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Korean MMO Echo of Soul immigrates to North America and Europe next year

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, New Titles, Free-to-Play

echo of soul
Love Korean MMOs? Well, there's about to be a new one for western audiences in 2015: Echo of Soul.

Aeria Games announced today that plans are in the works to take this free-to-play fantasy MMO and bring it to North America and Europe early next year. The hook for Echo of Soul is a "unique soul-collecting system" that results in a rich layer of skill customization for players. The MMO has a solid heritage behind it, as it was created by "key members" of Lineage II's dev team.

Beta sign-ups are now live on the official site, and you can watch Echo of Soul's teaser trailer after the jump.

[Source: Aeria Games press release]

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Star Citizen passes $60M in fundraising, becoming 'single, coherent vision'

Betas, Sci-Fi, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Star Citizen appears to be unstoppable, with the in-development space sim passing the $60,000,000 crowdfunding mark this past weekend.

The $60M barrier unlocked the Aegis Bulldog fighter stretch goal. Moving forward, Chris Roberts revealed the next few milestone goals: the Espera Prowler boarding ship ($61M) and the Genesis-class Starliner ($62M).

"I think I speak for everyone on the team when we say it really feels like Star Citizen is starting to go from a series of modules to a single, coherent vision," Roberts said before teasing "a few more surprises" before the year is out.

Trove enters open beta, ArcheAge deploys Auroria in the EU

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription, Trove

Well, points for committing to silly stuff.
Have you been looking for another pixel-polygon building game to call your home? After being in the test phase for so long that you could be forgiven for speculating that it would never be released, Trove has hit open beta, letting everyone log in and try the game for both bugs and just for the heck of it. There will be no more wipes of the database, so you could easily regard this as something of a soft launch for the game.

If you're not feeling that particular sort of building and you're over in the EU, you can instead try your hand with the latest update for of ArcheAge, which mirrors the patch deployed earlier this week on the US servers. Hopefully the EU rollout will not include the same login issues that hit the US servers as well. The patch is scheduled to go live today at 5:00 p.m. GMT.

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

Watch the sped-up creation of Das Tal concept art

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Interviews, Sandbox

das tal
It's always great to get two things for the price of one, isn't it? Well, that's what you're going to get when you watch today's developer video from Das Tal, as it not only contains an interview with the game's art director but shows the sped-up creation process of one of Das Tal's pieces of concept art.

Art Director Michail Mamaschew discusses his priorities for each day's work, what programs he uses, where he gets his inspiration, and all of the aspects of art that he has to consider as he creates pieces for the team. You can watch the formation of concept art and listen to his interview after the jump!

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HEX drops beta key requirement but denies status of open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, HEX

A major announcement has been sounded on the HEX forums: No longer will potential players need a beta key to test the game, as that requirement has been dropped as of last week.

Cryptozoic claims that this move doesn't signify that the game is in open beta, but merely a way to draw in even more people than ever before. "I bet you're asking yourself why not just call it open beta?," the team posted. "Well, we're not ready to call it open beta. However, we've reached a point in our testing where we needed to increase the volume of players on our servers to provide us with additional information and logs."

Splitting hairs over semantics aside, now everyone can check out this unique trading card MMO if so desired. There doesn't appear to be any NDA restriction either, as the devs have encouraged players to stream the game.

Dawngate shutting down in 90 days

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, MOBA, Sunsets

We hope you haven't pinned your future MOBA hopes on Dawngate, as EA has decided to take this title out of the running completely. Dawngate, which has been in beta most of this year, said today that it will be shutting down service in 90 days and is refunding testers any money they have spent thus far.

"Today, I have the unenviable task of announcing that we've decided to stop development of Dawngate," Group General Manager Matt Bromberg posted. "Dawngate has been in beta for almost 18 months, including a full open beta for the past six months. Through that time, we've taken a lot of feedback from players and delivered lots of new features and innovations. And although the game has grown, we're not seeing the progress we'd hoped for."

You can read Massively's hands-on experience with Dawngate as well as our interview with Composer Jeff Broadbent.

The Repopulation lowers its alpha access pledge prices

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, News Items, Promotions, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation

Crowdfunded sci-fi sandbox The Repopulation has today announced a change to its pledge packages that should increase the number of backers -- and testers. The new packages cost $50 and $25; the $50 version grants immediate test access, while the $25 edition will sweep buyers into the alpha starting on November 21st. Above and Beyond says it will be altering its packages at that time to remove perks like housing plots and NPC naming, but the $25 buy-in will still "be the cheapest for awhile."

During the ongoing testing, the studio has vowed to keep the servers up around the clock outside of patch downtime, and it will avoid region locking, though the servers are located in North America. As the test is an alpha, a strict NDA is in place and pre-release wipes are still expected.

[Thanks, dirtyklingon!]

Watch two hours of Civilization Online unfold

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, MMORTS

civ online
Unless you're in Korea, you don't have much of a chance of getting into the Civilization Online beta test, but at least you can enjoy it vicariously! A beta tester posted over two hours of in-game footage of this MMO strategy hybrid.

The video covers a wide gamut from the introductory tutorial to horseback riding to building to sieges. There are also plenty of exciting menus and map screens for you to brush up on your Korean as well! Even without knowing the language, one can get a pretty good handle on how Civ Online looks and plays. The advance peek starts after the break.

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Age of Wulin to finally release in Europe

Betas, Fantasy, Launches, Patches, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

age of wulin
Age of Wulin, aka "the European version of Age of Wushu," is preparing to leave the kiddie pool of open beta for the adult swim of an official launch. Webzen announced that Age of Wulin will be officially launching in EU on November 25th.

This launch will coincide with a major game update, Chapter 3: Wisdom is a Journey. In the update, characters will get additional class skills and a level increase for several current skills. Players will also be invited to tackle current dungeons on a harder mode and fight in two new PvP tournaments.

[Source: Webzen press release]

The Repopulation tweaked housing, vehicles, and shops in October

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation, Player-Generated Content

The Repopulation's end-of-October report has arrived, and in it, Above and Beyond outlines the significant improvements made to the sandbox over the last month. Of note, player shops and vendors were added, along with a slew of enhancements to the player housing and city systems, like remote shopping and Star Wars Galaxies-style house relocation. Vehicles and mounts, genetic engineering, rogue nations, the interface, and cosmetic styling also received hefty upgrades.

Capping off the update are 15,845 words' worth of build notes. Yes, we counted.

The devs note that backers not yet invited to the alpha should all be gaining access in November.

Ascent squeaks by its Kickstarter funding goal

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

The race to fund Ascent: The Space Game through Kickstarter came down to the wire, but in the final moments, the community came through and passed its $35,000 AUD goal by $334 AUD.

This is obviously good news for the game's fans and for Fluffy Kittens Studio (and no, we will never get tired of typing that name). The money will be put to good use, says the lead dev: "The $35,000 Kickstarter goal will allow us to add four months to Ascent's development, resulting in a total of eight months of development time. We strongly believe that the added time will allow us to greatly expand the game's user base by polishing the visuals and fixing the user interface."

Get your first look at Star Citizen's FPS gameplay

Betas, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Video, MMOFPS, Sandbox, Star Citizen

star citizen
Star Citizen's first-person shooter gameplay has often gone overlooked in its large (and mostly space-bound) features package, but this weekend it's been the star of the show at PAX Australia.

In a 10-minute demo, the devteam ran a four-player co-op mission through a dilapidated space station. Eurogamer notes that animations are synced between viewpoints and players, and that players can move their heads independent of their guns.

The FPS module is currently scheduled to be released (among other things) in 2015. You can get your first look at this combat in the screenshots and video below.

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Gigantic wants to greatly expand its alpha test

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, MOBA

Gigantic's alpha program is progressing fairly well, but the team is concerned that the pool of available testers have yet to push the servers to their limits. The solution: expand the MOBA's alpha test.

"The whole point of the test is to find out how many players it takes to push our game systems and our server capacity over the cliff," Motiga posted this week. "So bad news for us is good news for you: We desperately need more of you, so we will be adding more alpha testers throughout the fall season. Thousands of new testers."

The studio is also working to expand the alpha past North America to other regions and is hiring more team members to support a worldwide rollout.

H1Z1's audio is a key part of its immersion

Betas, Horror, Video, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, H1Z1

When done right, you hardly ever consciously acknowledge a game's sound, but when it's missing or done poorly, it can jar a player out of desired immersion. In a dev diary posted today, H1Z1 Technical Architect Greg Spence talks about the sound of the game and demonstrates a few tests.

"So much goes into making these sounds seem realistic beyond just choosing an audio file to play," Spence explains. "Taking into account your surroundings, whether you are inside or outside, what type of ground you are on, time of day, and even weather can play a big part in the final thing you hear."

Spence discusses sound effects, environment sounds, and, of course, music. You can check out the audio test videos after the break!

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Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade announces $15 pioneer founder packs

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, News Items, Free-to-Play, Warhammer 40k, Miscellaneous

Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade has just announced a new founder pack option, the pioneer pack. Pre-order founder packs running from $40 to $450 went live last June, but the newly announced pioneer packs cost only $15. They're aimed squarely at gamers "who want to contribute to the founder's program [...] without as much of an investment," says Behaviour Online's Miguel Caron.

The game's planned hybrid model will restrict free-to-play gamers to the Ork Boyz faction. Pioneer packs "extend the Ork experience" with perks including an Ork-only character slot, 15,000 RTP, badges, gear, and the opportunity to pay for access to the game module planned for early 2015.

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