Brianna 'Bree' Royce


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

Cloud Pirates unveils next closed beta test with a new trailer has announced this morning that it’s plotting course for another round of closed beta for aerial MOBA Cloud Pirates, this one due to begin on November 23rd. “This second closed beta test will expand in new directions, starting with the deployment of twelve completely new ships to experience and use all available combat styles and tactics,” says the studio. “In addition, a brand-new system will allow players to further their ‘Captain Progress’ with every game played, regardless of the ship (new or old) they choose to sail. By reaching captain level 10 via this new system, more special captain abilities will be unlocked, ensuring even further opportunities for ship and playstyle experimentation.”

Of note, the MOBA devs say that they’ve made some big changes to the game based on player feedback, including tweaks to weapon accuracy, firing range, and rate of fire.

Participants in the first round of closed beta will be invited back for part two. Signups are open on the official site; in the meantime, here’s the brand-new trailer:

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Dark & Light is ‘not likely’ in November

Rumors spreading on Chinese Baidu Tieba (a bit like Reddit) that Dark & Light is already on Steam awaiting Valve review appear to have been defused — or at least don’t mean what we think they mean.

Snail Games has previously said the game will arrive on Steam this fall, but no date has been given, and now a Snail representative told western players last night that November is not likely for the launch.

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FIFA hackers charged with stealing millions in spoofing scheme

Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s just a game and exploits aren’t a big deal: A group of FIFA players are standing trial on charges of felony wire fraud for thinking just that.

One of four defendants in the FBI’s federal case is Anthony Clark, whose trial began in Texas earlier this week. Clark and his alleged co-conspirators are charged with creating a tool to essentially hack the game, spoof matches, and allow them sit back while they collected sweet, sweet FIFA coins, which were then exchanged on various legal and illegal marketplaces for cash, resulting in millions of dollars in profit — and I do mean millions, which these chuckleheads stashed in legit bank accounts and used to purchase muscle cars and houses.

“The defendant, Anthony Clark, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud EA by obtaining ‘FIFA coins’ by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses and representations,” reads the original indictment. “[He] transmitted and caused to be transmitted, by means of wire and radio communications in interstate and/or foreign commerce, certain writings, signs, signals and sounds, including causing an ‘application’ to be executed on EA’ s servers from various locations throughout the United States, all contrary to the provisions of 18 u.s.c. § 1343.”

One alleged co-conspirator has already pleaded guilty to his charges. And you thought sports video games were boring.

Source: Indictment via Kotaku. Thanks, Sally!


A freakishly large turkey has invaded Black Desert

Today’s Black Desert patch is surprisingly meaty, and we’re not just talking about turkeys (though we’re talking about them too). Yes, the update includes the game’s Thanksgiving event, which amounts to a daily quest for rewards and the spawn of King Targargo, an enormous and deadly turkey who’s invaded Fleme Hills and dares you to come kick his butt, at least until November 30th, when the event concludes.

Thanksgiving must be a really upsetting time for meleagrisphobics.

In other patch news, the PvP level cap has been bumped from 45 to 50, marketplace bidding has been heavily overhauled with a new three-stage system, the quest log has been updated, and there are tons of bug fixes and balance adjustments for all of the classes, plus some other quality-of-life tweaks like “You are now given the option to skip the tutorial if you have a character that is above level 50 on your account” and essentials like “The posture of Burita Allon, trade manager of Valencia, has been adjusted.” Finally, right?


Sea of Thieves appreciates the silhouette of islands at sunset

Which MMORPG would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island? If you said Sea of Thieves, you’re wrong. There’s no internet on desert islands.

Rare’s Level Art Lead Darren Nourish and Environment Artist Joachim Coppens star in a new dev diary this week all about Sea of Thieves’ island building, from modeling to pebble placement to playtesting that can sometimes prove islands as conceived are “way too big.” They also consider the silhouette of islands as players are approaching them in their pirate ships at sunset and deck them out with proper lore and backstory.

Watch below — there are some gorgeous video clips in there.

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Crowfall’s training montage demos the playable pre-alpha classes

Crowfall’s latest video is a montage — the best kind of montage, a training montage! It shows training cycles for the eight classes currently available for testing by pre-alpha backers: the Champion, Ranger, Druid, Confessor, Knight, Myrmidon, Duelist, and Legionnaire.

“Still to come in future updates are the Assassin, Forgemaster, Stalker, Frostweaver and Templar,” the studio writes.

Crowfall has seen one big announcement after another in the last few weeks, including news that it had raised $3 million in crowdfunds and yesterday’s revelation that ArtCraft is a launch company for Indiegogo’s new Fig-like equity fundraising service. In that last day, $25,000 has been invested into the company by gamers.

The video is below.

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NCsoft appears to be blocking former Soviet states from WildStar

Reports this morning that players in various former Soviet countries, among others, had been unceremoniously barred from accessing NCsoft MMORPGs WildStar and Guild Wars 2 appear to have been confirmed by an NCsoft community rep, though Guild Wars 2’s block seems to have been in error.

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Exclusive HeroWarz trailer: New character Izanami is playable November 16

Arriving tomorrow in KOG Games’ anime hack-n-slash MMO HeroWarz is Izanami, the Queen of the Underworld.

“Shortly after being drafted into the longstanding war of the Underworld by King Bianchung, Izanami’s father passed away. Her mother was killed by the soldiers who were looking to also draft Izanagi; her only brother. With the help of an illusionist named Garbha, Izanami and her brother Izanagi barely escaped the soldiers. From Garbha, Izanami had learned to master the mystic art of illusion while Izanagi learned the destructive lightning magic. After completing her training with Garbha, Izanagi, ever the idealist, joins the demon general Yanluo’s army to help unify the Underworld, and her brother follows suit. When Izanagi was promoted to the position of Lightning General, Izanami is kidnapped, and placed in the deepest parts of the Third World. However, Izanagi thinks that Izanami was killed by Pluto due to a plot by Yanluo (and likely Hermes) and goes crazy. When Izanami finally escapes the Third World to find her brother, he’s killed in front of her by Yanluo. Enraged, Izanami kills everyone in sight and, in the process, liberates the Underworld. With her true potential realized, Izanami is the first participant of the Dream Architect, Iago’s project that allows traveling to the past through dreaming.”

We’ve got an exclusive look at the brand-new character below in video and image form. Enjoy!

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League of Legends pro teams agitate for better compensation

Last week, the owners of a number of North American and European League of Legends Championship Series teams dispatched a letter to Riot Games outlining their many complaints with the way the professional LoL e-sports scene is handled. Specifically, the teams have criticized the way the league provides insufficient job security and compensation, which currently amounts to only a guarantee of $12,500 per North American player per season. (That’s not all they make, as they’re also paid by their teams, but it’s the baseline.)

“Riot wants partners who will continue to lose money with the expectation of making money in the long-term, but offers no long-term commitment to any Team,” the letter argues. “The Teams have been advised that operating a business at a loss is our choice.”

One word you’ll see over and over in the letter and discussion is “relegation,” and it’s something the professional teams aren’t happy with. Here’s wikipedia’s explanation:

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Crowfall studio joins Indiegogo’s equity crowdfunding platform

Crowdfunding activists and haters should point their eyeballs at Indiegogo today, as the crowdfunding platform has just announced that it’s launching a new equity crowdfunding service that might remind you more of Fig than of traditional fundraising platforms.

“By utilizing new equity crowdfunding regulations that took effect in May, the new service provides entrepreneurs on Indiegogo the opportunity to raise funds from interested investors in exchange for financial stakes in their company, and provides funders on Indiegogo the opportunity to own a financial stake in innovative startups,” the company says. “The launch of equity crowdfunding is the latest effort by Indiegogo to help entrepreneurs throughout the entire lifecycle of their projects.”

Notably, one of the launch companies is none other than ArtCraft Entertainment, the game studio building upcoming PvP “throne war simulator” MMORPG Crowfall, which itself was Kickstarted by gamers early last year. The company will raise funds at a minimum $100 buy-in with 63 days left to go, giving gamers a chance to earn a return on their investment through crowdfunding for once.

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Guild Wars 2’s next episode, A Crack in the Ice, drops November 21

Guild Wars 2 has just released the first trailer for A Crack in The Ice, the third episode of the third season of living story content, which is due out just in time for Thanksgiving — on November 21st, in fact.

“The next episode of Living World Season 3, A Crack in the Ice, is coming next Monday, November 21. The season follows the aftermath of Heart of Thorns – a flood of unbound magic, the rise of two Elder Dragons, and the birth of the dragon Glint’s child, Aurene. In “A Crack in the Ice,” players will follow that story into the Northern Shiverpeaks, territory of the Elder Dragon Jormag. Along with “A Crack in the Ice” comes the brand-new Nightmare fractal. This five-person, instanced dungeon takes players on an upward climb through a massive tower, which is heavily guarded by powerful abominations and their toxic experiments.”

The game’s first expansion, Heart of Thorns, is currently on sale for half off through ArenaNet itself, so it’s a good time to jump in if you’d like access to all the new content (and you’ll need it to play through the living story episodes!). Massively OP’s Guild Wars 2 columnist Tina Lauro has a piece out this today to convince you why upgrading to Heart of Thorns is worth it. (And not every reason is Taimi. Promise.) Don’t miss that or the new video below.

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EVE Online is officially free-to-play today with Ascension

“We are happy to announce that EVE Online: Ascension has been successfully deployed!” That’s the word out of Icelandic MMORPG studio CCP Games this morning, which has given the all clear for free-to-play players to swarm the gates of the classic space sandbox.

“The headline feature of EVE Online: Ascension, Clone States, brings free access to EVE Online in the form of Alpha Clones, using a pre-determined skillset, giving access to a whole host of playstyles and in-game content without the need for a subscription. In addition to this, the first phase of a completely re-worked new player experience, Inception, will offer new pilots more assistance and guidance than ever before as they take their first steps into the vast expanse of New Eden. Engineering Complexes, a new set of colossal industrial structures, are set to fundamentally change the economy and industry game play, alongside a full rework of command boosts, mining foreman revamps, new effects generators for Titans, a rebalance of the Rorqual, new visual feedback and brand-new explosion effects, as well as more activity in the asteroid belts of New Eden in the forum of non-capsuleer resource gathering operations.”

We’ve rounded up all of our Ascension coverage starting with the F2P announcement itself. If you’re a new or returning player, we’d like to point out Brendan’s guides in particular as being potentially helpful to you, especially his tips for new F2P players, his F2P cruiser fitting guide, his look at the new tutorial, and his overview of what’s in the patch other than F2P. And don’t forget to weigh in on this morning’s Daily Grind, which asks whether you’ll be among those in New Eden this week. Happy patch day, capsuleers, and fly safe!

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Elder Scrolls Online plans sales and free-play weekend for PC and PS4 players

If you’ve been curious about The Elder Scrolls Online but didn’t want to take the plunge with the box fee, good news for you, at least if you’re not on Xbox One: Bethsoft is offering what it’s calling an extended free-play weekend for the game starting tomorrow and running through November 20th. (Update: Bethsoft has noted that Xbox One players will get a free-play weekend, but it hasn’t been announced yet.)

“The North American PlayStation 4 Free Play Weekend will begin at 12:01 am US eastern time tomorrow. PlayStation Plus is not required to participate. The PC and Mac Free Play Weekend on Steam will begin at 1 pm eastern time tomorrow. Information on a Free Play Weekend for Xbox One will be revealed soon. As always, there is no subscription required to play The Elder Scrolls Online. Players simply need to download the game, create an account, and begin their adventures in Tamriel.”

Folks who sign up for an account during the free-play event will have access to the Tamriel Unlimited base game, 500 crowns to play with in the cash shop, and the chance to enter the ongoing Trip of a Lifetime contest. Should you choose to upgrade your account to a paid account at the end of the event, you’ll keep all your stuff too.

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