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

Hawaii state rep Chris Lee has now introduced four bills regulating lockboxes

Hawaii State Representative Chris Lee has made good on his plan to write and submit bills to the state legislature regulating the sale of video games with predatory lockboxes. The four bills are straightforward: Two seek to block the sale of video games with random-reward gambleboxes to people under the age of 21 (gambling age in Hawaii as well as many other US states), while the other pair requires proper labeling of the gambling mechanics on game boxes as well as disclosure of probability rates of items inside the boxes.

As GIbiz points out, up to now the only active bill on the topic in the US was a demand for more research by Washington representatives.

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The Daily Grind: How much time do you log in a typical MMORPG session?

The Pantheon community is discussing a really interesting question about the two-hour gamer this week: “How much do you expect to get done within a two-hour time frame?” The answers on the forum so far naturally skew toward the type of old-school gamers who are Pantheon superfans to begin with, so I wondered whether that would be the same for the greater MMORPG population. After all, MMOs (and other online games) have consistently rewritten the script for how much time they expect you to put in toward any given activity; while once it was no big thing to sit for a day camping a piece of gear, modern online games tailor matches and dungeon-runs for much shorter periods, sometimes in that 30-minute sweet spot.

So today’s Daily Grind is two-fold: First, how much time do you allot to a typical play session – do you consider yourself a two-hour gamer, playing in roughly two-hour chunks, or are your playtime chunks smaller (or longer)? And secondly, what do you expect to accomplish in that amount of time?

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Today’s RuneScape update finally fixes the freakin’ mining system (sort of)

RuneScape players are finally getting something today that they’ve been wanting for half of forever: a mining and smithing update, or at least the beta for it. Pretty much every contentrelated article we’ve posted on RuneScape’s plans since 2015 has touched on the desire to make this oft-requested update happen. And now it’s finally here, albet it in beta format.

Don’t look at me – RuneScape players have always been unfathomable.

In Mining and Smithing 2.0, expect “the ore bag, upgrading equipment, decorating equipment, heating with the forge, non-competitive rocks, new tiers of metal and much more!” Jagex promises. Since it’s a beta, “You’ll find yourself locked into one small area with all the Mining and Smithing content you’ll need. You won’t have access to anything else, including the Artisans’ Workshop, cannonballs, mining outfits, auras, familiars and the toolbelt as these haven’t yet been updated.”

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Camelot Unchained’s beta will launch on the 4th of July; we interview Mark Jacobs

You can go ahead and order extra sparklers because you’re going to need ’em this July 4th. That’s the auspicious day that Camelot Unchained’s beta one will finally launch after three years of delay, City State Entertainment has now announced. The studio has further confirmed that the “feature lock” date for the crowdfunded RvR MMORPG will be June 12th – at that point, everything for the beta will be set, save bug-fixing. And yes, everything that has been promised for the beta will make it for that launch (that doesn’t mean everything going into launch will be in beta – expect more builds going forward over the expected year of this beta).

CSE’s Mark Jacobs spoke with us just a few weeks ago to announce that the company had taken on a large external investment to speed up development of the game; he’s done the same this time ’round to answer our questions about beta and what to expect between right now and the 4th of July when those beta gates open. Read on!

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PSA: Tree of Savior is merging its servers on March 13, and you may not keep all your toons

Server merges are descending upon Tree of Savior, at least in North America and South East Asia.

“We would like announce our plans to merge game servers in regions currently operating two servers, i.e. North America and Southeast Asia,” IMC Games announced earlier today. “The merge of servers is expected to take place on March 13, 2018.” Where you’re going is pretty simple: The two western servers will merge into one of the existing pair (Klaipedia), while the new South East Asian servers will merge into Telsiai.

How you’re getting there is less simple. Players with characters and guilds on both servers should pay close attention, as the company has stated that the server on which you’ve got the highest total experience accumulated on all your toons, followed by server on which you have the most guilded toons, will determine which team you keep. The same goes for “excess” characters; if you have too many toons for the slots you’re allowed to have, you could be outta luck.

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Shroud of the Avatar on R51’s vendor changes, new maps, and bears

As Shroud of the Avatar surges toward its formal launch later this year, the devs are continuing their stream of weekly newsletters. This week, they’re talking up their updates to the South Midmaer Way, construction on new map South Fetid Swamp, and bears. Kind of a lot of bears. In fact, all the bears have been “completely rebuilt.” Bears bears bears. OK, I’ll stop. They are pretty cute!

In patchy news, Portalarium is also working on the planned player vendor revamp coming in R51. “The first thing we will try to improve is visual variation,” Starr Long explains. “Long term we plan to support customization of vendors via equipment choice but for now we are focusing on providing that visual variation through our pattern system. These patterns will include a female version of the current vendor, a completely new outfit based on Victorian shopkeeper uniforms (with gender and skin tone variations), and a cash register that will act as a fully functioning player vendor (even though it does not appear as an NPC).”

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Dragon Bones DLC is here, but the EU rollout hit a snag

We’ve updated below with the chronology of what’s up with the servers.

Elder Scrolls Online’s paid Dragon Bones DLC and free update 17 are live today on PC, at least if you’re on the North American server. Apparently the EU server hit a snag.

“During today’s Update 17 & Dragon Bones maintenance, we encountered a technical issue with the patch deployment on the European PC/Mac server,” ZeniMax writes. “Specifically, this is a server configuration issue that affects only the European server patch. Due to this issue, we are extending the maintenance on the European PC/Mac ESO server. We expect the extended downtime to last approximately 12 hours, and anticipate the European PC/Mac ESO server to open around 1am GMT on Feb. 13.” It does not appear at this time that any compensation will be doled out.

The content rollout includes the outfit customization system, new housing storage upgrades, and a pair of dungeons to boot. Check out our complete coverage of the patch from announcement to now, along with our playthrough of Dragon Bones with the ZeniMax team last week!

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Free-to-play Korean import Soulworker Online launches forums on the road to the west

Back in November, MMO gamers were bummed to find out that Soulworker’s western rollout had been delayed into the first quarter of the new year. But the Smilegate/Gameforge machine is now finally cranking up: A tipster noticed that the game’s western forums (featuring English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Polish) have just launched.

“As ever, we’re hard at work on SoulWorker. We’re making great progress and we will soon be able to give you more information on the start of the open beta!” says the forum team. “The game is free-to-play and will also be available on Steam starting with the Open Beta. It will feature Korean voices (original voices) and text in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Polish. It is currently not planned to include Japanese voices. It is our goal to provide PvP content and new characters like Jin Seipatsu or Iris Yuma in the future, but at this point we unfortunately can’t confirm when exactly this content will be available.”

Server names for seven western servers have also been published – it looks like two of them will be in English, one for North America and one for the UK.

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Bless Online interview: Soft launch plans, why Gamigo bowed out, and avoiding pay-to-win

Bless Online is one of the biggest MMORPGs we’re expecting to launch in the west in 2018. Over the last six years, we’ve watched it blossom in South Korea, switch publishers, and even go back to the drawing board for a revamp before Neowiz pushes it westward. That’s left a lot of gamers, including us, with questions about the game’s future. And to get answers to those questions, we spoke with Game Director Jae-hoon Jeon all about the game’s planned monetization, early access, and just what sets Bless apart in a field of high-quality import MMORPGs. Read on for the details!

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The Daily Grind: What do you think about ‘buying runs’ in MMORPGs?

Long ago in classic Guild Wars, I used to be fond of buying runs – probably the earliest was the Beacon’s Perch to Droknar’s Forge run. You’d take your alt to Beacon’s, pay the runner a few plat, then sit back as the runner warped the party along an extremely dangerous route past the majority of the game to the zone where you could craft good-looking, max-level armor, then you’d port back and keep playing and not need to worry about tedious armor upgrades along the way. It was actually a lot of fun to watch the specialized runner “work” and to chit-chat with other folks in the running party. And yep, it was all legal gameplay. Other games have similar mechanics in spite of not having party warping; you’ve probably heard of gamers in themeparks like World of Warcraft buying a “spot” on a raid that will essentially carry them and give them the loot they’re after.

In Guild Wars 2, however, you’d probably best watch out if you’re into that type of gameplay: ArenaNet clarified last week that it’s OK with people buying runs in-game, but the studio says a lot of people in the running business are actually involved in third-party RMT, which the company considers illegal, so you buy runs at the risk of account bans if you transact with the wrong group.

What do you think about “buying runs” in MMORPGs?

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MMO Week in Review: MMO money month (February 11, 2018)

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!

If I had to sum up this week in MMOs, and I do because that’s what this column is all about, I’d say it’s about money. Multiple MMO companies released their quarterly and annual deets this week, including Blizzard (another record quarter) and Square-Enix (which claims an increase in Final Fantasy XIV subs. Trion rightly boasted of Trove’s 15M playerbase as well. But the most interesting bit was surely NCsoft’s report, which shows Guild Wars 2 getting a welcome bump from Path of Fire while Blade & Soul (which just released its Call of the Deep update) pulls in excellent numbers too.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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Grimdark multiplatform 2-D MMORPG Mad World hits Steam this fall

Mad World first popped up on our radar last summer, when we learned it was a HTML5-based Korean action MMORPG vying for your attention on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. This week, studio Jandisoft announced plans to launch the game on Steam this coming fall. It’s touting story-driven quests as part of a cute but grimdark storyline, along with crafting, guilds, and other MMO necessities. Interestingly, there are no classes here – just weapon skills.

“Clad in unique hand-drawn 2D art style, Mad World stays true to the classic MMORPGs but with a few tweaks. Leaving the MMORPG’s standard combat style, the game’s Target and Move style makes the combat more dynamic, and its classless weapon-based skill system gives more options when using skills.”

We’ve got the latest “mood” trailer down below!

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