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

PUBG makes Aussie players geocache for lootcrates this weekend

Dammit Australia. As if buying lockboxes in video games isn’t bad enough, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds means to make you chase them in real life.

Apparently, Xbox Australia is doing real-life supply drops in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne this weekend. The “dropped” crates have tons of loot – genuinely good loot, from the sound of it, including Xbox One Xes, controllers, codes, and PUBG loot and codes too. You basically need to hang out on Facebook to puzzle out the clues that’ll guide you to the drops and hopefully get you there first with the password so you can collect your shinies.

It’s basically high-stakes geocaching, but we’re betting that nobody playing has any idea what that is. Then again, you don’t technically need to care about PUBG to participate, now do you? The hoopla kicks off on Saturday, so if you’re down under, check out Facebook for the event deets.

Source: Facebook via IGN

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Ask Mo: Counting the hits and misses of our 2017 predictions

As we do every year, today we’re going to peer back into the depths of last year’s staff predictions for the genre and the games within it to determine just how we fared. After all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t have a laugh at how wrong we were a year later? So let’s dig in and find out whether we nailed it or failed it!

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Who does Star Citizen love now? HOVERBIKES!

Is Star Citizen alpha 3.0 going to make it past the PTU testers to the live server by Christmas? It’s looking pretty tight. According to the game’s weekly Around the Verse, CIG is “making steady progress” thanks to the latest influx of testers, thousands of whom are helping the studio test stability and server performance on some of the heavy game features (like shopping). The team says it has 240 must-fix issues to go before 3.0 goes “live.”

The second half of this week’s episode digs into “gravlev tech,” which is basically a fancy way of explaining the physics system that makes bikes appear to levitate off the ground when traveling on planetary surfaces, without using some sort of kludgey “invisible wheel” to make it happen. Hoverbikes, basically, but as realistic-looking as possible. Check it all out below!

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Leaderboard: How should MMORPG studios communicate to players?

The most peculiar comment thread erupted in MJ’s recent post about Secret World Legends’ Krampusnacht. In response to the casual note that the holiday event rewards had been announced by the community manager in Funcom’s Discord channel, MMO readers expressed furious annoyance that details of that sort were being disseminated in obscure chats instead of through official channels accessible to everyone.

MOP commenter Greaterdivinity rather colorfully requested that developers stop using chat channels “for delivering information to the community at large,” not out of specific dislike of Discord but because studios must surely know that they’re reaching only the tiniest sliver of their full audience that way. The alternative “doesn’t even need to be a forum,” commenter Styopa chimed in. “Forums are for interacting and dialogue. I would be happy if they just had a single reliable go-to source for current game information. Like, say, an official web page?”

Now don’t go getting all reasonable! Save that for the polls! How should MMORPG studios communicate to players? Choose all that apply in today’s Leaderboard:

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H1Z1 will be called King of Survival when Tencent ports it to China

This week’s rumor that Tencent may be porting Daybreak’s H1Z1 eastward has proven true, as the Chinese megacorp and Daybreak announced late last night that “H1Z1 is officially coming to China.”

“This partnership will give Tencent the exclusive rights to publish H1Z1 in China. We will be working side by side with Tencent to ensure H1Z1 remains true to its spirit. Our top priority is to deliver a high-quality, competitive game that’s fun to watch and play, and we will work with Tencent to make improvements to the overall optimization of the game and to build fast networks and servers for players. We will continue to invest in powerful anti-cheat technologies to maintain a fair and fun gameplay experience.”

Daybreak says it’s working through Tencent to have the streaming ban on the game lifted in the region too. “Working closely with Tencent, we want to create the most accessible experience possible that is respectful of cultural preferences and values,” it says, echoing the same song and dance many western games companies must perform to pass legal muster in the regime.

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Path of Exile’s War for the Atlas expansion is live today

Path of Exile’s free-to-play War for the Atlas expansion is slated to go live this afternoon on PC, expanding the gameworld for diehard MMOARPG fans. As we’ve previously reported, the expansion adds a crapton of new random maps – 32 to be exact – to bolster the endgame. You’re also getting the requisite new gear, new bosses, new character customization options (chiefly new support gems and necro skill gems), and of course a new plotline focused around The Elder vs. The Shaper battle.

The Abyss Challenge League also begins today. “Coinciding with the launch of Path of Exile: War for the Atlas, we’re introducing the Abyss Challenge League,” says Grinding Gear Games. “Fight ancient foes that spill forth from the cracks beneath your feet as you journey across Wraeclast, and claim valuable new Abyss Jewels to customise your characters and items in new ways.” The Xbox One launch is scheduled for later this month, so you won’t have too long to wait, though you can check out our detailed preview of the expansion while you do so!

Massively OP will be streaming the expansion today at 3 p.m. EST, assuming the servers come up right at the scheduled time, so join in the fun on OPTV!

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The Daily Grind: How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch?

Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris has already been out a few days and… it’s not exactly lighting the world on fire. Core fanboys aren’t happy and are advising folks to just hold their wallets until Bungie gets its house in order. I’m down to just one guildie obsessively playing. And the hype? The hype for Destiny 1 was a surge that carried for months. D2 hype seems to have fizzled out.

All of that was in my mind already with MOP Patron Roger dropped the perfect topic in my inbox. “I’ve been more in pen and paper games recently than MMOs, but I have been playing something that gives me that MMO feel: Destiny 2.” he writes. “Have any of you guys played it yet? If so, how do you feel if MMOs and massive-coop-online games met closer in the middle?”

For starters, I am digging “massively co-op”! So let’s tackle Roger’s query and mine together. How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch? Were you one of those folks who said, “PC or bust,” and are you still PCing? What happened to the hype? Where did Bungie go wrong? And above all else, do you think Destiny 2 is that perfect midpoint between MMORPG and co-op shooter? Will it have an impact on the way the genre is developed moving forward, or will that be left to future games like Anthem?

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Massively Overthinking: The best and worst MMO developer quotes of 2017

Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.

Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.

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Escape from Tarkov preps massive New Year’s stress test ahead of 2018 open beta

Did you think Christmas came too early this year? One of my hobbies was already rolling out Valentine’s Day hoopla in August, so I feel you. Escape from Tarkov, however, has already moved on to New Year’s. We’ll let this one slide, however, since the game is focused on its open beta launch, so the New Year’s event is really a stress test that kicks off on December 28th and is intended to attract people who’ve never tested before. “Seven-day access to the game will be granted to a part of the players, who will be picked randomly among the total number of subscribers, with bias for those who have been registered earlier,” says the team.

Previous beta testers (and preorder purchasers, of course) will also pick up a pair of week-long access keys to hand out to their mates.

So what’s on the horizon for the game?

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Here’s a quick peek into the two ‘MMOs’ Pearl Abyss is working on

Back in September during Pearl Abyss’ IPO press conference, the South Korean company reps let loose with a ton of information about the state of the studio, including the fact that it’s working on four more MMOs. “Two games are in development [and] aim to be released in the second half of 2018,” CEO Kyung In Jung told investors and reporters at the time. “The other two aim to be released in 2019 and 2021. All of them are in progress to be network-based games with high-quality graphics by using the self-developed engine.”

Now we’ve got a tease about two of those. As MMO Culture reports, one of them is a global mobile MMO – and it’s not Black Desert Mobile, as its setting is apparently quite different. It sounds like an all-ages social game rather than a competitive one, with a goal for meeting other users.

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The Crew 2 has been delayed deeper into 2018

We’ve known Ubisoft was working on a sequel to driving MMO The Crew since this past spring, when the company confirmed what it would one month later debut at E3. By Gamescom, The Crew 2 even had a firm date – March 16th, 2018 – and was dropping preorder-bonus trailers.

But today Ubisoft announced a delay for multiple games in its working-on stable, including TC2. It’s a significant and vague delay that could see the game almost a year away. In its statement to its community, Ubisoft acknowledges that the game is ambitious indeed and that it’s received a lot of feedback on how the game has progressed since then.

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Crowfall’s crafting looks more and more like Star Wars Galaxies’

Hey crafters. Let’s talk Crowfall for a minute. ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair explains today in a new dev blog that crafting in the PvP-centric MMORPG is due for a pretty hefty update. “These changes will add some significant aspects to gameplay as we’re shifting game development from building many standalone systems to adding features that will mesh the systems together,” he says.

For starters, crafters are getting recipe tiering that just screams Star Wars Galaxies; some recipes can be made while you’re standing in the middle of nowhere, while others require experimentation and different levels of crafting stations, the higher-quality versions of which will be located in increasingly challenging or remote locations, further adding to the purpose of places like forts and keeps. I’m giddy just thinking about it. The crafting UI is getting an overhaul as well. And that’s not all!

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Hawaii state rep Chris Lee urges gamers to contact their local governments about lockboxes

Say you were a legislator concerned about the lootbox/lockbox gambling issues in gaming. How would you actually go about drafting a law that targets predatory monetization without, as some people fear, sliding down a slippery slope into unfettered regulation so that suddenly all video games are illegal but Pong?

Hawaii State Representative Chris Lee, whom you’ll remember from his Reddit post and video on the subject a few weeks ago, has a new video out explaining just that, as his goal and that of other representatives in other states is to craft language that is tailored specifically to blocking the sale of gambleboxes to people under 21 (the legal age for gambling in the US). It’s clear from the video that Lee and the attorneys working on the potential bill actually understand the gacha mechanics and nastier algorithmic targeting tactics that some game studios employ.

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