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

ArcheAge is seriously cracking down on cheaters

Heads up, ArcheAge cheaters: Your days are numbered.

“For the past months, our team has been hard at work at creating better methods to accurately and quickly detect players who have been playing unfairly,” Trion Community Manager Celestrata told forumgoers yesterday. “This new detection has already been enabled for a few weeks, and we’ve done this without adding any new or invasive security software to your play experience. […] Our first wave of bans on botters, gold farmers, and other types of suspicious accounts is now complete. You should all notice many less automated accounts in your travels.”

Celestrata says that “generally solid community members” have also been tracked using cheat programs and basically gives them their very last warning.

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Exclusive: Shards Online’s skill system dev diary

Indie sandbox Shards Online is barreling toward its 2016 launch, promising a creator’s paradise for those willing to steer their very own servers. Today, Citadel Studios is giving Massively OP readers an exclusive look at the game’s elaborate skill system. Wanna be a regen/dodge rogue who dabbles in lumberjacking on the side? Yep, you can do that! Read on for Citadel’s full dev diary, including the list of player skills and how Shards aims to balance their use.

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The Daily Grind: Where are all the MMORPG themeparks?

A reader named Rogbarz emailed us toward the end of last year, lamenting the fact that we have a lot of upcoming indie games seemingly aping one facet of early Ultima Online or Shadowbane, but not a lot of games on the way emulating the genre’s themeparks. “Write about the need for a new MMO that brings back classic raiding, dungeons, the way older MMOs like World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and Final Fantasy used to and still do,” he commanded. “I think people do want a new MMO like this, but nothing is coming out.”

I suspect that the modern distinterest in new themeparks specifically has a lot to do with how much time and money they require to produce (and maintain), which isn’t something that’s happening in this current economic climate, but it’s probably a very good thing for the existing themeparks. What say you? Where are all the MMO themeparks? Which upcoming one (or older one) have you got your eye on?

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Indie sandbox Sacrament heads to Kickstarter next week

Indie jack-of-all-trades sandbox Sacrament is planning a Kickstarter for March 16th, according to its recent podcast.

Ferocity Unbound Core Studios developers Steeldeal, Layenem, and Kraive discuss the rewards they are planning for the game. You’ll be able to pick up a copy of Sacrament as part of the $30 tier; tiers run all the way up to $10,000, which includes a launch party and lore-writing credit. “On Kickstarter, we can’t go over $10,000,” says Steeldeal. “If you’re a publisher looking to own all the rights to the game, sorry, but this game ain’t for you.”

The studio released its first in-game footage last month. The game plans raiding, multiple forms of PvP, solo content, and a level-less character design.

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H1Z1’s delayed patch arrives this week

The latest H1Z1 producer’s letter has arrived, this one focusing on the Just Survive half of the now-split zombie survival sandbox. Daybreak begins by saying that it will continue to balance trade delays, which were instituted to help the devs “deal with significant organized fraud being attempted against the marketplace.” The studio aims to “make changes going forward to try [to] find that balance between convenience and fraud control.”

As to Just Survive, Daybreak says it had planned to push out its zombie update on Friday, but things didn’t go to plan.

“This update failed internally and as we started to unravel it, we determined that it would be easier to cease that effort and begin getting ready for a full update to our test servers which had not happened in some time. We are in the final stages of testing that update right now.”

The new patch will include those zombies, plus better zombie AI, a test for base building restrictions, and a visual upgrade. Expect it on Wednesday.

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Grim Dawn is getting sweet modding tools

Grim Dawn, the Kickstarted multiplayer ARPG newly launched from early access into the state of a finished product, has big plans in store for gamers who like to tinker under the hood of their games.

“First in line [is] the game’s modding tools, based on the same tools in fact that we used to create the game,” Crate Entertainment dev Zantai told forumgoers today. “I am currently in the process of preparing documentation for them so that you can not only dive right in to creating your own worlds and modifications for Grim Dawn when the tools are released, you might even have a clue of what you are doing as you go on your way to creating grim misadventures of your very own.”

Zantai shows screencaps of the toolset’s asset manager, world editor (above), quest editor, conversation editor, and database editor. “There is much potential here and we are eager to see what players will do with these tools at their disposal,” he writes, promising more on functionality in future reveals.

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Join the Thieves Guild today in The Elder Scrolls Online’s latest DLC

The Elder Scrolls Online’s Thieves Guild DLC is live today on the production servers. Those with active ESO Plus memberships will be able to play the new content right away; everyone else will need to dig up 2000 crowns from under the couch cushions.

“Join the Thieves Guild of Abah’s Landing to become the newest recruit in their organization of pickpockets, burglars, robbers, and thieves. Aside from hours of new story content, two new delves and group bosses, this update introduces a new Larceny System and various criminal activities. You’ll also gain access to a new passive skill line exclusive to Thieves Guild members. If you’re looking for a true challenge, visit our new 12-player Trial – the Maw of Lorkhaj – available in both Normal and Veteran versions where you can get powerful new gear.”

Players who skip the DLC will still see the benefit of parts of the patch, including scrolling combat text, the overhauled grouping tool, and the raiding vitality bonus.

Check out the patch notes, the original intro trailer, and our roundup of DLC coverage below.

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The Daily Grind: What do F2P players offer a F2P MMORPG?

Almost a year ago, we debated the generally accepted wisdom that free-to-play players provide some sort of value to a game. Either they’re seat-fillers, or they’re “the content,” or they’re free word of mouth, or maybe someday they will actually put some money into the game if we just keep them logging in — or so the mobile industry seems to show.

Daybreak’s shift back toward the subscription model might be a herald that at least smaller MMORPG developers don’t really believe that the mobile model works here in this genre. Daybreak Community Manager Mepps even dropped a bomb in the comments to that effect back in January:

“It might come as a surprise, but players who will never pay and support the game are not super interesting to us.”

Drama ensued, of course, but does it come as a surprise? Delete mobile games from the equation for a moment: What exactly do F2P players offer a F2P MMORPG? Why should Daybreak find non-paying players interesting?

(With thanks to Balsbigbrother.)

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MMO Week in Review: Black Desert is finally here (March 6, 2016)

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!

Black Desert formally launched in the west this week, bringing only mild to moderate launch drama, all rectified within the amusing “shitstorm matrix” that Daum crafted to pacify players whose launch wasn’t entirely to plan.

Don’t forget to check out our launch-day roundup as well as our new column, Desert Nomad, in which our columnist Matt Daniel will be chronicling his adventures in the fresh sandbox.

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

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Make My MMO: Chronicles of Elyria’s $900k goal (March 5, 2016)

Indie MMO Chronicles of Elyria announced this week that it’s plotting a May Kickstarter with a $900,000 goal. The game is probably best known for its fairly original aging and death mechanics, which are tied into its business model.

Meanwhile, Star Citizen pushed alpha 2.2 live, Camelot Unchained passed its “send more programmers” stretch goal, City of Titans produced video of its “functional first pass” build, and AdventureQuest 3D joined our watch list with news of its planned October launch.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on!

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Camelot Unchained: Picking flowers, rocking armor, crafting all the things

Camelot Unchained’s latest dev update went up last night, and it’s predictably dense. Along with the usual list of dev card updates, there’s a look at some of the flora and terrains players will see depending on the realm they’re in.

And lest you think you’ll be skipping around picking flowers all day in CU, the team also posted some renders of crafted medium armor and a teeny tiny Luchorpán sporting sweet armor of her own.

CSE boss Mark Jacobs writes that he’s hard at work on the crafting system as well:

“I finished the first pass on the formulas and calculations for the refining system today, so it’s all nicely set up for programming to begin to take my beautifully color-coded spreadsheet and begin to implement it next week (okay, maybe not that beautiful, but quite functional!). As we’ve said before, it is of course not the final system. However, it means that our players will be able to play around with the refining system in Beta 1. And the beauty of this is, at this stage, you won’t have to spend tons of time gathering the raw materials to feed them into the system. You will be able to experiment to your heart’s content…well, at least for a little while in Beta 1, before the full system goes in later on.”

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A look at the loot due in Neverwinter’s Maze Engine expansion

Neverwinter’s latest dev blog zeroes in on the most important thing in any MMORPG: the players. Just kidding! It’s loot.

The Maze Engine expansion will introduce new enchantments and campaign currency aimed at giving players a helping hand against the demon spawn infesting the new areas. Quests to assist King Bruenor Battlehammer against Baphomet in his siege on Gauntlgrym (I am not making any of these words up, mind) will grant rewards spanning from Dwarven Battlerager companions and fashion gear to mount insignia and your choice of shards, seals, and tomes.

Completing the campaign itself will award new boons and part of a three-piece artifact set, while poking your nose into Castle Never and maybe doing something useful in there will pave the way for you to collect ruined and shattered items as well as snag a chance at “6 new Underdark Rings, including the Ring of Orcus, which has a chance to summon an undead servant when you are struck.” Your very own servant!

Check out the complete list of goodies awaiting adventurers.

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The Black Death’s latest trailer highlights merchants and housing

What would a medieval sandbox be without merchants to make money off of all the plague-ridden peasants?

If you said nowhere, then today’s Black Death trailer is for you. The upcoming survival sandbox highlights the profession of the merchant, who trades in resources, crafting tools, and cooked foods in pursuit of the “rags-to-riches” lifestyle. Merchants can even trade in housing deeds and purchase their own shops. Yes, I said housing; they range from hovels to mansions. Just don’t expect the castles to be less gloomy than the shacks.

The vid’s below!

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