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

The Daily Grind: What’s the healthiest living MMO?

Back in June, Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti wrote an article listing what he considered the 10 healthiest MMOs, a subject that quickly proved controversial, in part because the definition of “healthy” is so hard to pin down. “There are a lot of variables to consider,” he wrote. “I researched several angles, including player tracking services, frequency of patches, financial reports, and even how often each game pops up on blogs.”

To some people, an MMO’s health may not matter all that much: They’re going to play what they want to play right now, the future (and other people) be damned. Others worry endlessly that the game they are investing time into may not be around in a year and strongly prefer to be in a “safe” game with apparent longevity, even if it’s not necessarily their favorite game.

How much does a game’s health matter to you? How do you go about determining the health level of an online game? And what’s the healthiest living MMO?

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Otherland devs deny buying positive Steam reviews

Drago Entertainment has today denied allegations that it paid for positive Otherland reviews on Steam.

Website accused the developer of directly paying for fake reviews, suggesting the company is “trying to boost sales in an incredibly shady way” and “trying anything and everything to get people to try the game.” “[I]f you’re going to try to trick your customers into buying your game[,] you might as well spend a little bit more and get your fake reviews written by native English speakers,” wrote the site, calling for Steam to take down the reviews.

On the Steam forums, Drago acknowledged the suspicious reviews but denied responsibility for them:

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Orsinium arrives for PC and Mac Elder Scrolls Online players

Bethsoft has just announced that the Orsinium DLC pack is now available for The Elder Scrolls Online’s PC and Mac players. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players can purchase the DLC next week. ZeniMax Creative Director Rich Lambert heralded the DLC with a message to players:

This is by far our largest DLC to date, and one of the largest zones we’ve ever built. There is a huge amount of content to discover with tons of new quests, group bosses, delves, public dungeons, new items, and of course the PVE game mode – the Maelstrom Arena. […] Orsinium isn’t just a new zone, however. The base game patch for this DLC includes a large number of quality of life improvements that everyone gets access to including controller support, battle leveling updates, subtitles, shield dyeing, LFG improvements, and the Champion Point cap and catch-up system.

Lambert further notes that ZOS’ next goal is the Thieves Guild DLC. “With it comes a new Trial as well as a myriad of other bug fixes and quality of life improvements,” he promises. “We will have more details on the Thieves Guild and the other DLCs in the new year.”

Massively OP’s Larry Everett scoped out Orsinium last month, saying the DLC “captured the essence of [his] ESO playstyle.”


MMO Week in Review: Light for World of Darkness (November 1, 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!

This week, CCP stunned pretty much everyone by selling off White Wolf and the Vampire: The Masquerade IP, including all of its work on the World of Darkness MMO, which it canceled last year. Paradox, to which CCP sold White Wolf, wasted no time teasing new projects, though precisely what mix of “multiplayer co-op” we might expect remains to be seen.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions, and don’t forget that Halloween festivities continue in many games for a few more days or weeks!

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Champions Online expands team, focuses on endgame

Perfect World and Cryptic Studios are actually expanding Champions Online’s team.

The companies announced new hire Kaiserin in a state-of-the-game post last night, telling players that she’s a long-time community member.

Recent updates, the studios report, have focused on a more streamlined user experience, a revised event system, and onslaught supervillain gameplay. And lockboxes. They actually list lockboxes. Cryptic says it’s working on even more lockbox types, quality-of-life improvements, and even new endgame content.

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Marvel Heroes releases Blade, teases Danger Room in time for Halloween

Marvel Heroes’ 52nd character launches today.

The stylish quasi-vampire Blade joins the roster just in time for Halloween along with new costumes for Blade and Wolverine and a limited-edition Franken-Castle team-up. Gazillion is also teasing “The Infinitely Replayable Danger Room,” due out in November:

“The Danger Room is an all-new experience, built for level 60-plus players of every skill and gear level. Inside, players are able to activate and enter ‘scenarios’ – randomly generated dungeons with affixes that alter the gameplay experience. In one scenario, you might have the challenge of not being able to use a healing medkit, but in exchange, have reduced cooldowns on all of your powers. Another scenario might amplify all enemies in the scenario with a particular affix, while also populating the area with dangerous landmines. The level of difficulty of these scenarios is variable – the easiest ones can be played the moment you reach level 60, but the hardest ones will require a combination of skill, strategy, and gear to complete. You decide how hard you want it to be and what level of challenge you want to play.”

Enjoy the zillions of new pics and the trailer below!

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Grab an Armored Warfare collector’s edition key (All gone, thanks everyone!)

Get your clicking fingers ready! Thanks to Obsidian Entertainment and, we’ve got 30 collector’s edition keys for tank MMO shooter Armored Warfare to hand out today.

Here’s what’s in the Operation Emperor collector’s edition packs:

  • Two exclusive tanks: Mowag Taifun II and RDL/LT
  • Three premium tanks: LAV 150-90, FV433 Abbot, and Object 430
  • 120 days of premium account time
  • 6,000,000 credits
  • 6,500 gold
  • “Emperor,” “Typhoon,” and “Lightning” achievements
  • +25% credits & experience for 2 weeks

Yep, good stuff, and just in time for open beta! Onward to the keys!

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SWTOR subscriptions rose by a third after KOTFE’s reveal

EA’s financials are looking “great,” the company boasted in its latest quarterly report, thanks in part to its sports franchises, Star Wars Battlefront, and even Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Star Wars: The Old Republic subscribers increased 33% since the announcement of
the latest expansion at E3, Knights of the Fallen Empire,” the gaming giant told shareholders. Those numbers would refer to the fiscal quarter that ended September 30th, so KOTFE profits from October, when it actually launched, aren’t yet reflected.

Still considering whether to jump in and beat the inevitable Force Awakens deluge this winter? Massively OP delivered first impressions, spoilery impressions, and video criticism of the expansion.

Source: EA via Gamasutra


The Daily Grind: Have you ever been in a relationship with someone you met through MMOs?

A week ago, a Reddit user posted a casting call for a new reality show that will attempt to follow romantic relationships formed inside of MMORPGs that spill into real life.

“Have you found true love in an MMO?” reads the flyer sent to us by the production studio. “Are you having a relationship with someone you met in an online game? But haven’t yet met in the real world and are ready to take that next step? An Emmy winning production company is looking for gamer couples who want to share their story and come together for the first time IRL!”

It took about five seconds for jokes and “catfish” accusations to begin because, you know, Reddit, but even if you’re not into reality TV, it’s still a neat question.

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Massively Overthinking: Let’s take the classic Bartle test

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Online worlds researcher Dr. Richard Bartle didn’t actually write the Bartle test.

His original research explored, analyzed, and defined the four player archetypes — killer, socializer, achiever, and explorer — but the test based on that paper was created a few years later by Erwin Andreasen and Brandon Downey and named in his honor.

We’ve been talking a lot about Bartle’s ideas’ relevance to modern MMOs in the last month or two, so I thought it would be fun to ask the Massively OP staff and readers to take the test, share their results, and talk about what it all means in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

There are, of course, some caveats.

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CCP has sold White Wolf and World of Darkness to Paradox

CCP Games has apparently sold White Wolf and all of its properties — including World of Darkness and Vampire: The Masquerade — to Paradox, a publisher based in Sweden. Paradox VP Shams Jorjani broke the news on the Twitters:

CCP began work on the then-much-anticipated World of Darkness, a VTM-themed hardcore sandbox, after it acquired White Wolf in 2006, with the game reportedly reaching alpha three times during its troubled development. But CCP canceled the game and laid of a large portion of its Atlanta studio in April of 2014. At the time, it had not publicly decided what to do with the IP. Now we know.

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Blade & Soul’s western closed beta kicks off tomorrow

NCsoft has announced that Blade & Soul’s first western closed beta weekend kicks off tomorrow (October 29th at 1 p.m. EDT). All you’ve got to do to get in is pony up for a founder’s pack. Says the company,

All players who have purchased a Founder’s Pack of any tier will have access this weekend, as well as a random assortment of players who signed up on the Blade & Soul website. Slated for a free-to-play launch in the first quarter of 2016, Blade & Soul seamlessly melds martial arts and mythology as players seek vengeance against evil forces bent on destroying their world.

NCsoft promises four more beta weekends in the leadup to launch. You can check out the brand-new When Heroes Rise trailer below.

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New DMCA exemptions will preserve some abandoned online games, but not MMOs

Late last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a petition with the U.S. Copyright Office seeking specific exemptions to the DMCA essentially on account of absurdity (because it’s the future and even your car is a computer that needs to be tinkered with). One of the group’s requests involved “one for users who want to continue to play ‘abandoned’ video games.” That exemption, along with others, has now officially been granted by the Library of Congress, meaning that as of yesterday it’s OK to bust through a dead game’s DRM to make it work again.

Don’t get too excited, though; the exemption still doesn’t cover MMORPGs.

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