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

Build your very own Space Shuttle Endeavour in Star Conflict’s new event

Feeling nostalgic for the shuttle program? How about the Cold War manifested in an escalating space industry? MMO space sim Star Conflict has you covered: This week, it’s launched an event called Space Race as part of its Ancestral Heritage patch to help you recreate that bygone space tech age. Oh, and there are now plasma cannon. Did we mention that?

“While the American Space Shuttle Endeavour and the Soviet Spiral Aerospace System are visually almost indistinguishable from their historic predecessors, the space engineers of Star Conflict have introduced significant improvements. Now featuring plasma cannons and special combat modules, both spacecraft have become dangerous opponents even for the ships common to the fifth millennium. The Space Shuttle Endeavour is perfectly suited for steadfast pilots and can function as a full-fledged Frigate-class warship capable of protecting its allies in combat. Taking advantage of its heavy armor protection, players can activate the Endeavour’s ‘Phase Demodulator’ module which forces enemies to focus their fire on it and away from other team members in the fleet, providing cover during a fight. The Spiral Aerospace System will appeal to all pilots that like to rapidly change their tactics, as its two special modules allow it to function either as a single or two separate spacecraft. In its unified state, the Spiral is a potent Engineering vessel capable of assisting its allies in various ways, while in its separated state the detached module can, for a limited time, act as a very powerful interceptor.”

Through May 14th, Conflicteers will zip through multiple types of missions for rewards that’ll help you build your very own shuttle. Check out the vids below to get your nostalgia on!

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Former Funcom execs convicted, sentenced in insider trading case

The insider trading case that’s embroiled the former leadership of MMORPG studio Funcom has finally come to a close today with convictions and sentences for three of the four executives charged.

Recall that Trond Arne Aas resigned from his CEO role at Funcom in 2012 on the very same day that The Secret World launched (and underperformed), after which he sold off a significant portion of his stocks, prompting the investigation and the 2014 raid on Funcom’s offices by the Norwegian economic crime unit in connection with its securities fraud investigation. Last year, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime charged Aas and three other former company executives with market manipulation and insider trading for their role in what ØKOKRIM characterized as the 2011-2012 “pump and dump” financial scandal. The trial began last November; all four men maintained their innocence, with at least one attorney denouncing ØKOKRIM for “activism.”

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The Repopulation updates graphic shaders, QA pipeline ahead of May update

How’s The Repopulation coming along? Well, it’s coming. Last week, the newly installed Idea Fabrik developers discussed how the planned May update is progressing with bug fixes and a smoother pipeline for actually identifying, reporting, and correcting issues. The big news, however, is the new shaders that provide a big visual upgrade to the game world (though the team notes flora isn’t in — you can check out the before and after shots below).

“The lore team is looking at shoring up a few things, getting a consistency and looking at future ideas,” Hobble writes. “A new launcher is being built, this may or may not make 15.10.1, but there are a few inconsistencies to do with Steam/Stand Alone that we wish to sort out.”

And Hero Engine also brought back online the EU server, which was taken down for database issues yesterday.

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‘This universe is going to be awesome’: Chris Roberts on Star Citizen’s evolving moons

On this week’s Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner bookend two key segments. The first is a studio update with Foundry 42 checking in from Frankfurt; Brian Chambers describes the team’s efforts on procedural planets, spawning, moons, performance capture, the conversation system, NPC AI, and missions headed into Squadron 42.

The moons “are getting cooler every week, and they’re actually a really great test example where we’re sort of pushing our tech for the planets, which will also pay off on the more involved planets like Hurston or ArcCorp or Microtech and beyond,” Roberts says. “So it’s a great test bed, and it’s kinda fun for me, and we share it with you guys, but I sort of see the progress weekly in it, and it gets cooler and better. So this universe is going to be awesome.”

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The Daily Grind: Why is MMORPG server downtime still a thing?

Massively OP Kickstarter donor John has a very simple question to kick off our morning: Why the heck is server downtime still a thing?

“How can any modern MMO still have server downtime after something like Guild Wars 2? Are we bad consumers? Do we not care? Obviously doable and I work for a company with a web frontend and plenty of places easily have the same without (planned) planned downtime.”

I’ve always found that curious too. I can understand why pre-Guild Wars 2Guild Wars 1, really — games would be locked into their server downtime/uptime paradigm, but new MMOs? What’s your excuse? Why don’t all MMORPGs have a rolling patch system like GW2’s? Why is MMORPG server downtime still a thing?

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMORPG players a minority in their own genre?

Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.

“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.

“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”

Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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PSA: Get Elder Scrolls Online super cheap through the Humble Bundle this weekend

Thinking about giving The Elder Scrolls Online a go as the march toward Morrowind pushes on toward June? You probably won’t find a cheaper deal between then and now than the Humble Bundle’s prices.

You’re looking at $9.89 for the cheapskate version for people who just want a looksee, but the Gold edition for $29.99 is probably the best deal, since it includes most of (though not all) of the DLC packs to date.

Anybody picking it up?

Source: Humble Bundle. Thanks,
Darthbawl!

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ARK: Survival Evolved brings underwater doom to consoles

Remember the big ol’ underwater-themed ARK: Survival Evolved earlier this month that sent PC players into a tizzy over the big bird nerf? (Not the Big Bird nerf — that’s something else entirely.) That selfsame patch has landed for console players this week — without all the nerfs, mind you, as many (though not all) of those have been sorted out on PC in the meantime:

“This huge new patch (v256) arrives bursting with new content, including vacuum-sealed underwater bases and aquatic creature breeding, TEK teleporter pads and wireless generators, and four powerful creatures. Today also brings to console players the first major menu redesign of ARK, as the Inventory UI receives a complete visual and functional overhaul – introducing a modernized and streamlined new look. This is a huge upgrade that makes inventory management a breeze.”

Want more survival sandbox coverage? Check out our new column, The Survivalist, which covers ARK and the now dozens of other titles in this subgenre, and don’t miss our weekly ARK: Survival Evolved streams, which take place on our streamer’s very own ARK server (which you’re invited to join if you wanna)!

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Black Desert warns players of possible account breach

Heads-up, Black Desert fans: Kakao just let its players know that their account security may be in jeopardy.

“We recently received a report that account security may have been compromised on a third party website. In response, we have reset the password for any related accounts. We strongly urge any user whose password was reset to contact customer support in order to change your e-mail address. Additionally if you used the same or a similar password on any other services, it should be replaced.”

The studio hasn’t clarified how exactly the compromise came about or what the third-party website entailed, but we’re guessing that if you’re affected, you’ll be getting a personal password reset email soon. Just make sure it’s from the studio and not hackers, eh?

Source: Official forums.
Cheers, Greaterdivinity!

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Enter to win a Marvel Heroes Omega founder pack with beta access from Gazillion and MOP

If you were curious about the Marvel Heroes Omega edition out on PlayStation 4 but didn’t want to shell out for a founder pack to buy beta access to what will eventually be a free-to-play title, today’s giveaway is for you! We’ve got five founder codes for our readers. The giveaway, like the ongoing closed beta, is restricted to North America. Read on to enter to win!

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Neverwinter claims 15M registered players across all platforms

Neverwinter has cause for celebration today: PWE has officially announced that the D&D MMORPG has counted over 15 million registered players on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The game is playable in 110 countries (presumably excepting China, where it sunsetted earlier this year) and has seen 11 large expansiony updates since its formal release in 2013.

That’s up another three million since last autumn, when PWE reported 7 million on PC, 3 million on Xbox One, and 2 million PlayStation 4. It’s been live on PS4 only since July of last year. And yeah, it’s registrations, not actives, but still — that’s a big wide MMORPG audience. Celebratory trailer tucked down below!

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Shroud of the Avatar rebalances combat, adds Path of Truth in R41 out today

Shroud of the Avatar’s 41st release is rolling out to players this morning, stuffed with fresh content for testing. Probably the most important bit arriving today is the finished Path of Truth quest arc and its accompanying Halls of Artifice.

“In this single-player, plot-driven experience, the avatar will delve into the mystery of why the satyrs of Elysium are welcoming pilgrims into a life of bliss… Of course, I am sure that a place called Artifice along the Path of Truth would not be filled with lies, right?”

Players can also expect to see the Solace Bridge outskirt map; five new scenes including Ruins of Kas and Verdantis Mines; The Fall, a “free-for-all full of crazy powerups centered around a giant vertical shaft”; new deco; the first stages of localization; and a major combat balancing pass.

“We made major improvements to Taming, Summoned Creatures, the entire Bludgeons combat school, creature resistances, and more,” says Portalarium. “We also added two new Moon Spells, new weapons, and our first new ranged weapon since ranged combat was introduced: Crossbows.”

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Elite Dangerous’ community tool developers have gone on strike

Update: The strike has ended — see the end of the post for details.

Move over, voice actors guild: Elite Dangerous gamers are going on strike today. Specifically, it’s developers of a large number of Elite Dangerous third-party tools and websites, who have taken their services offline beginning today through Sunday, striking to attempt to force Frontier to better support them.

“Our third-party websites and tools are used on a daily basis by many tens of thousands of players, and they generate millions of pageviews every month. We believe that our tools greatly enhance the game playing experience, and yet we often feel that Frontier does not actively encourage the effort that goes into supporting their game with these tools. We believe they can and should improve on this situation by maintaining clear and open communication with the third-party developer community. There is currently no easy way for us to request features and support that will benefit the community as a whole, and there is often no warning from Frontier when a game update will alter or break existing APIs that we rely on. This places a significant extra burden on third-party tool makers to work around these issues and to fix our tools. Repeated requests for support and bug fixes are made, but there is frustration caused by an apparent lack of progress on those.”

The strikers have apologized for the inconvenience, but the timing couldn’t be worse for the players affected by the outages in light of the massive event planned this weekend, during which players will be participating in a roleplaying event whose outcome will affect the game’s upcoming novel.

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