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

Don’t hold your breath for Black Desert’s class awakening system

In response to a lengthy (and apparently frequently posted) player complaint thread about class balance and the pace of class awakening delivery, Black Desert’s western arm, Daum EU, has issued a — can we say exasperated? — statement defending both its pace as mandated by Korean releases and its communication on that topic.

“[A]ew weeks ago we said that we wanted to release all the awakenings all at once. That is still our plan so far,” writes Community Manager Tytyes on the official forums.

“There are no silence around this, mostly maybe a ‘let’s not repeat ourselves everytime someone new ask for it.’ Now, this is mostly due to the fact that releasing only a part of it might create some unbalance in the actual PvP system. Your concerns are based on the PvE yes, but that doesn’t mean PvP will not be impacted by it. On top of that there are 2 things to notice, first not all classes have their awakening skill ready to be released, this is not a matter of “this new class has an issue let’s try to fix it”, it can only be solved by waiting, would it be ok for them to wait ? Would it be if we were playing a class without awakening when everybody has its own?”

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Chronicles of Elyria rules out PvE servers, non-human races, and mages (sorta)

Chronicles of Elyria’s latest Kickstarter updates lean to the informational side. Up first is a run-down of its next stretch goal, Wards of the State, which is basically a fancy way of saying players who don’t want to begin as a member of a family as a trade-off in advantages (which seems a rather fundamental concept).

“A Ward sacrifices the financial and social support system which comes with a family, in exchange for additional character customization and more flexibility,” says Soulbound Studios. “Wards are able to select any gender and have a point distribution system they can use to set their starting skill values and character attributes.”

A follow-up post covers some of the game’s most frequently asked questions. Mages won’t be a character type you can select for yourself, and you won’t be playing anything but humans. Soulbound is making no room for a PvE server, either.

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Overwatch’s launch day has arrived; here’s our giant roundup

Blizzard’s Overwatch, the shooty remains of what was once destined to be MMORPG Project Titan, formally launches tonight at midnight — if you’re in London, anyway. For those of us here in the US, we’re looking at go-times of 7 p.m. EDT at Massively OP’s HQ in Philly to 4 p.m. PDT over on the west coast where Blizzard is. If you’ve already preordered, you should probably go make sure you’re all downloaded and patched up because it’s launch day and nothing can go wrong. Right?

Let’s round up some cool Overwatch stories in the meantime!

The game isn’t out yet and there’s already a clone because of course there is. MMO Culture reports that a Chinese clone called Legend of Titan was shamelessly revealed for mobile at a con earlier this month.

Here’s a heartwarmer: The daughter of an Overwatch fan drew up a sketch of her own proposed Overwatch character, Birst, and her dad sent it off to Blizz for feedback… but epic Blizz artist Roman Kenney turned it into a real drawing. So Blizz, when can we play this new character?

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The Daily Grind: How long do you expect a 2016 MMORPG to live?

One of the many features touted by Chronicles of Elyria is a 10-year storyline, over the span of which your characters will “die” probably 10 times (roughly once per year) and be reincarnated as a new character. That part is unique and neat and I hope it works.

But… 10 years? I mean, I still play Ultima Online, which turns 19 this fall, so I’m never one to knock an old game on its age alone. But the truth is that the vast majority of MMOs I’ve ever played did not hook me more than a year or two, and there are very few still competitive at their 10-year mark. Maybe I’ve become jaded in the last few years, but I no longer expect new MMORPGs to last 10 years at all, not unless they are already older and grandfathered in with a loyal base. So I gotta wonder how a new game thinks it’s going to pull it off — and whether it’s wiser to set a time frame, front load content, or keep things more open-ended.

How long do you expect an MMORPG released, say, this year, to live? How confident are you that even strong indies will pull off 10-year plans like these?

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MMO Week in Review: Cleaning up the MMORPG community (May 22, 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!

It’s been an interesting week for MMORPG players frustrated with toxicity in the gaming community as three distinct stories highlighted how studios are cracking down on troublemakers in our midst: Old School RuneScape banned players for blatantly racist harassment via slurs and costumes, Trion’s community team posted its plans for combating toxicity on ArcheAge’s forums and chat channels, and Blizzard issued press releases vowing to find “consensus and collaborat[ion]” on managing problem gamers in the wake of harassment of an African-American Hearthstone tourney player.

Will measures taken to fight toxicity have any lasting effect? That’s the real question. Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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Make My MMO: Chronicles of Elyria raises a million bucks (May 21, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, there’s a new player in the crowdfunding business: Fig, a “community-powered publisher” whose “goal is to strike a balance between titles from well-known independent studios as well as ones from up-and-coming indie teams.”

Chronicles of Elyria broke the million-dollar mark on its Kickstarter this week; it currently stands at just over $1,060,000 with just under two weeks to go. There’s even an interview with some of the folks pouring massive sums of money into the game in return for titles.

Meanwhile, Crowfall dished on the method behind the madness of its branding, Shroud of the Avatar released an excerpt from its first novel, both Vigor Roads and Midair launched fresh Kickstarters, and Valiance Online issued a statement on the role of former City of Heroes animator Ron FriedmanElite: Dangerous had a big week too; Frontier announced that it’s dropping the price of the game on PC and bringing Horizons to Xbox One on June 3rd. Engineers itself lands on PC this week on May 26th.

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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Leaderboard: Do you go light side or dark side in MMORPG factions?

We’ve been following gaming research firm Quantic Foundry since last year as it’s been publishing datasets and conclusions based on its Gamer Motivation Model. So far, it’s suggested that factors like age and gender can influence how competitive you are, what classes you play, and whether you go for exploration content.

This week, the firm’s Kaleb Embaugh writes that its survey of over a thousand gamers show that a gamer’s age — though not gender — can influence whether he or she goes for the light side, dark side, or the morally ambiguous side in an RPG. It turns out that 80% of players go for the good or gray side in games, and the older you are, the more likely you are to lean that way. “Two things are happening with age,” Embaugh explains. “Older gamers are less likely to pick the Dark/Evil option, and they are much more likely to have a strong preference for playing a specific faction.” He posits that younger players go for the “evil” side as they score higher on motivations relating to competition, destruction, and power.

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Das Tal adds 29 skills to give players more ‘interesting choices’

Fairytale Distillery’s Alexander Zacherl says the team working on Das Tal has just finished up a two-week sprint working on a new world editor and new combat abilities for the sandbox. “All of [the abilities] were designed to give more ‘interesting choices’ to players,” he explains, and when he says “all,” he means all 29 of them live in the latest patch, running from bow and scythe skills to totems and armor abilities.

“We’ve also made a couple seemingly small changes to existing abilities that will drastically change the current meta game,” Zacherl explains. “With the introduction of a cooldown on spammable abilities and an increase in base health fights will now take a good bit longer and spiking tactics will be harder to pull off (but not impossible for good players and teams). We’ve also fixed a couple of easily exploitable abilities that were just a bit too OP (I’m looking at you, Freedom and Stasis!).”

A brand-new European server was also brought on line today, taking the place of the US server Harvest. You can check out the whole update on the official site.

Source: Das Tal

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Star Citizen’s Around on Verse on 2.4, animations, events, and shopping

Star Citizen’s Around the Verse this week sees the return of Ben Lesnick just in time for the 2.4 patch to land on the public test server and drop its NDA. Of note is the check-in from Austin producer Jake Ross, who discusses the updated 2.4 weapon animations in 2.4, shopping experience, temporary events, and more shopping stuff:

“Lastly, and looking ahead to future releases, we’re looking at some more shops. Not for ArcCorp and not for Port Olisar but for a new space station that will be sort of a pirate based space station. So this space station will be more for the outlaws and things like that. But even outlaws like to buy things so we have shops there in the works for this new station. And it will have different shops that’ll be able to sell different things. You’ll probably see some more outlaw armour types, and some pirate clothing, and more weapons, and things like that. So we’re trying to get you guys to travel to different areas and give you incentives to go hang out at different places and we’ll have a wide variety of things in the PU so the first steps is getting shoping out to you guys, first release, and then after that we’ll look to put even more content out there to get you guys flying around the ‘verse.”

There’s also a lore piece on the Tamsa system and black holes, plus a tease for the second part of the piping system. Watch the whole show down below.

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Beta testers actually used Overwatch’s commendation system for good

Still feeling bereft of Overwatch in this period between the beta and the launch? Can’t help you there, but Blizzard has expounded on its 9.7-million-people-played-the-beta statistic from last week with a new infographic. The studio says there were nearly 40 million matches played with average lengths between 6 and 9 minutes apiece. Solider 76, Widowmaker, Reinhardt, and Mercy were the most popular toons. And hey, you know that feature that lets you commend people on your team and the other team? Beta players chose to commend their enemies’ skills 72 million times. Nifty.

Meanwhile, Blizzard has released its latest gorgeously drawn Overwatch comic, this one titled Mission Statement and focusing on Pharah.

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Enter to win a Riders of Icarus founder’s pack from Nexon and Massively OP

In celebration of Riders of Icarus’ closed beta and brand-new trailer, Nexon has granted Massively OP three legendary founder pack keys for Steam for our readers.

The Legendary Rider’s Founder Pack comes with 7-day Open Beta head start access, four exclusive mounts, exclusive founders title, exclusive weapon and outfit skins, 24 inventory slots, 60-day premium service and more. ($89.99 to purchase the pack, but with a value of $252.75).

Nexon has posted a list of eligible countries on the official site — if you’re on the list and can use Steam, you should be able to redeem these keys. (It appears to be mainly Asia and Africa excluded, but check anyway.)

Read on to enter to win and watch the new trailer!

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Trion CM Celestrata has big plans to clean up ArcheAge’s ‘toxic community’ image

ArcheAge Senior Community Manager Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan has this week unveiled serious plans to clean up her game’s community image. In the first of what she says will be her dedicated series of letters from the CM, she is frank about how folks around the internet are convinced the ArcheAge community is “a toxic community that should be avoided.”

“Statements like that rip me apart. As a community, we are creative, passionate, intelligent, and bold. We have players from all walks of life who enjoy a variety of extremely disparate activities. We should not be judged by the actions of a disruptive minority in our game. […] We need to move beyond the ‘ArcheAge is a toxic community’ perception, and we need to make some positive changes to get there. We are more than that. You are more than that.”

To that end, she tells players that she is hard at work revising in-game public chat rules and forum moderation rules so that Trion is “tougher on chat violations.” The official forums will be renovated with new feedback and social boards, and Trion is kicking off new events too, including town halls with the studio.

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Destiny poster leaks ‘Rise of Iron’ DLC

A photo of a promotional poster for Destiny popped up on Reddit last night, likely spoiling the name of the game’s future DLC: Rise of Iron. Kotaku reports that it’s confirmed the legitimacy of the poster by two sources and posits that the poster features the Iron Banner’s Lord Saladin. Speculation runs rampant, but hey, at least it’s clear Destiny players won’t be abandoned in the long wait for Destiny 2.

Source: Reddit via Kotaku

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