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

Here’s how EVE Online’s new player experience is going to flow

Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren has a new development video out for EVE Online players this afternoon. She explains that as part of the free-to-play conversion for the game, CCP has a “big team” working on the new player experience.

“When you enter the game, you will wake up in the aftermath of a battle gone wrong, ” she explains, “and your empire will need you to get up to speed and perform important tasks so that you can eventually help with the Drifter threat in a pinnacle moment where a large fleet from your empire engages the Drifter forces.” Players will be guided along by their ship’s AI and factional leaders with the goal of getting both a purposeful and epic experience.

Nordgren says more information on the new player experience, the engineering complexes, command bursts, and fitting simulation system will be released next month and during EVE Vegas (which Massively OP’s Brendan Drain will be attending).

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SWTOR teases Blur trailer for Knights of the Eternal Throne

Does it drive you crazy when MMO studios make an announcement that they’re going to make an announcement? What about when they post a video teasing an even better video? That’s what BioWare’s done for Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Knights of the Eternal Throne today. On the upside, it’s clearly a Blur trailer, so this teaser is one worth watching. Enjoy!

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Star Citizen’s dogfighting design is more about feeling right than being accurate

In this week’s Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner tease CitizenCon — now just a week away — as team members from its global studios arrive in LA. In the meantime, the UK studio offers a report on the scanning and radar systems in the game, followed by a section on balancing ship flight, handling, and missiles, which leads Roberts to reminisce on how past games — like his — have handled creating visceral dogfighting.

“It’s actually kind of ironic because it’s exactly the process I ended up going through 24 years ago when we were doing Strike Commander. So Strike Commander wasn’t based in space; it was modern jet fighters in this futuristic vision of the Earth where mercenary squadrons were working for the highest bidder or the corporation. [… ] We’d done accurate flight modelling and all the speeds and everything were based on what an F16 would be, or a MIG 25 or the various craft that you would be … fighter planes you would be fighting with. But we found when we were flying around and dogfighting that we really weren’t getting this up close dogfighting feel that we wanted and Wing Commander had from what was done previously. […] We were wracking our heads to see how we could do that better and we basically said, “Let’s try halving the […] distance and speed of everything.’ And when we did that it felt right. So even though it wasn’t fully, actually accurate and right it was … it felt good as a dogfighter up close, firing guns. And that’s kind of the same process we went through here on the flight model changes we’ve done.”

There’s an update on the lobby and leaderboard interface as well. Watch below!

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Superdata: WoW now charges a full monthly sub in China

Superdata’s digital games market report for August 2016 landed in our inbox today. Those of you who’ve been consistently frustrated and confused over the way Superdata bins games might be happy to know that the research firm is now reporting just three categories, but unfortunately, that means most core MMORPGs will be kept off the list entirely and the data are far less interesting to us (and more likely to be more or less static from month to month).

League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Crossfire continue to dominate in terms of global revenue on the PC side, while Overwatch shows up in the top 10 for both PC and console. No one will be surprised by Pokemon Go’s place at the top of the mobile category. The researchers claim that Overwatch and World of Warcraft “show shifting Chinese spending habits” and note that Chinese players are now paying for WoW subs in monthly chunks.

“NetEase also recently changed their payment policy for World of Warcraft with the rollout of the title’s new Legion expansion. Rather than let Chinese gamers pay by the hour in tiny increments, players are now required to pay upfront for full monthly subscriptions. Despite this, the expansion was very well received in China with NetEase-processed revenue up to $37 million in August compared to $8 million in July. The success of both [WoW and Overwatch] goes against the assumption that Chinese gamers will never warm up to paying for games upfront, and provides evidence that it is possible to convince Chinese consumers to purchase high quality full-priced games. Whether this will fundamentally change the market remains to be seen, as local gaming behemoth and NetEase rival Tencent is still sticking to free-to-play.”

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The Netherlands is taking Pokemon Go creator Niantic to court

Pokemon Go’s legal entanglements continue today as Niantic has been ordered to appear before a court in the Netherlands on October 11th. The California-based developer is accused of failing to comply with a Dutch government request to remove pokemon from Kijkduin’s environmentally protected beaches and dunes, which the Dutch say have been swarmed with thousands of people hunting the critters. The municipality would also like pokemon banned from the streets from 11 p.m. at night to 7 a.m. in the morning.

According to The Guardian, the Dutch authorities in The Hague claim Niantic has not complied with their requests, which began last month, so they “had no other choice” but to take the games developer to court to seek relief.

This isn’t the first time an international government has demanded Niantic remove pokemon from unwelcome areas. To date, the French education minister wants them removed from campuses; the mayor of Bressolles, France, made demands to remove them from his town; the Sydney, Australia, suburb besieged by players did get at least one of the stops removed; and Japan successfully convinced Niantic to remove the critters from memorial parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (though not the stops near the dangerous Fukushima reactor). Cambodia simply outlawed playing the game near its Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, while the Bosnian government scrambled to prevent players from chasing pokemon on abandoned minefields.

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Battleborn boss denies free-to-play plans

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has denied a Kotaku report that Gearbox is about to take its flagging shooter Battleborn free-to-play within a couple of months. The publication had cited an anonymous source familiar with plans for the game, backing it up with the steadily falling price of the game and the revival of Evolve following its conversion.

But Pitchford denounced the story as “reckless” on Twitter.

He also clarified that the company “has some unannounced plans to do a trial version of the game that would be free and from which retail can be purchased along with DLC” and that it was likely not a timed demo but that plans hadn’t been finalized.

Source: Kotaku, Twitter


The Daily Grind: How long should the MMORPG genre’s hardest raids take to beat?

This week, after World of Warcraft: Legion’s mythic Emerald Nightmare raid launched, a Russian hardcore guild called Exorsus had the raid cleared within 18 hours. The final boss took them just two. According to PCGamesN, the guild was surely propelled along by the easier-to-come-by Mythic+ dungeon loot, and other guilds are still stuck on the boss before the last one.

But 18 hours? I am a retired raider. I did it for years in multiple games. I’m over it. I’ve moved on to other MMORPG pursuits that I find more worthwhile than raiding. And I have a particular for disdain for games that hold raiding up as the be-all, end-all of MMO content and design. But if you say that if you’re going to have raiding, and you’re going to insist on a loot/grind/time/group-wall when it comes to a raid-centric endgame, it should probably take even the elitest of the elite more than a single day to rofflestomp through it. They claim to be there for the challenge, after all, not the loot or the bragging rights over the plebes — so you’d better be offering a serious challenge and not a cakewalk.

That said, I don’t know how long I do think it should take. Weeks? Months? Will elite raiders actually put up with months and months of incremental gear farming just to get a raid force to that level anymore? How long should the MMORPG genre’s hardest raids take to beat?

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Massively Overthinking: Are you suffering from MMORPG burnout?

In last week’s Daily Grind about whether or not MMOs are better the second time you play them, the topic of burnout came up.

“I find that MMOs have become, in my own perception, a kind of homogeneous mass in my mind that is a barrier in itself to involvement, like there is nothing new any more,” commenter Gibbins wrote. “Playing any MMO at this point is like going back to something I gave up and mostly I spend less time before walking away.” To which another commenter, Mukk, observed, “MMO burnout, it seems…”

But is it really burnout? How do you know when you can say, “It’s not you, it’s me”? How do you determine whether you’ve outgrown a genre, or it’s changed so much that it’s grown away from you? And are you suffering, or have you ever suffered, from MMORPG burnout?

These are the questions I presented to the Massively OP writers this week. Onward!

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Devilian’s mobile version has launched in eight countries

GAMEVIL announced today that it’s ported Korean-born hack-n-slash MMOARPG Devilian to mobile — at least if you live in Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Philippines, and Vietnam, where it’s currently live on the Google Play Store. GAMEVIL’s Facebook page is referring to the release as a soft launch and implies that the game will move from Android to other platforms following this phase.

Devilian was originally develped by Korea’s Ginno Games, now Bluehole Ginno, though it sunsetted in that country last year. It launched in the west under Trion’s wing in December of last year and saw a large update, Alvir’s Legacy, back in July.

According to the press release, this mobile edition is “based on Trion’s popular MMORPG for the PC.” It is not known when it’s coming to other countries. “When we get the official date we will announce it to the community,” a GAMEVIL rep told players inquiring about a possible US market launch.

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Damn, Snail’s Dark and Light reboot is pretty

If you’ve been peering at Snail Games’ Dark and Light reboot thinking, pfff, a 2006-era video game can’t possibly compete in 2016, think again. Snail released a bundle of environmental screenshots this week to show off some of the places we’ll be fighting and dying come release in the new engine. (And I don’t see a single skull. Don’t they know volcanoes and skulls go together?!)

The teaser website says the game is still on track for launch this year. Enjoy!

Source: Press release


Shroud of the Avatar’s R34 delivers Halloween, culinary utility, and /pukeblood

Release 34 has launched for Shroud of the Avatar players as of this morning along with a large balance and polish pass for both the game’s combat and its economy. Here’s what else players can expect today:

  • Halloween is on the way! There’s a spooky new house template, new ruins, emotes, and housing deco, plus seasonal soundtrack cylinders to play in-game. What game doesn’t need a “/pukeblood” emote?
  • Crafters, you’re getting 45 new recipes and bone armor, plus food is now relevant in the game.
  • The Path of Love got more love, mainly in the form of improvements to the Necropolis and the city of Ardoris, though the devs say both still aren’t finished. “The Tower of the Shuttered Eye and Malice both need overhauls and Spite needs major polish,” they write. “All of those will get tackled in Q4.”

The offline economy patch and teachable recipes won’t make it in the patch — the former because of engine upgrades, the latter because of “architectural changes to inventory.” Roving encounters were also pushed off to October’s release 35. Portalarium has already laid out what’s in store for players through the rest of the year, culminating in release 37 just before Christmas.

Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie will be streaming from inside the update tonight at 5 p.m. EDT, so tune in for a walkthrough!

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Neverwinter’s Sea of Moving Ice patch releases November 8

PWE has just announced a new update for Neverwinter, part of its Storm King’s Thunder rollout. It’s called Sea of Moving Ice, and PC players will sink or swim in its waters come November 8th.

“Picking up where Storm King’s Thunder ended, the Sea of Moving Ice update sends players to battle the overwhelming defenses of the Jarl Storvald, who has nearly deciphered the Ring of Winter’s secrets and threatens to blanket the lands in permafrost. Players can hop in their new nautical vessel and travel through the Sea to gather support for the battle ahead. Along the way, they’ll be able try their luck at a newly built fishing system, go hunting for scraps of a treasure map, and uncover lost relics to earn artifact weapons far stronger than any before.”

Source: Press release, official site


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