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Betawatch: November 29 - December 5, 2014

Betas, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Betawatch Landmark
Landmark's beta is getting PvE in 10 days! Because it's actually a beta! What else is new in the world of MMO testing? We've also purged the heck out of the Betawatch list after the cut thanks in large part to the eagle-eyed observations of Massively reader greaterdivinity. A number of games, including Archlord 2, Argo Online, Eclipse War Online, Face of Mankind, Legend of Silkroad, Legion of Heroes, Margonem, Strife, and Taikodom, have departed or moved around in our list due to changes in their open beta status (most of them soft launches, but some of them, like Argo, have simply disappeared from the internet... again). Many thanks to greaterdivinity!

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Tree of Savior might be getting published here according to an unofficial interview

Betas, Fantasy, Interviews, News Items

We're big fans!  Please let us play the game?
Tree of Savior got a pretty strong showing at G-star 2014, where the staff announced that Nexon will be handling the publishing duties for the game in its native country. But what about worldwide releases? There might be hope yet. A fansite for the game has posted an interview with members of the imcGAMES staff who asked to remain anonymous. These anonymous interviewees state that the company is still looking into worldwide partners and has considered simply publishing the game itself in foreign markets.

Other revelations include the prospect of developing the game for mobile devices in the future and that the game will most likely work as a free-to-play title with a cash shop. The interview also notes that these statements may not reflect the official view of imcGAMES and are subject to change without notice. Still, the full interview is worth a look, even if you need to take everything with an appropriately sized grain of salt.

Camelot Unchained tackles building systems, ability crafting

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Camelot Unchained

Camelot Unchained
City State Entertainment has continued its daily Camelot Unchained updates with another batch of notes on the ongoing state of the build as the team gears up for alpha testing in 2015.

Studio boss Mark Jacobs says that his crew has done a first pass on the building system as well as the ability crafting system UI, mage VFX and casting, and the grass system. The team is also working on improvements to client performance. "Last month we rocked the network and PhysX side," Jacobs wrote. "Now we begin to do the same on the client side."

Critical improvements to duck pedestal collision are also included in the notes. Check the whole list out on the official site to understand that joke.

Expect zero seizures from today's Black Desert features reel

Betas, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Crafting, Black Desert, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

Black Desert
OK, so you don't like the spazzy shaky-cam and motion-blur of Black Desert's videos. Fortunately, you can turn it all off inside the game. Even more fortunately, there's more to the game than bouncing-off-the-walls, eye-spasm-y hack-'n'-slash, as today's video from Daum demonstrates. There's farming, fishing, boating, gathering, and other crafting skills, plus what looks like an elaborate minigame attached to harpooning sea critters. There's also an extended section on horse taming and associated mount activities like mounted combat. (The horses are gorgeous.)

The sandbox is slated to enter closed beta in South Korea on December 17th. The video's below!

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Check out Black Desert's combat in a new video

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

Black Desert
Are you keeping an eye on Black Desert, the Korean sandbox MMORPG headed to open beta on December 17th? Then you'll probably want to know how combat looks and feels, right? I won't lie -- Massively commenters have called it "nauseating" for a reason, but maybe this style of visceral action-combat is your thing. I'd be turning off camera-shake in no time, personally, but it's pretty cool all the same.

Check it out in a new Daum video courtesy of MMO Culture below.

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Shards Online adds permadeath ruleset

Betas, Fantasy, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

shards online
Shards Online's Kickstarter campaign is on fire, having blown past its $50K fundraising goal and now plowing through stretch goals. With eight days to go on the campaign, who knows how far it'll get, but there's one thing for certain: Thanks to passing the $80,000 mark, the fantasy sandbox will incorporate permadeath into some of its server rulesets.

For the stretch goal, the developers wrote, "We will add an extra official ruleset to Alpha One with increased skill gains and permanent death! Not only will we have this ruleset running on some of our official servers, but players will be able to run these rules on their own community servers."

Camelot Unchained moves on to its third pre-alpha test

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Camelot Unchained

Chains or no, you have to have lists.
The bad news of the most recent Camelot Unchained update is placed front and center of the latest development update: Some of the features once slated for inclusion in the second pre-alpha test have been kicked back to the third pre-alpha test. This also counts as good news, though; because of the small number of features remaining on that particular checklist and the progress already made on the third checklist, the team decided to just go ahead and shift the items to the new checklist whilst moving on to the third test. Got all that? Good.

Pre-alpha test #3 will contain the first pass of the game's building system, among other updates. While it has yet to be fully fleshed out, the core building blocks are working. So if you're a big enough backer to take part in these initial rounds of testing, you'll have the chance to start trying your hand at making new things when the test dates roll around.

PvE, full caves hit Landmark December 15th

Betas, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Free-to-Play, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

In two weeks, Landmark fans will celebrate the holidays early by indulging in a content feast! On Monday, December 15th, the sandbox will get a meaty update that includes something players have craved all year: PvE! Creative Director Dave Georgeson and Senior Producer Terry Michaels announced the upcoming content extravaganza during Wednesday's Landmark Live stream. But mobs are not the only addition on the way; Georgeson went so far as to call last August's huge PvP content patch small in comparison. Along with the PvE, the December 15th patch brings the rest of the cave system (meaning all islands will now be tiered down to the core), graveyards for player resurrection (a must for when mobs chew your face off), claim vendors, and more.

Sound too good to miss? If you want to jump in and check these new features out, send an email to mj@massively.com for a seven-day beta key!

The Stream Team: Starting over in Landmark

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

December is set to be a big month for Landmark, and Massively's MJ isn't going to miss a thing! But to get ready for all that's coming, she has a bit of work to do. See, she pressed the reset button on her claim, so she's now got a blank canvas on which to create something worthy of the upcoming AI. The possibilities are endless. Want to come be a part of this? She's got beta codes to give away and welcomes your input on this new build. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for the start of something amazing!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Here's a Black Desert FAQ as K-OBT approaches

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

Steparu has long been the best source for Westerners interested in Korean fantasy sandbox Black Desert. Now, he's offering his expertise in the form of a FAQ/AMA post as the title's open beta approaches.

Topics covered include playing the Korean OBT (it requires a Korean cell phone or I-pin Online identification), the Western release timeframe (originally 2015 and now possibly slipping to 2016), and several gameplay-specific issues.

The Repopulation expands alpha and focuses on bots

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

The Repopulation
Above and Beyond has published The Repopulation's end-of-November report, and it's a doozy. The studio discusses the embiggening of its alpha thus far and the addition of new servers to handle the load. The devs have also been working on housing and city locations, a new character versioning system, a new cloning system, nation deeds, facial animations, and tooltips.

Perhaps of most interest to sandbox fans disillusioned with this year's sandbox drama is A&B's focus on its bot detection code. "Our philosophy with bots is that once the game launches it is not really beneficial to ban characters unless they already invested a significant amount of time into the characters, otherwise they can just create a new free account and you need to detect them all over again," the devs wrote. "So we've focused our attention on reducing the benefits of botting. In addition skill gain penalties and stoppage, botters will see their harvesting results capped in quality, and a complete shut off of loot."

Capping off the dev letter are 17,356 words' worth of patch notes. We counted. Check every last one out at the official site.

The myth of Skyforge's Celestial Fortress

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Lore, News Items, Dev Diaries, Skyforge

Guess what, story fans? Skyforge has lore!

Today's dev post explains the myth behind the Celestial Fortress, an epic construction project floating in the sky meant to safeguard the planet Aelion from its own inward-spiraling moon. "While historians still argue about its true origin and meaning," intones the narrator, "only one historical fact remains clear: the Celestial Fortress which the symbol represents prevented the destruction of Aelion." Well, that and the Roche limit, but this is sci-fantasy lore, not astronomy. Carry on, storytellers!

We've included the new concept art of the Celestial Fortress below. Don't forget that Skyforge's browser minigame competition to win a beta key and other prizes is still ongoing for the next several weeks.

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Black Desert rolls into open beta on December 17th

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Black Desert

Boy, I can't wait until this game launches here, makes a momentary splash, and is quickly forgotten!
We still don't know hard details on when Black Desert will be coming to the US, but it's not going to happen before the game launches in its native Korea. The game is entering open beta testing in Korea on December 17th, so it means we're that much closer to any launch date information. It will be free-to-play with a cash shop, and it appears to be launching with just four playable gender-locked classes; adding additional classes this late in testing seems unlikely.

Steparu also has a preview of suspected cash shop items, which include cosmetic armor sets, dyes, skill point reset items for both players and their mounts, and similar fare. It's about what you would expect, in other words. You can get a sense of the game by checking out the trailer just past the break, showing off some of the variety in the character creator as well as the game's fast-paced combat.

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Ubisoft's action-driving MMO The Crew launches today

Betas, Real-Life, Trailers, Video, Bugs, Launches, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Miscellaneous, Buy-to-Play

The Crew
Ubisoft's "action-driving MMO" The Crew launches worldwide on PC and multiple consoles today, but before you can drive your roadster across a virtual map of the USA, you'll first have to download the time-honored day-one patch. The patch flips on drivehub challenges and the faction war as well as fixes a slew of UI, PvP, and stability bugs.

Ubisoft's Serkan Hasan assured reporters last week that game would be free of the turmoil that usually accompanies MMO launches. The studio had taken criticism from refusing to grant launch previews to media because MMOs are just too hard to review without all the players in place.

The standard version of the game is available for around 60 bucks, depending on your platform and retailer of choice. The launch trailer is below.

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Star Citizen opens up a $350 ship for sale

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

Because the millions of dollars the game has already accumulated are simply not enough to add another ship design to the game for free.
Do you want to go out exploring with Star Citizen once it's actually possible to do so? It's one of the stated goals of the game, after all. If so, perhaps you'd like to do that exploration inside of the newly revealed Anvil Carrack, a ship that is available for purchase now for the not-at-all low price of $350. And you can't use it in any of the game's current modules once you do purchase it.

According to the official page, the Carrack is being offered as a concept sale, which means that it is currently unavailable for use in any modules. It comes with lifetime insurance once purchased as well as decorative items for the player's hangar, although there's no ETA on when the ship will actually be available for use within the hangar. The ship is available for purchase until December 8th if you want to drop another $350 on the ongoing development of Star Citizen.

[Thanks to Cardboard for the tip!]

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