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

Trove discusses player housing, Steam release

Trion released a dev blog introducing sandvox Trove’s cornerstone system to new players last night. Cornerstones are houses akin to a personal home base, a plot that you can build up and drag around with you from map to map, planting it anywhere there’s an unclaimed plot out in the world.

“Your Cornerstone is just for you; customize it to your heart’s content without any fear of losing what you’ve created! However, while the 16 x 16 space of your Cornerstone will always be with you, remember that the rest of the Trovian world is procedurally generated and changes over time. Anything built in the open world can be lost or modified by other players. With just a little bit of exploring, you’ll find amazing Cornerstone creations that have been assembled, piece by piece, by your fellow players.”

The studio is plotting a stream this Thursday to demo the Steam version and the new Tomb Raider Pack. Trove formally launches next week.

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Heroes of the Storm’s Eternal Conflict goes live today

Heroes of the Storm’s Diablo-themed but boringly named Eternal Conflict patch goes live today, bringing with it the new Battlefield of Eternity battleground, new mercs, treasure goblins, art polish, facebook portraits, and of course, new hero The Butcher, who’s been profiled in a brand-new video.

Expect the other heroes, like Leoric, on a roughly three-week schedule starting today. “Not a promise,” Blizzard’s Dustin Browder cautioned players on Twitter, who are totally going to hold him to it anyway. “Just our goals.”

Check out The Butcher video below.

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The Daily Grind: Are levels in MMOs overrated?

Today’s Daily Grind question comes from an anonymous Kickstarter donor who wanted to see just how many cans of worms he/she could open in three words:

Are levels overrated?

I’m a sandbox fan who favors skill systems, so naturally I’m not the world’s biggest fan of leveling systems in MMOs, but I’ll admit that even skill systems are usually numerical, with lots of little levels instead of one big level. No, the problem isn’t numerical levels by themselves.

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Win a pair of Gunnar Heroes of the Storm glasses from Massively OP

Massively OP is pleased to present a prize giveaway this week to celebrate the formal launch of Heroes of the Storm earlier this month: Gunnar Optiks has sent us a sweet pair of Heroes of the Storm Siege glasses and a set of HOTS Sonya sleeves to fit them, all for you. Gunnar’s eyewear are intended to help gamers (and anyone else who stares at a computer screen all day) with dry eyes, distortion, glare reduction, and blue light and UV filtering. This pair is wide-fit and adjustable for your nose and headset too.

Read on to enter to win!

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The Elder Scrolls Online has a new creative director

The Elder Scrolls Online is down a dev this month, as Creative Director Paul Sage has left ZeniMax Online Studios to join Gearbox.

According to Assistant Community Manager Gina Bruno on the official forum, Lead Content Designer Rich Lambert has stepped into Sage’s vacant position:

We can confirm that Paul left ZOS after the launch of ESOTU on console. He, along with rest of the team, are very happy with how the game is doing and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. ESOTU continues to be in great hands with Gamer Director, Matt Firor and new Creative Director, Rich Lambert, overseeing development. Previously, Rich oversaw all content in the game as Lead Content Designer and worked on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. We’re very excited to have him take on the role as Creative Director!

Sage isn’t the first high-profile dev to depart ESO in recent months. Lead Gameplay Designer Nick Konkle left ZOS for Riot Games earlier this spring; he was replaced by Chris Strasz. Combat Gameplay Designer Maria Aliprando apparently departed in May.

Source: ForumsReddit via Gameinformer

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MMO Week in Review: At least Trion’s new game isn’t a MOBA? (June 28, 2015)

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!

Trion Worlds teased a new game this week, providing an image of a game fans believe they have identified as Devilian Online, a Korean-born OARPG that’s got more in common with Diablo than with the MOBAs MMO studios have become so fond of cloning, though it’s led MMO players to wonder what else Trion might be up to.

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

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The Daily Grind: What’s the ideal MMO endgame?

Happy Friday! Today’s Daily Grind question was penned by Kickstarter donor Iain Leishman, and it’s exactly the kind of juicy question that makes me want to kick back and chat all day in the comments, getting no work done at all. Darnit. Here it is:

Does an MMO need an endgame, or should Guild Wars 2‘s style of “endgame” be imitated, regardless of character level, making all content relevant?

I think that, as a game design concept, endgame is the worst thing that ever happened to MMOs. But there are plenty of systems and activities floating around in the traditional endgames of start-middle-end MMOs that I do like and would love to see yanked out and just treated as, you know, normal endless-midgame content. And it’s one of the things Guild Wars 2, among other titles, does extremely well: It keeps players of all levels and time commitments playing together, it trades tedious level grinding requirements for more optional grinds, and it — at least so far — doesn’t undermine too much evergreen content in the early game.

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Massively Overthinking: Random encounters in MMORPGs

This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter donor TheChiHawk, and it’s coming from an unusually not-so-massive corner of gamesdom for us:

Are there any MMORPGs that employ a Left 4 Dead 2 type of “director feature”? It occurred to me that I still play L4D2 somewhat regularly because it continues to be fun due to the random element each time you play the same campaign. By contrast, the static layout of every single MMO I’ve played stands in stark contrast; you always know exactly what needs to be done. BORING! L4D2 would seem to be a perfect model for keeping things fun and uncertain with each new dungeon delve in an MMO. Why hasn’t anyone incorporated this into MMO games?

The director feature TheChiHawk is talking about is basically an AI governor for the whole game — with a twist. I’ll let the Left 4 Dead Wikia explain:

The Director, sometimes referred to as the AI Director, or simply as AID, is the artificial intelligence of Left 4 Dead that features a dynamic system for game dramatics, pacing, and difficulty. Instead of set spawn points for enemies, the Director places enemies in varying positions and numbers based upon each player’s current situation, status, skill, and location, creating a new experience for each play-through. The Director also creates mood and tension with emotional cues such as visual effects, dynamic music and character communication. Moreover, the Director is responsible for spawning additional health, ammo, weapons, and Special Infected, like the Witch or the Tank.

So let’s talk about MMO AI! I posed Chi’s question to the MOP team. Which MMOs have similar features? How do they work? Do they solve any major problems with MMO AI?

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Trion Worlds teases creepy new game

Is the devil inside you? Trion Worlds is pretty sure it’s the devil and not Intel, anyway. The studio behind MMOs RIFT, Defiance, and Trove tweeted out a mysterious message and link today, suggesting it’s got a new game in the works.

It lies in wait, the devil inside us all. devilinsideyou.com pic.twitter.com/8je0vxIV5E

Is it an MMO? We freaking hope so, though of course we’re only assuming it’s a game at all and not a delicious puff pastry, which would also be OK with us. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more!

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Ask Mo: If Star Wars Galaxies is so smart, why ain’t it rich?

Star Wars Galaxies would have been 12 years old this week, had it lived a day past Star Wars: The Old Republic. That makes this the perfect time to dig up and try to answer an old email from longtime Massively OP reader Hagu the Pally in this week’s Ask Mo.

Why did SWG have so little influence on games and developers? A recent comment was, “There is not a lot of evidence that SWG had significant impact on anything in MMOs. Is it even hyperbole to say Meridian 59 influenced MMOs more than SWG?”

As a crafter, I read so many people who loved the crafting. It’s famous. Yet “all” the subsequent developers and games have not even tried; not pale imitations, they just didn’t seem to go that way at all. Same for entertainers. etc.

One can say WoW does raiding and SWTOR does story better than other MMOs, but the other games do attempt them. If people listed their top SWG features, how many were copied by other games? I can think of the EQ, EQ2, WoW, GW2, RIFT, EVE (PLEX-like is an adjective for reviewers) features that seemed to have influenced other games.

Am I just ignorant of a lot of ways SWG changed the world? Why did such a seminal game that resonated so passionately with some people not have more downstream impact?

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Win a Skyforge CBT4 key from Massively OP and Allods Team (All gone now!)

Skyforge’s fourth and final closed beta test begins today, bringing with it two advanced classes, a difficulty toggle, a group finder, and customizable guilds, plus there’s the promise of a future open beta now in the planning stages.

We’ve got 1000 beta keys for this round of testing to give out thanks to the fine folks at My.com, Obsidian, and Allods Team; be one of the first thousand readers to clicky the Mo button below and one of them is all yours!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best way to boost MMO populations?

An anonymous Kickstarter donor pinged us with this question for this morning’s Daily Grind:

With the breadth of niche MMOs available, how will companies resort to increasing players?

I presume our donor refers to the absolute deluge of smaller indie titles that we’ve seen crop up in development over the last few years thanks to Kickstarter. While some folks praise the creativity that these niche titles promise in a field of higher-budget WoW-style themeparks, others see only a future of flopped games and communities spread far too thin to sustain themselves. “Niche” can bring dilution as much as diversity.

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MMO Week in Review: The E3 2015 roundup (June 21, 2015)

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!

After several years of dud E3s, this year’s expo took us by surprise, with big reveals for several major MMORPGs, including Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is retooling its faction system for its upcoming Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, and Guild Wars 2, which opened prepurchases for its Heart of Thorns expansion only to be met with… let’s call it pushback from fans.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions as well as a roundup of all our E3 coverage.

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