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

EVE Online thieves produce propaganda music video, auction off ill-gotten gains

If betrayals, heists, coups d’état, and threats aren’t enough to pique your interest in EVE Online’s metagame, maybe memes will do the trick.

As PCGN points out, EVE Online players are rushing to fill the vacuum left by last week’s theft of in-game property worth $20,000 (and subsequent banning by CCP of one of the victims for issuing multiple real-life threats to maim the perpetrator). Indeed, the winning cohort, if you want to call any of this “winning,” has now produced a taunting propaganda video set to Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down and begun auctioning off some of the in-game property its members stole. I’d link to the pun thread as well, but as of press time, there are racist comments in it, so suffice it to say that EVE’s Reddit community has squeezed every imaginable hand- and mittens-related pun out of the whole mess.

Massively OP’s Brendan “Nyphur” Drain, who’s been covering the EVE universe for over a decade, has written extensively on this topic over the last week, discussing the particulars of this arm of the war, the fallout over the real-life threat, and most recently, the shift in what’s considered acceptable toxicity inside the game since its launch in 2003.

Source: YouTube via PCGN

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Life is Feudal introduces horse-drawn carts in new video

You know the old saying, don’t put your cart before the horse? Fortunately, Life is Feudal has taken that to heart with its current effort: horse carts, which are currently being teased on the official forums. (Proper horses went in in August, so there you go.)

“You can expect horsedrawn carts to be patched into the game ‘Soon™’,” says the studio, noting that the carts have been heavily requested by players. “It is actually quite a complex feature, where four types of entities (horse, cart, player, movable objects) within the game have to interact with each other in a straight and logical way. This is the main reason why this feature has taken so long to implement.”

So far this September, the studio has also been working on castle wall modules and weapon skins, plus heavy optimization for the MMO following a “significant breakthrough in the client and server side physics calculations.”

Life is Feudal is an ambitious sandbox that was scaled-down midway through development to be a “pocket” version of its planned MMO with shared assets across the board; it has in recent years gotten underway in a closed beta.

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Neverwinter highlights major inventory quality-of-life overhaul

Inventory management in MMORPGs is critical — I can’t even imagine playing something like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online without inventory mods installed. And yet mods shouldn’t be necessary; game inventory should work properly and well right out of the box.

Such is Neverwinter’s philosophy. In a new dev blog today, PWE explains its major overhaul for character inventories in the game. Of note, the inventory settings menu will allow players to sort the stuff in their bags by item type, sell everything marked as treasure, and identify all unindentified items – a move that seems to mirror Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire additions. You can also filter items by property, something few MMOs offer by default, and convert items to refinement points in bulk, part of a larger (and contentious) move to rewrite the refinement system.

Irritatingly, the cash-shop option to buy a bag is the top button under settings, right next to the button on your inventory bar, meaning both can be visible at once, but ya can’t win ’em all. Feedback is currently still being collected on the official forums.

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The first chunk of Black Desert’s free Kamasylvia expansion launches next week

Remember last week when Kakao hinted that Black Desert’s new servers were indication that Kamasylvia was on the way “real soon”? That soon is almost upon us, as Kakao has announced this morning that the massive PvE-centric expansion will launch next week on September 27th, or at least the first part of it. Oh yeah, and it’s free.

Black Desert Online’s new region, Kamasylvia, features elven woodlands that stretch out to the south of Hexe Sanctuary, from the Valtarra Mountains to the Shady Tree Forest. In terms of the landmass, the new region is about the size of Calpheon and houses an elven village known as the Old Wisdom Tree. There is no level requirement for Kamasylvia, but it is a dangerous place to go alone, so being at high level will be beneficial and group play is recommended. There is also new group-based content such as The Altar of Training that will enthuse players who are looking for some co-op action. The Altar of Training, located deep within Kamasylvia, contains a survival mode which players can unlock once they have completed certain quests in the main storyline. Players will need to work together with their party members to defend a sacred treasure from hordes of enemies that grow stronger with each wave. A total of five waves need to be beaten before the ultimate challenge: a fight with the powerful final boss, Ancient Puturum. If successful, adventurers can gain valuable items and gear.”

The official site’s free trial landing page has an updated interactive map with the new region clickable (it’s screenshots when you click through to it), and the new trailer? That’s down below!

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The Daily Grind: Do you feel crowdfunded MMOs ‘owe’ you something?

My husband and I were chatting about the whole Chris-Roberts-is-fed-up-with-trolls-and-date-estimates-that-everyone-knows-aren’t-going-to-stick thing from last week when he said something that struck me. “It reminds me of how people harangue George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) about his next book,” he observed. “They believe he owes them something for being his loyal fans,” which you’ll recall once prompted famed author Neil Gaiman to declare, “George Martin is not your bitch.”

The difference, of course, is that George R. R. Martin can do whatever the heck he wants while he rolls around in his well-earned piles of money because his books aren’t crowdfunded. He quite literally doesn’t owe us anything, even if people who’ve been his fans for multiple decades might feel otherwise.

Crowfunded MMOs like Star Citizen aren’t quite in that position. Technically, you knew when your credit card number hit the screen that yours was a donation toward an idea. Some of the games we Kickstart? They fail. Or they drift in limbo. Or they don’t meet the vision. They aren’t all Path of Exile and Elite Dangerous is what I’m saying. But when those campaigns masquerade as pre-orders, people can be left with the idea that, well, they’re owed what they think they paid for.

Do you feel the MMO you’ve crowdfunded owe you something? Or are you content knowing you donated toward a vision of a better genre?

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MMO Week in Review: EVE’s is an evil laugh (September 17, 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!

This week, the universe of EVE Online was rocked by a sudden but inevitable betrayal that compounded the ongoing player-instigated wars and led to the banning of a notable EVE player and elected CSM official caught threatening to mutilate another player in real life. The impetus? The theft of in-game property worth approximately $20,000. Ouch.

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

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen would make for a terrible scam (September 16, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts gave an interview that seemed to express understandable frustration with the constant barrage of demands for alpha launch estimates, scam accusations, and “fan trolling” he encounters.

“I am fed up of giving someone an estimate – I’d rather say, here’s the data I have, here’s the schedule I see,” he told Eurogamer, arguing that CIG is already providing progress reports for the massive crowdfunded MMO. “There’s a subset of people who say ‘this thing is never going to come out, it’s a scam’. Which is plainly not true. It would be the worst scam in the world. We’re hiring all these people, we’re working really hard. We’re showing what we’re doing every week.”

Meanwhile, we wrapped up our tour of Shroud of the Avatar, Elite Dangerous announced its September 26th update, we chatted with Ashes of Creation at PAX, Kickstarter began welcoming Japanese creators, Albion Online kicked off playtests for its arena mode, AdventureQuest 3D is going all out for Talk Like A Pirate Day, and Dogma: Eternal Night continued hammering out its combat system (thanks, DDOCentral!).

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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Camelot Unchained ‘sprints’ toward beta one sieges, teases group and guild infodump

This week’s Camelot Unchained is good news, assuming you want to play the game, and you probably do, else you’d not be reading this.

“We are now embarking on a ‘sprint’ with one of the key features for Beta 1: sieges,” CSE’s Tyler Rockwell explains. “Now, we are not going into crunch, but instead, we are focusing as much of the team’s time as possible on delivering the tech and gameplay we need for carrying out a proper siege in Camelot Unchained. So whether that means better archery animations, or NPCs firing off Scorpions, or blocks of buildings collapsing properly when dealt a giant gaping hole, the team will be focused on that for the next 4-6 weeks.”

Consequently, the regular weekend tests will be replaced with “impromptu and weekday testing” to get it all out faster. The update also touches on weekly progress on class progression, client stability, emotes, animations, nodes, and realm portals, and there’s a bonus pic of an engine test running 1000 unique NPC bots with solid FPS. Finally, the team teased a big infodump on groups and guilds coming next week, so stay tuned for more on that!

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Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon introduces ‘open landscapes’ later this year

During its livestream earlier this afternoon, Digital Extremes formally unveiled Plains of Eidolon, Warframe’s next big expansion. As announced back at TennoCon, the expansion will add a touch of MMOishness to the shooter.

“For the first time in Warframe history, Tenno will have the freedom to explore, fight, journey and fly through the open Landscapes – Warframe’s first Open Zone – of Planet Earth in their own time, in their own way. Stepping into the rolling Plains of Eidolon, players will experience a rich landscape populated with both familiar and never-before seen creatures, enemies, a new Warframe, stunning vistas lit with a day/night cycle, and a gripping story told through interactive NPC characters who inhabit the bustling scavenger city of Cetus. In Plains of the Eidolon, players will set foot in a natural landscape with the freedom to explore it on their own terms.”

And yep, the expansion is indeed still on track to launch before the year is up. Check out the new trailer!

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Conan Exiles makes a bold appeal to builders: Just play in god-mode

Lest you think that Conan Exiles is just about crushing your enemies and all that, Funcom has a new dev diary out today elucidating the game’s building system. Pure builders should skip the PvP servers, the studio says, and slip into single-player god mode or on a server with super-fast harvesting and crafting speed to focus on creating your very own Sim City in Hyboria.

Players of other sandboxes probably already know the drill: You don’t have to just plunk down prefab stuff and can instead build from the ground up using smaller building blocks. “To build truly creative structures it can be important to use a lot of different building pieces and placeables,” cautions Funcom. “Based on feedback from the community we are making additional building pieces with new shapes so you can make even more creative buildings.”

“You can build almost anything you want in Conan Exiles. If you have the time and patience you can even fill out most of the map with all kinds of buildings, castles and cities. Build a sprawling metropolis filled with thralls dancing in the streets, hammering away at their anvils or standing guard. Or perhaps you want to build a humongous castle, filled with all sorts of rooms and dungeons and even labyrinths.”

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Check out Warframe’s MMO-ish Plains of Eidolon expansion reveal right now

Back in July, Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie reported from TennoCon that Warframe is gearing up for a massive renovation dubbed Plains of Eidolon, an expansion that will almost certainly buff Warframe’s street cred with the MMORPG crowd.

“What I saw really takes Warframe in a new direction,” she wrote after her demo. “Plains of Eidolon adds a whole new dimension of player freedom. It brings a more MMORPG feel into the game – makes it more of a real world. Instead of just taking missions and teleporting to small instances, players will have the chance to explore the Warframe universe in open landscapes and meet the races they’ve been protecting for the last four years.” It’s not an open world, she explained, but it’s “the first step in that direction, incorporating elements such as NPCs, open adventure areas, and day/night cycles that influence the gameplay.”

Digital Extremes is revealing the expansion to everyone on today’s stream, which goes live as this post does at 2 p.m. EDT; you can watch it along with us below.

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Guild Wars 2 begins its final countdown to Path of Fire’s launch

With the launch of Path of Fire just a week away now, the Guild Wars 2 team has outlined its plans for the next seven days. Aside from the launch itself, probably the most important day next week is Tuesday, when the studio will roll out the launch trailer, followed by Thursday, which will see a cavalcade of rebroadcasts of Path of Fire stuff on Twitch in case you missed it all the first time and can’t be arsed to track them down.

The expansion areas will formally open at noon EDT on Friday, September 22nd, as planned, though the team will be streaming a “preshow” from 10 a.m. EDT onward promising “fun surprises.” Hope you took off work that day!

“Make sure to pack sunscreen, don’t approach choya without protective gear, and remember that sand eels bite when threatened,” ArenaNet says. We’ll be aiming to stream that weekend as well, death-counter in tow.

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Massively Overthinking: What keeps you from playing mobile MMOs?

Earlier this week, we wrote about Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss’ IPO and its grand plans for the future – among them, four additional MMOs. Sounds great, right? Except that the suspicion, at least in our comments, is that Pearl Abyss will just follow in the footsteps of Nexon, NCsoft, and Netmarble in that the games will mobile MMOs and not “real” MMORPGs at all. That may or may not be true; the games have fairly fast turnaround for a full-scale MMORPG, but then the company talked up the BDO engine for future games and expressed great ambition in the MMORPG market in the west and on console.

But the suspicion seems to turn off so many of us — the stigma is real. So for today’s Overthinking, I wanted to dig into that. Do you play mobile MMOs, especially any of the modern crop that are popular in East Asia and then ported here? What keeps you from playing mobile MMOs, and what would you want out of an MMO for a mobile device that would actually make you consider it a home MMORPG?

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