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

Watch 13 minutes of Wild West Online exploration and treasure hunting footage

Still skeptical about Wild West Online’s proposed PvP system? A brand-new video today may or may not help. PC Gamer spends 13 minutes narrating a dev-led demo of the game world showing off just how pretty and detailed it looks, though the publication notes it feels pretty empty in its current phase. The narrator reiterates the idea that you’re probably not going to want to “go buck wild” murdering in towns since you’re likely to be caught and bountied. You can fire warning shots, however, and of course you can be ambushed out in the wild, with much weaker penalties for banditry.

“I like the idea of playing a roadside bandit and attacking innocent gold miners while they try to go pan for gold and make do or pay rent or buy a small land deed,” PC Gamer’s rep says while a dev shoots (and misses) his target. “I do worry about player density and whether any time you go out into the world to look for treasure or pan for gold or whatever it is – I do worry about getting shot too often. I’m told that’s what the beta and alpha are gonna be before, testing what kind of player population they want and how often they want you to engage with other people in conflict. There’s gotta be a sweet spot, and they will need a live environment to test that in.” You don’t say!

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Blade and Soul’s Dark Origins patch is live with new raids and evolved stone economy fixes

Blade & Soul’s Dark Origins patch is live this week, bringing with it two more chapters of Act 7, the heroic 6-man Ebondrake Lair dungeon, the Scion’s Keep raid, the Temple of Eluvium endgame progression raid, the Nebula Stone PvP event, and “a number of systems changes coming in Dark Origins, including Sealed Sacred Oil Transmutation cost reduction, a skill balance pass, [and] a revamp of the Daily Challenge system.”

“With the Dark Origins update we’re making some changes to modernize the Daily Challenge system. Older dungeons are being removed from the rotation and replaced with more recent ones. You’ll also now only have to complete three Daily Challenges per day to get the reward (out of the six available), and the reward when you do complete them has been improved and gold amount increased.”

NCsoft’s also noted that the previously announced server merges have been completed. Check out the whole patch notes for a run-down of the class changes and then take a peek at the brand-new trailer.

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Otherland is revived on Steam as Drago takes over publishing duties

Over this summer, we’ve been getting tips suggesting that the Tad Williams Otherland MMORPG was in serious trouble, as first it went dark on Steam and then it returned, silently, with an 8GB patch. Drago Entertainment did not respond to requests for a comment then, or perhaps it could not if it didn’t control its press relations, but either way it’s finally posted something to its Facebook page today, and although it doesn’t address the Steam outage directly, it’s definitely good news going forward.

The studio explains that it was originally brought on as the developer by the investors who own the game in the wake of the RealU studio’s closure, but it was hamstrung by the publisher, who you’ll recall was Gamigo, though Drago doesn’t name names.

“Shortly after the soft launch of Otherland as a free-to-play game in September 2016, the publisher decided to hold back on most releases and information in preparation for a major relaunch planned for June this year,” Drago says. “The game not being relaunched as planned has seen the investors sit down with the publisher to voice their concerns and to keep a long story short, it has been decided that the investors will continue Otherland on their own.”

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Today’s Dark and Light patch puts an end to huffing and puffing and blowing (thatch) houses down

Snail Games’ MMO-turned-survivalbox reboot Dark and Light has prepped a new patch landing today aimed squarely at the B word: balance.

“This latest patch is designed to address player concerns about game balance,” says the studio. “We’ve enhanced the strength of all buildings and adjusted the strength of certain spells to better protect creatures and players, to make battles and raids more fair.”

Specifically, the game has seen nerfs to stone and iron weapons and weaker spells vs. thatch and wood buildings, so whether or not your fire spell can take out your enemy’s base will make a little more sense. Meanwhile, critters in the wild can’t damage anything but those weaker types of construction. Wouldn’t make much sense for a squirrel to wreck your stone castle, right? Except dark squirrels. Those guys can mess you up.

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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds whupped League of Legends on Twitch last week

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds may have one of the worst video game names in history, but it set a new record on Twitch last week.

Gameloco founder Nicolas Cerrato points out that PUBG beat League of Legends in terms of hours of eyeballs on Twitch during the week of August 6th, the first time LoL’s ever been unseated by a game outside of a special event. And indeed, this was a special event: Dota 2 actually came close to beating both PUB and LoL together thanks to Valve’s massive $10M prize-pool The International tourney, which concluded over the weekend.

But PUBG still managed to edge out LoL — something that’s never happened before, possibly because MOBA eyes were distracted, or possibly because, as Cerrato puts it, “PUBG looks more and more like an extremely powerful cultural phenomenon that will impact gaming like very few games ever have.” There’s a reason Tencent was trying to buy it and its studio up, after all.

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Wild Terra’s castle capture and auction systems are live

Indie sandbox MMO Wild Terra has a big update this week that’ll make guild-oriented players particularly happy, as the castle system has rolled out to the live servers. Guilds can build everything from cheapie wooden forts to brick-laid castles that can actually withstand a siege, taxing guild members for cash, spice, and resources to make it all happen.

But of course, first you have to capture a castle from somebody else or bid on an unclaimed (or contested) one in the castle auction system, also new to game this summer. Once you do win a castle? Yeah, make sure you build walls first if you want to stop everyone from just waltzing on in (and ensure that you can appropriate tribute from the surrounding regions). If it sounds like a lot of work to do for a video game, it is, but maybe you should just watch the video instead. It’s the thing to do these days.

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Retro shooter Keystone rebrands as The Amazing Eternals ahead of founder beta

Remember back in 2015 when a gamer sneaked into Digital Extremes’ headquarters and wandered around for a day, tricking the unassuming Canadian devs into spilling the beans on a top-secret “FPS with cards” game they were working on? Last spring, we found out that game was a real thing, a retro-pulp shooter/card game hybrid called Keystone.

Today, however, we’re finding out that the “Keystone” title has been scrapped in favor of a new one: The Amazing Eternals. The Warframe dev asserts now that Keystone was just a codename for the closed alpha, which is drawing to a close and will soon be replaced with a closed beta that you too can pay to play.

“Building from its Closed Alpha test with thousands of enthusiastic new players, free-to-play Canadian developer and publisher Digital Extremes will launch the Founders Program for The Amazing Eternals (formerly codenamed Keystone) Tuesday, August 29. Using the community-driven model that helped grow Warframe to great success, The Amazing Eternals Founders Program rewards early adopters with direct development team collaboration, exclusive in-game gear, instant access to the Closed Beta, and more. Join the Multiverse by signing up free for a chance to get into The Amazing Eternals Closed Beta or enter the game instantly with the Founders Program launch on Tuesday, August 29!”

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Today’s Black Desert patch buffs new characters with extra skills

It’s an every-other-Wednesday, so you know what that means: It’s patch day in Black Desert. Kakao says it’s launched another round of the Rulupee’s World Travel Event in addition two new summery “attendance” rewards, including one for medium- to large-sized guild members.

There’s also been an update for Termian Waterpark, which continues on through the season with new fishing, plus tweaks to the field HQ for conquest wars, a “complete now” button for worker missions, improved character customization history, and several interface updates. My favorite? “Fixed the issue where a skin-headed Ninja would suddenly get fully grown hair during combat.” Those dang bald ninjas.

It further appears that Kakao has reduced the level requirements for a number of skills and set many more to be automatically granted as soon as a character is rolled. The whole chart of changes is on the official site.

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Crowfall’s class/race retooling requires significant animation work for ArtCraft

ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman and Senior Animator Eric Doggett are back for another lengthy Crowfall Q&A, discussing upcoming cons and and getting the campaign test server up. “We are rapidly approaching the point where we can actually run a real campaign,” Coleman notes.

The duo also touch on the 5.3 race and class update and the extensive animation and rigging work required to make the team’s relatively new plan to more or less map most classes to most races. This is a big deal, Coleman says, as a lot of money and time is going into the animation efforts.

“Take a character – let’s say, the human knight – it took us two man months to make,” Doggett explains. “Just for the animation part” — not the models, textures, power design, or the testing itself. The studio’s current tool, however, can cut that process down to five to ten days, speeding up the process.

The whole episode is below.

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Epic is working on a ‘hardcore survival version’ for Fortnite

Epic’s early access PvE-centric survival sandbox Fortnite has been heavily criticized for having a messy, micromanagey progression system that is inextricably linked to its pay-to-progress business model, but Epic says it’s listening to the feedback. “We’re in early access,” the studio’s Zak Phelps says in the game’s most recent dev video. “We want feedback. It’s a first version!”

Phelps, along with Epic’s Darren Sugg, say that the team is currently working on a “sort of hardcore survival version” of the game that’ll actually last up to an actual fortnight in-game (works out to about 3.5 hours real-time). Expect that big update coming later this summer.

The game’s latest teeny patch was intended to fix several crashes and memory leaks but appears to have introduced (or perhaps exacerbated) an XP display bug, so don’t freak out about that. Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie got some hands-on time with the game earlier this month; that’s down below, along with Epic’s latest dev chat.

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Camelot Unchained teases beta with a new ‘guiding principles’ doc

If it feels like we’ve been waiting for Camelot Unchained’s beta forever, well, it hasn’t – it’s only been half of forever. And the wait is almost over, if the first part of City State’s brand-new beta 1 doc is any guide.

“It’s been a longer road to Beta 1 than we expected it would be last year,” CSE’s Mark Jacobs begins. “For that, you have our most sincere and humble apologies.” After admitting he’s “committed more money to the studio than” planned, he says the result has been worth it, such that “by the time you read this, [CSE] will have moved achingly close to the first of the SNS trials, will be back up to 2.1K ARCs/Bots, the new ability, animation, and VFX systems will be performing as expected, and the programmers’ focus will have turned more heavily than ever to gameplay and not tech.”

The doc itself outlines the beta’s “guiding principles” for a “minimum viable vision” — namely, that it should be solid, intermittent, accessible, and more about fun than the tech-oriented alpha. While this is just the first part of the larger doc we’re told is incoming, it does tick off a number of specific features on immediate order, including improved UI, help files and links for newbies, updated patcher and player count, daily issues, class/race combos, attribute clarity, unique player names, and starting gear.

Plus? A peek at the login screen, which is slick!

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Destiny 2 teases PC open beta with sweet Nvidia trailer

Hey, graphics junkies and PC fans. Are you hyped for Destiny 2’s PC launch yet? In case you’re not, Bungie and Nvidia have a brief video out effectively demonstrating why waiting a little longer for the game to hit PCs is going to be worth it.

“Experience Destiny 2 in 4K with uncapped frame rates in the PC Open Beta August 29-31. Pre-purchase Destiny 2 on PC Exclusively at Blizzard Battle.net and get 24 hour early beta access starting on August 28. Begin Destiny 2’s epic cinematic story campaign, fight below the surface of Nessus in the three-player cooperative Strike Inverted Spire, and enter the Crucible to put your competitive multiplayer skills to the test in two 4v4 modes.”

We’re sure it’ll be pretty for you console folks too. Just not as pretty. And hey, you get to play five weeks sooner. Eyeballs below.

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MMO Tree of Life has entered ‘final beta,’ counts 85K early access players

Korean sandbox import Tree of Life is officially in “final beta” ahead of its launch this week.

“NeoBricks is announcing Tree of Life, the sandbox MMORPG on Steam has been already started the Final Beta on live servers and the official launch will be on 17th of August,” reads the press release. “By official launch, German, Russian, Brazilian-Portuguese, French and Simplified Chinese will be added.”

NeoBricks and OddoneGames previously said they sold 34K copies of the game during its first few months in the wild; today’s press post says the game was “loved by around 85,000” users during early access.

Along with the partial wipe ahead of the launch, the plan is to implement the new Clay 2 engine, redesigned UI, and PvP update for launch. A more recent FAQ tells players that the relic war will be removed from the final version, the UI will see a new compass, and the team might consider world bosses. But PvE servers are not happening. “The three factions are contesting but PvP should not be the essential feature,” the devs wrote earlier this month. “We are designing the game so that you can enjoy it even without active PvP

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