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Betawatch: February 8 - 14, 2014

Eliot Lefebvre

Is Final Fantasy XIV seriously back in beta again? Yes, but this time it's a beta on the PlayStation 4, all in an effort to ensure that the client works right on the new console before the official port. The first phase of testing starts on February 22nd.

Elsewhere in the beta world, Icarus Online Flying is entering open testing in Korea during the first half of this year, although whether or not the game will make it over here eventually remains to be seen. Mark Jacobs has also promised that Camelot Unchained will not be delayed due to the addition of any stretch goals, so that just limits potential causes for delays to everything else that usually delays MMO launches.

Our usual list of games along with our testing notes are just past the break. As always, if a game added a cash shop, moved to open testing, or otherwise crept under our radar, please let us know down in the comments.

Open testing phase
Massively considers a game to be in open testing if it has open, public signups and plans for a server wipe before its official launch. Self-described "open beta" MMOs that have soft-launched with functioning real-money cash shops will not be listed.

Blood and Jade (R2Games): Announcement, Signup
Inferno Legend (Changyou): Announcement, Signup
Margonem (Garmory): Signup
Project Gorgon (Project Gorgon): Signup
Sevencore (Ignited Games): Announcement, Signup
SmashMuck Champions (Kis Studios): Announcement, Signup, /r/ (early access on Steam now)
Taikodom (Gamersfirst): Announcement, Signup
UFO Online (gamigo): Announcement, Signup

Closed testing phase
We consider an MMO to be in closed testing if it features either future test signups or an ongoing semi-private beta/alpha that cannot immediately and freely be accessed by the general public. Some are restricted by NDAs. This still qualifies even if the test does feature an active cash shop so long as the signups are restricted; it also qualifies if the testing is limited to purchasers.

DayZ (Bohemia Interactive): Announcement, Signup (access is for early purchasers on Steam)
Earthrise: First Impact (SilentFuture): Announcement, Signup
Elite: Dangerous (Frontier): Announcement, Early Access Purchase
End of Nations (Trion): Announcement, Signup, /r/
EverQuest Next Landmark (Sony Online Entertainment): Announcement, Signup (in paid alpha)
Face of Mankind (Nexeon): Signup
Infinite Crisis (Turbine): Announcement, Signup
League of Angels (GTArcade): Announcement, Signup
LEGO Minifigures Online (Funcom): Announcement, Signup (launching summer 2014)
Lime Odyssey (Aeria Games): Announcement, Signup
Line of Defense (3000AD): Announcement, Signup
MU Rebirth (Webzen): Announcement, Signup
Origins of Malu (Burning Dog): Announcement
Starlite (Project Whitecard): Announcement, Signup (fka Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond)
Strife (S2 Games): Announcement, Signup
The Elder Scrolls Online (Zenimax): Announcement, Signup (launches 4/4/14)
The Repopulation (Above and Beyond): Announcement, Signup, /r/
TUG (Nerd Kingdom): Announcement, Signup
Venus Rising (FoxySoft): Announcement (fka Orgia Romanus; adult MMO, possibly NSFW)
WildStar (Carbine/NCsoft): Announcement, Signup

Testing Notes
Reader and all-around talented individual DeadlyAccurate asked last week: Is Earthrise still a thing? Unfortunately, the game has been silent for a long time, with the developers promising that something new was on the horizon toward the end of January on the game's Facebook page. What's interesting here is that this may or may not be a legitimate statement. The corporate side of the developers hasn't been much more active, but it has pushed out a couple of mobile titles whilst remaining silent on the Earthrise front.

Is the relaunch still happening? It's too early to say that it isn't, but if we've still seen nothing by the end of March, odds are good that it's not coming at all. And it's not the first game that's been bought by a developer that believed that fixing a failed game would be easier than it turned out to be. The fact is that very few "relaunches" actually work out and improve a game's fortune. Usually, the reasons a game failed to attract players the first time still prevent it from attracting players the second time around.

Keep your eyes open for more news on the title, but don't be surprised if the last update is the Earthrise website quietly shutting down and vanishing in a puff of digital ether.

Betawatch is Massively's weekly report on the latest MMO alphas, betas, and other games still meandering toward an official launch. From ArcheAge to World of Warplanes, it's covered here, complete with sign-up links so that you too can perform the unpaid quality-control work otherwise known as game testing. Drop us a comment if we've missed one, and many thanks to Steven Eyerman for the Subreddit links!

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