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

The Black Death devs on permadeath, optimization, and regional accessibility

Ahead of its April 19th early access launch, Green Man Loaded has published a Q&A video for The Black Death. The devs thumb through the forum basically answering questions straight from the readers: They dismiss the idea of firearms in their medieval sandbox, they explain the justifications and mechanics of permadeath, they talk about optimization and desyncing, they confirm regional servers beyond the US and Europe, and they touch on building out in the world, plus plenty more. Check out the whole video below!

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The Daily Grind: Should e-sports players unionize?

MCV reported this week that World of Tanks studio Wargaming plans to help organize a union for pro e-sports players. Wargaming European e-sports boss Nicolas Passemard implied that without some formal organization looking out for pro players’ interests, exploitation is possible:

“It comes from a need to do something. We faced a few issues and incidents, and of course we didn’t like that because these incidents were not in favour of the players. So at a point we have to make a decision, either we get more directly involved or we keep having issues. We still want the players and the teams to lead a life of their own, because if we help them too much or if we do things for them they kind of lose the warm feeling of doing it themselves or they lose motivation, but in the end we had to do something. So we looked at some options and the best one is to help the pro players create a union for themselves. We have to do it, there will be issues, maybe we aren’t ready [for a players union] but we will find a way.”

Where you come down on the issue probably depends a lot on your own experiences with unions in the real world and on how much stock you put into pro gaming on the whole, but let’s have it: Do you think that pro e-sports players ought to unionize?

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Massively Overthinking: Reconsidering the MMORPG daily quest

Dailies.

The word evokes pure hatred from some corners of the MMORPG world. And yet games without dailies are dinged for not having enough content or “glue” to pull people back. Aren’t MMOs damned if they do and damned if they don’t?

This week’s Massively Overthinking question is from Das Tal developer Alexander Zacherl and is right on point: “Are daily quests in MMORPGs good, bad, or ugly?” he wonders. “Which games have managed to implement them in especially great or horrible ways?” I posed these questions to the team this week!

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The beta for Elite: Dangerous’ long-awaited Engineers update arrives in May

Frontier has just announced the beta for Elite: Dangerous 2.1, better known as The Engineers, will open for beta access players the week of May 8th. We learned back in March that the launch had been delayed at least six weeks to “push the quality up,” as David Braben put it, but we didn’t have a clearer date until today.

“The Engineers (2.1) is the second major release in the Elite Dangerous: Horizons season of expansions that started with Planetary Landings. The Engineers adds Loot and Crafting and the eponymous Engineers themselves as the headliner features, but also delivers a massive number of new gameplay elements. Through the engineers, you will be able to improve and upgrade the stats on every module of your ship, and add rare, experimental effects to your weapons for some special outcomes. We’ll be showing more of these weapons in the coming newsletters, but here’s one example of the abilities that you can implement.”

Frontier has also announced that the 1.6 patch will be made available to everyone, not just Horizons owners, and will enter beta at the same time. Newsletters outlining more of the company’s plans are promised over the next three weeks.

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Anarchy Online’s new subscriber rewards program is live today

Funcom has just pushed live Anarchy Online’s previously announced membership awards in today’s patch. You’ll need to manually claim your rewards, Funcom says, because “after this update, Veteran Points will stop accruing over time.” The matrix is included below. There’s a pinch of new content today too:

Arbiter Vincenzo Palmiero has landed on Rubi-Ka. He makes appearances in ICC’s “Holo Deck” tower for 1 week at a time, then 1 week off, and then will return a week later with a different mission. Arbitration Drone offers a mission based on your level, including one related to Daily Missions, available to everyone. Mission rewards offer ICC Commendations, a new currency used to purchase unique rewards. Missions “Dusted Off,” “Alien Invasion,” “Civil Disobedience,” and “Freelancers Inc.” can all provide a bonus reward when turned in.

Some forumgoers are actually a bit miffed because ahead of this patch and without warning, Funcom disabled the account merge and character/account transfer services, the latter of which may return “with new and improved functionity.” Affected players complain that they are now unable to merge their characters and accounts to make the most of the membership rewards.

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ArcheAge has big plans to merge its auction houses

ArcheAge economy players, listen up: Big changes to your market system will likely affect you.

In a new dev post, Trion explains that it will be merging the auction halls of the fresh start servers (Rangora and Morpheus) with the auction hall system on the regular US servers as they have now “sufficiently caught up in pricing to the main clusters.” When it’s done, there will remain two auction house clusters for US players. The European server auction halls will also be merged together into a separate EU cluster.

Trion will be locking the auction halls early next week for two days to make the merges; you’ll be able to buy stuff but not list anything for sale. Players on Aranzeb, Kyrios, Nazar, and Hanure will not be affected, but Ollo, Tahyang, Salphira, Kraken, and Morpheus’s residents will be blocked from posting new auctions beginning April 18th at 10 a.m. EDT, while European players will be blocked from April 16th at 10 p.m. EDT (2 a.m. UTC on the 17th).

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Exploring Camelot Unchained’s siegecraft system

How will sieges work in Camelot Unchained? Massively OP reader and YouTuber CloakingDonkey dug into the last official livestream to pull out the good stuff, including the facts that individual realms will have their own siege weaponry and the reality that attackers and defenders will be relatively well balanced.

And before you ask, nope — we still don’t know when exactly beta one begins. Watch on below!

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RIFT celebrates year five with new souls, patron quests, and multicore support

RIFT’s fifth anniversary festivities continue this week as the new playable Soul bundle has gone live along with the Carnival of the Ascended world event. Players can purchase the new Maelstrom, Shadeborn, Runeshaper, Frostkeeper, and Warchanter souls, plus dive into exclusive patron quests and more accessible raids. Multicore support for the game is also now live.

Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti got a detailed look at the patch in his dev tour yesterday. Check out the anniversary trailer and screens below!

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Giveaway: Snag a Stronghold Kingdoms Global Conflict 2 bundle from Firefly and MOP [All gone!]

MMORTS Stronghold Kingdoms is celebrating five million players this week with the launch of an update that focuses heavily on PvP in the newly expanded playable game world encompassing a whopping 151 countries. That headcount number will no doubt go up this summer when the game expands beyond PC and Max to a mobile client for Android and iOS.

To celebrate the milestone and update in the meantime, Firefly Studios has granted Massively OP 1000 Global Conflict 2 promo codes that will unlock a ton of goodies for your account: 5 Random packs, 1 Super Random Pack, 1 Ultimate Random Pack, 1 Research Pack, 5 Army Packs, 200 Card Points, and 2 x 7 Premium Tokens.

Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to take home one of these keys!

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EVE Fanfest kicks off next week

CCP couldn’t have timed it better if it had tried: This year’s EVE Fanfest will kick off in Reykjavik, Iceland, next weekend, smack in the middle of EVE Online’s biggest player war ever.

Massively OP’s longtime EVE Online expert and veteran reporter Brendan Drain will once again be reporting from the event, so stay tuned for our coverage, and in the meantime, check out CCP’s promo video below.

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Age of Conan launches Pit Master’s Arena, shelves crafting revamp, plans F2P improvements

Funcom today pushed live a new update for Age of Conan called The Pit Master’s Arena. “Fight exotic and deadly beasts for fame and fortune within this Cimmerian Arena,” says the studio, “or challenge other players to prove your dominance!” Why would you do this? The blood of your enemies! Just kidding: It’s loot, of course.

“The arena features a slew of new rewards, including new pets, powerful necklaces, and unique faction-specific mounts! Discover four all-new Rune Stones through the arena, providing effects such as additional Constitution, protection bonuses when critically struck, or a surge of power when low on health. Slake the soil with the blood of the unworthy!”

The patch also includes numerous user interface tweaks, adjustments to some pets and mounts, and a handful of bug fixes.

In other Funcom news, the company announced today that it has taken on a $500,000 US loan ahead of its planned share issue, which is intended to raise capital for Conan Exiles.

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Enter to win a Star Trek Online Vaadwaur Astika Heavy Battlecruiser from PWE and Massively OP

In honor of Star Trek Online’s mid-season 11.5 launch, PWE has granted Massively OP five Vaadwaur Astika Heavy Battlecruisers to give away to our readers!

“Battlecruisers of the Astika class further reinforce this focus on offensive force while also being capable of withstanding heavy incoming fire, thanks to their sturdy craftsmanship and many versatile capabilities,” says PWE. Everyone’s welcome to enter except players from China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Macao, Taiwan, and Vietnam, where these codes will not work.

Read on to enter to win!

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Working As Intended: Busting up the MMORPG nostalgia party

Last week, a clever Massively OP commenter, SC_Deadline, neatly summed up the ongoing Nostalrius emulator shutdown as Blizzard “bust[ing] up someone’s nostalgia party,” which stuck with me all weekend as I mulled over how to approach this piece. I sympathize with emulator players, of course; I’ve been tooling around on emulators since the earliest days of Ultima Online’s, and the Star Wars Galaxies emulation community kept me sane after my favorite MMORPG of all time was ripped from the internet and replaced with a themepark. I’ll forever champion emulation communities from the angle of historical preservation even as I know that much of what they do falls within the dark shadow of the law.

And you know what? I sleep fine at night. I can accept that part of myself that gives zero fucks whether SWGEmu, for example, infringes on copyrights, as long as I can still have my droid shop on Tatooine.

I can also accept that my fun will come to a halt the day the copyright holder puts its foot down, and while I’m sure it will hurt like hell, I won’t proclaim I’m entitled to intellectual property that was never mine to begin with.

What’s impossible for me to accept is this ugly and pervasive idea that people who play emulators are hopelessly mired in some irrepressible, unflattering “nostalgia.”

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