If you're 17 and wanted to play The Elder Scrolls Online
, bad news: The game will be shipping with a Mature rating
. So if you buy your games from the one store in the United States that actually checks the ratings and your age, you'll be out of luck. You can also take a look at the game's latest preview video on group content
Hearthstone entered into its open beta
, although its functioning cash shop since closed beta puts it directly into the "soft launched" category for reasons discussed in last week's Betawatch
. Star Wars: Attack Squadrons
has also entered a second phase of closed testing for those who can't get enough dogfighting but don't want to play Star Wars: The Old Republic
Oh, and there's the usual list of betas and our Testing Notes just past the break. Like always, feel free to let us know in the comments if something slipped into open testing or the like without our catching it!
Massively considers a game to be in open testing
if it has open, public signups and plans for a server wipe before its official launch. Self-described "open beta" MMOs that have soft-launched with functioning real-money cash shops will not be listed.
Blood and Jade
(Project Gorgon): Signup
(Ignited Games): Announcement
(Kis Studios): Announcement
(early access on Steam now
We consider an MMO to be in closed testing
if it features either future test signups or an ongoing semi-private beta/alpha that cannot immediately and freely be accessed by the general public. Some are restricted by NDAs. This still qualifies even if the test does feature an active cash shop so long as the signups are restricted; it also qualifies if the testing is limited to purchasers.
(Bohemia Interactive): Announcement
(access is for early purchasers on Steam)
Earthrise: First Impact
, Early Access Purchase
End of Nations
League of Angels
LEGO Minifigures Online
(launching summer 2014)
(Aeria Games): Announcement
Line of Defense
Origins of Malu
(Burning Dog): Announcement
(Project Whitecard): Announcement
(fka Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond)
(S2 Games): Announcement
The Elder Scrolls Online
(Above and Beyond): Announcement
(Nerd Kingdom): Announcement
(fka Orgia Romanus; adult MMO, possibly NSFW)
Deciding what is and is not an MMO comes down to a lot of fine details. It's expected that most of the people who read this column probably dislike pretty much any game on Facebook, but let's be fair -- most of those games have a persistent environment shaped by the actions of you and fellow players and certainly have social features integrated. By the right definition, you could argue that FarmVille
is an MMO.
No, we're not going to argue that. The point is that there are a lot
of games that fall into the pseudo-MMO category. Games like Hearthstone
and World of Tanks
are obvious entries, as is more or less every single MOBA
game. League of Legends
is decidedly not an MMO, but there's a lot of audience overlap with MMOs, and what it does has a definite
impact on the space shared by other online offerings.
So we have an interesting situation. On the one hand, these games are not MMOs. On the other hand, they're relevant
to the MMO genre. Massively, obviously, has erred on the side of touching upon these games even if they aren't our main focus; Not So Massively
is both a column title and an acknowledgement that these titles are on the fringe but still worth talking about in a larger context.
But this isn't a feature just about the blurring lines between genres; it's about betas. And while we list some
games on the fringe, we don't list all
of them. Why?
One word: relevance
Whether you like
Blizzard or not is immaterial; you can't deny that the company has a huge
impact on the online sphere with its various games. Diablo III
is at the nexus of several similar games with varying degrees of online functionality, from Path of Exile
to Marvel Heroes
to Torchlight 2
. For that matter, Torchlight 2
is still rumored to at some point lead into an online... well, something
. Pretty relevant to any present discussions.
Unlike our criteria for whether a game is in beta or has launched, this one is far less cut-and-dried. We're constantly evaluating titles on the fringe and deciding whether or not they're worth covering in here; there are titles we mention in the opening paragraph but don't list as ongoing betas, for example. But if you're wondering why something isn't on there, that's usually the reason.
As always, we're interested in hearing your opinions down in the comments. Next week, let's answer a question that also seems relevant -- why don't we know when a game has a cash shop, switches phases, and the like?
Betawatch is Massively's weekly report on the latest MMO alphas, betas, and other games still meandering toward an official launch. From ArcheAge to World of Warplanes, it's covered here, complete with sign-up links so that you too can perform the unpaid quality-control work otherwise known as game testing. Drop us a comment if we've missed one, and many thanks to Steven Eyerman for the Subreddit links!