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

MMO Week in Review: Secret World Legends’ soft launch (June 25, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Ready or not, The Secret World has become Secret World Legends this weekend as Funcom game soft-launched into the headstart of its reimagined MMORPG. The launch hasn’t been without its issues, however, including today’s downtime and patcher problems, though the weekend revelation that vets will get more than they expected has been welcome.

Meanwhile, Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood formally launched, racking up praise from our veteran players.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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Cloud Imperium rejects wild claim that Star Citizen is ‘owned by a bank’

The Star Citizen subreddit is aflame this weekend after bloggers on multiple sites and social media platforms, seemingly spurred on by a certain self-proclaimed Internet Warlord, have held up recently disclosed Cloud Imperium loan documents as “proof” that the company is close to failure and in danger of losing game assets allegedly put up as collateral.

Redditors have sought to counter that narrative, arguing that it’s part of a multi-year FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) campaign by Star Citizen detractors. They point out that securing a line of credit is not even remotely uncommon (and is in fact wise) for a large corporation with strongholds in multiple countries, given current interest rates. Others suggest that the “bank” is actually a wealth management company known for investment and that no bank of this caliber would loan a large sum of money if it had little expectation of remuneration, collateral or not.

We reached out to CIG’s PR firm for clarity; turns out the company lawyer just responded on the official forums with the official statement:

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen sells 14K concept ships in 24 hours (June 24, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen followers once again proved their game’s dominance by purchasing 14,000 of its new Nox concept ships in less than 24 hours, bringing the game’s UEE Fleet up to 1.3 million ships total. The cheap version is $35, if you’re wondering.

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation began its summer crowdfunding drive, Mark Kern’s Em-8ER funded again on Indiegogo, Dogma Eternal Night has a new test site, Chronicles of Elyria players created a handy race map, ROKH deployed a new crafting UI, The Exiled posted a state-of-the-game missive, Exile Online is running a GoFundMe, AQ3D is taking the grind out of its leveling curve, and Elite Dangerous players are staging an event to put pressure on Frontier for bug fixes. Plus, over in Crowfall, devs talked up their cell size changes and planned out their influencer program.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

(Thanks, fastcart, Francis, and Stuart G!)

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Pitching a tent in Camelot Unchained

City State’s Tyler Rockwell has returned again this week to helm another Camelot Unchained update, and my favorite part is the tents. Seriously, how many MMORPGs have tents at all? Let alone a dozen or more of them? I’m looking forward to structures that are somewhere between “bank box” and “McMansion.”

There’s plenty of serious stuff, too. Rockwell says the team’s been focused on shadows, animations, more seamless zone transitioning, item stacking, one-handed weapon combos, two-handed sword animations, resource nodes, and back-end architecture. There’s also a look at the game’s burgeoning dock assets, so when you’ve packed up your tent, you can sail away. Check out the new pics and test videos!

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Massively Overthinking: Forced socializing in MMORPGs

Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.

“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.

There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.

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SuperData May 2017: WoW recombinated, Dota 2 in the top 10, and Pokemon Go out

Almost lost in the buzz today was the release of SuperData’s rundown of the global digital games market for May. You’ll notice immediately that World of Warcraft has once again been rejoined! SuperData had split the game into east and west versions for its January report, then botched the entries in February and hastily repaired its graphic to rejoin the two; in March, the WoWs were one from the get-go but split up again in April. Now we’re back to one. It’s still not clear what’s going on there.

In any case, it’s allowed for a new entry on the PC side: Dota 2, which recently patched in PvE, apparently to good effect. On the mobile side, Pokemon Go has vanished entirely from the top 10, though we won’t be surprised to see it return next month as the summer events heat up.

Overwatch shows continued growth,” writes the research firm. “Overwatch digital revenues are up from April but down from May 2016, when it launched. Additional Content revenue hit a new high in May on the back of a one-year anniversary event.”
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How Star Citizen uses science to build out its galaxy

This week’s episode of Star Citizen Around the Verse sees Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts and Eric Kieron Davis bookending Foundry 42, Ship Shape, and solar system segments. From the Foundry 42 Frankfurt office, Development Director Brian Chambers checks in to discuss new hires, level design work, landing zones, atmosphere mapping, buddy AI, enemy reactions, planet surfacing, outpost lighting, environment art, and multiplayer persistent universe gameplay testing (yay!), while Ship Shape is aimed at you motorcycle lovers.

“Being able to see your footsteps in the snow or have your vehicle kick up dust while speeding across the desert are those little details that’ll make you believe that you’re really in those environments and be much more immersive, and you know me – I love immersive,” Roberts chimes in.

The best bit is easily the solar system segment, but I’m biased – I married an astrophysicist. The devs explain how they use the Solar System Ed (SolEd) to build out the parts of their galaxy in the service of the Star Map, making use of volunteer astronomers and other scientists to vet their ideas for scientific plausibility. Fun!

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Secret World Legends’ headstart launches today

Pack up your stuff, The Secret World fans: It’s movin’ day, at least if you don’t care about playing on Steam, as Secret Worlds Legends’ headstart period for veteran The Secret World players and beta testers begins today.

Funcom’s said the headstart hasn’t technically begun just yet — we still don’t know when the flag will drop — but that preloading is underway. [Update: Expect it live at 2 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest tweet nope, live at 4 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest-latest tweet.]

The studio outlined its legacy transfer system last night; your accounts should already be linked (don’t go making a fresh account) and allow you to reclaim and transfer your patron time, lifetime sub status, cosmetics, mounts, and other bits and bobs. You’ve got until August to take advantage of all that.

Stay tuned for Larry’s impressions and MJ’s stream later today, and in the meantime, check out our roundup of guides, interviews, and news leading up to today.

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City of Titans demos animations in new video

City of Titans has this week posted a new video dubbed “Animation while Holding Objects,” which kinda sounds boring, but it’s a superhero MMO — you’re not gonna get far without some sweet spinning melee moves, right?

“What to Look For: It’s a big sword attack animation, but he’s holding a bow in his other hand,” says Missing Worlds Media. “Proving we can do this opens new possibilities for chaining attacks using different weapons/props. Also, the changing FX – as we explained in our powers update, YOU’RE going to be able to pick which one you get.”

On the other hand, MWM says to ignore “almost everything else. Animations, FX, and props are ours but all else is placeholder/test environment.”

Take a peek — it’s progress!

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The Daily Grind: How much realism is too much in an MMORPG?

In yesterday’s comments on the Shroud of the Avatar AMA article, MOP reader squidgod2000 drew everyone’s attention to an overlooked bit in the Q&A that discusses nutrition in the game. I knew that food was intended to be a big deal in SOTA, but I had no concept of how far the game might eventually go — apparently a complicated system of calories, fat, and salt that affects a player’s stats. Richard Garriott says it’s all still a work in progress and only slowly being addressed (that goes for barfing up your food if you eat too much too!).

I love playing cooks in MMORPGs — let’s be honest, games are the only place I’ll ever be a great chef — so I most definitely want to see game mechanics in my sandboxes that make such consumables matter. I didn’t mind the various versions of “stomach capacity” Star Wars Galaxies implemented, for example. But I’m going to have to draw my personal line at counting calories in a freakin’ video game. Sorry, SOTA, but most of us have to do that and worry about our health or our relatives’ health in the real world.

And that leads me to today’s Daily Grind. How much realism is too much in an MMORPG?

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The MMOs of the Steam Summer 2017 Sale

After some ups and downs this afternoon — everybody loves the “try again later” message, right? — Valve’s summer Steam sale is finally underway and stable. Here’s what we’re looking at in our corner of the gaming world.

On Steam…

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Shot Online Golf’s closed beta test has begun

BREE: I can’t believe neither of you pranksters has taken the golf thing to make fun of yet.

JUSTIN: Just par for the course for us, Bree.

ELIOT: That’s a hole lot of assumptions. It’s not like we’re in a club, here.

JUSTIN: Little birdie told me it wasn’t a good story anyway.

ELIOT: With your eagle eyes, you can spot those. You’re good at driving to the point.

BREE: I’m just gonna screenshot this whole thing and run it as the post.

JUSTIN: Yeah it’s getting pretty rough. Putter there, Eliot, you’re a good punster.

ELIOT: Thanks, Justin; that really feels like a hole in one, coming from you.

JUSTIN: A slice of fresh conversation, this is.

ELIOT: Ironing out differences.

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Trove’s Megalithic update lands on PS4 and Xbox One June 27

Way back in April, Trion teased a “mega” 2017 update for Trove intended to bring the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game update to speed with the PC version. Now, that update’s got a date, and it looks like the features are intact too:

“On June 27, Jurassic Era dwellers stampede their way into Trion Worlds’ epic block-building adventure Trove on PlayStation® 4 and Xbox One with the release of the game’s first major update on consoles. The Megalithic Update adds hours of new content with the Dino Tamer class, Jurassic Jungle biome, minigames, custom maps, and other features that expand the open world feel of Trove, which now has over 5 million players on consoles.”

There’s a trailer and new screenshots down below too. PC players, don’t despair; the same dev stream back in April promised another update after this one, PC included, featuring sub-classes, club upgrades, mastery rank tweaks, and plasma fishing. There’s a big bonus event running this weekend as well!

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