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Betawatch

Betwatch: September 21 - 27, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

A Warcraft to play when you're not playing Warcraft?
Playing a beta means you're going to see your progress evaporate. So it can't come as much of a surprise to Hearthstone players that everything is getting wiped away with all real money spent on the game being reimbursed. Still, you can't help but feel a little twinge of regret at the hours of progress gone in a moment's notice.

After being told that Black Desert was nearing its test stage, we've finally got a date of October 17th for the first Korean closed beta. And while we mostly cover games rather than expansions in here, it's worth noting that Lord of the Rings Online was giving away beta codes for the game's next expansion on Facebook. It's first-come first-served, so they might still be there, even!

Oh, and there's the list past the break like always. As usual, if something has slipped in a cash shop without us noticing, please let us know so we can check it out ourselves.

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Betawatch: September 14 - 20, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

It's not different at all, is it, Steve?!
It's hard to make a free-to-play Eastern-style fantasy MMO stand out amidst a sea of similar games. Heva Clonia Online is hoping to be seen as unique thanks to its pet system; it's just entered closed testing, so you can see for yourself how successful it's been at that goal.

There's no barrier to entering World of Warplanes at the moment, as it's in open beta, but its official release date has been moved ahead by a month and a half. Silent Hunter Online will provide lovers of military hardware another open-testing outlet for their enjoyment, although the game struggles a bit to really justify the "online" portion of its title.

Oh, and there's still a big old list of games just past the break for anyone interested in a title not mentioned here. If something in the list has sneaked in a cash shop, please let us know down in the comments.

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Betawatch: September 7 - September 13, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

That guy's skeleton must look kind of weird.
If you're reading this, odds are you're going to have to wait quite a while for Black Desert. Yes, the game is finally getting ready to move into its closed beta phase, but this article is being written in English. You're likely reading this somewhere other than Korea, which means that you're not invited to that first beta and will have to wait until it gets released, then gets localized, then gets a release over here.

I'm not saying it's never going to happen, but I am saying it'll probably be around 2038.

Other than that, it's been a quiet week for game betas. But there are still a lot of games in testing in the list down below, so you can certainly check one of them out. And as always, if something sneaked its way into having a full cash shop and no character wipe or something similar, let us know down in the comments.

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Betawatch: August 31 - September 6, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

We'll stop yanking games with cash shops from the list when companies stop staying in beta for eternity with an open cash shop.
Betawatch only covers some of what could be considered in beta testing. We have rules about what is and isn't in beta, for example. But the fact that Anarchy Online is currently beta testing its new graphics engine is worth a mention just the same because that's just plain nifty.

In more testing-related news, Ran Online is gearing up for a European beta after quite some time. CasinoRPG has gone into open testing after a successful Kickstarter earlier in the year. And Heva Clonia Online will be going into testing starting on September 19th, fulfilling a need for anyone addicted to the idea of cloning defeated monsters for pet battles without first shoving those monsters into tiny balls.

As always, the full list is past the break, and feel free to let us know if you've seen something that slipped our notice so that we can check and verify. We ain't perfect, after all.

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Betawatch: August 24 - 30, 2013

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

Because this worked so well last time.
Some weeks, there's so much going on with beta testing you can barely account for all of it. This week was not one of those weeks. Heck, the biggest news remotely related to betas was Funcom's dipping into LEGO MMO waters. It's not in testing, but it should provide a test to look forward to for LEGO Universe fans.

However, that has given us time to scour the list of a few games with live cash shops, games that have effectively soft-launched. So we can wave farewell to Anno Online, Dragon's Prophet, Eternal Saga, The Missing Ink, and Legend of Edda: Vengeance. Ambiguously launching-but-not-launching games is all the rage these days, apparently.

Despite these removals, the list past the break still promotes a variety of titles that we could not conclusively identify as having functioning cash shops, so they still count as betas. Check out the list past the break, and if we've missed something, feel free to let us know in the comments.

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Betawatch: August 17 - 23, 2013

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

Personally, I prefer Firespring or Firewinter.
Players enjoying Firefall's open beta were probably pleased to hear about the plans being made for the game's next phase of open beta testing, although a bit less pleased that the announcement didn't specify what those plans actually were. Players enjoying World of Warplanes, on the other hand, had absolutely no ambiguity to cope with regarding the game's announcement of a September 26th release date. And World of Tanks has expanded its console beta testing to Europe, giving players a new chance to enjoy the game on a different platform.

There are things to be said about other games that happen to be in beta testing, but this is Betawatch, not Businessmodelwatch. As a result, you can find a list of games in testing just past the break -- and if you see something that's missing or has sneaked a cash shop into open testing, let us know down in the comments!

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Betawatch: August 10 - 16, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

I excuse myself from the audience.
Welcome to another installment of Betawatch, ladies and gentlemen. To start the show, I'd like to note that all our audience members waiting for Final Fantasy XIV can go ahead and leave now; you're not going to pay attention and we all know it.

This week's surprising beta tidbit was Aeria Games' announcement about Aura Kingdom at Otakon, not usually known as an MMO reveal venue. Hearthstone has also entered its closed beta phase and done away with the stifling power of the NDA. Beyond that, it's been a fairly quiet week, with NCsoft making noise about the Lineage Eternal beta but not actually announcing any dates or details. We also heard about the MMO-like Nether moving into early testing, though it's really not a proper MMO title.

As always, you've been a great audience, and we hope to see you again next week. The full list of games we know of in testing is just past the break, of course, so you can feel free to check it out (and let us know if something slipped past us).

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Betawatch: August 3 - 9, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Do a little dance.  Other activities tonight are at your discretion.
It's been a long wait for Final Fantasy XIV fans, but the relaunched version has almost finished its beta testing. R2 Games has also released the first alpha of its upcoming side-scrolling Android title, Excalibur. If you'd rather sling pretend cards around, you can look forward to the upcoming beta test for Hearthstone. Meanwhile, WildStar has finished a phase of testing and is looking toward the future, which means a better game when it finally launches.

Unfortunately, it's not all good news this week, as Civilization Online doesn't appear to be heading this way in the near future. But it is mostly good news.

Of course, if that's not good enough news, you can feel free to peek into the list of games in testing just past the break. As always, let us know if there's something we missed or if a game's trying to sneak past the launch radar with surreptitious sales.

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Betawatch: July 27 - August 2, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

If you are completely happy, you get no apologies.  The world of gaming is harsh and unforgiving.
Are you completely happy with Firefall right now? Because Red 5's CEO Mark Kern offered an apology this week to everyone affected by issues early in the open beta, vowing that the company as a whole will do better from here on out. The man cannot be accused of hiding behind the beta tag. Whether or not that actually fixes your issues is another story.

In other beta news, Infinite Crisis appears to be headed the way of several other recent free-to-play titles by offering the option to pre-purchase item packs for the game in exchange for immediate beta access and other goodies. The Repopulation showed off the Inquiry System, a way to communicate with NPCs about the world and what's going on (such as revealing the location and general aggressiveness of several bears hot on your heels).

Oh, right, and we have the usual list of games past the break that are in testing. As always, if we missed something, feel free to let us know in the comments!

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Betawatch: July 20 - 26, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

It'll probably be all right.
Depending on whom you talk to, ArcheAge is either an upcoming sandbox game, the one true game that will convince everyone that sandboxes are the best thing ever (and we mean it this time), or a worse game than whatever pet game you're championing at the time. Whatever category you fall under, you can probably agree that it's taking its sweet time to get here, so fans should be happy that there's a status report available for all those waiting patiently (or not-so-patiently).

Not a great deal has been happening in the beta space otherwise. The Phoenix Project is aiming at a September Kickstarter pitch, which should be welcome news to former City of Heroes players. Aeria Games has opened signups for testing F.E.A.R. Online, which follows the time-honored tradition of taking an existing franchise and adding "online" to the title. And of course, there's our usual list of games in testing just past the break, as you do. It's a time-honored tradition.

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Betawatch: July 13 - 19, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

If we can do this a few more times, it might finally see release as a third-person cover-based shooter.
What a long and strange road it's been, End of Nations. At first you were an MMORTS; then you lost your staff and sat in limbo. Then you were rebranded as a MOBA and went back into testing, and then... well, I guess that's the end, actually. So not such a long road after all. But still a bit strange.

The road to Dragon's Prophet is not nearly as strange, with the game recently getting a big drop of additional beta content. Ultima Forever has had to delay its US release for more testing, which doesn't qualify as strange either, although it is somewhat inconvenient. Last but not least, Eternal Saga moved into open beta, which is actively the opposite of strange. It's what you do.

While this week didn't have the beta shakeups of last week, we've still got a nice long list of games in testing just past the break. As always, if something sneaked into a different sort of testing (or launch) without our noticing, feel free to mention it in the comments.

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Betawatch: July 6 - 12, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Meanwhile, my cats are unhappy with one another.
After a couple of quiet weeks, the beta scene exploded this past week. In an ideal world we'd have Tom Lehrer sing about all of these changes like the elements on the periodic table, but times being what they are, we'll have to make do with text.

To start, Firefall is finally out of closed beta and into open testing. Dota 2 has also waved farewell to testing just as Eternal Saga has kicked off alpha tests. Age of Wulin moved into open beta or a soft launch depending on how you view it, The Elder Scrolls Online sent out a new wave of test invitations, Final Fantasy XIV started the last round of closed beta testing, End of Nations has been rebranded, and TUG is launching its first alpha on Monday.

These are, of course, some of the most noteworthy beta-related developments, but there are certainly many others embedded right past the break. If something managed to sneak past us, please, let us know in the comments.

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Betawatch: June 29 - July 5, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Or maybe you're the guy who shoots someone and never was seen before that point.  I don't know!
If you can't get enough of vintage war machines blowing one another to bits, you can start blasting planes apart in World of Warplanes right now because it's in open beta at long last. Finally, you can enjoy the thrill of carefully lining up your shot only to be shot out of the sky by someone you never saw before you can actually pull the trigger.

Most of the beta world was fairly quiet this week, possibly owing to the holiday. The people who soldiered on seemed to do pretty well by it, with Dragon's Prophet getting a big beta content bump and The Elder Scrolls Online sending out another wave of testing invitations.

You want more? Well, take a glance past the break and see if there's another game to strike your fancy down there. As always, let us know if something managed to sneak under our radar.

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Betawatch: June 22 - 28, 2013

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Why this isn't in every game baffles me.
This week has been pretty quiet for games going into or leaving beta, but EverQuest has started testing its Heart of Fear update, which apparently involves players riding on giant disembodied hands used as mounts. So that makes everything bright and wonderful within the world again because you can't say that isn't hopelessly awesome.

Beyond that, MU Rebirth is allowing signups for its closed test. Arena of Heroes has opened up for everyone who enjoys cross-platform MOBA play. Firefall is readying the last bit of its pre-open beta, WildStar is teasing us with patch notes, and Final Fantasy XIV is getting more beta teasers. It's a pretty normal week, in other words.

But there's also a huge list of games past the cut! Is that normal? Yes, yes it is, even if it might be missing a few games that we've removed (like Broken Realm, The Mummy Online, Lunaria Story, Scarlet Blade, Smite, Aurora World, Born to Fire, Dragon Crusade, Living After War, Maestia, Traveller AR, and Xulu Universe) for various reasons. Take a look for more games in testing, and if you notice something that's crept into launch without calling it that, by all means let us know in the comments.

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Betawatch: June 15 - 21, 2013

Betas, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

This doesn't look like much of a desert.
This week, the biggest beta news is that Black Desert Online's beta testing has been slightly delayed as the developers put a final bit of polish on the game. Of course, that's just for the game's Korean beta, and considering how long it's taking ArcheAge to come over it's probably safe to bet on not seeing Black Desert Online for a while.

Beyond that, Neverwinter launched again (but this time for real, you guys) and Final Fantasy XIV rolled out a beta version of the community site in addition to the game's beta. Turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes also found the time to hit open beta, so if you feel like something with a bit slower action there's that option.

And, of course, we've got a whole list of games in testing just past the cut. Check it out, and if there's something egregious that we missed, feel free to point that out in the comments.

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