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

SOS fully abandons its classic mode, and its Steam reviews are a dumpster fire

Outpost Games sent round a mailer this week announcing that SOS Battle Royale is now “free to play forever,” thanks to its latest patch, content update 4, which adds “a ton of new weapons, loads of new outfits, leaderboards, and a Season Pass through which you can earn great rewards.” Sounds nice, right?

Well, maybe take a jaunt over to Steam, where the game’s recent reviews have sunk to “overwhelmingly negative.” You’ll recall that the original idea behind the game was to toss 16 players into a map and have them play a 30-minute match to find a relic and escape in a helicopter, with up to three winners per match and the chance to coordinate via voice chat. There were plenty of survival mechanics along the way, including making your own weapons and traps to survive as the audience cheered you on a la Running Man.

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Star Citizen deep-dives its new grouping mechanics in a shortish Around the Verse

According to this week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse, the team’s been hard at work on facial rigging, mining, audio effects (yes, pew pew sounds), chat integration, ship power, overland biomes, and new guns.

Of course, the other big Star Citizen news this week is the release of alpha 3.2 to a huge wave of backers on the PTU. And one of its big headline features is the updated party system. That’s party as in grouping, mind you, not the kind with cake and champagne. The middle chunk of the episode focuses on that system and how it was influenced by player feedback. Turns out MMO players reaaaallly like grouping and piled on the demands for a better system after 3.1 released. Who knew, right?

The last half of the episode closes out with a lengthy lore section (Loremakers, which usually comes out earlier in the week), so all in all, you’re getting a pretty short development episode this round, but that’s probably OK since you’re getting actual content in the game instead. The whole piece is down below.

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Bethsoft alleges Behaviour and WB ripped off Fallout Shelter in the new Westworld mobile game

A trio of companies known best to our audience for their MMOs are gearing up for a big court battle in the streets of Sweetwater.

Bethsoft is apparently suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over alleged copyright theft in the brand-new Westworld mobile game. You’ll recall Behaviour from its development of MMO Eternal Crusade, and of course Bethsoft owns Fallout – it’s Fallout Shelter that Bethsoft believes was “ripped off” here.

Bethsoft says Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games. Apparently, Behaviour developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission.

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Blizzard appears to be reactivating old WoW accounts – go check yours [Confirmed!]

If you have a dormant World of Warcraft account, best give it a check: Redditors are reporting that their accounts are currently activated without subbing.

While some gamers are expecting it’s a bug that’ll soon be fixed, it’s also possible that Blizzard’s simply reactivating old accounts in conjunction with summer sale hoopla and summer vacation, all in prep for the expansion launch later this season. Given that WoWhead noticed old accounts have apparently been bequeathed Warlords of Draenor too, that might be a more likely scenario.

Chime in if you’ve found your account alive for no reason – mine has been off a few years and isn’t blessed today, apparently.

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Trion throws open Defiance 2050’s gates for another beta round this weekend

Trion is running yet another beta round for Defiance 2050 as the reboot heads to open testing on PC this weekend, starting tomorrow afternoon and running through Monday.

“Players taking part in the Open Beta will have the opportunity to check out the game’s new base classes, weapon enhancements and progression systems ahead of its release on PC, Xbox One and PS4 on July 10. Progress from Open Beta will not carry over into the full game at launch.”

As we previously reported, that launch will take place on July 10th, with a headstart set for July 6th, on all platforms. It’s a free-to-play game, though of course founder packs sweeten the pot.

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The MMOs of the Steam Summer 2018 Sale

Valve’s summer Steam sale is here, complete with a space theme. Here’s what’s notable in the pile this year and a bit beyond Steam too! Error… error… error.

On Steam…

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Champions Online slashes prices on freeform characters, three for 60 bucks

At the beginning of June, PWE announced big changes for Champions Online: It was planning to drop the game’s optional monthly subscription in favor of a one-time purchase premium pack. But players were deeply concerned over the move, chiefly because of the way freeform character slots work. Subscribers receive access to freeform characters – that is, characters who can take nearly any power from any tree rather than be hemmed in by an archtype layout, but losing that access would mean they’d have to pay the free-to-play price of $50 per character.

PWE wisely put the switchover on hold, but now, it appears it may have sorted out a solution, as it announced that it’s reducing the cost of all character slots and freeform slots “starting today” – which sure sounds like a permanent reduction. Freeform slots themselves now work out to $30 apiece or $60 for three, while character slots are 100 ZEN apiece or 10 for 700 – the latter are so cheap they may as well be free.

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Neverwinter counts 18M players as it celebrates its fifth birthday

Eighteen million! No, that’s not how many dollars you’ve dumped into your Steam account; that’s just about how many people have played Neverwinter in the last five years since it officially launched way back in 2013 on PC – now, of course, it counts people on Xbox One and PS4 as well.

“Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios are proud to announce Neverwinter, the free-to-play MMORPG set in the Forgotten Realms (and beyond), has officially reached its 5th Anniversary. Nearly 18 million adventurers worldwide have experienced the action-packed journey through several iconic Dungeons & Dragons settings and stories.”

Perfect World and Cryptic have put out infographic today, and yes, it includes the sorry fact that 14,000 of you rolled a Drizzt clone. GUYS. STOPPIT. There’s a brand-new developer video celebrating the occasion too. Happy birthday, Neverwinter!

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Bless Online patches in a 3v3 arena and class buffs as players call for server merges

Bless Online is trucking out a brand-new patch today. The highlight is the Certanon Arena, essentially a 3v3 best-of-five PvP minigame for level 45 toons; it’s subject to time gating, do note, and opens only at 6 p.m. EDT each evening. Neowiz has also performed a wide-ranging balancing patch on armor, with effects that pertain to every class in the game. Every class is further seeing its own tweaks; Berserkers and Rangers in particular will be pleased as punch with their righteous buffs.

Meanwhile on Reddit, players are currently debating whether the game should merge servers as a result of the loss of players – or they would be, if most of the threads calling for merges weren’t apparently being wiped away by the mods. A few stragglers referring to those threads do remain; one asserts that the studio might not care it’s losing players – after all, as one poster argued, “they’ve already got your money.”

The game peaked around 34,000 concurrent players at the beginning of its early access launch. Within the last day, peak concurrency has fallen to just over 7000 on Steam Charts.

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The Daily Grind: How much dough have you dropped on Steam in its lifetime?

VentureBeat noticed this week that it’s possible to figure out just how much money you’ve blown on video games, at least through Steam, by using Valve’s “account spend tool.” A lot of people clicking that tool are about to get a sobering reminder that they’d better stay on Valve’s good side if they don’t want thousands of dollars’ worth of games whisked away into an account black hole.

My own number… well, let’s just say that it’s not nearly as bad as I was fearing. I’ve spent far more money on World of Warcraft than I’ve spent on Steam. But that’s probably because most MMORPGs I’ve paid into for so many years aren’t there, and most of what I do buy on Steam is deeply on sale. And my husband and I have our accounts linked too, so we don’t double buy much. I escaped easy – less than the VentureBeat writer!

How about you? How much dough have you dropped on Steam in its lifetime? Does the number give you pause about just how inured to digital distribution we’ve all become?

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Worlds Adrift teaches you to git gud, promises instruments someday

Still having a rough time in Worlds Adrift? Bossa Studios has a new humorous guide out to help players “git gud.” Among the tips recommended by players: Use the builder to drop construction objects on your enemies’ head, point your cannon backwards to make yourself look less threatening, always ask before entering other players’ space, and cover your awesome ship with crappy parts to hide its awesomeness. Basically, be the Millennium Falcon.

Most recently, Bossa updated the game with the 0.2.1.1 patch, which added crouching, rolling, and sneaking, as well as improved the cameras, implemented an emote system, tweaked climbing, and fixed a ton of bugs. “YES – instruments are planned in the game,” says the studio.

This weekend, the devs are plotting multiple fun summer events across all the servers – make sure you check out the rolling schedule because there are indeed some sweet prizes, including engine schematic, cosmetics, lootbags, and “your ship immortalised in Dan Lish art.”

Git gud below.

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Black Desert’s weekly update introduces soccer-themed event, guild crafting overhaul, and summer sales

Gooooaaaalllll! Yes, Black Desert is getting into the soccer hype season with its Golden Goal event starting tomorrow. Slay monsters, fish, and harvest to collect event balls and then turn them all in for a special golden ball, then exchange that for actually sweet prizes.

Today’s update also includes a hefty overhaul for guild crafting, accuracy tweaks, and UI adjustments.

And of course, Kakao is already gearing up for the sale season as Steam’s summer sale is rumored to begin tomorrow. Black Desert’sPearifect Summer” kicks off today and runs through the Fourth of July, with all kinds of goodies marked down to just a handful of pearls, a pet pack, an “awakening adventurer” pack, furniture, and an absolutely spectacular horse and buggy set.

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