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Posts Tagged ‘Beta’

“An Hour to The Secret World’s Beta Information” or “I Better Get in This Beta!”

August 26, 2011 6 comments

Update (an hour later): Of course it is a little annoying when the timer runs out to 000:00:00… and nothing changes on the website and no new information pops up. Damn you Funcom! Damn you Ragnar!

Second Update: The developers update us with this tweet:

The Council of Venice has intervened and are delaying the start of the first phase of the Secret War by four hours. Stay tuned.

Funcom – The Secret World Twitter Account

Categories: The Secret World

“Quit Opening Rifts in My Heart!” or “The Perfect MMO Formula?”

February 4, 2011 3 comments

Apologies for the unintended hiatus, a lot was happening at work and I had literally no time to myself. I promised a quick review of Rift beta 4, and here it is.

Trion Worlds, quite possibly has figured out the ideal way to make an MMO: perfect and improve existing systems and norms without delving too much into new, experimental and risky ideas. This is the essence of Rift, it looks, feels and even plays like the most popular of MMOs, but incredibly polished, detailed and well-thought out. And if the above isn’t making much sense, just know this: Rift is an incredible amount of fun, without departing too significantly from core MMO ideologies.

I had a chance to play Rift Beta, albeit briefly, this weekend. I had some initial hiccups, notably the download rates and then connectivity issues, and blogging about said issues even incurred the wrath of an irate commenter. What set the tone for the following play session was a comment posted by a member of the development team over at Trion World, profusely apologizing and offering his help in whatever manner possible. The beta also got extended by a day, and I finally got a chance to play it on Friday night.

Rift is very simple at first glance, with a hidden level of complexity and depth beneath the seemingly innocuous surface. There are two factions of powerful beings, Guardians and Deviants, the chosen ones if you will, that represents the light and dark side respectively. Although the juxtaposition is not quite as black and white and more of a matter of perspective. I gravitate towards lawful good, so naturally I went with the Guardian faction, and the only race choice available was dwarfs. (Yes I know there are others, but as a life-long dwarf player, the other races practically don’t exist for me.) I also chose a class from four separate classes, and I went with a warrior. The final character was named Bronte, and looked remarkably like the stubby dwarf I have had playing WoW, I took a deep breath, and plunged into the world of Telara.

Nearly three hours later, way past the time I was planning on trying out Rift. I had to peel myself away because some of us have that called a job, that requires you to be well-slept and partially functional when you’re at it!

The UI is very familiar. The character, target portraits, the minimap, the action bar, the chatbox were nestled in comfortable, familiar positions. It looks like WoW, it feels like LOTRO, it plays like Aion, and I have a momentary sense of trepidation as the flaming wagon of countless WoW clones, most notably the Alganon wreck, flashes before my eyes. Gingerly I take my first steps and take my first steps. The quest log is familiar. I get my first weapon and open the character portrait to equip it. The character window feels familiar. I find a collectible book, and right clicking it simply files it away, and I can’t figure out how to access it, but it’s a nifty ittle mechanism for driving the lore.

And then I am asked to pick my specialization. This is when I realize that only four classes is extremely misleading. There are multiple sub-roles within each class and each one of these has it’s own detailed soul tree (more on this later). I went with a Riftblade Warlord, and the resulting combination, though initially confusing to wrap my head around, was astounding. Combat is fresh, furious, responsive and fluid. My only gripe is that it feels too easy. I am taking on multiple mobs at my level and wiping the floor with them, while my health is negligibly dented.

The whole experience seems very on-rails, and I don’t mean that in the negative sense. The first few quests had me kill a few mobs and collect some items. By the time I had finished doing that, I looked up and saw myself at the next quest hub, practically 10 feet from where I was supposed to the turn in the quest to Borrin Gamult at Thantic’s Fountain. I haven’t played the game enough to know if this is the exception or the rule, but it happened more than once, and that, to say the least was impressive. I was gently and subtly guided from mini-quest hub to mini-quest hub, and I didn’t even realize it.

I was also pleased with the sheer volume of options and tweaks you could make. The UI, is completely customizable, much like in LOTRO. Some of the most time-saving and useful little shortcuts are present, such as auto-loot and a quest tracker, and the options menu is well populated with little snippets for perfectly customizing your player experience. There are some other little things that I found useful. Pressing the ‘v’ key, for instance, flips the camera 180 without turning your character around: a handy tool if you really want to see the terrifying monstrosity that is hunting you down! The graphics look gorgeous, I experienced some lag, but that could be simply because I refused to play at anything below the ultra settings to enjoy the world of Telara in all it’s digitally rendered glory.

I called it a night when I reached level 6, which I know is very low, and I didn’t even get to experience the major selling point of the title: the rifts themselves. But I have an invitation to beta 5, and I will be sure expand on my experiences in the world of Telara. But all in all, I (surprisingly) had a blast, and look forward to get in some more playtime this weekend.

Categories: Beta, Rift

“Why I Hate Not Being in Rift Beta” or “So Many MMOs, So Little Time”

January 12, 2011 4 comments

Unlike some other folks, I am not happy that I didn’t get into the Rift beta. It also doesn’t help that everyone and their mother is in it!

While I agree with Syp in that betas really tend to ruin (or at the very least dilute) launch day experiences (I am going through that with Cataclysm at the moment – everything is new, except I experienced it all in beta four months ago), I am increasingly aware of how little time I have on my hands these days. I have a blooming career, I got engaged recently, and I am writing for both this blog and a local magazine. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

So keeping that in mind, it would be very beneficial to be able to experience betas of an upcoming MMO, both because I am very good at providing constructive feedback, and because it will clarify for me whether of not I want to invest in the title when the final (hopefully polished) title launches. And this applies to every beta out there, not just Rift.

Which side of the fence do you lean on? Would you rather get in the beta? Or avoid it for the launch day experience altogether?

Categories: Beta, Rift

Se7en Reasons to Try World of Tanks Beta: “You, Sir, Are a Freaking Tank” or “Lots of MMO, Little Bit of RPG-FPS-RTS-Simulator”

November 19, 2010 5 comments

First of all, I haven’t played the beta yet, so don’t be confused if anything I say makes it seem like I have had a lot of experience with the game. Second, if you are itching to try out a new title, especially one with such an interesting spin on your run-of-the-mill Orc/Human/Space Marine MMOs, perhaps World of Tanks is for you. More importantly, you can try out the game in it’s closed beta stage for free right now. Go here at the official website, and just enter your email address. I got my beta invite within an hour, maybe you will get equally lucky.

The beta is downloading right now, although I am getting abysmal (Hi Matthew!) download rates. As soon as I get in, I will put up a brief overview of what the game feels and plays like.

In the meantime, here is a short list of some of the reasons you should try out World of Tanks:

One: It’s free (for now!)

The game is in closed beta. That means the developers are testing out the game with literally hundreds of thousands of players online and you can be one of the fortunate few to get in on the action and see if the title is eventually worth investing into. You can register for a closed beta invite here.

Two: You sir, are a tank!

Your avatar isn’t an axe-wielding orc, or a dime-a-dozen human, or some fancy spacecraft for mining and other boring activities. You, sir, are a tank! 20 tons of iron and steel topped with a bigass gun. Rock on!

Actually, technically you are five tanks, because you can store that many in your hanger! And that is just to start off with. You can eventually purchase more hangers for your own fleet of tanks!

Three: And there are a lot of you!

World of Tanks offers over 150 different types of tanks to choose from, broken into four categories:

  • There is the light tank, capable of quickly out-flanking the opponents, and excellent for reconaissance
  • Then you can pilot the all-purpose, weather-resistant (I think) medium tanks
  • Not to mention the heavy tanks that you can use to carve up your opponents
  • And finally we have the sniper division with the long-range howitzer tanks

Four: MMO-RPG-RTS-FPS-Simulator

While this may sound suspiciously like marketing lingo, the developers of World of Tanks, to their credit, don’t necessarily restrict themselves to a specific genre or category of video games.

  • The simulator part is self-evident.
  • The tank itself isn’t just a giant heap of metal on wheels, it can be upgraded, improved and refitted to serve the situation at hand.
  • The core of the game is essentially hardcore tank-on-tank action.
  • And finally, unless you use clever strategy to out-think your enemy, brute force will almost never get you the upper hand.

I’m sold!

Five: Massive, Multiplayer, Online!

This part is a little exaggerated. While you can theoretically play with hundreds of thousands of players in the game, a single skirmish will only feature up to 60 tanks on varied battlefields at the same time. Then again, if you think about it, the most popular MMO in the world has 40 as it’s largest raid size. So 60 doesn’t sound so bad. Not to mention the fact that you are a freaking tank. Imagine how big you are (your tank avatar that is, you perv). Now multiply that by 60. There you go!

Six: Quick, Furious Combat!

Call me impatient, but part of the reason I get burnt out on WoW was because every large event takes too long to get into and get out of. An average raid lasts 2-4 hours. A PvP session (arenas excluded) takes 30 minutes to an hour. Enter World of Tanks. Your average battles range from 5-15 minutes tops. If at the end of 15 minutes tanks from both sides are present on the battle field and neither side’s base has been demolished, the game will be a tie, but it won’t trudge on indefinitly.

Short version: You won’t have to hunt down the flag carrier forever!

Se7en: Plethora of Features

  • Your tanks have machine guns for infantry.
  • There is a camouflage system implemented in the game.
  • The game will automatically place you in equal teams to ensure no one side is overwhelmingly powerful, thus mixing tank drivers from different starter nations…
  • … but the game also supports nation-on-nation warfare.
  • Maps are, on average, 1 square kilometer a piece.
  • Buildings can be used as cover; you can perforate a wall and fire through it while simultaneously protecting your tank from enemy fire.
  • Tanks will have crews; crew skills will determine tank performance.
  • There is an in-game economy for tank parts and upgrades between players.

That was more like fourteen reasons right there. Still need convincing? Here is a detailed FAQ.

Blast away!

Categories: Beta, Preview, World of Tanks

“APB Beta Keys” or “20,000 Keys Still Left!” Pt. II

June 11, 2010 1 comment

Today marks the launch of the brand spankin’ new PCGamer website: http://www.pcgamer.com. And in honor of this launch, the site is giving out not one, not two, but 20,000 beta keys for APB. All you have to do is head on over to the website, and make register!

Hurry while supplies still last!

Here’s the official word:

“The first 20,000 people to register at PCGamer.com will receive a key to the city for Realtime World’s forthcoming cops and robbers game, APB. By registering, gamers will get the chance to grab give away trial keys, free MMO items, and access to PC Gamer hosted events.”

Why are you still here? GO REGISTER!!

Categories: APB, Beta