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

Tencent buys up the rest of Riot Games

League of Legends developer Riot Games has a new owner this week. Well, really it’s the same ostensible owner as before, China’s Tencent Holdings, only now Tencent has gobbled up the last 7.22% of the company.

Riot announced the sale of its remaining equity in an oblique message on its website framed as a cash-based incentive program for Riot employees:

As a result of our continued growth and changing circumstances, we’re shifting to a new structure to recognize and reward Rioters’ contributions – and that first involves a big change to our existing equity program. As part of this effort, our majority investor, Tencent, recently purchased the remaining equity of Riot Games. This allows us to move away from a Riot equity program towards a cash based incentive program that allows Rioters to share in Riot’s success. This program comes in addition to our highly competitive salaries, open PTO, learning and development programs, 401K match, subsidized medical plans, and kitchens stocked with snax (poro and otherwise) all full-time Rioters get.

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WoW Legion aims to flatten the PvP gear curve

Last night, Blizzard posted a dev blog to explain just how World of Warcraft Legion plans to drive a wrecking ball into the game’s existing PvP paradigm.

For starters, honor and conquest currencies are being replaced with honor points akin to experience points and awards on the new honor track, all the way up to 50, at which point you can “prestige” — that is, start over at level 1 and increase your prestige level and rack up some cosmetics. Awards include honor talents that work only in PvP.

Gear, on the other hand, will no longer matter, aside from a “small modifier based on your average item level” because you know they just couldn’t let that go.

“As soon as you zone into a PvP instance, the stats on your gear will be nullified, and you’ll be given a pre-determined set of stats that’s uniquely configured for your specialization. Furthermore, any set bonuses, enchants, Legendary bonuses, or trinket effects will be deactivated.”

This also means PvP gear is going away as a thing to grind for. So basically it’s close to what Guild Wars 2 does, and it’s what Blizzard has been hinting at off and on since it first introduced arenas back in Burning Crusade.

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Star Citizen’s breathtaking procedurally generated planet system trailer

OK, Citizens. Put down your joysticks and listen up. Star Citizen’s holiday hype trailer “From Pupil to Planet” has arrived and demands your eyeballs as it introduces the in-development procedurally generated planet system. Glide along with the camera as it pulls back from a character’s pupils to show the scope and scale of space ships, stations, vistas, atmosphere, and planets in the seamless WIP prototype. Get watching below.

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Hi-Rez announces $100K Paladins tourney

Paladins isn’t officially launched yet, but Hi-Rez is already planning its competitive scene — and its first tournament. On the official forums yesterday, Hi-Rez President Stewart Chisam wrote,

At Hi-Rez, we are very serious about esports, and we feel Paladins has strong potential to become a great competitive game. Doing so, however, will require “early adopters” to come into the scene to help us shape and grow the competitive gameplay. […]

In order to encourage and reward the players and teams that come on board to Paladins early, we are announcing today the Paladins $100,000 Founder’s Tournament.

Four teams will be selected to attend the early spring Founders’ Tournament at the Hi-Rez eSports Arena in Atlanta — two from Europe and two from North America. The studio promises more info in January. “For us, this tournament is a starting point, not an ending point,” Chisam wrote.

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Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: MMO Expansion of the Year

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for best MMO update or expansion of the year.

Last year was a bit heavier on MMO updates and thin on expansions since that was the trend, so the award was expanded to include both, and it was won by Guild Wars 2’s April feature pack patch. This year, we had expansions and patches aplenty!

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Update or Expansion of 2015 is…

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Grab a WildStar Proto-Present Turret key from Carbine and MOP

In celebration of WildStar’s Winterfest events, which just so happen to begin today, Carbine Studios has granted MOP keys for 20000 WildStar toys: the Proto-Present Turrets shown above.

It’s that magical time of year, Winterfest is finally here! In a holiday-miracle type of giving spirit, the Protostar Corporation would like to generously provide you with a FREE Proto-Present Turret. Nothing says, “Enjoy my holiday decorations, but from a safe distance!” like this one-of-a-kind, festive item.

Massively OP reader DeviateFish let us know that the item is claimable more than once. “You set out the turret, press F to use three times, and it shoots out a present each time, and in the presents are pretty bows for your noggin. The turret sticks around for a few seconds afterwards, then disappears.” NCsoft has since confirmed it’s not expressly a decor item, so there you go!

Clicky the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab a key and for your very own Proto-Present Turret.

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Student lands jail time for 2012 RuneScape robbery

Way back in 2012, Fordham University student Humza Bajwa was busted by New York cops for holding a pair of RuneScape players at (what they believed was) gunpoint while he forced them to transfer RuneScape cash to his account. He made off with 4.7 billion gold before a sting operation took him down.

“He then pulled the same stunt weeks later on undercover 48th Precinct Officer Shaun O’Donnell, who had posed as a gamer buff selling the virtual currency,” explains the New York Daily News. Busted!

Though reports back in 2012 suggested Bajwa could receive as many as 15 years behind bars, in fact he finally pled guilty to the charges against him this week after plea conferencing a few weeks ago, and as a result, he’ll owe the state six months in jail, the community 3000 hours of service, and his original victims the $3,300 he agreed to pay for the gold.

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SMITE celebrates Saturnalia with free stuff and sales

Ah, Saturnalia: the Roman winter festival drilled into the heads of Latin students everywhere. It’s like Christmas, only with waaaay more gambling and booze.

Hi-Rez MOBA SMITE is celebrating the revivified holiday with a number of sales and freebies beginning tomorrow, December 16th, and running through the week. Voice packs are on sale, double experience is on, and you can snag 40 gems for your first daily win. Finally, gods and skins are on sale by Pantheon according to the schedule below. This might not be exactly what the ancient Romans had in mind, but they’d have been too drunk to care.

Mayan Pantheon Sale – 4:01 AM EST December 16th to 4:00 AM EST December 17th
Egyptian Pantheon Sale – 4:01 AM EST December 17th to 4:00 AM EST December 18th
Roman Pantheon Sale – 4:01 AM EST December 18th to 4:00 AM EST December 19th
Norse Pantheon Sale – 4:01 AM EST December 19th to 4:00 AM EST December 20th
Chinese Pantheon Sale – 4:01 AM EST December 20th to 4:00 AM EST December 21st
Hindu Pantheon Sale – 4:01 AM EST December 21st to 4:00 AM EST December 22nd
Greek Pantheon Sale – 4:01 AM EST December 22nd to 4:00 AM EST December 23rd

Source: Official site. Thanks, Sorenthaz!

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4force Online is a ‘raid action adventure game’

You know how every once in a while, we all wonder why all the different elements of MMORPGs have been spun out into new genres except for pure raiding? Well, Korean studio 1GAMES is here to fill that gap, though it might not be everything you’ve ever wanted.

The game is called 4Force Online, and it’s a mobile-bound “raid action adventure game to hunt gigantic boss monsters in real-time with players from all over the world.”

4Force Online is a raid action game in which players in 4 camps (knight, troll, dwarf, and barbarian) that have different features and characters hunt gigantic monsters in the Hell Gate and demon dungeon. Various boss-level monsters appear depending on the level of difficulty, and players can meet 50 kinds of mythical monsters including wyvern, an ancient dinosaur, as well as gargoyle, golem, and Cyclopes. Each boss raid has more powerful and terrifying gigantic monsters as the level increases, and players can hunt them together through a party or on their own by opening a secret room.

PvP and a form of character development are included. We’ve included the trailer and gameplay video below.

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Guild Wars 2’s soundtrack to release on vinyl LP [Updated]

Back in our holiday gifts guide for the MMO hipster, I made a joke about demanding game soundtracks on vinyl. Little did I know back then that this was something about to become a reality for Guild Wars 2.

iam8bit and ArenaNet, publisher and developer of the acclaimed Guild Wars® franchise, have teamed up to release a special Collector’s Edition 2xLP Vinyl featuring the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ soundtrack on 180-gram colored vinyl. The vinyl release offers fans a new way to experience the evocative, orchestral score composed by Maclaine Diemer and Lena Chappelle for Heart of Thorns, the first expansion for the fan favorite, best-selling MMO Guild Wars 2®. With audio mastered specifically for vinyl by Telegraph Mastering Studio, listeners can revisit their quest to battle the vicious Elder Dragon Mordremoth as the orchestra takes them through the perilous Maguuma jungle with the special release of this enchanting soundtrack.

Pre-orders for the LP have just begun. Buyers will get a digital version of the music as well, and those who sold off their record players in the ’90s can pick up the soundtrack on iTunes and Amazon Music “at a later date.”

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Guild Wars 2 e-sports team ragequits over design meta, technical issues

Here’s a bit of MMORPG e-sports drama for you: A major Guild Wars 2 e-sports team bailed from competition last night. Competing in the game’s ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League for a cut of $200,000 in prize cash, a member of team Zero Counterplay apparently abandoned play mid-match, handing the win to its opponents. Member aerodynamique explained his team’s motivations on Reddit, citing multiple problems with Guild Wars 2’s PvP design and technical problems with required anti-cheating software:

You know, I was gonna write an entire post that explained that we had one ragequit and one legitimate D/C due to ESL Wire, and then I realized; It does not matter, because, at this point in the game’s meta, it is just not worth dedicating more than thirty seconds to this game. Everybody can say we’re unprofessional or terrible at Guild Wars 2 all they want, but, the fact of the matter is that if one point getting capped at the start of the game makes us call a GG, and makes one person leave, while another simultaneously d/c’s due to ESL Wire (which already gives us 300+ ping), this game just isn’t worth spending time on.

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Elite: Dangerous’ Horizons goes live today

Elite: Dangerous’ Horizons – specifically, the 1.5 ships update – is set for launch today. Horizons is considered the next season for the game’s original version, which launched a year ago. That makes today’s launch, Planetary Landings, the first expansion of this second season. Got all that? Good.

Frontier’s devs are busily streaming in honor of the launch, and David Braben submitted himself to the whims of a Reddit AMA early this morning, confirming galaxy map bookmarks for 2.2, a community site revamp to better connect players seeking groups, Powerplay improvements, and more.

You can purchase the base game plus Horizons bundled for $59.99 US on the official site. Check out the launch trailer below.

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Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Biggest MMO Blunder of the Year

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our pick for biggest MMO blunder of the year.

Last year, we called developer hubris and obstinance the biggest blunder of the year, as we criticized game development and business model decisions in WildStar, Destiny, The Elder Scrolls Online, and ArcheAge. This isn’t an award we particularly enjoy giving, but I think it’s a fitting complement to praising trends and big stories: We must consider the mistakes of the year so we don’t make them again.

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively OP staff pick for biggest MMO blunder of 2015 is…

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