Fi environment. Developed by Korean studio Nuriworks and published by IDC/Games, Champions of Titans offers full PvE and PvP features: solo content, group content, raid content, 3v3, 5v5 and 10v10 battlegrounds, Battle Royale PvP map and free for all PvP.”

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Fortnite expands Android testing, wants to match players up depending on their control scheme

Good news for Android players who felt left out of the initial batch of Fortnite beta invites: Epic Games announced that the test has expanded to additional devices, and you can read the full list on the website to see if your phone or tablet is included.

The studio gave a “Summer Skirmish midway recap” that was full of fun stats for those interested. Epic also said that improving server preformance “remains a top priority” during this skirmish series and that it wants to adhere to “simplicity, match tension, and upholding the integrity of battle royale” with this event.

Epic is reportedly working on tech that will match up players based on what type of peripheral that they use to play Fortnite, whether that be mouse-and-keyboard, touch screens, or controllers. And this is neither here nor there, but a massive sniper rifle is on the way to the game as well. Boom. Headshot.

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Aion, Blade & Soul, Guild Wars 2 revenues dip, while NCsoft teases three new titles and Lineage resurges

NCsoft’s second quarter financials for the year hit this morning, and it’s not exactly bad news. Sales are down slightly, but everything looks wimpy next to Lineage M’s record-breaking debut last year. That’s now “stabilized” according to the company, and it also means core Lineage players are flooding back into the original Lineage, which saw its best quarter – by a lot – in over a year.

As for the other live games under NCsoft’s banner that our readers likely care about? They’re all down: Aion, Blade Soul, and Guild Wars 2 across the board, though Guild Wars 2 is still up year-over-year.

Perhaps the most interesting bits coming out of NCsoft this round are still on the horizon. As MMO Culture pointed out, the live conference call dished on The Lineage aka Project TL aka what’s left of Lineage Eternal (it’s hitting beta later this year), admitted PC sales have slowed down, and noted it’ll tailor new games based on the Aion and Blade & Soul IPs to the “global market.”

And yes, multiple new “major” games are in the works for next year, one apparently being Lineage 2 Mobile.

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Camelot Unchained’s latest beta build patches up the UI, fixes superpowered rocks

Camelot Unchained’s beta one is rolling on, and we’re assuming City State’s Mark Jacobs is napping on a beach somewhere enjoying his long-delayed vacay because CSE co-founder and technical director Andrew Meggs is helming the latest studio update and Q&A. Oh, and he’s accompanied by Ian the Intern, whom Meggs tries (unsuccessfully?) to embarrass at every turn.

This weekend, the RvR game’s build was put through its paces on the Wyrmling server, with UI bug fixes, shadow darkness tweaks, placeholders removed, and CPU bugsquashing – and that’s all apart from the madness going on on the Hatchery server where the real messes dwell. In short, the current test build is even better than what launched two weeks ago. My favorite bit is the fix to superpowered stones and their concomitant exploits. This is a real thing.

“Stones, like from Stonehealers, would affect other stones,” Meggs says, almost incredulously. “So you could put two invulnerability stones right down next to each other and they would make each other invulnerable. Or stones that were healing each other… it allowed creation of super-exploitable combinations by players working together to defeat the other realm. Which is good! But we want you to do it without exploits.”

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The Game Archaeologist: City of Heroes’ launch history and the Marvel lawsuit

In our first part of this series looking back at the stupendous history of City of Heroes, we saw how the idea for this superhero MMORPG germinated from a tech millionaire who took his love for RPGs and comic books into the online world. Cryptic Studios was founded in 2000 with the intent of developing a new type of MMORPG, one with a superhero bent set in an original IP.

While the development period was fraught with difficulty, including a messy design, delays, and the departure of the studio’s co-founder, City of Heroes took shape by 2004 and finally entered into live operation that April to the delight of thousands of fledgling superheroes.

Today we’ll be walking through the next few years of this game’s lifecyle, including its launch, the initial issues, and a serious lawsuit that threatened to kill the game dead.

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The Stream Team: Returning to Mu Legend for its Steam launch

It’s been a very long time since Massively OP’s MJ played in Mu Legend. She was there for the open beta launch, and she’s not about to miss the Steam launch. It’s definitely a good time to check back in and see how things are going. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. for the adventure, then be sure to grab yourself a Pioneer’s Pack full of goodies right here on MOP while they last!

What: MU Legend
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 11th, 2018

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Global Chat: Is it worth your time to alpha test MMOs?

Taugrim raises a very interesting question this week on his blog. Namely, is it really worth your time to alpha test MMOs these days? For him, at least, fickle players and unresponsive developers don’t make it a beneficial activity.

“A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs,” he said. “And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.”

If you’ve been burned one too many times by alpha, beta, and early access testing, perhaps you can relate. Read on for more essays from the MMO blogosphere, and don’t forget to check out this month’s exciting Blaugust Reborn event that’s raging across blogs!

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Star Wars Galaxies fans are working on an emulator for the game’s TCG

I haven’t been making any secret of how much fun I’m having in the Star Wars Galaxies Legends emulator (and thanks so much to the readers who urged me to try it!). What I haven’t tried just yet is TCGEmu, which is trying to revive the Star Wars Trading Card Game that existed chiefly inside SWG itself.

Late-game SWG players will recall that the TCG was ahead of its time on so many fronts: It was actually one of the first fully online card games out there, but back then it had no chance of reaching the heights of mainstream adoption that we’re used to seeing now with games like Hearthstone, especially since few people outside of SWG knew it existed. It was gorgeous as heck, too, with stunning artwork that exists nowhere else.

Of course, the TCG also has the dubious honor of being one of the first openly and egregiously lockbox-esque pay-to-win systems in a major MMORPG, as players spent gobs of money angling for loot cards, which they could then use (or sell) inside Star Wars Galaxies itself. While I personally bought and traded my (free monthly) loot cards and loved some of the clothing and homes added to the game, I was also among those who argued that all of those items should have been added to the sandbox through crafters rather than through gamblers and junkies spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on what were basically lockboxes in the form of card packs.

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Discord has launched its own video game storefront into beta, and it kinda looks like a Steam-GOG mashup

We all rolled our eyes when Valve’s new Steam chat client borrowed heavily from Discord‘s proven best practices for chat, but most people didn’t seem particularly inclined to switch. Wonder if the same will hold true now that Discord is aping Steam’s core business?

Yep, this week Discord revealed its new mission to “bring the games to you” via Discord Nitro, which is basically a video game storefront built right into your chat. Its chief difference appears to be its marketing; Discord says it’ll be offering a “curated” approach, a “cozy neighborhood book shop vibe” when it comes to sales, with what sounds like a cross-platform launcher too. So maybe more like GOG than Steam, but with the Steam look. And it’s working on publishing specific indie titles with temporary exclusive launches too.

The company says the platform is currently in beta for some 50,000 Canadian participants. It promises that “Discord’s voice, text, and video chat will continue to be a primary focus for” the team.

Source: Discord blog

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Battle royale hit Fortnite kicks off its beta on (some) Android devices

Llamas, shopping carts, burgers, and golf: It’s never a dull moment around Fortnite. And now the insanely popular battle royale game has a new platform to dominate with the official beta release on Android.

Starting today, Android users can join their PC and iOS friends by downloading the free-to-play PvP title on their tablets and phones. Actually, the release is somewhat limited, with the initial rollout being limited to Samsung Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 users right now. Additional Android devices will follow at a later date.

Fortnite does support crossplay and “cross-progression” between PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mac, PC, and iOS.

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