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

GTA Online drops wild ‘transform’ stunt races in tomorrow’s update

If you ever get tired of mayhem in Grand Theft Auto Online… just kidding, nobody ever gets tired of mayhem in GTAO. That’s why you’re playing GTAO. And it’s why in tomorrow’s patch, Rockstar is offering an all-new flavor of chaos: “Transform Races,” stunt races “with a twist.”

“Instantly mix vehicle and race types as you switch between land, sea and air in Transform Races, the next evolution of stunt racing in Grand Theft Auto Online. Jump instantly from the curves of a gritty, downtown street race straight into a speeding jet high above Los Santos, then dive face first down Raton Canyon on a jet ski and more. Transform Races are new and unique stunt tracks that seamlessly transition across land, sea and air, running the gamut of available vehicle types – everything from Supers and Off-Roads, to Boats, Planes, and Helicopters – and even some skydiving thrown in for good measure.”

The update’s out tomorrowday; check out the new trailer down below. Maybe don’t if you get airsick, though, because whoa.

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Secret World Legends teases its first Halloween event since the reboot

With the Orochi Tower live and the final part of the Tokyo region out the door, Funcom is already peeking ahead to the future of Secret World Legends. Like the rest of the game, that future is… spooky. Expect it to look a lot like The Secret World’s past Halloween events.

“Halloween is approaching! SWL’s first Halloween event begins Wednesday, the 18th. You can expect a couple seasonal missions and a public raid encounter in Agartha. You’ll also get extra login rewards just for playing during the event. For those of you wondering about seasonal cosmetic items we’ve had from past years in TSW, a bunch of them should be available as potential rewards and purchases this year in SWL.”

Funcom’s also noted it’s closely monitoring healers and tanks in solo modes along with weapon perfomance (especially Elementalism); Museum teleports are on the way as well, in addition to fixes for keybinding, inaccessible Tokyo Legends, hotbar issues, and Tokyo lair mobs.

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Check out Destiny 2’s Legends Will Rise PC launch trailer

Hey remember Destiny 2? That cute li’l sequel from Bungie that launched on console and core MMO players promptly forgot all about it? Well, in case that’s you, Bungie has a sweet new PC-capped trailer out to remind you that PC is coming next week. There’s even a countdown on the official site in case you’re bad at clocks. The trailer is shiny. So much jumping. All the screenshake. Insert all your PC master race jokes down below, or save them up for smack-talk during the preload period, which begins on Wednesday of this week.

And by the way, if you’re looking for a cheap place to buy it? A couple of my guildies pointed me to Green Man Gaming, which has the PC edition for 15% off with the SUCHWOW10 code. (Non-affiliate link. Thanks, Onyx and Kiry!)

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Halloween event this year includes an achievement-based house

When The Elder Scrolls Online launched its very first Halloween event last autumn, it was huge news for a game that largely eschewed real-world holidays in favor of more sedate in-lore events. Fortunately, the event became a trend, and now the Witches Festival is returning to Tamriel.

The event kicks off on Friday, October 20th, and runs until November 1st, complete with a 100% experience buff. Once you grab the associated event item from the cash shop (it’s a freebie, at the cost of only your dignity), you can kick off the Witchmother’s Bargain quest, or if you did it last year, you can just access your old quest item for the buff instead.

Bosses will drop themey loot as well, but probably the best addition is something that simply wasn’t available last year because the system wasn’t in the game yet: a house! Tick off four specific achievements and you’ll be cozying up in a thatch-roof Exorcised Coven Cottage in exchange for some in-game gold. ZeniMax does note that players can also buy the home in the cash shop instead, but it’ll be leaving the cash shop in just a few weeks: “You will not be able to purchase this home for crowns or gold once the event ends, so don’t miss your chance to own this ‘haunt away from home’!”

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Enter to win a Skyforge PS4 Revenant Quickplay Pack from My.com and MOP!

Hey, Skyforge players! Are you having fun with the newly launched Revenant class? You know, that “mighty warlord, appropriately adorned with impressive armor and wielding a ghastly two-handed axe, which siphons the life from its enemies using vile shadow magics, assuming it hasn’t simply butchered opponents into a gory mess first”?

Oh, what’s that? You don’t have the Revenant class yet? Welp, you’re in the right giveaway! Thanks to My.com, Massively OP’s got a nice bundle of Skyforge goodies to hand out to our PS4 readers (PC folks, you can sit this one out)!

Fifty winners of this week’s raffle will be taking home a Revenant Quickplay Pack, which includes the Revenant class unlock as well as three days of Premium Subscription time. Please note that the codes will work only for Skyforge’s North American PS4 edition.

Read on to enter to win!

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Overwatch dings up to 35M players ahead of quarterly financial report

Blizzard just announced that it’s just counted 35 million Overwatch players – not too shabby for a buy-to-play team shooter that started out by tossing half a dozen MMORPG development dev years down a drain. That ought to make investors happy – expect the next investor relations report in early November.

I’d love to give more info, but the #8 revenue PC game and #6 revenue console game in the world sent a press release with nothing else. So instead, we’ll compare it to some other big numbers lately: 10M have shown up for Fortnite’s free-to-play console battle royal mode, while PUBG’s sold 13M in the last couple of months.

Also, this guy speaks for everybody.

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Ship of Heroes reveals its Lightning Blast powerset with a new video

It’s sacrilege to say it, I’m sure, but I never loved lightning powers in City of Heroes – lightning wasn’t much of a damage element, instead being focused around sapping power from enemies, meaning you had to work so much harder on a lightning toon than on most other damage dealers. That isn’t the case in City of Heroes spiritual successor Ship of Heroes, however, as a new video and set of screenshots demonstrates today.

The lightning powerset, the third of eight planned for reveal in 2017, does get some self-buffs and debuff components, but otherwise, it’s a nasty damage dealing set that serves as as a primary powerset for the Devastator class and a secondary powerset for Support toons (the demo character in the video, if you’re wondering, is Support).

Heroic Games notes that the animations and effects in the video are work-in-progress and will be altered and improved in the future as the team has specifically expanded to “add professional FX and animation personnel so that [it] can upgrade [its] powers.” The studio also points out that this video marks the first demo showing off night effects as well as the first showing targets reacting to being smacked in the face with damage powers.

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UK lawmakers examine lockboxes, PEGI leaves definitions to gambling commissions

The ESRB may not be interested in protecting gamers against predatory business model practices like lockboxes, but European regulators may be joining their Chinese counterparts in at least taking a look before casually dismissing concerns.

As Polygon reports, a member of the UK parliament, Daniel Zeichner, submitted formal questions to the UK’s secretary of state on topic, requesting information on her plan to “to protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games,” specifically on the Isle of Man, whose legal code refers by name to “in-game gambling and loot boxes.”

Meanwhile, the European PEGI – akin to the ESRB on this side of the pond – has said that it can’t rule on the issue for game studios because it “cannot define what constitutes gambling” because it’s not a national gambling commission – contrary to the ESRB’s statement.

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H1Z1 has defeated its ‘King of the Kill’ branding in a last-man-standing battle royale

Looks like at least some of the rumors last week have proven true, as Daybreak is indeed removing the “King of the Kill” branding from H1Z1, meaning the battle royale half of the zombie survival sandbox is now getting the unified game’s original name free and clear.

You’ll recall that in 2016, Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive; this past summer, the company dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game, and then it announced a pro league for H1Z1 just last week.

“Throughout development we’ve continued to define the vision for H1Z1, which is competitive at its core with fast-paced and action-packed combat,” Daybreak explains. “Over the past year, the game has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of both player base and development, so we thought it was time to evolve the game’s look to something that better represented the spirit of H1Z1 and the level of quality we aspire to. H1Z1 is also the name that our players connect with most, so it was just natural evolution for us to transition back. We’re also working to ensure that H1Z1 can be enjoyed by players around the world, and having the word ‘Kill’ in the name of the game can be limiting with some global audiences.”

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The Daily Grind: How should studios solve the gaming-while-rural problem?

If you’ve ever read any of MOP’s Andrew’s coverage of Pokemon Go, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme: One of his biggest pet peeves is that Niantic privileges urban players over everyone else. If you live far away from a large city, you’ll not only struggle to attend events there; you’ll suffer from a lack of hotspots, gyms, raid opportunities, and other players on the daily, and you’ll have to drive between far-flung destinations just to play. A studio obviously can’t fix a population weakness, but it surely could work harder to stop making game opportunities and rewards effectively dependent on where you live.

The same problem’s apparently cropped up in Hearthstone as Blizzard has begun incentivizing what are essentially player-hosted LAN-party events with an ultra-rare Nemsy cards, ostensibly in the service of community. I plugged my current address in and came up with no less than six events over the next month within 20 miles of my home – triple that if I am willing to drive up to 100 miles. But I live in a large city (6M metro area) in the midst of even more large cities. If I plug in my address from back when I lived in New Mexico, there are no events within 100 miles of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Zip. Nada. They don’t even make the top 50 list for metro areas in the US, but they’re the biggest for 300 miles in any direction where they are. And still nothing.

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MMO Week in Review: Warframe’s first steps into a larger world (October 15, 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!

Warframe took another step closer to being an MMORPG this week with the launch of its Plains of Eidolon expansion, which introduced an open-world landscape feel to zones and a slew of MMO-like questing options.

In Final Fantasy XIV, the latest housing crisis was met by apologies from no less than Naoki Yoshida.

And on the business end of things, the ESRB declined to classify lockboxes as gambling, Blizzard sued another Chinese ripoff, and IGN bought out the Humble Bundle company.

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

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MMOs you’ve never heard of: Immortal Thrones, Identity, and Lordmancer II

Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Let’s run down three of them.

Immortal Thrones

First up is Immortal Thrones, a mobile MMO import from Chinese studio Zloong, which is calling the game a 3-D MMO set in a “richly detailed medieval fantasy world.” It’s just launched on both iOS and Android in North America and Europe. Expect four classes, multiple PvP options, and “a merged live-streaming and Location-based Service (LBS) system [that] enables players to find other competitors and engage with them in real time,” which the PR says “makes the game more interactive than the standard MMORPG.”

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Underdog Pokemon Go players took over the capital of Croatia

But it’s cool; they gave it back.

We’re talking, of course, about Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, which is apparently a flourishing Pokemon Go city with 420 gyms thanks to seeding years ago by Ingress players. A group of Croatian gamers were trying to conjure a way to persuade Niantic to switch a famous Croatian POGO trainer to the outnumbered Instinct faction when they hatched a plan to put together a massive 70-man raid to help the tiny team take over the whole city — that is, all 420 gyms — which necessitated crews of players and a fleet of cars to zip around the capital all day and all night in shifts. And they pulled it off.

“The biggest pride for us is that we managed to organize such a mission and did everything in it 100% legit play – not a single multiaccount was placed in a gym to make it stronger,” Redditor LekoZG writes. “Maybe we demolished all other gyms in the city, but what we built is far more valuable – a strong, positive and forward-looking community of players.”

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