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

League of Legends: Caster boycott, Aurelion Sol, and Chinese theme song

Three high-profile freelance League of Legends e-sports casters are effectively boycotting the Mid-Season Invitational, claiming Riot Games “failed to arrive at an industry standard rate” for their services in Shanghai. MonteCristo, DoA, and PapaSmithy allege that Riot offered them only 40%-70% of the “rate received by talent for major events” for other major e-sports titles, including Dota 2 and Hearthstone, and would not meet what the trio considered the industry standard, leading them to refuse to cast for the MSI.

“[B]y agreeing to a significantly lower wage we fear that we may contribute to the regression of standards for freelance casters in the industry as a whole,” the group said in its statement apologizing to fans for their decision not to participate.

In other League of Legends news, Riot has formally released Aurelion Sol, a gorgeous and spooky celestial-themed mid-range AOE mage hero, and MMO Culture reports that Tencent has released the official theme song for the Chinese version of the game, featuring Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou. The videos for both are below.

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Tree of Savior outlines founder launch, F2P transition plan

IMCGAMES has updated Tree of Savior fans on its founder server and future free-to-play plans.

The studio says Tree of Savior’s initial founder’s server will open at 2 a.m. EDT on March 29th — this coming Tuesday morning. Based on Steam sales data to date, IMCGAMES says it thinks it has determined the “optimal player-per-server ratio” and has standby servers prepped to avoid queues and make that launch not be a total clusterfudge.

If you prefer to wait out the rush, you might want to hold off until April 21st, when the founder’s server exclusive access packs will be marked down by 30% “to compensate for the lack of head-start,” which is remarkably reasonable.

Regional servers, says the studio, aren’t currently in the works as the Steam data don’t support them, but it will “be offering a 1-time team transfer to regional servers if and when they are created.”

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Landmark hotfix patches bugs, Daybreak addresses currency issue

Landmark’s patch week has been a bumpy one, with repeated downtimes that made it hard for anyone to play consistently. This morning’s downtime hoped to correct even more bugs with the latest release; it addressed chat, client crashes, autogranted claims for new characters, and creature setup.

“We’re hurrying to get […] fixes out to you before the weekend, as we feel these are some of the most serious issues,” Emily “Domino” Taylor told players last night. “We are also planning another hotfix for next week with more bug fixes, including more of the known issues listed in the update notes thread as well as new bugs you’ve reported. Thanks for all your help in finding those pesky bugs!”

Taylor also discusses the state and fate of lumens:

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William Shatner lends voice to Elite: Dangerous addon

HCS VoicePacks, a website that sells Elite: Dangeous voice addons in collaboration with Frontier, will soon have a new one from Star Trek actor William Shatner.

“A new voice pack with over 1300 phrases from the legendary science fiction master who has lent his voice for a thoroughly immersive experience. A unique and special preview from YouTuber ‘Obsidian Ant’ will give you a feel for the character as well as some insight into some new features, one being a Nebula Tour which is a very exciting journey that you can enjoy with Orion in the game.”

The formal release is April 8th, though you can preorder now for £9.99 (about $14.13 US) and a chance to win some Shatner and Leonard Nimoy memorabilia.

This won’t be the first celebrity voice in the game; the company has previously sold packs voiced by Tom Baker and Brian Blessed. Check out the previews below.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG could use a good reboot?

MMORPG reboots might be impractical and inadvisable, but games from Darkfall and DUST 514 to MapleStory and Linkrealms are all giving (or have given) it a go. But it seems to me that most of the games being rebooted during their lifetimes (or being granted a spin-off gameplay server of one form or another) seem to do so in an attempt to rescue themselves or cash in on a new playerbase — not necessarily to update themselves for a modern playerbase.

Some of my favorites unfortunately got sequels rather than reboots. I’d love to see Asheron’s Call get a solid reboot, for example, but I fear hopes for a player-modded AC1 to take us there are dwindling. Classic Guild Wars was a solid game too, and I’d argue that not nearly enough of it made its way into Guild Wars 2.

What do you think? Which MMORPG could use a good reboot — not a sequel or spin-off but a serious attempt to port the game into 2016?

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Massively Overthinking: The best newbie systems in MMORPGs

One thing I’ve realized from my time in Black Desert so far is than even for a die-hard sandbox fan, the introduction is pretty overwhelming. I can see how some folks would run screaming from all the pop-up windows and blinking guides and creepy smoke monster buddy, I really can. Games have come a long way since the days of just throwing you in and having you figure it all out on your own, but in some ways I miss the personal touch of the early MMOs that had actual people serving as your tutorial.

And that observation leads us to this week’s Massively Overthinking question, provided this time by Das Tal developer Alexander Zacherl: “I’d love to ask people about the best newbie onboarding systems they have ever seen in an MMO,” he writes. “Early MMOs had full-time newbie greeters and later ones (such as Darkfall) had one-on-one mentorships. I wonder if people had any good/bad experiences with those?”

I posed these questions to the MOP writers!

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World of Warships deploys Russian cruisers in 0.5.4 update

World of Warships’ 0.5.4 update docked on the live servers this week, complete with nine new Russian cruisers sure to bring a smile to the faces of players in that chunk of the world. In addition to a number of bug fixes and test ships entering the game world, Wargaming has implemented a consumable Surveillance Radar system that “significantly increases the range of assured acquisition of enemy ships, including those within a smoke screen.” Radar works only on the best Russian cruisers for now; the studio says “US cruisers will receive this consumable in a future update.”

Check out the patch introduction videos below!

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Revival’s development has been indefinitely suspended

We’re sorry to report this afternoon that indie grimdark sandbox Revival is being put on indefinite hold. Illfonic‘s Adam “Snipehunter” Maxwell has posted that formal work on the client is coming to a halt and sales of homes in-game will end, though he’s also hinted that unpaid work will continue and said “it’s not completely dead.”

“So, what went wrong? I suppose the mistake, if one is to be called out, came in the thought that we could soldier through on what we have available. It goes something like this: When we first set out to build Revival, we had access to expertise and resources that aren’t available today. Making up for their loss, be it as simple as lacking sufficient animators or as complicated as losing access to certain networking expertise, has been a costly affair, far more costly than we can honestly afford to bear. So, what does that mean? Is Revival completely dead?

Look, we’ve waited nearly 20 years to make Revival, and maybe we can wait a little longer, so no, it’s not completely dead. It’ll be a cold day in Animae’s realm before I give up on Revival and most of us at IllFonic feel the same way, but however we determine to move forward with it, none of us feel comfortable playing some “business as usual” game while we work it out. We’re going to have to figure some new way to make Revival happen, but we’re not going to lie to you while we do and that’s what this is about. So, is Revival dead? I really don’t know, but whatever happens, it won’t be moving ahead the way we’d planned its current form at IllFonic. We have some ideas on how we can move forward, but they aren’t a true plan yet and they aren’t a guarantee.”

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Meta: Got any questions for Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs?

Sure, you could hassle City State Entertainment’s Mark Jacobs down here in our comments and goad him into posting lengthy Camelot Unchained and industry treatises. But why do that when you can hear him answer instead?

Next week, the Massively OP Podcast will welcome back Jacobs for another Q&A-style appearance on the show. (The last time we spoke to him on the podcast was on the old show, in fact!) We’ve got plenty of questions for him, but we’d like to work in some from our readers and listeners as well. Drop ’em down in the comments and we’ll try to get them answered during the ‘cast next week!

Now if he can just resist the temptation not to answer them ahead of time…

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Crowfall demos new full-screen character viewport and more UI tweaks

Crowfall UX design lead Billy Garretsen has a new State of the UI video out today in which he discusses the changes to the interface in recent weeks. Among the bigger additions is a full-screen inventory and animated paperdoll screen, which Garretsen says was always part of the plan. The tree-based power display has also been supplanted by a new powers grid, which is the perfect viewport for all of the new color-coded skill icons. It’s worth a watch to see how the UI is developing!

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Daybreak appoints former EA and Zynga exec as new Senior VP of Games

MMO studio Daybreak has a new Senior VP of Games.

Gamesindustry.biz reports that Larry LaPierre, a 14-year veteran of Electronic Arts and former general manager at Zynga, will take on a new post at Daybreak.

In a lofty release that will likely not appease MMORPG fans concerned about Daybreak in the wake of EverQuest Next’s cancellation, LaPierre says, “With a primary, near-term focus on growing the newest Daybreak franchise, H1Z1, I look forward to pushing the boundaries of emergent gameplay and expanding on the competitive experience.”

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Superdata predicts China will buy up more western gaming publishers

Superdata has released a summary of its research on the worldwide digital games market for February 2016, claiming that the digital games market sales have increased by 10% year-over-year. League of Legends, Crossfire, Dungeon Fighter Online, World of Tanks, and Dota 2 lead the pack for “F2P MMO Games” by revenue, while the top-grossing sub MMOs by revenue are World of Warcraft, Lineage, TERA, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Blade & Soul. Yes, we are likewise puzzled over the classifications.

The firm predicts more sales of western companies to China, headlined by the impending sale of British-owned Jagex to a mining company overseas:

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Destiny’s April Update fixates on endgame, revives favorite hunting grounds

Revealed in part on Twitch yesterday, Destiny’s April update is heavy on new activities and the Reef devastation storyline in the console pseudo-MMO. Drops and difficulty in some endgame maps are increasing, players are getting new cosmetic items and Taken-inspired items, and the Prison of Elders is due for an overhaul.

GameStop-owned publication GameInformer spoke to Live Events Leader Designer Ryan Paradis about Bungie’s explicit motivations with this patch. “Our goal with the April update was to hit a few different fronts,” he says. “We have a lot of fans who fell in love with exploration on the Dreadnaught, with our Strikes, and with the Prison of Elders, but they’ve moved past them. We wanted to revitalize some of these favorites, and at the same time provide new challenges and rewards. […] Another thing that was really important for us to accomplish with this update was to provide players more choices in how to become more powerful. The raid is a great endgame option, because it’s challenging, requires tons of coordination, and features our most complex mechanics, but for players who aren’t routinely raiding, we wanted to provide viable endgame gear upgrade options.”

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