Beta

February 22, 2014

Heroes of the Storm in Beta Testing

Powerful warriors from Azeroth, Sanctuary, the Koprulu sector and beyond have been sucked into the Nexus, a trans-dimensional storm. Stranded in the Nexus, these heroes engage in an endless battle for glory and survival.

Heroes Game Screenshot

Heroes of the Storm will be a free-to-play online team brawler for PC and Mac, starring your favourite Blizzard characters. The game is currently in beta testing as of 2014 and although Blizzard do not yet have a release date, they say that they should be in a better position to announce this after beta testing has started.

The game allows you to build and customise heroes from across every Blizzard universe to suit your play style. Team up with your friends and engage in fast-paced action across varied battlegrounds that impact strategy and change the way you play the game. In each match you can select from an array of Blizzard heroes and join a team to battle against enemy players, with the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy base.

Summon all your favourite characters: Thrall, Kerrigan, Diablo, Arthas, Zeratul, Tyrael and others from more than 20 years of Blizzard games. In Heroes of the Storm, players are distinguished through the accomplishments and overall success of their team. Every role is valuable and viable over the course of each match, and every player benefits from each hero takedown and each epic victory they contribute to. The battlegrounds in Heroes of the Storm mix up the experience with a variety of maps and advantages that you can unlock including powerful allies, friendly towns, and valuable vantage points offering multiple paths to victory and that reward teamwork, strategy, and creativity.

Heroes of the Storm Roles

This ‘team brawler’ is now available for beta sign-up via battle.net and for updates about the game and it’s expected release date keep an eye on the official website: http:/www.heroesofthestorm.com. You can also follow the game on Twitter @BlizzHeroes, and on the official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BlizzHeroes.

February 22, 2014

Upgrade to the desktop App for Battle.net

Blizzard Beta Launcher

In the months ahead, the game launchers for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III will be automatically updated to Blizzard’s new desktop app for Battle.net. This update is designed to improve the launcher experience and streamline Blizzard gameplay. But you don’t have to wait until then to check out the new launcher, the open beta test is underway and you can download and install the app now – I would highly recommend doing this, I love the app is absolutely brilliant: http://www.battle.net/en/app/

So, what does this app give you?

Single Sign-On
Log in once to access all your games and stay logged in for up to 30 days, easy.

Install and Auto-Update Games
Install games directly through the app and, you can leave the app running on your desktop and keep them up-to-date automatically even while you’re away from your computer.

Get the Latest News
No need to check elsewhere for the latest news and update information, the app is a central hub for this information. You can filter news based on the games you play.

For more information about the launcher visit: https://eu.battle.net/support/en/article/launcher-update-testing

January 3, 2014

Reports from the Frontier – A Starbound Journal

starbound logo

Greetings, Universal Travelers.

I have journeyed long and hard in order to bring you this information. After many arduous hours of mining, murdering, and mayhem, I am finally ready to tell you all about Starbound, and just how awesome it is.

The player starts as someone lost and abandoned by the culture from which they come. In a derelict ship, with no fuel, they beam down onto an unfamiliar planet. Anything can be waiting for them at the end of your quantum journey. It could be a village of friendly robot merchants, or the tomb of an ancient bird-man warlord. It could even be nothing, a planet with only resources and wildlife.

The first good point here: The player wants to wander and get lost. After the initial introductory quests that show how to construct a crafting table, an anvil, and initial armor and weapons, the game lets the player loose. It helps that the quest one gets after building an anvil is to construct a resource heavy marker that summons a boss which will almost assuredly destroy you.

Once that happened to me, I realized that I needed to leave my starting planet to find more resources. That is when the scope of the game hit me.

star map

Each of those star blips are individual systems with 2-5 planets within them. The only thing that limits where one can travel is the fuel reserve (fun point, the interstellar spaceship that the player uses is fueled by wood and coal) and the progression made (achieved by killing that boss I mentioned earlier).

In terms of how the game actually plays, those players with experience with Terraria will feel right at home save for a few mechanics associated with specific weapons (the Starbound spear is worthless, while the Terraria spear is surprisingly useful). You run around, gather resources to craft things, explore to gather more resources, and then build.

One thing that sets Starbound apart from other exploration games is the sheer amount of things that you can find to decorate your buildings and ship. The art associated with all these things is great too, as long as you can appreciate pixel art. For a game in early beta, it sure is nice on the eyes.

starbound house

Chucklefish also does a good job of paying attention to the community, and what players are doing. The beta was released with modding tools and people have taken advantage of that, as have the developers. There are currently 765 mods in the official mod forum, and that number rises every day. They have already integrated a few different mods into the main game, with the permission of the creators of course. These include automatic turrets, a skyrail system a la Bioshock Infinite, among other balancing mods. They way that Chucklefish is working with the community is commendable, and how I think all early access games should do things in the future.

All that said, the game is still in early beta. Crashes happen semi-frequently, the launcher is finnicky and likes to lock up on some computers, and the multiplayer takes some thinking to figure out. Also, there have been two universe wipes since release with one more looming on the future. One thing that concerns me is the lack of incentive to stay on one planet. Once I got my more advanced gear, I started to wander the universe, stripping resources out of planets and killing everything to get gear, then moving on to the next planet and doing it all again.

I am very excited about the future of this game, and cannot wait to see what Chucklefish is planning for the future. They have announced ship progression and customizable ships as possibilities for the future, as well as the implementation of the questing system. That said, there will not be a shortage of things to do in the game for the foreseeable future.

Anticipate more updates from me on the progress of the game, and even more to say once the actual release date is announced.

December 4, 2013

Starbound Beta Launches With Awesome Trailer

I have been following the development of Starbound, the newest game from Chucklefish, for what seems like an eternity.Starbound has oft been called a “spiritual successor” to Terraria, but this is a misnomer. Terraria and Starbound share an artist and basic gameplay premise, and that is pretty much where the similarities end. Today marks the launch of the first stage of the open beta. You can buy the game on Steam for 15 dollars and get started as soon as the download completes. Check out the trailer below and stay tuned from updates from me as the beta progresses.

June 7, 2013

MMO Update: Levelling up and getting set for ESO beta

TK MMORPG Update PictureMay has been an extremely busy month, but there is always time of course for some warcraft and I’ve been smiting my way to 90 with my priest, not far to go now 88 and counting. Also in a bold move, our 5-man dungeon team have decided to strike out on our own and set-up a brand new guild! Never ones to be afraid of a bit of hard work we realise we’ve got quite a way to go to make level 25 but we’re going to have fun trying, it gives us a chance to do the things we always wanted: to make a guild that is fun and social attracting like-minded people, using our professions to help our fellow guildmates and stocking our guild bank and especially knowing who to go to by actually having a guild website as well as plenty of officers who are online regularly. We acknowledge that we’re not epic, we’re all about the learning experience, and encourage others to come learn with us and not feel that they’ll be letting anyone down… we do that for ourselves mosts instances! So, it’s time for us to run some of those classic dungeons, grab a tabard and grind that rep, I see good times ahead. So it’s great news that Blizzard have released their in-game events page to the World of Warcraft Game Guide, the page lists all the different types of regular contests and celebrations in one place.

Also on my radar is the new Elder Scrolls Online developed by ZeniMax Online Studios which is currently scheduled for a 2013 release, but you can now sign-up for beta access here: http://elderscrollsonline.com/en/. If you loved Skyrim and you love MMO’s then this is one not to be missed. Set 1000 years before the events of Skyrim, Tamriel is in the midst of a struggle for the emperorís seat. The world has broken off into three alliances, each alliance contains in itself a triumvirate of races. There is the Daggerfall Covenant in the west (Breton, Redguard and Orc), the Ebonheart Pact of the north and eest (Nord, Argonian and Dark Elf), and the Aldmeri Dominion of the south and south-west (High Elf, Wood Elf and Khajit).

You’ll see that it shares it’s fighting style in part with World of Warcraft in that there is an action bar with six abilities and the associated cooldown timers but this is combined with swordplay which means you’ll be doing a lot of left and right clicking for certain abilities. But unlike Warcraft you weapons will also gain XP, level up and be granted skills. In lots of ways I compare the Elder Scrolls Online to the best parts of my favourite MMOs, World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2, as with GW2 Zenimax are emphasising that sense of exploration which is something that I know will be a big bonus to a lot of players.

Confirmed features to pique your interest:

  • Player vs Player (available after Level 10)
  • Available in three different languages: English, French, and German.
  • Time-travel will be featured in the game.
  • Mundus Stones will be used to give characters special abilities.
  • Fast Traveling will be available through unlocked Wayshrines.
  • Mounts will be included.
  • Classes will be used, including Dragonknight, Templar, Sorcerer, Warden, and Nightblade. Classes will only define the special abilities of the characters, not the weapon choices.
  • Synergy abilities are those that naturally blend players’ abilities together to bring down tougher enemies.
  • Players will be rewarded for successfully attacking, blocking and dodging through the “Finesse” system. Once significant finesse points are earned, players are able to use a designated Finesse attack, called Ultimate Abilities, which level up the more it is used.
  • Ultimate Abilities are Class-based, meaning that each class will have different Ultimate Abilities.
  • Crafting elements can be done in cities as well as in the wilderness.
  • Players will be able to own a pet, which they can use in combat.
  • Daedric Artifacts will exist in the game, and will be tied to the Fighters Guild storyline.
  • Only 5 Abilities will be available at once, however these can be changed.
  • Abilities can be leveled up to become more powerful the more they are used.
  • 6 Skills can be used at any one time: The first two are weapons skills. The next three are class skills. The final skill is the Ultimate Ability.
  • PVP: In Cyrodiil, combat will revolve around the capturing of Keeps and its surrounding buildings. It is designed for 10-15 players to take a keep, 10 for an Outpost, and 4-6 for a support structure such as a farm or Lumber Mill.
  • Fast Travel in Cyrodiil will be different from the rest of the game. Instead of the Wayshrines, players will travel to the Keeps that they control (Other than those currently under attack).
  • Siege Weapons will not only be in the game, but will be craftable and customisable.
  • Alliance Points: An Alternative advancement system, with 23 ranks at launch. A “lifetime alliance point tally”, each rank will give a new title and alliance icon. (Similar to faction ranks in Morrowind and Oblivion).
  • Guilds will exist in the game.
  • Guilds will be specific to a Faction’s campaign.
  • Public Dungeons will be instanced. That is to say, once you reach Level 50, new areas of the dungeon will open up, and you will be able to see the results of your actions previously in that dungeon. These are known as Adventure Zones.
  • Morality and Criminality will be added to the game after launch.
  • Emotes will be available, as will flags for the Megaserver to group players in.
  • Dragon Shrines will be in the game.
  • A list of wieldable abilities so far includes: Two-Handed, One-Hand and Shield, Dual Wield, Bow, Fire Staff, Ice Staff, Lightning Staff, Heal Staff, or One-Hand and Rune.
  • There are a total of eight ranks for increased character weapon proficiency.
  • Daedric Ruins are confirmed to be appearing in the game.
  • Crouching (Sneaking) will use Stamina, as will sprinting and blocking.

May 8, 2013

MMORPG Update: Neverwinter in Open Beta

“One hundred years have passed since the Spellplague forever changed the magical and mysterious lands of Faerûn. Mighty empires fell and great cities toppled, leaving only monster-haunted ruins and survivors struggling to rebuild.” http://nw.perfectworld.com

Neverwinter screenshot

The game actually looks quite interesting and I’m always ready to try something new to the MMO market. You have nothing to lose so why not watch the game trailer and take it for a spin? I’ve added this one to my Twitter feed so I can keep up-to-date as the game progresses.

Follow the latest news on the official website, Facebook or Twitter.

March 8, 2013

MMORPG Update: Getting to grips with Firefall

TK MMORPG Update Picture“Earth was torn apart by the destruction of both the Firefall event and the coming of the Melding. The only animal life that remains are left-overs from the Alpha Prime missions or mutated creatures that emerged from inside the Melding. Some are peaceful, most are not. Knowing which one you face will determine your survival.” http://www.firefallthegame.com/.

Finally I’ve had time to sit down and get into Firefall (currently in closed beta testing), I’m currently downloading the beta game client as we speak and I’m pretty excited to be starting a brand new game which aims to mix the best of MMORPG and MMOFPS. Therefore, this is likely to be a part 1 of 2 update where we can delve a little into the Firefall back story and set the scene, we can also look forward to what the gameplay might be like.

Firefall battleframes graphic

The story so far

Firefall is a catastrophic world event that takes place approximately 200 years in the future, it is a direct result of an asteroid collision with the Earth and the impact throws humanity into a new dark age known as ‘the nine year winter’. Many governments fell which left a space for new alliance to form. At the asteroid crash site the Japanese found a new and powerful element called crystite, this element had almost unlimited potential and became the primary power source used on Earth – but humanity wanted more. To achieve this aim they built space ships and travelled to the source of the asteroid which had impacted the Earth, on that remote planet they found an abundance of crystite and founded a colony known as Alpha Prime. But the 8-year round trip required to source the new element was too long and in time a method of travel between Earth and Alpha Prime was established known as Arclight. Arclight folded the fabric of space in order to create a wormhole capable of transporting matter large distances in a short time. Although tests on Earth were successful, the first Earth-Alpha Prime test was not, the act of creating an arcfold tore a hole in the fabric of space causing the emergence of a giant energy storm which became known as The Melding. The Melding mutated and transformed all life that it encountered and even the planet itself. Humanity came under attack by a new race calling themselves The Chosen and now struggles in an attempt to push them back and rid the Earth of The Melding once and for all.

Classes

Classes in Firefall are called Battleframes and there are currently five available:

Recon
A ranged light class focused on using sniper rifles, it has the lowest health but makes up in speed and agility.

Biotech
A medium healing class that uses a bio-needler gun as its main weapon, ability to heal is tied with damage primary through poison.

Engineer
A medium technology class that uses equipment to deal damage and support allies, with the ability to repair equipment.

Assault
A close range heavy class that uses the plasma cannon as its main weapon, slow dispersal but high damage.

Dreadnaught
A heavy class that has the highest health of all the available battleframes, this is the tank and uses an immense chain gun.

Gameplay

As well as the PvE game there are also 3 PvP arenas: Sunken Harbor (a simple team deathmatch map), Orbital Comm Tower (a capture/defend style of gameplay) and Blackwater Harvester (a capture and hold type gameplay), with a fourth announced which will be Moisture Farm which is a team death match, similar to that of Sunken harbor.

I haven’t heard of any free beta keys being still available, but if you want access to the beta environment you can still get in by becoming a founding member. There are three packages available, Ensign ($20), Lieutenant ($50) and Commander ($100) – any of these will get you immediate access into the game.

Looking forward to playing and I’ll be back soon with the next installment of my Firefall adventure.

November 26, 2012

Copacabana beckons as Firefall Beta is unveiled

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Red 5 Studio unveils a future Earth where it’s up to you to reclaim what’s yours.

Firefall Screenshot

There is a new MMO on the horizon, although it’s probably not like any MMO you’ve seen before. Described by Red 5’s Vice President, James Macualey and lead designer, Scott Youngblood as an “MMO Shooter”, this game is part shooter, part MMO, part RPG and part RTS. Firefall aims to improve upon the traditional questing models followed by other development companies such as Blizzard. The game is set on a future Earth where most of the population have been wiped out in a disaster which has created a ravenous race of creatures called The Chosen, it’s up to you to reclaim what’s yours and take back the Earth.

For much of 2012 Firefall has been in beta testing and this has allowed the development team to refine the game mechanics on a much larger scale than is conventionally seen with games like this, and it sounds like they are going to need this extra testing time because there is so much going on with this game, it’s ambitious to say the least. As I read about Firefall I notice more and more that Red 5 are mimicking the dynamic questing that we saw so prominently in Guild Wars 2, released this year, where players become part of world events that can happen anywhere and you instinctively form groups and alliances – and who can blame them, this dynamic questing is definitely proving a refreshing change from the norm and is definitely a hit with this player. It’s also going to be free-to-play, which no longer casts aspersions on the viability of the game, the free-to-play model is now a popular choice for both existing and new games to the market, e.g., swtor and GW2.

Firefall screenshot

What’s even more interesting about this game is that you can actually lose it, and when I say lose I mean that you can get kicked off the server! That’s something that I have never seen done in any MMO before, of course that really is the last straw, the aim is to work together to fight back The Chosen and keep hold of precious resources that give you the tactical advantage.

The release date for Firefall is set for Summer 2013, but you can sign up right now to join thousands of other players for the public beta weekends, where you can check out the first major city, Copacabana. The weekends are as follows:

Population Control: November 30th, 2012 until December 2nd, 2012
Chosen Invasion: December 7th, 2012 until December 9th, 2012

Or, to get free beta access you can get a beta code by picking up the Christmas edition of PC Gamer. Whatever method you choose you can find out more information on the beta weekends page of the Firefall website.

November 18, 2012

Ingress – The new Massively Multiplayer Online Game

“It’s happening all around you. They aren’t coming. They’re already here.”Offical Ingress Website

Ingress image of new energy around a monument

On the 15th November Google introduced it’s new MMO, Ingress, which is currently in beta testing for the Android platform. From the video, the game’s central theme is the leak of a secret project being run by Niantic Labs which has has released a new form of energy into the world – with certain places attracting both people and events. The project was discovered by a group known as the Resistance and their goal is to stop Niantic Labs from using the energy as a weapon to hack into people’s minds.

Using your Android phone as both a GPS device and game controller, you’ll be able to choose your faction and either hack or protect energy portals and annomalies at various points across the world, depending on what you choose – but you’ll need to actually be at the locations to engage with them, that’s another central tenant of the gameplay. Google’s Ingress is therefore using the largest in-game map ever, the real world!

To find out more about this new game from Google, why not request an invite to the beta test here: http://www.ingress.com.

Interested as always to hear your thoughts?

July 16, 2011

Uncharted 3 Beta Stats

It came, it saw, it blew our minds. The Uncharted 3 beta has wrapped up and now we have to wait until November to get to the fun again. Playstation posted some numbers on the beta saying it was the largest beta on the Playstation network to date. Here’s some food for thought:

-Total unique Beta players: 1.53 million people

-Total kills: 1.9 billion

-Total Cash collected: 1.4 TRILLION dollars (that’s greater than the gross domestic product of Spain, the eleventh highest GDP in the world!)

-Total shots fired: 48 billion

-Total matches completed: 22 million

-Total time played: More than 362 years worth of matches

Yea pretty insane it what I thought too.

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