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

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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Worlds Adrift delays closed beta by ‘a few weeks’

What’s going on with the Worlds Adrift testing? Since the launch of its 6.1 alpha play test two months ago, the Bossa Studios team has been hammering out bugs and new features — but it says it just needs a bit more time.

“There’s a few important features that aren’t quite done yet, [so] we’ve decided to delay the game,” Bossa’s Luke Williams explains. The most important feature is the character creator, but there are also updates coming for the world map, ship frame salvaging, bomb combat, gliders, and the “bottom storms” that help destroy the detritus of the gameworld.

Consequently, Bossa says, “We’re moving back the start of closed beta by just a matter of weeks, not months.”

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Life is Feudal MMO begins another round of its closed beta

Bitbox is unleashing another round of closed beta testing for the MMO fork of Life is Feudal, expected to run two weeks. Accompanying the beta announcement is a new trailer from the team going through the game’s laundry list of features, from crafting and weather to survival skills and a persistent world to territory and terraforming.

“While players may start their adventure in Life is Feudal: MMO alone, as they gather and craft supplies needed to make it to the next day, they will quickly meet up with others to form groups, then guilds, and finally work their way up to complete medieval societies and nation-states,” says the studio. “Life is Feudal: MMO is a realistic social experience, where the best way to thrive in the world is to work together and build a fully functioning society, where everyone has a place, from the most basic hunters and gatherers, to farmers, soldiers and civic leaders.”

Closed beta is available to peeps who pick up one of the early access packs, the cheapest of which is $39.99. We’ve got the trailer below — anyone jumping in?

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Mars survival sandbox ROKH pushes early access to May

Mars-themed survival sandbox ROKH is inching closer toward release, a new post on Steam announced today, as early access is now planned for May 16th.

“Playing on persistent servers, you will experience a truly sandbox experience. No mission or quest here, define your own goals according to your own needs! And to succeed, find your own way to play with the many game systems available. As a newcomer on ROKH and its Mars Colonization Program, you must find ways to survive by exploring Mars in your basic astronaut suit, looking for resources. Oxygen, food, water – all your life support systems will have to be cautiously managed.”

We first heard about ROKH back in 2015 when it released its teaser to the world. Just about a year ago, developer Darewise Entertainment launched a Kickstarter for the game seeking over $100,000, but that crowdfunding attempt was canceled when it achieved only about a fifth of its goal. Since then, the early access launch has been kicked around a few times — first to September 2016, then January 2017, and now to next month. Stay tuned for more on the game as it’s one of the titles we’ll be covering in our nascent survival column!

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Leaderboard: Where do you draw the line between griefing and roleplaying?

On the Morrowind subreddit a few days ago, a player was recounting a particular roleplay-slash-griefing episode on a hardcore-roleplay Ultima Online emulator. The player explains that he spent months roleplaying as a bartender serving drinks to the adventurers he befriended. But he was actually planning something far more nefarious:

“For over a year I roleplayed with these people as a simple barman, pretended to be their friend and confidant, and then during a harvest festival where every player on our server was in attendance and I was [paid] to provide the food and drink… I poisoned every last morsel of food, every drop of drink, and after the [regent] delivered his speech and all of these fools raised their goblets for the toast and took that deadly sip, I stepped onto the stage and revealed what had happened. They [were] all going to die, and die they did. Now this was a permanent death server (hardcore RPers, mind you), and some had been playing those characters for 8 years, and there they all were, collapsed and dying. Soon they were all unconscious, as you could only die if you went unconscious three times in one day or if a certain psychotic bartender came and cut off your head… which I did to every player in our group of 38. They were all there, and unfortunately so was I.”

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Black Desert’s weekly patch is a big boost to UI customization

This week’s Black Desert patch looks small on paper: the game’s been buffed with new crafted costumes, ship repair kits, and a modification tool called “sticker UI” that allows players to tweak their interfaces.

“Sticker UI that will allow users to drag some UI elements out of the game screen has been added. Upon clicking the Sticker UI icon on the top-right corner of the Inventory, the following windows can be dragged outside the game screen: Equipment, Marketplace, Quest, Guild, Trade, Tooltip, Manage Workers. When Sticker UI function is activated, it will keep running outside the game screen even if other windows are turned on. However, some of the functions cannot be performed in Sticker UI window. When the pop-up is released, the window will reopen. When a window is dragged out of the game screen, it cannot be closed with the ESC key. The window can only be turned off by clicking the X button or releasing pop-up status then turning it off. When minimizing the game screen to tray, the Sticker UI will disappear. Sticker UI will reset in /reloadui situations (server change, resurrecting in nodes after death, etc.). Screens without render modes cannot use the Sticker UI (Ex. If World Map is turned on when Inventory is open, Inventory pop-up window will black out and no action can be taken). Drag-and-drop function is allowed only in the Sticker UI and in-game screen (Not in Windows screen). Marketplace Sticker UI can only be applied in Marketplace Panel through Game Options.”

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World of Warcraft’s Hazzikostas on content creep and the future of the game

Hey, it turns out that designing long-term MMORPGs that aren’t pump-and-dump schemes is hard!

That’s the takeaway from a new PC Gamer interview with Blizzard’s Ion Hazzikostas, during which the World of Warcraft game director admits to what the developers of the dozens of MMOs that came before WoW could’ve told Blizz had it, y’know, ever considered asking.

“We are becoming increasingly aware of the cost of any change we make that has ongoing maintenance and the risk of design bloat,” Hazzikostas says. “If we keep adding and adding with every expansion, eventually what we end up with becomes very unwieldy. It’s an issue that we weren’t cognizant enough of early on because we were in uncharted territory, but we are now.” Yeah, he said uncharted territory.

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Guild Wars 2 legendary armor for raiders launches next week

ArenaNet’s Paul Ella has a fresh blog post out this afternoon revealing the plan for legendary armor in Guild Wars 2. If you’re my kind of Guild Wars 2 player, your response is probably somewhere between “woot new stuff” and “dammit quit doubling down y’all,” so let’s zoom in.

Ella confirms that legendary armor is a reward for raiding content, with unique silhouettes and animations and minimized clipping and of course rune slots. He’s got screenshots for each armor type, each one designed thematically.

“When we started creating raids, our aim was to produce complex endgame combat that would really give players a chance to demonstrate their skills, abilities, and tactical thinking in overcoming its challenges. As a reward for defeating the raid bosses, we realized early on that we would need something that reflects your success to other players. Enter legendary armor—the ultimate pinnacle of armor in all of Tyria.”

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Pantheon studio Visionary Realms finds firmer financial footing

Looking at Pantheon today, you almost wouldn’t know it flopped its Kickstarter way back in 2014. That’s because the team kept at it and has been raising money from investors and gamers to keep the dream alive for the past three years.

“Visionary Realms today announced that Series A funding for their upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, is now complete,” reads this morning’s press release. “Series A funding allows the company to expand the team in almost every department and bring the game into a semi-private pre-alpha state where external testers and focus groups can begin sampling the game.” This funding round is typically venture-capital-oriented and follows seed funding like the capital the studio raised back in 2015.

In March, Visionary Realms’ Brad McQuaid told gamers the team now counts 15 people. Public testing (pre-alpha) is planned for later this year.

Source: Press release

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