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

Ascent: The Space Game patches in terraforming

Move over, No Man’s Sky and Star Citizen: The ever-plucky one-man dev team at Fluffy Kitten Studios beat you to it. Ascent: The Space Game has a massive patch out this week adding terraforming mechanics to the universe.

“Players can now band together in a new co-operative megaproject to alter the gravity and temperature of a planet or moon,” developer James Hicks told us. “All the players who have a colony or a starbase on a planet can construct Gravity Generators at their colony or Radiation Shields or Radiation Emitters at their starbase. Then the Governor of the planet or moon (elected by players) is given control of the new Terraforming interface, where they can raise or lower the Gravity or Radiation using the combined efforts of all the terraforming structures constructed by players at that planet.”

In development since 2013, the sandbox technically only fully launched last April, when it emerged from early access and after its migration to Unity 5. It’s currently $20 on Steam, and no, there’s no ganking.

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Aura Kingdom is deleting inactive characters pursuant to US server move

Aura Kingdom players, heads-up: If you don’t use your characters, you’re going to lose them.

Aeria told players earlier this month that it planned to move its US servers to the cloud, and that virtualization is happening — soon. Before it does, the studio wants to reduce the data being transitioned, and that means it’s hiding and then deleting unused characters, defined as banned characters that haven’t logged in during the last three months and characters under level 50 that haven’t logged in in the last six months.

Characters that fit those two groups have already been hidden; owners are asked to contact customer support to save the characters until September 1st. Come the 7th, the characters will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.

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Wargaming partners with Steven Seagal, shutters mobile studio with mass layoffs

Wargaming has brought on actor and martial artist Steven Seagal to be World of Warships’personal Heroic Battle Advisor.”

“Claiming victory in World of Warships takes more than raw power,” says the studio. “You need focused strength, a tactical mind, and a winning strategy. We found a man who has all three.”

“Wargaming is proud to announce that Steven Seagal is now the World of Warships’ personal Heroic Battle Advisor. His resume speaks for itself: he’s a man who’s hard to kill, always out for justice, and willing to make an executive decision. With numerous victories against the odds under his belt (and as a guy who knows a thing or two about warships), Steven is the only man up to the task.”

In other Wargaming news, Gamasutra reports that Wargaming-owned studio WG Cells, which was picked up and renamed by Wargaming last year to develop a World of Tanks mobile property, has laid off the entirety of its workforce. More when we have it.

Source: Official site, Gamasutra. Cheers, ThatLanteshGuy.
Update: We’ve now confirmed that 64 jobs were lost at WG Cells‘ Seattle location. The Cyprus office of WG Cells will remain open.


Livelock will launch on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on August 30

PWE and Tuque Games have announced today that Livelock is officially launching on August 30th.

The game had been scheduled for launch earlier this month but was delayed indefinitely to ensure a that play was available on all platforms at once. That means that what’s releasing next week is a shooter that’ll land on PC (Steam), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 simultaneously.

“The game transports players into the 22nd century, the age of the machine. Nearly a century after the cataclysm, it’s up to you to restore humanity. Clusters – groups of corrupted machines control what remains of the earth, fighting each other in an infinite war over resources that now threatens the very planet itself. Players take control of a Capital Intellect, a human consciousness uploaded to large mechanical body. Armed with a unique arsenal of weapons and special abilities, the Capital Intellect must fight the corrupted machine Clusters and break the cycle of an infinite war, before humanity is forgotten in the annals of history.”

Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie has streamed the game twice in the past month, checking out the campaign during the beta. Watch on below.

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EVE Online players have taken out a Keepstar, the largest citadel in the game

CCP has confirmed today that players have destroyed the first Keepstar ever in EVE Online.

Keepstars are basically the largest player-built citadels — the largest anything — in the entire game. This one belonged to Tau AD and Project Mayhem, and rest assured, it was not without drama and bugs and exploiting and lag and pile-ons.

Players are already petitioning CCP to generate killmail for the event since apparently there wasn’t one, leading some players to speculate about whether it happened at all (it did).

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DC Universe Online’s GU63 brings new Suicide Squad content, tutorial skipping, and lockboxes

Game Update 63 has landed on the DC Universe Online servers this week, and it’s a smallish one, but that won’t surprise longtime players, who already know that Daybreak switched up its content release plans, choosing to push out larger episodes further apart beginning with episode 27. Smaller patches continue on a more monthly basis, and that brings us back to GU63.

Expect bug fixes for multiplayer content, leveling changes for the early game, a new 2-man Suicide Squad-themed instance, a tutorial skipping option, and and option to skip to level 25. “All lower level missions are removed from the player’s Journal, and they are set on the main story line for their level,” says Daybreak of the new option. “They will also be granted any seasonal even missions that are applicable at the time of purchase, among other applicable items.”

There are also new lockboxes, called time capsules:

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Overwatch spawns a mysterious ARG teasing Sombra

Overwatch fans have been chasing clues this month in what appears to be a Blizzard-backed viral ARG revolving around Sombra, the character teased earlier this month.

The Overwatch forums played host to a big clue: the posting of the Spanish phrase “la que tiene la información; tiene el poder” (she who has information has power), which suggested the Sombra connection. The forum post devolves into an animated string of gibberish code, only it wasn’t gibberish at all: It was a cipher. Long story short, the cipher led players to a fake in-universe website and a tips email that auto-replies with more code.

Most recently, players have uncovered more clues — a countdown timer, a video of Reaper, skull imagery — that suggest Sombra is close.

Gotta say, this is one of the more interesting things Blizzard’s done lately, and all without a hint of hoopla — after all, that would have spoiled the fun. Have any of you been participating?

Source: Polygon, VG247


League of Legends community clashes with Riot over e-sports, patches, and money

It’s no surprise when drama crops up in a gaming community of millions, especially when professional e-sports and money are involved. So it goes this week, as Riot Games’ response to a new round of criticism about League of Legends has sparked widespread dissent among pro players and watchers from the threads of Reddit to the columns of ESPN.

Team SoloMid owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh publicly dinged Riot for releasing big patches just ahead of a major competition — in this case, the LoL World Championships, which kick off about a month from now. “Imagine like the players in NBA before playoffs had their basketball taken away and had to shoot a bowlingball,” Reginald said in an interview earlier this week, explaining that pro players’ efforts to adjust to new game rules caused burnout.

Riot co-founder Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill fired back by suggesting the burnout experienced by Reginald’s team after game-changing patches would be better rectified if he spent “more of the millions he has made / makes from League of Legends on paying them instead of investing in other e-sports where he is losing money.” Merrill also claimed Riot is focused on minimizing player exploitation by team owners and that while the studio agrees patch timing is important, this year it “intentionally prioritized game health and viewer experience (cool bot lane fights and early game aggression) over the ability for teams / coaches to field ‘safer’ comps by lane swapping.” (Merrill edited his comments afterward to remove the insinuations about money.)

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Guild Wars 2 suffers technical difficulties, pushes out gifts following rollback

If you’re logging into Guild Wars 2 today, expect a bit of weirdness.

Yesterday’s patch caused a soulbinding glitch that took the servers offline and damaged character records in the game’s database, necessitating significant downtime yesterday and a rollback to yesterday morning, meaning if you played after the patch rolled in, you lost over two hours of playtime.

Late last night, ArenaNet’s Mike O’Brien clarified just how players will be affected:

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Guild Wars 2’s servers suffer rollback, downtime

ArenaNet announced this afternoon that it must roll back Guild Wars 2’s servers. Mike O’Brien broke the bad news on the forums:

“This is an update to the situation where soulbound items have been incorrectly soulbound to the wrong characters. After further investigation we’ve determined that there is damage to almost all character records that were played this morning, not just to those who transferred soulbound items to or from a bank. To repair the damage, we will have to roll back the state of the game and characters to prior to this morning’s release.

“No one wants to lose a play session’s progress. We apologize for this. I’m sure you’ll also have questions about exactly what a rollback means to you. The general answer is that everything about the game state, including things like trading post transactions, will be restored to how it was prior to this morning’s release. The only unusual case will be that if you purchased the game or purchased gems this morning, you’ll still get your purchase.
The process of rolling back and then validating everything to bring the game back up will take hours. We’ll keep you updated. There will be a period of time when these forums will be unavailable, but we’ll post updates through other channels.”

Source: Official forums. Thanks to everyone who sent this in!


Pokemon Go: Appraisal patch, stampedes, and fixing that UI

Pokemon Go’s latest patch finally makes the team leaders do something.

“Implemented Pokémon Appraisal: Trainers will now be able to learn about a Pokémon’s attack and defense capabilities from their Team Leader (Candela, Blanche or Spark) to determine which of their Pokémon have the most potential for battle.”

Just kidding — as Kotaku puts it, Spark will just “ask if you want some of the glue he’s eating.” Poor Spark.

Meanwhile, there have apparently been Pokemon Go-related stampedes (I hate to call them that since they are relatively organized and no one appears to be injured?) in crowded areas of Taiwan. We’ll embed one below. Crowds like this freak me out, so I’m not watching it twice.

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Worlds Adrift kicks off alpha signups with new trailer

Worlds Adrift has just announced that it’s opening alpha signups.

“We’re really pleased to announce that we’re now recruiting LOTS of people for the next Alpha playtest of Worlds Adrift. Before we go any further, let us just tell you that THE DEADLINE FOR SIGNING UP TO TAKE PART IN THE PLAYTEST IS 29TH AUGUST. We won’t be able to add anyone to the playtest after this, so please make sure you and all of your friends have registered before then.”

Expect to be testing the crew system, new islands, creatures, the weather system, an improved UI, and new wearables.

Bossa Studios was recently the beneficiary of a massive investment — $1.35 million — from a venture capital firm, intended to hasten development of the game. The studio released its Island Creator on Steam back in April, allowing players to get a taste of what building in the game is all about. To date, there are over 1600 islands on Steam Workshop. There’s an emblem creator for groups on the official site as well.

The alpha trailer is below; you can sign up on the official site.

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Star Citizen has surpassed $120M in crowdfunding

The last free-fly weekend and a stellar presentation at Gamescom have seemingly propelled Star Citizen to new fundraising heights: It’s now officially raised over $120,000,000 thanks to the efforts of nearly 1.5 million Star Citizens.

A Redditor posted a screenshot before claiming he’d dumped $1500 into the pot, pushing the number up and over with all its shiny zeroes.

The game has raised an additional $20 million since hitting $100 million last December.

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