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Launches

Betawatch: December 13 - 19, 2014

Betas, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Elite Dangerous
Elite: Dangerous formally launched this week, departing our Betawatch (Gammawatch?) list and flying free into the wilds of the MMO jungle. What else is new in the land of MMO testing?
  • Landmark's closed beta launched PvE combat this week; SOE says it will shift full-time to working on EverQuest Next in early 2015.
  • Shroud of the Avatar's devs spoke to us about its community and development process.
  • Black Desert officially launched into open beta in Korea.
  • Sandvox SkySaga began its alpha phase for UK players.
  • Skyforge launched a beta contest and demoed two classes.
  • Cabal II's closed beta is taking signups; the first focus test is slated for this weekend.
  • Valiance Online kicked off a Steam Greenlight campaign. It's currently in pre-alpha stress testing.
  • Space strategy MMO AD2460 leaves testing and launches on December 29th.
  • MapleStory 2 will begin closed beta signups in Korea next week.
  • Albion Online's winter test begins January 26th.
  • Rainbow Saga softlaunched into open beta.
  • MMORTS Siegelord's closed beta began this week as well.
Read on for the complete Betawatch list.

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Hearthstone now available worldwide on Android devices

Fantasy, Launches, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Hearthstone

hearthstone
After a soft launch in select countries on Android devices, Hearthstone is now available worldwide for Android gamers.

To run it, you'll need to have an Android device that's at least 6" or larger. Like the other platform versions, the Android edition of Hearthstone will sync up with your Battle.net account and allow you to use your existing cards (if you have any). Plans are in the works for an Android version to work on smaller-size phones.

Hearthstone recently won the award for Massively's Best Pseudo-MMO of 2014. Android players can snag it on Google Play or through Amazon.

Leaderboard: Are you playing Elite: Dangerous this week?

Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Leaderboard, Elite: Dangerous

I'm vacationing from Massively this week, but I'm not vacationing from MMOs. Unless Elite: Dangerous isn't technically an MMO. Maybe it isn't, I dunno, because I haven't played long enough to form an opinion just yet. Anyway, Elite! Launched yesterday! Yay! Maybe after my vacation I'll manage to write something more in depth, but for now that will have to suffice.

What about you, Massively readers? Are you playing Elite this week? If so, what do you think?

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Space strategy MMO AD2460 launches on December 29th

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Launches, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Browser, MMORTS, Miscellaneous, Subscription

AD2460
After two months in open beta, space strategy MMO AD2460 has announced its official launch for December 29th. The spiritual sequel to 2000's Planetarion, AD2460 is playable in-browser, meaning it works on mobile too. Players will be spending their time developing alliances and empires and fleets, and once the game is out of beta, they can expect to pay $1 a week in sub fees.

Fifth Season's Christian Lassem dropped by our comment section earlier this fall to dispel confusion about the game and show off a slice of combat via video, which we've included below.

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Elite: Dangerous' launch-day roundup

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Business Models, Launches, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite
Successfully Kickstarted just over two years ago, David Braben's space MMO Elite: Dangerous formally launched early this morning, a rare buy-to-play entry in the MMO market and one of the most high-profile Kickstarter MMOs to actually reach launch to date. If you're heading to the comments right now to inform us that Elite isn't an MMO because of its single-player mode, know that the tide's against you; even Frontier, in the midst of controversy over the cancelation of its originally promised offline mode, justified that decision because Elite is an MMO and "technically [...] always has been."

Elite: Dangerous won Massively's Most Underrated MMO of the year by a hair just last week. Check out the launch trailer and our roundup of the best Elite news, streams, and hands-on articles by the Massively staff below!

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The Think Tank: What was the best MMO launch of all time?

Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Atlantis - Thomas Fawls
After any year of bad MMO launches -- so, you know, pretty much every year -- we pause for a moment of reflection and comparison. Was this launch really the worst ever? Or is it just the freshest?

We're going to turn that question on its head for today's Think Tank. I didn't ask our writers about the worst MMO launch ever; I asked them to name the best. Plus, everyone knows Anarchy Online was the worst. Everyone!

So which high-profile MMO launch was so great that future MMOs should be aspiring to match and exceed it?

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The Crew accidentally erases player stats

Bugs, Launches, Miscellaneous, Buy-to-Play

the crew
Whoops: It seems as though The Crew's launch wasn't without a few speed bumps after all.

Ubisoft admitted that the game's servers had been erasing or showing incomplete player statistics due to a minor issue. Before you get frightened that the game has erased your identity and progress entirely, know that the good news is that "major data" weren't affected at all and that a patch is coming to fix the problem.

The Crew launched on Tuesday, December 2nd. Ubisoft refused to provide the media with review copies of the game.

Elite: Dangerous is due for zero more wipes, releases launch trailer

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite
If you weren't clear on whether Elite: Dangerous has launched yet, prepare to remain slightly unclear. Frontier Community Manager Edward Lewis hit the forums earlier this week to clarify that the gamma 2 test phase open to backers will not be wiped prior to next week's official launch:
Hi guys, This is just a quick update to confirm that there won't be a wipe at launch.
So it's not formally launched until December 16th, but it's pretty much launched in the ways that matter. Lewis further dismissed concerns about exploits benefiting early access players. "We're looking at ways to find people who have used exploits. Don't worry about that! But also, don't worry about it if you have used an exploit - the guys on the dev team know the difference between testing something out and abusing the systems!"

Massively's Mike Foster toured the game a few weeks ago, writing that "the gamma version finally brings Frontier's full vision into focus, and the result is a challenging, complex title." The buy-to-play MMO took home Massively's Most Underrated award this year.

We've got the new launch trailer tucked behind the break!

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SWTOR releases Shadow of Revan trailer to celebrate official launch

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Launches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

SWTOR
Early access for Star Wars: The Old Republic's Shadow of Revan expansion technically opened last week, but for non-subscribers, the formal digital launch date is today. Predictably, BioWare has released a new trailer to coincide with the official launch. Spoilers: Revan, lightsabers, ominous proclamations, etc.

Massively's Larry Everett explored the plotline and soloability of the expansion in his column last week. Enjoy the trailer below.

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Not So Massively: Hearthstone's expansion, The Crew's launch, and Dead Island: Epidemic's beta

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Expansions, Launches, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warplanes, MOBA, League of Legends, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone

NSM - Hearthstone
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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H1Z1 early access available January 15

Horror, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, H1Z1

SOE's H1Z1 zombie sandbox is coming to Steam early access on January 15th. CEO John Smedley posted the news to Reddit a few moments ago, and he was quite specific about who should purchase the title in its current form.

"Is it going to be a finished game? Absolutely not. If that's what you're expecting, DO NOT BUY EARLY ACCESS," he wrote. "The goal here is to let you in early and help us mold it into a game you want to be a part of for quite a long time." Smedley went on to mention the entry-level price point ($19.99) and he also addressed comparisons between H1Z1 and Day Z.

"Is H1Z1 going to be better than Day Z day one? No it won't. We'll get asked that question a lot and I wanted to be up front about it," Smedley explained. "We're not as feature-rich and they have a lot of really cool stuff we just don't have yet. That being said, we're also a different game. We're an MMO and our goals are to create a large scale world that gives you the incredible feeling of being a survivor in a zombie apocalypse."

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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Line of Defense Tactics makes in-roads with mobile devices

Sci-Fi, Launches, Mobile

tactics
Line of Defense Tactics, the RTS spin-off of the upcoming sci-fi MMOFPS by Derek Smart, is now available on both Windows 8.1 and Windows Mobile. The game costs $9.99 and $4.99, respectively.

The team's also added a $9.99 version on iOS devices that includes the full Lyrius campaign, in-game currency, and weapons. Both Android and iOS mobile platforms have access to the first three missions of the squad-based game for free.

Line of Defense Tactics actually allows players to query the MMO database for information on units and equipment to help in their tactical battles.

Age of Wulin officially releases in Europe alongside a major update

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

age of wulin
It's a big day for Age of Wulin, as the martial arts sandbox is both officially releasing in Europe and pushing out a new content patch.

The update, Chapter 3: Wisdom is a Journey, marks the end of open beta for EU's counterpart to Age of Wushu. Wisdom is a Journey includes a new internal skill, a higher skill cap, team activities, titles for divorced characters, and PvP tournaments. For those who crave the game's open world PvP setting, there is now the option to become a "Jianghu treasure assassin" and kill all rivals who are out for the same glorious rewards.

You can read up on the patch notes for Chapter 3 as well as get an overview of the update's features on the official site.

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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Featured Stories

Betawatch: December 13 - 19, 2014

Posted on Dec 19th 2014 8:00PM

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: MMO of the Year

Posted on Dec 19th 2014 11:00AM

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