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

Black Death is building out some nasty PvP hotspot content

What’s indie survival sandbox The Black Death been up to since it began taking “drastic action” to reorient its early access state this spring?

Pillaging. Specifically, the team has been building a new pillage area dubbed Fort Doom, a revisit of what are effectively risky PvP hotspot. They’re “bottleneck areas that players must venture into, to gain certain key crafting components that are required for the best recipes.” These spots may even eventually include environmental hazards; plague, of course, given the game we’re talking about, is already in, but maybe expect spike bits and destructible walls too.

The game’s latest dev blog also discusses the ongoing progress on its component-based crafting system, the inventory system, and door locks. The latest patch, 0.15, is due out at the end of June, so stay tuned, and maybe someday you too can roleplay as a plague-ridden locksmith.

Source: Dev blog

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Survival sandbox Hellion debuts new cinematic trailer ahead of tomorrow’s update

Even if you never buy multiplayer space survival sandbox Hellion, you gotta agree that its trailers are some of the best we’ve seen all year. Today’s continues the trend.

“Set in a distant future [when] mankind is no longer confined to Earth, the new Hellion cinematic trailer gives viewers a glimpse of the disaster that struck humanity’s attempt to build the first interstellar colony. Beginning with intimate shots of the crew’s quarters—scattered personal belongings floating through the cabins—the trailer hints at the dark force that drove the colony and its inhabitants to the brink of extinction. Set against the backdrop of a looming sun, the odds of survival are made clear amidst the desolation and vastness of space. With humanity’s descent into fear, anger and violence, Hellion’s cinematic trailer suggests that maybe the stars really are better off without us.”

The game is currently prepping for tomorrow’s massive 0.2 update (it’s been in early access since February); it’ll include playable female toons, a new tutorial, improved navigation and flight systems, and a better loot distribution system. The trailer joy begins after the cut.

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Here’s how Albion Online’s open-world raid bosses work

In anticipation of the upcoming launch of Albion Online, Sandbox Interactive has posted a fresh dev blog on the big bads of the game, known as Guardians. Pro tip, they’re guarding the world… from you. Naturally, you’re going to kill them and take their stuff. They were right about you!

“Guardians are the true protectors of Albion, brought alive by the land’s ancient and powerful magic and now tasked to protect its natural riches,” explains the studio. “These big world bosses can be found in Tier 6 resource hotspots and randomly respawn between 12 and 48 hours after being defeated. There is no way to know when a Guardian has spawned, so scout the area if you want to take one down.”

Don’t be thinking you’ll be soloing these; you’re going to need around 10 people at minimum to take them on, but if you bring too many people, you’ll scale down accordingly. It gets worse: You pretty much have a 15-minute timer before the boss enrages, and other players can interfere by attacking you. On the upside, the guardians become resource nodes when they due, “providing a whopping 2,560 Tier 6 resources.”

Good luck.

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Blizzard is offering a third round of BlizzCon tickets, so don’t despair (yet)

Did you miss out on your last attempt at snagging BlizzCon 2017 tickets? Of course you did. Those things sell out faster than unicorn frappes (although not as fast as tickets to hunt Pokemon in a Chicago park, apparently). Anyway, the point is, you’re getting a third chance, coming at you on July 5th at 10 p.m. EDT.

“This third ticket sale will once again be hosted by Universe.com, and tickets are priced at $199 each (plus applicable taxes and fees),” says Blizz. “Until recently, we weren’t sure if the new hall at the Anaheim Convention Center would be ready in time for BlizzCon. Once we confirmed it would be, we worked quickly to determine how we’d use the space and how many more people we could accommodate while preserving the awesomeness of the BlizzCon experience.”

BlizzCon this year takes place on November 3rd and 4th.

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Ashes of Creation’s post-Kickstarter pledge store is live

Wallets at the ready, peeps: As promised, Ashes of Creation is following up its massive Kickstarter run with a more local, homegrown crowdfunding effort on its own website, live now.

“We’ve been hearing from the community that many couldn’t participate due to the payment limitations of Kickstarter,” writes Intrepid Studios. “In response to this, we came up with a campaign that benefits both new backers and those from the Kickstarter! This campaign will have new backer goals achievable by previous Kickstarter backers and new backers as they are unlocked.”

Pledges begin at $25 and run up to over $5000, with a whole ladder of rewards for all backers depending on how many gamers jump in. There’s even a trailer to talk you into the deal.

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Black Desert awakens the Striker, doubles karma loss for gankers

Awakening this morning in Black Desert is the still-relatively-new-to-the-West Striker class. “The Striker reaches a new level of mastery over the martial arts, gaining access to a wider range of close-ranged techniques,” Kakao says. “With this latest Awakening, Strikers level 56 and above will be able to use the Gardbrace weapon, famed for its ability to temporarily produce a copy of its wielder and double the onslaught of attacks in battle. Also enhancing the Striker’s combat are fire elemental skills, as well as throwing moves like Hell Break and Infernal Destruction.”

Also live with today’s patch? The Striker Awakening Release Event, new titles, doubled karma loss for gankers, and a new battle arena for level 50+ toons. And yes, Reddit and the official forums are mad that Kakao is essentially making it more painful to gank Steam nubs. “YOU’RE ACTUALLY KILLING THE OPEN WORLD PVP LMAO” and so on, although to be fair, others are pointing out the inevitable karma bombing exploits that will undoubtedly ensue.

Kakao is promising a stream Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. EDT all about the Striker’s Awakening. There’s also a sale on the game running through the Fourth of the July on Steam and the main site.

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NCsoft MOBA Master X Master launches today

Master X Master is officially launching in the West today, bringing NCsoft’s take on a multi-IP MOBA-with-a-twist to our shores. The twist is the PvE element, which was relatively novel for the genre back when MxM was announced but is now present in a few others. Still, there’s no other MOBA out there where you can play characters from Guild Wars 2, WildStar, and City of Heroes all together!

The floodgates officially open at 1 p.m. EDT this afternoon, but until then, we’ve rounded up all our coverage and streams of the game to now, plus a few of the game’s latest prep vids. Happy launch day!

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Amazon’s Breakaway revamps warriors, confirms more upgrades on the way

Last September, the internet was buzzing about Amazon Game Studios’ big reveals, including Breakaway, which the company teased for weeks ahead of time. It turned out not to be an MMO — we’ve got New World for that fix — but a “mythological sport brawler,” a 4v4, third-person MOBA-lite built from the ground up for streaming. Since then, the game’s run a few alpha tests and put the feedback to work, overhauling the characters one by one. Jarra was first up among the warriors, and now AGS has a huge dev blog out detailing changes to the rest.

For starters, several of the warrior-archetype characters got renames (Spartacus to Argus, Anne Bonny to Kyra, and Morgan Le Fey to Korryn) and style buffs; the studio tweaked power ranges, control, strafing, buildables, text chat, replays, the relic running system, and the gold economy.

“Don’t worry – Breakaway’s still about fast action, strategic teamwork, and dunking on fools,” AGS says. “We listened to your feedback and made changes we believe only refine what makes Breakaway great.”

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The Chicago Pokemon Go Fest was sold out in less than a minute

Following the huge reveal of Pokemon Go’s summer content plans — detailed in yesterday’s massive overview and interview by MOP’s Andrew Ross — Niantic followed through on its plan to shutdown all gyms for renovation. Yes, we’re still talking about virtual space here. The gyms will play host to the game’s new gym battle system, which basically brings PvP into the MMOARG and can culminate in epic raid boss fights.

Meanwhile, if you weren’t one of the lucky few who snapped up Pokemon Go Fest tickets for the event in Chicago within the first few seconds of the sale going live, well, there’s always Ebay. As I type this, scalpers are selling tickets on the auction platform for over $300 apiece (they’re selling, too; one is going for $340 at the moment). Maybe a better system for vending tickets might be in order for the next event, yeah?

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Enter to win a SMITE Cu Chulainn or Camazotz skin from Hi-Rez and MOP

Live in SMITE today are both the previously revealed mana-based god Cu Chulainn and the unique Code of Chivalry event, which introduces a morality bar to the MOBA and allows players to complete quests — for good and for evil — to become either a Noble Knight or a Black one.

To celebrate the update, Hi-Rez has granted us a bundle of keys for Cu Chulainn and his Hound of Ulster skin as well as Camazotz and his Xibalba’s Shadow skin. As always, skin codes can be redeemed in-game across all platforms and in all regions as long as you’re playing on Hi-Rez SMITE servers (Tencent runs the Chinese servers, and LevelUp runs the Latin American and Brazilian servers, so the codes won’t work there).

Read on to enter to win!

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Today’s Guild Wars 2 patch adds automated tournies, 2v2 team deathmatch map

As June continues to roll along, so do the PvP-related updates in Guild Wars 2. So far ArenaNet has updated Tyria’s world-vs.-world content and skirmishing with the first part of the Competitive Feature Pack, followed by the start of PvP League season 4. Today’s update is live now and includes the new 2v2 team deathmatch map, Hall of the Mists; the retooled Heart of the Mists PvP lobby; and 5v5 automated tournaments: “The pinnacle of competitive combat. Compete in daily tournaments to qualify for a monthly tournament to earn rewards, glory, and the chance to see your winning team honored with statues in the lobby!”

The patch also has a bit for cosmetic junkies; Dulfy reports that the new cash-shop dyes appear to include the brightest white shades released to date.

PvP players, don’t miss our Guild Wars 2 columnist Tina Lauro Pollock’s most recent Flameseeker Chronicles, which is a great starter guide for jumping into WvW.

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Anthem is the start of a ’10-year journey’ for EA and BioWare

At this point, when a game studio says it has a 10-year plan for its online game, do you believe it?

Perhaps unintentionally echoing Bungie just a few years prior, EA’s Patrick Söderlund told the Xbox crew at E3 that BioWare is indeed anticipating a decade-long run for its newly announced mutliplayer online action RPG Anthem.

“It’s a game that we’ve been working on for almost four years now, and it’s a game that […] once we launch it next year will be the start of, I think, maybe a 10-year journey for us.”

So, who’s putting money on Anthem 2 in 2021?

The EA interview segment begins at the 1:39:27 mark for those who want to hear the whole thing.

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Shroud of the Avatar adds East Asian-themed town, kicks off Q&A

Fancy a bit of the Far East in your MMORPGs? Shroud of the Avatar is making that wish come true with its unclone of the town of Celestis, as explained in Portalarium’s latest newsletter.

“The terrain is heavily influenced by Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China, while the cultural decor is influenced by feudal Japan,” writes Level Designer Chris “Seawolf” Wolf. “It will feature a new town center and harbor, several gardens including a rock garden, several koi fish ponds, and a Noh/Kabuki stage which can also double as a dance floor. There are also a few Easter-eggs throughout the scene which pay tribute to some of my favorite chambara (classic samurai films).”

Richard Garriott and crew are running an Ask Me Anything on the /r/SotA_Official subreddit beginning at 11 a.m. EDT today (just as this post goes live). The discussion is intended to focus on the SeedInvest equity crowdfunding campaign currently live for the company.

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