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

Grab a goodie bag for Mythic Glory as it launches into open beta

So here’s a new one for us to cover: R2Games’s Mythic Glory. It’s a “browser MMORPG set in a persistent online world, populated by thousands of players working together – or against each other – for ultimate world domination,” the studio says. “There’s a chaotic evil looming, and it’s up to players to save the realm from certain destruction. An expansive single player journey awaits, backed up by in-depth online social systems including guilds, world events, dungeons, boss rushes, and much more.”

If you’d like to take a look, good news: The game is moving from alpha to open beta today, and R2 has granted Massively OP keys for a bundle of goodies to pass along to you! The key will unlock a package including five gold ingots, two gold recruits, five level-two gem packs, and a mark of divinity, which ought to help you get started.

Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Elder Scrolls Online previews Dragon Bones’ Orc-themed Scalecaller Peak dungeon

If you haven’t checked out the Dragon Bones DLC on Elder Scrolls Online’s test server in person yet, you should at least take a peek at the zone previews ZeniMax has been rolling out. Today’s piece is on Scalecaller Peak, one of the dungeons going live with the update. The dungeon is themed with Orsinium ruins, which might confuse you if you thought this was an entirely Skyrim-flavored DLC, but if you take a look at the Tamriel map, you’ll see that High Rock and Skyrim share a mountainous border, explored in previous DLC. Orcs and Nords, living together!

Expect Peryite cultists, ogres, and giants to hamper your progress to the windy summit through dank caves and glowing toxins. Try not to die from the plague! And what do you get for winning? Death-themed woad tats, for a start.

“Should you survive the final battle and stand victorious atop Scalecaller Peak, you’ll earn a host of unique rewards. These riches could include the Blackmarrow Necromancer skin, earned by completing the Scalecaller Peak Challenger achievement; unique Trophies and Busts for completing the dungeon on both Normal and Veteran mode; and the Renegade Dragon Priest Mask, earned simply by entering one of the two Dragon Bones dungeons.”

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Game Theory explores the psychological exploitation at work in lockboxes

“It’s as easy as one, two, insert your credit card number here!” So begins the parody at the beginning of the first of two recent Game Theory videos all about 2017’s favorite-and-least-favorite topic, lootboxes. Rather than overtly picking a side, the vloggers attempt to sort out how lockboxes work – whether they’re just annoying business model glitches or deliberately manipulative end-runs around gambling laws, all by examine the science.

Now, contrary to the first video’s claim, lots of people are indeed talking about the science of lockboxes, but it nevertheless contributes a funny and clear-headed angle on the psychology of lockboxes from skinner boxes and dopamine to loss aversion, the sunk cost fallacy, and the illusion of control. The chilling idea is that we actually get our dopamine blast from opening the box – not from getting what we wanted. Lockboxes, like casinos, exploit the crap out of that, adding deadlines and exclusive loot to ramp up the pressure.

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Destiny 2 players erupt over token throttling bugs

Another day, another Destiny 2 subreddit meltdown, and it’s not over the Eververse cash shop, holiday items, or lockboxes this time.

Redditors report a multitude of major bugs with the last patch, including faction token throttling affecting lost sectors (probably an unintended side-effect of Bungie’s attempt to patch up an exploit in the first faction rally – and that after a long delay to this rally), emote sales, and still more token bugs that apparently are throttling tokens from public events too.

To its credit, Bungie has responded to several of the threads requesting bug reports and feedback, but that hasn’t stopped players from forming yet another massive thread urging people to stop playing the game until Bungie gets it together. “If you’re upset with the direction the game is going, the best way to show them is to just stop playing,” they argue.

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Black Desert adds sailboat quest, drop rate tweaks, and way more polar bears

Pull out your ancient “I’m on a boat” and “you are a pirate” memes because Black Desert is about to give you reason to venture out on the high seas, questing for a sailboat in prep for the January 28th arrival of big baddie Vell.

“The scribes expect Vell ‘The Heart of the Sea’ to arrive very soon in Magorian waters. To prepare for this event, Adventurers are called to prepare themselves and do the quests required to rent an Old Bartali Sailboat. This fine vessel will not hold forever but is more than capable to engage this new upcoming threat.”

Have I mentioned that BDO patch notes are my favorite? Here’s why: “An increase in the polar bear population is expected after some cubs have been spotted hiding in boxes” and “the chance of gaining Knowledge when defeating Grass Hedgehogs have been increased.”

Also of note in this week’s minipatch is a change to drop rates, which grants those with high ecology knowledge better loot drop rates.

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Chronicles of Elyria confirms layoff rumors

Earlier today, we asked the Chronicles of Elyria team for a statement regarding a tip we’d received about layoffs and salary cutbacks at Soulbound, and presumably in response, the studio has published a fresh letter to the community addressing some of the rumors. Turns out they’re true, and the studio has indeed suffered a round of layoffs.

Jeromy “Caspian” Walsh explains that over the course of the last year, his team had “nearly doubled” in size, but that size was unsustainable, as the company was hoping to have secured a publisher or additional investment but hasn’t yet done so, necessitating the staff reduction.

“As a result of our change in focus, we adjusted our resources accordingly so as to be sustainable solely through sales from our online store,” he says. “Unfortunately this meant parting ways with a few of our team members. This was painful for all of us as we had developed a close bond with everyone in the studio, but it was a necessary action to move forward at the velocity and cost we need to succeed.”

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Ship of Heroes expands its dev team, updates gallery of new mission maps

Last week, Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie and our community were treated to an early preview of Ship of Heroes – specifically, two mission maps, one of which nobody had peeked at before – along with a detailed chat with the devs on the state of the game.

New information just since last week is the detail that Heroic Games has added “several” new employees to the dev team – chiefly coders, animators, graphics designers, and 3-D modelers. “Several of these colleagues joined us in Q3, but we’ve been racing to get so many things done that we kept putting this off,” CEO Casey McGeever writes. “But now we have the roster updated. Of course we are adding some additional members to the team shortly, so there will be another update in a few months.”

We’ve included our walkthrough as well as some clean screenshots of the zones we showed off down below.

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CCP addresses EVE Online botter problem, saying it’s at the ‘top of the list’

Last week, we reported on a situation brewing on the EVE Online subreddit, where player after player spoke out about the game’s botting problem, exacerbated by a recent post about a specific botter corp leaving expensive capital ships where other players could easily take them out.

Seeking a statement on the botting situation, we reached out to CCP, whose CCP Falcon posted a response to our article on Reddit.

“[Botting is] to the detriment of the game and it needs to be stamped out,” he says. “It’s garbage behavior, it’s against the rules, and it’s something that has a magnified effect in EVE because of the single shard nature of the game, the economy, and the fact that everything on the market is player built or sourced.” Specifically, he dismissed the idea that CCP generates revenue from botters. That said, he also believes CCP has more work to do on the problem.

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Lost in Crowfall’s alpha? There’s a video for that – three videos, in fact

If you’re a Crowfall backer currently logging into the game’s current test phase for the first time because you are too impatient to wait for the game’s delayed soft launch, you’re not alone. And if you’re lost and wandering around trying to figure out what the heck to do because the game has changed so much since its original Kickstarter design docs, you’re also not alone. ArtCraft has a plan, however.

“Although we have a wonderful How to Play page that we work to keep updated, often it gets overlooked, or people are too excited to jump into the game to read it,” says the studio today. “So we set about creating a series of tutorial videos that cover the main aspects of Crowfall. These videos are meant to be brief overviews that will get a new player started, but will still allow for discovery and theorycrafting as they delve deeper into each of these systems.”

Fun fact: You can actually watch the vids from inside the game lobby, so no need to exit out to look up what the hell is going on. The first three are down below, including the basic welcome vid, the harvesting vid, and the gear vid. Enjoy!

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Tencent helps Chinese law enforcement arrest 120 people linked to PUBG cheats

If you thought Epic Games was being too rough on cheaters in Fortnite by smacking kids with personal lawsuits, wait until you hear what Tencent is up to. The Chinese gaming giant is preparing to (officially) launch PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds there (yes, it’s already playable there via Steam, but in early access). And ahead of that, it’s going after cheaters, specifically the cheat vendors – hard.

Bloomberg reports that the company has worked with Chinese police to arrest 120 people as part of 30 different cases involving cheat programs for the game. According to the publication, the company is trying to crack down on the hacking that pervades its games, specifically PUBG; those convicted under Chinese law could be sentenced to several years in prison, in addition to fines (and yeah, it’s happened before). So maybe don’t be a hacker targeting a megacorp’s video game in China.

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Monster Hunter World demos Rotten Vale, Coral Highlands gameplay

Capcom is keeping the Monster Hunter World hype up this week with a series of videos on the title’s gameplay. Spoilers: It’s mostly about hunting and beating the crap out of huge monsters (or in many cases, getting the snot beat out of you instead). The two newest videos focus on play in two biomes, Rotten Vale and Coral Highlands, and let’s just say that you’re unlikely to mix up the two – or care when you’re lying on the ground bleeding out from the aforementioned monster attack.

The game is set to roll out to PlayStation 4 players in just 10 days following its last beta event; it won’t be out on PC until next fall. Massively OP’s Andrew Ross gave MHW’s PS4 weekend beta in December positive marks, noting its accessibility and streamlined gameplay.

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The Daily Grind: How much worse could MMO business models get?

During the roundtable podcast a few weeks ago, when we had the whole Massively OP staff on to chat, we tackled a question from Teviko on the future of MMO business models. We’ve come a long way from free-to-play, microtransactions, and double-dipping sparkleponies, after all, to lockboxes. Indeed, he asked us to speculate on where we’ll be in 2023, looking back so fondly on 2018’s business models the way we look back on the relative quaintness of $25 flying mounts, and saying, “Instead of X, I’d rather buy a lockbox and take my chances!”

On the podcast, several of us agreed that big data will be our big problem: that business models will evolve further and further into monetized psych experiments as predictive algorithms dictate content, drops, and prices. And yes, lockboxes will seem quaint by comparison.

But maybe you have different ideas. How much worse could MMO business models get? Which games will be winning worst business model of 2023? What exactly will the bad MMO business models of tomorrow look like?

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Warframe discusses hijacking, damage 2.5, and drop changes

What’s going on in Warframe, the game both you and we named the best not-so-massively game we covered in 2017? Quite a bit, it turns out. Last week’s dev streams discuss a rework of Khora, preview a hijacking mechanic that’ll allow you to abscond with a Grineer fighter, and hint that the (possibly-Venus) next open world map will be even bigger than Plains of Eidolon. The damage 2.5 system is also headed back for additional “radical” revisions after player feedback skewed negative.

Meanwhile, the game’s latest hotfix addresses loads of drops issues, including a switcharoo for the starter Excalibur warframe so that it’s not partly gated on Pluto.

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