Brianna 'Bree' Royce

Editor-in-Chief

Bree is an unrepentant escapist with a predilection for MMOs. When not compulsively proofreading cereal boxes and newspapers, she can be found modding, PvPing on the auction hall, and touring the Next Big Thing with her guild on a quest for the elusive perfect game.

Working As Intended and Ask Mo are her pet op-ed columns, but she also pens Daily Grinds and compiles both Massively Overthinking and the Week in Review. You can hear her ramble about MMOs every week on the Massively OP podcast. If you're nice, she'll even talk about something other than Star Wars Galaxies.

Personal blog: Skycandy
Twitter: @nbrianna
Favorite MMOs: SWG, CoH, Glitch, GW2, GW1, WoW, MH

Meta: Patreon has rolled back plans to change fee structure

Hello MOP readerbase! As you are likely aware, Massively OP’s funding is a hybrid, coming both from advertising and from reader donations, most of the latter through Patreon. Last week, Patreon announced changes to its fee structure that had us all scrambling, as it would have affected sites and donors like ours and moved transaction fees from us to you in a way that would’ve made it hard to justify small monthly donations, which are the majority of our contributions and those for other indie creators on the platform. We alerted our backers on Patreon about the proposed changes last week and were as concerned as you about the future of the platform and whether it was in our and your best interests to stay on it.

I am relieved to report today that Patreon heard the public outcry over the changes and announced today that it will not be implementing those changes.

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Crytek sues Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium, alleging copyright infringement

Update: We’ve updated with CIG’s official statement to us below.

Crytek is suing Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries, the companies behind the sprawling and controversial crowdfunded MMO Star Citizen.

In documents filed with the California Central District Court yesterday, Crytek alleges that CIG infringed its copyrights by using CryEngine to develop non-Star Citizen game assets – specifically, Squadron 42.

“Crytek has not been compensated for Defendants’ unlicensed use of Crytek technology in the Squadron 42 game, and has been substantially harmed by being deprived of that compensation, which would ordinarily include a substantial up-front payment as well as a substantial royalty on game sales,” plaintiffs argue.

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Lineage 2 Revolution patches in 50v50 guild battles and 30v30 open sieges

Mobile MMO sensation Lineage 2 Revolution has rolled out a big update today. Netmarble says the patch includes plenty of content for fans of large-scale PvP in particular as well as new servers to spread out the apparently burgeoning playerbase (spread across 54 countries).

The first new bit is Fortress Siege, a Friday night 50v50 guild war that clans will have to bid to participate in. The other is called Open Siege, and that’s a 30v30 battle open for everyone level 11 and up.

“In celebration of the Open Siege update, the schedule for Open Siege will be adjusted for the first week of the update: A total of five Open Siege will be held – Wednesday (December 13) and Saturday (December 16) on the first week, and Tuesday (December 19), Thursday (December 21), and Saturday (December 23) on the second week. Schedule will resume to every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from the following week. (Schedule is subject to change with notice).”

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Black Desert’s Mystic is fully playable today, just watch out for the yeti

Did ya roll your Mystic last week to get all your free loot in the MMO we just named most underrated of 2017? If not, then you should boot up Black Desert today as you can actually play her, not just play character customization. The game’s seeing the benefit of the client optimization Pearl Abyss has been talking up too.

“With the release of the long-awaited Mystic, please enjoy leveling this dazzling class while stacking up on cool rewards. Meanwhile, the abominable Yeti, Piku, has been sighted near Alejandro Farm. When the blizzard hits, that’s when you know Piku has appeared. Make sure to have a special Frosted Matchlock to take this monster down. In addition, a notable announcement we want to make is that our game client has tremendously reduced in size where its 27 GB now!”

Don’t forget that Kakao is running specific level-up events right now to make catching up with the new toon a bit easier and more rewarding. Massively OP will be streaming some Mystic gameplay tonight, so check back on OPTV at 8 p.m. EST this evening!

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Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Most Improved MMO of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Most Improved MMO, which was awarded to The Elder Scrolls Online last year. All live MMOs, regardless of release date, were eligible for this award, provided they made improvements this year. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Most Improved MMO of 2017 is…

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Classic EverQuest’s Ring of Scale expansion is live

EverQuest II isn’t alone in getting a big expansion this season: Classic EverQuest has gone live this week with Ring of Scale, an expansion name that confuses everyone except people who have saved space in their brain for Norrathian factional lore for some reason, like yours truly, and yep, it refers to the dragons.

EverQuest: Ring of Scale is the epic conclusion to the story that started in the previous expansion, Empires of Kunark. This expansion raises the level cap to 110 and adds six new zones to explore across Kunark. In Ring of Scale, the story leads up to an exciting journey into the depths of Veeshan’s Peak. In addition to nine new raids, there are new missions and quests, including a challenging tradeskill quest line. There are also new spells, combat abilities and alternate advancements for players to earn.”

Old school MMO gamers will be paying $34.99, $89.99, or $139.99 for the box, depending on which flavor they need and which of the extras appeal most, though that’s discounted if you’re subbing. Also worth noting is that each of the editions includes access to all previous expansion content (including last year’s EOK), so it’d be a good way to catch up. Daybreak even did a video for the expansion. Fancy! You can watch it below.

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Pantheon’s begins pre-alpha testing for high-end backers

It’s a big day for indie MMORPG Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, as it’s the first day the gates open to external pre-alpha testers to help test the game.

“Our testers are starting off in Thronefast, but not a complete, fully-polished, ready-for-shipping Thronefast,” Visionary Realms wrote this morning. “They’ll get to literally see the game grow around them as they help us squash bugs, offer feedback and be a part of the development of this grand MMORPG, arguably earlier than public has ever been invited into an MMO – while there’s still grayboxing!”

As we’ve previously covered, you do need to have purchased the Originator’s package to get into this stage of testing; it’s currently a thousand-dollar package, so it’s not for the casual tester but rather the hardcore backer. “Originator’s packages are still available until December 20th, after which they will no longer include Pre-Alpha access,” warns Visionary Realms.

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Black Desert’s Pearl Abyss on feedback, cadence, and avoiding ‘aggressive’ business models

Pearl Abyss’ Dae Il Kim sat for an interview with InvenGlobal earlier this fall that’s just gone live, and while it might be a bit old, it’s packed with juicy quotes of note to Black Desert players.

For starters, Kim says the game’s UI is due for revision, and those reivisions were inspired by – wait for it – the mobile and console versions. That includes the minimap, mind you. And feedback from players? Yeah, he reads it, unfiltered and raw, to ensure that his team gets the “specific emotion” from player complaints.

But Kim does reject Inven’s assertion that the game’s update pace has slowed down, which is certainly the case in the West, where PA’s western publisher has reduced updates from weekly to biweekly.

“The [number] of updates is the same as it was before,” he counters. “I pushed myself to make a system which makes the updating progress much faster and easier.”

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Elder Scrolls Online’s winter festival quests send you party-hopping on December 14

So, that Orc… this seems safe, right? Right? Guys?

The Elder Scrolls Online is bringing back the New Life Festival again this Christmas, beginning on Thursday. “In order to join the festivities, acquire the free New Life Festival Scroll from the Crown Store. Use the scroll to find the New Life Herald Breda in a tent just south of Windhelm, Eastmarch,” ZeniMax says. “She will give you the initial quest, ‘The New Life Festival,’ which will unlock a series of nine uniquely festive daily quests.”

Those quests will ask you to travel around the provinces of Tamriel, taking part in the local wintertime festivities for each of the gameworld’s races. BYO trick swallowing-swords for the Orcish race’s Stonetooth Bash, party with the Nords in the totally-safe-sounding Snow Bear Plunge, and enjoy the Altmeri’s cheerful War Orphan’s Sojourn. Your reward for doing them all? Breda’s Bottomless Mead Mug collectible, which grants a nice experience bonus during the festival. It stacks with other experience bonuses, too.

And what Christmas event would be complete without lockboxes? The good news is you can get some themed ones for free by completing the quests. There are some new goodies for direct-sale too, like the 10K-gold New Life Bonfire.

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Ship of Heroes recaps 2017, teases Christmas event, and looks ahead to 2018’s beta

Who says you have to have launched to have holiday events? Not Ship of Heroes. The City of Heroes-inspired indie superhero MMORPG has a new video out this afternoon teasing what will eventually become its Christmas event once the game is in a playable state.

“Meltdown is collecting Christmas gifts by racing around Apotheosis City,” Heroic Games explains. “As he finds each one, he opens it and receives both in-game money (Dust), and a gift that goes into his inventory. We’re also showing picture-in-picture clips of the most important milestones SoH has achieved in each of the last twelve months. Through the PiP, we are sharing an overall tale of success, of moving from a website with a bit of concept art and story, to our current working game prototype.”

The studio is also reminding fans that it’s still planning on launching open beta by the end of 2018 and that donations – with their associated rewards, including access to the alpha – are still open.

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Guild Wars 2’s Wintersday celebrations are live along with the condition and balance patch

Ahhhhh! What’s that thing up in the sky over Divinity’s Reach, the second-best video game city ever? Oh, don’t worry, it’s just Toymaster Tixx’s enormous golem airship, back to celebrate Wintersday. Nothing to concern yourself with!

Yes, Wintersday has returned to Guild Wars 2 today, bringing with it Tixx’s Infinarium, the Winter Wonderland jumping puzzle, Toypocalypse, the most epic snowball fight ever, and all the other shenanigans ArenaNet has on offer. Expect a revamp to winter achievements and awards clutter (like the old snowflakes) as well.

Today’s patch has more than just holiday hijinks, however, including modifications to the way conditions work in the game.

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ARK Survival Evolved’s paid Aberration expansion has launched

The delays are in the past: Aberration truly launches for ARK Survival Evolved today on both PC and console, marking the game’s second expansion pack and the first since ARK officially launched. Merry Christmas, here’s your “irradiated hellscape” to play in!

“Waking up on ‘Aberration’ – a derelict, malfunctioning ARK featuring an elaborate underground biome system filled with new challenges unlike those found on prior ARK maps. Extreme radioactive sunlight, earthquakes, and environmental hazards, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear, fantastical creatures like the Rock Drake and Basilisk, and more await survivors throughout these vast caverns. Beware the ‘Nameless’: unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids, which have evolved into vicious light-hating creatures, and the Reapers, massive alien monstrosities which can impregnate foes to spawn their offspring!”

As we’ve previously previewed, the expansion includes new genetically mutated creatures to tame and slay, 50 new craftable items (who doesn’t need her very own custom hazmat suit?), and new environmental hazards, like earthquakes, gas leaks, and radiation exposure (ah, a use for that suit!).

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Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Biggest MMO Story of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Story, which was awarded to the death of EverQuest Next last year. This isn’t an award based on popularity as measured by hits or comments, and it’s not for a single article; it’s an award for an ongoing narrative or event of deep importance and significance for the genre in 2017. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Biggest MMO Story of 2017 is…

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