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

PAX East 2015: Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure arrives in April

The rumors were true: Hearthstone is getting a new adventure in April.

Blizzard formally announced the new content at PAX East this morning. The Blackrock Mountain adventure pack will follow in Naxxramas’ footsteps; it will be rolled out in a series of five wings with 31 new cards. The full bundle of wings will run you $24.99.

On stage at PAX, Game Director Eric Dodds also told fans that the phone version of the game and its adapted UI are still en route. Blackrock Mountain’s debut trailer is below.

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Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns beta is on the way

Are you revved up for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion? How about revved up enough to test it? If that sounds like fun to you, you’ll be pleased to know that the beta test will be kicking off “shortly” after this and next weekend’s PAX and Rezzed events. How will it work? First, there’s no NDA.

There will be no nondisclosure agreements for these beta tests. Those of you who are selected as testers will be free to talk about your experiences and to post streams and videos of the content you play. Please understand that these are early beta tests designed to stress core systems of an expansion that’s still in development. Because we’re stressing core systems, we’ll start with a very small pool of testers and then grow a little with each successful test.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO for actual roleplaying?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a cantina rat.

I would spend the first part of my daily gametime emptying my crafter’s harvesters, flipping my factories, and stocking my vendors, but then I’d log into my smuggler and flit off to one cantina or another to roleplay, to hang out with (or join!) the entertainers, to banter with the patrons, to threaten enemies, to plan adventures, to fall in love, to start wars, and sometimes even to end them. Sometimes it was dramatic — I let a character be permanently murdered once, just for the powerful effect it had on our story — but most times, it was just witty and fun.

Nowadays, I seldom have time to invest that much of myself into a role, and besides, that world is long gone. But where would I go if I wanted to recapture that experience? What’s the best living MMORPG for actual roleplaying, right now, in 2015?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Massively Overthinking: Meaningful MMORPG mentors

We grouse endlessly when MMORPGs omit mentoring or sidekicking systems — but what about real mentors?

Have you ever had a mentor in an MMO, someone who guided you through a game or helped you navigate a guild or learn your class? If you no longer keep in touch, what would you say to your mentor if you could? I polled our writers about their experiences with having — and being — real gaming mentors in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Daybreak now has two G.I.R.L. scholarships for 2015

After this week’s Storybricks drama and today’s brutal cutbacks of customer service and forum support, the company formerly known as SOE could really use some good PR, and it might just be getting some in the form of its annual Gamers In Real Life scholarship.

For the past seven years, the studio has awarded a college scholarship and internship to one worthy applicant in its pursuit of supporting women in game design; this year, Daybreak will split that award in half for two applicants, one in art and design and one in programming and engineering. While entry to the competition is not restricted by gender, in past years the program has focused on encouraging and promoting women in the games industry, even requiring applicants to submit essays on the state of women in video games. This year, though Daybreak says the scholarship “aims to be the first step towards empowering bright careers for young women in the video game industry” by way of “helping to create more opportunities for women in game design,” the applications require only design materials and essays that discuss the college student’s “unique perspective.”

[Source: Daybreak press release, application]

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Valiance Online seeks developers

Want a job? Silver Helm Studios has posted a notice today declaring that it’s looking for remote developers on its City of Heroes-influenced indie superhero MMORPG Valiance Online. It’s a bit unorthodox, since the pay isn’t salaried but rather comes in the form of future profit-sharing. Here’s the posting:

Superheroes Wanted! Valiance Online is an in-development sci-fi/superhero MMORPG which was recently Greenlit on Steam. We’re looking for developers for our “virtual studio” (all positions are remote). Please note, these are independent contractor, profit-share positions (there is no upfront salary). The positions we are currently looking to fill are listed below.
– 3D Character Artists
– 3D Environment Artists
– Gameplay Programmers

The full list of positions can be found on Valiance Online’s forums. The game picked up a former City of Heroes animator last December.

[Source: Silver Helm Studios press release]

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Daybreak constricts gamemasters in EQ and EQII

A Massively Overpowered reader named Nick recently alerted us to a new EverQuest II customer support policy he’d been sent in-game in response to a petition, and that document has since been confirmed by a Daybreak knowledge base article updated last night. The new policy severely limits what gamemasters can do to correct what Daybreak is calling “simple gameplay errors” in EverQuest II.

What constitutes a simple gameplay error? Gamemasters will no longer be on call to fix deleted items, accidentally sold items, accidentally bought items, misloots, or accidental modifications of items. “Deleted characters will not be restored,” Daybreak warns, so “feel free to re-roll a new character.”

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Elder Scrolls Online releases update 6 trailer

Elder Scrolls Online’s huge update 6 patch went live last night, but the celebration begins today. ZeniMax has released a new video exploring all of the update’s major features, but it’s the new justice system that imbues online Tamriel with that classic Elder Scrolls ambiance and has recaptured MMO players’ attention.

Quipped a player tweeting as Shank last night, “Picked a pocket. Got caught. Didn’t pay bounty. Panicked. Ran for my life. Killed by a wolf in the chase. Justice system 10/10.”

The new video and some fresh wallpapers are below; let us know if you’re playing! We might just be bringing back our old Elder Scrolls Online column next week…

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The factionless WoW player dings level 100

World of Warcraft Shaman Doubleagent made headlines a year ago for leveling his Pandaren up to 80 and then 90 without ever choosing a faction. Now he’s pulled it off again post-Warlords of Draenor, this time barrelling up to 100, still factionless. Kotaku reports that he has been grinding away at the project by harvesting herbs and collecting exp through his other characters’ pet battles.

In other WoW news, Blizzard has posted up last week’s raid-and-dungeon Q&A video with Lead Game Designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas and Community Manager Josh “Lore” Allen Friday; we’ve embedded it below. Among the highlights? “NO troll dungeon next patch. No trolls in Draenor.” They also address the content gap: “Our focus is on reducing the gap in content between final tier and next expack. We know that Siege was too long — unacceptably long. We are committed to reducing that. […] Six to seven months is good for a large raid tier; 13 months is too long.”

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The Repopulation’s silver early access package is now 15 bucks

If you’ve been curious about upcoming sci-fi sandbox The Repopulation’s ongoing early access alpha, there’s never been a cheaper time to buy in, literally, as Steam is offering the game’s silver package this week for $14.99.

The silver package includes early access, silver membership, a Repop token and name reservation; the gold package, on sale for $29.99, comes with gold membership and a one-day head start when the game formally launches.

Last Friday, Above and Beyond patched up The Repopulation with a massive combat overhaul to stats, buffs, skills, and even animations.

[Source: Steam]

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Glitch-revival MMO Eleven posts under-the-hood video

Are you keeping an eye on Eleven, one of the two Glitch revival projects that have received Tiny Speck’s blessing? It’s posted a new behind-the-scenes video this week, one that might be a little technical for someone who really just wants to log in and play, but it shows how the game’s platform structure injects dimension and interaction into the world.

The game opened its alpha to 13 testers in December, widening the base to 32 players in January.

The video is below. Stay tuned for this week’s Jukebox Heroes, in which Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti explores the recently released two-volume Glitch soundtrack.

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World of Warcraft is getting gold and gametime transfer tokens

Blizzard has just announced that it’s introducing a gold-and-gametime transfer token to World of Warcraft. Dubbing the currency the “WoW Token,” Blizz writes,

Players will be able to purchase a WoW Token through the in-game Shop for real money, and then sell it on the Auction House for gold at the current market price. When a player buys a WoW Token from the Auction House for gold, the Token becomes Soulbound, and the player can then redeem it for 30 days of game time.

The WoW Token was created to give players with lots of extra gold the option to use it to help cover their subscription cost, and give those who want to purchase gold a way to do so from fellow players through a secure, easy-to-use system. The Token will be making its debut in an upcoming patch—in the meantime, check out the FAQ below for details on how it works.

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The Daily Grind: What’s one MMO wish you deeply regret?

It’s jumping.

Guild Wars players whined and moaned about not being able to jump in the classic game ad nauseam. Jumping increases our immersions and gives us something to do with our spacebar key binding, they said, plus we need jumping in PvP because of reasons. Give us the jumping!

Well, I hope you’re happy, Guild Wars players, because you got your wish in Guild Wars 2. In fact, you got your wish so well that not only can you spaz-jump in PvP and climb over hills, but every freaking corner of the game has a jumping puzzle waiting there to show you how terrible you always were at jumping. We have jumping for holiday events, jumping for dailies, entire game modes like SAB that are basically nothing but a test of jumping ability.

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