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

Catching up with the Ultima Nostalgia project that’s rebuilding Ultima Online in Wurm

If you found last week’s community discussion on whether (good) bots could help save dying MMORPGs fascinating, then the video hereunder will suit you too. Last year we wrote about gamer and professional artist Andrea Fryer – you probably know her best as KatsPurr in the Massively OP community. She’s been working on a spectacular “Ultima Nostalgia” project to meld the worlds of Ultima Online and Wurm Online by recreating the former as a 3-D map inside the latter.

The project and server have come a long way since then, as her 10th episode shows; this particular one covers the creation of the isle of Nujel’m (one of my favorites as my guild used to use “Nuji bank” as our headquarters for a time). And during the episode, she discusses how empty some of these old sandboxes can feel.

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Leaderboard: What kinds of MMORPG purchases do you consider pay-to-win?

I know I’m not alone in noticing that MMO gamers of late seem to have become sharply divided on how to define the term pay-to-win – indeed, the debate raged last week in threads about Black Desert’s player protest, Elder Scrolls Online’s cash shop prices, and the general consensus that ArcheAge is whale heaven. Recently Massively OP commenter Pepperzine recently wrote to us suggesting that we address it and try to sort it out.

“While there are proponents for all sides of the argument, I think it would be interesting to see where the bulk of people draw the line,” he wrote. “At the end of the day, individual perceptions are important but what is most important when it comes to this topic is what the majority perceives as pay-to-win.”

So let’s turn his proposal into the requisite Leaderboard poll, shall we? And yes, you can click as many as you want!

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Analysts see ‘potential for earnings growth’ in NCsoft’s trio of upcoming titles

If you walked away confused by NCsoft’s most recent quarterly financial report, Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. might be able to sort it out for you.

The Seoul-based analyst firm suggests that the Lineage series, which appeared strong at first glance, actually turned in weaker than expected revenue, in spite of the fact that Lineage M was the top-grossing game on Android and iOS. “The biggest surprise was marketing spend, which jumped 10% QoQ and 69% YoY, despite the absence of any new major titles,” the firm notes. “We believe this suggests the company spent as much on promoting Lineage M’s massive updates as it typically does on promoting new titles.”

That said, the firm still calls the company a buy: “We see little reason for concern in terms of profit and valuation in 1H18 and see potential for earnings growth and a re-rating in 2H18, driven by new releases.” What new releases would those be? Blade & Soul II (first half of the year) and Aion Tempest and Lineage II M (last half of the year).

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO sunset had the biggest impact on you?

If you’ve been playing MMOs long enough, you’ve probably lived through at least one sunset of a beloved game world. In fact, I bet most of you were personally affected by more than one. I sure have been. I also bet you’ve had to wade through your share of “let it go” trolling across the internet whenever you mention it from people who either haven’t been affected or weren’t that attached to the game worlds, their characters, and their fellow players as you were.

All that said, there are some games I’ve said goodbye to that didn’t hit me as hard as they should’ve. For example, while I consider Asheron’s Call an extremely important MMO and loved it in its day, I knew how tiny it was and had already watched its sequel sunset once, so the final curtain didn’t bring tears to my eyes. By contrast, there have been other MMOs cruelly cut down in their content prime, and those gutted me so much more.

Which MMO sunset had the biggest impact on you?

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MMO Week in Review: Elder Scrolls Online’s cash shop controversy (February 18, 2018)

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!

Elder Scrolls Online’s first DLC of the year, Dragon Bones, launched this week along with update 17. While the patch is loaded with content, including a new cosmetic system and new dungeons, the rollout suffered from an experience exploit that caused server downtime in addition to angst from the community, which objected to the pricing scheme attached to the new outfit system.

Meanwhile, Camelot Unchained picked July 4th for its beta, we got the scoop on Bless Online, SWTOR delivered its spring roadmap, Trove announced a new expansion, Star Citizen launched a new ship sale, and LOTRO began testing a new region.

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

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Make My MMO: Camelot Unchained’s beta will be born on the fourth of July (February 17, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained invites you to break out the sparklers because the game will finally launch its long-delayed beta one on July 4th. That’ll follow the “feature lock” date of June 12th. We got the whole scoop in our interview earlier this week!

Meanwhile, Star Citizen posted a new ship sale, had a nice friendly chat with the BBB, and talked about the thrilling topic of refueling. Plus, Crowfall got a lore update, Albion updated its Kay build, Pantheon teased its pre-alpha, Project Gorgon detailed its Steam preparation, and mecha-shooter Pantropy updated its ongoing Kickstarter.

And Maguss, the wizarding MMOARG that raised almost half a million bucks on Indiegogo, launched its open beta on iOS and Android this morning.

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’re following.

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Betawatch: The beta for mobile MMOARG Maguss is about to begin (February 16, 2018)

Remember Maguss, the Harry Potter-esque ARG everyone was buzzing around right up until Pokemon Go company Niantic said it was making Harry Potter: Wizards Unite? It’s just about to launch its open beta; you west coasters will want to wake up early on Saturday indeed to make the 8 a.m. EST starting time on Android and iOS. The game originally raised almost half a million dollars on Indiegogo, so its popularity seems assured!

What else happened in the world of MMO testing this week?

  • Camelot Unchained finally has a beta date: the fourth of July. Fortunately, nothing else important happens on that day. Our interview all about how beta will work is pretty great if we do say so ourselves.
  • Dead Maze officially launched! No more beta! Free at last!
  • Villagers & Heroes seeks iOS beta testers ahead of its launch at the end of this month.
  • Project Gorgon laid out the details of its upcoming Steam beta.
  • Stardew Valley promised multiplayer beta this spring.
  • Soulworker Online is inching ever closer to testing here; forums for NA and EU arrived this week.
  • Ashes of Creation dazzled again with more footage of “alpha zero” gameplay.
  • Staxel landed on our sandbox radar; it’s currently in early access.
  • Bless Online is anticipating that when it starts, its early access open beta will run half a year.

We’ve tucked whole list of games temporarily and very much permanently in test stasis right on down below.

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Save Evangelion pilots in Maplestory’s crossover event

Maplestory players are getting a fun treat in the form of a crossover with classic ’90s anime Evangelion later this month.

“The heroes of Evangelion have entered Maple World through an inter-dimensional rift, allowing players to interact with characters from the movies while taking part in various events and quests,” Nexon said in its press blast this week. “The Evangelion pilots are lost in their new surroundings in Maple World, so players are tasked with completing daily quests to help them navigate and become more familiar. Maplers can interact with Shinji, Rei and Asuka to earn EVA Coins to spend on limited-time items and must fend off waves of invasions from Angel enemies to save Maple World.”

The event features themed quests as well as paid and questable lockboxes galore, with accessories, hairstyles, androids, and chairs (yes) as rewards. The festivities begin on February 28th and run for a whole month; the trailer is below!

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Diablo 3’s 13th season begins on February 23, and it’s completely predictable

Diablo III’s 13th season is kicking off next week. If you’re hoping for something revolutionary and thrilling for lucky number 13, this… isn’t that. In fact, the dev blog previewing the season actually uses the word “traditional.” But hey, if you like comfortable predictability, you’ll be pleased as punch.

Participants in the seasonal run will pick up more pieces of the Conqueror’s set (helm and shoulders), new Imperius portraits, and a new teddy bear pet (covered in blood, thus reducing its cute factor). Folks without four stashes can work toward an extra, and currency toward class sets is also on order.

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Trove’s Heroes expansion adds superhero-themed city and class this spring

Today is a positively massive day for fans of Trove – and fans of superheroes, for that matter – as Trion is announcing a brand-new expansion for the popular MMO and its 15 million players. It’s called Heroes, and yes, it’s comic-themed!

Trove – Heroes focuses on the neon festooned city of Luminopolis, a new high-tech skyscraper-laden section of Neon City. Luminopolis has been thrust into a battle for power between the evilly robotic Amperium and the Resistors, a rebel group fighting to bring the light back to the city. Players will partake in all new adventures, interact with new NPCs, wage battle against gigantic invading Mega World Bosses, and fight to save Luminopolis from the nefarious threat of the Amperion.”

If you’re sick of all your existing classes, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a new one coming too, the Vanguardian. “A heroic class that pulls inspiration from the classic silver age of comic heroes, the Vanguardian is a paragon of virtue and strength,” Trion says. “Utilizing fluid combat in up close and personal melee skirmishes and from afar via effective ranged attacks, the Vanguardian is well-equipped to take up the cause of the Resistors and turn back the Amperion once and for all!”

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Conan Exiles is delaying mounts, pets, settlements, and sorcery to make its May 8 launch

Funcom is forging ahead with its plans to launch Conan Exiles for real and for true on all the things come May 8th. And, as the latest dev blog explains, to make that date, the company’s probably going to cut some features from that launch build.

“In the past couple of months, we’ve had to make some serious decisions as to what will be in for launch,” says the studio. “We’ve been going through every aspect of the game (including things still in development) and we have evaluated everything based on a range of criteria. Some features or content simply ended up not being good enough, some things have ended up not making sense for the game, some things have been replaced with other features and content, while some things just turned out to be out of reach from a technical or development capacity standpoint.”

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SWTOR’s spring content: Cash shop overhaul, conquest revamp, new flashpoint – but probably not a ‘traditional expansion’

Star Wars: The Old Republic’s had a couple of rocky months with the greater MMO community, following ominous rumors reportedly from inside BioWare that EA was internally debating the MMORPG’s future. While not everyone bought into the rumors, and the studio itself teased 2018 plans, the recent refer-a-friend promo didn’t exactly quell the growing concern that the game may be in trouble.

But maybe the roadmap will. As promised, BioWare posted the roadmap yesterday, and it’s happening as a living document in the forums from BioWare’s Keith Kanneg himself, as he says, to “not make it seem like [the devs] disappeared into the ether.” So here’s what we’re looking at for content in the short term. In March, expect GU 5.8: Command Authority; it features

  • big (unspecified) changes to the cash shop based on feedback;
  • the return of companions Ashara Zabros and Vector Hyllus;
  • a romanceable Arcann companion;
  • new companion gifts to boost influence levels to 50 (not something you can just buy outright, however);
  • a fifth boss (with two modes) for the Gods from the Machine Operation (though not all bosses are getting that Master mode, note);
  • and a major revamp to the Conquest system.

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Star Citizen’s new $185 Aegis Vulcan support ship is so ugly it’s cute

On this week’s episode of Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts bookend segments on the ship pipeline in the game. Did you know Star Citizen has introduced 114 ships, vehicles, and variants since the start of development? Neither did I. Here comes another one: the Aegis Vulcan. The adorably ugly and chunky ship is essentially a utility starter support spacecraft that packs in repairing, refueling, and rearming. Says CIG,

“It’s a versatile support ship. It’s there to support other ships. It’s not great at combat. It’s not great at transport. It’s not great at racing. It’s there for helping out with other ships. So if you’re that sort of person that is interested in the not more active combat side but helping others, then this is a really great entry into that, because it does allow you to help out massively for ships that run out of fuel, ships that have minor damage, ships that run out of ammo and any of these ships could be stuck out in deep space. They can call for your help, and you can go out there and give them just enough to get them where they need to go to. It’s sort of like the space AA or AAA for America. You call them up. They give you just enough to get to where you’re going, and then you can do your full repairs, rearm, refuel there.”

It’s also for sale as part of the early VIP optioning system. It’s $185 right now (warbond price), and it is actually scheduled to no, it won’t make it into the 3.1 alpha (thanks Dividian).

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