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

Notorious e-sports team boss Martin Shkreli arrested for securities fraud

Martin Shkreli, chairman of League of Legends e-sports team Imagine and CEO of real-life company Turing Pharmaceuticals, was arrested in New York today. He stands accused of “engaging in a complicated shell game after a hedge fund he started lost millions” and making “secret payoffs and set[ting] up sham consulting arrangements,” among other charges, says Bloomberg.

Shkreli made headlines earlier this year when his company bought up the rights to a malaria and toxoplasmosis drug and then jacked up the price. That prompted angry gamers to ask Riot Games to step in and enforce its “Moral Turpitude” e-sports rule, which states that “a Team Member may not engage in any activity which is deemed by the LCS to be immoral, disgraceful, or contrary to conventional standards of proper ethical behavior.”

Well, if he hadn’t done that before, he may have now. Commence schadenfreude.

Source: Bloomberg via Polygon

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Funcom announces new Conan game

Funcom has just announced that it’s creating a new video game based on the Conan franchise.

Funcom is excited to announce that the company has entered into an agreement with Conan Properties, making it the preferred partner for all PC and console games based on the ‘Conan the Barbarian’ brand and the world of Hyboria. The two companies have already enjoyed a long and prosperous relationship, having successfully brought to market Funcom’s critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online game ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures‘ back in 2008. […] As Funcom communicated earlier this year, the company will be announcing three new games in 2016. The first of these games will be based on the ‘Conan the Barbarian’ brand and will be announced to the public in January next year.

That would be the existing MMORPG, Age of Conan, one of four in Funcom’s stable. In fact, Age of Conan’s community team rushed to reassure players that the MMO is not being left in the dust:

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Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Most Anticipated for 2016 and Beyond

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for most anticipated MMO for 2016 and beyond.

In 2013 and 2014, EverQuest Next and Landmark took home this award. In fact, it was a bit of an upset in 2013, as WildStar had won it several years running before that. This year, our future is filled with more well-funded indies than AAA-budget games, and choosing a most anticipated from that field proved extremely hard, one that we continued debating long after the votes were cast (and changed and cast again). Best expansion was close. This was even closer.

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 Most Anticipated MMO for 2016 and Beyond is…

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Grab a Star Trek Online T6 Valiant key from PWE and MOP [All gone!]

In honor of Star Trek Online’s New Dawn release this past autumn, PWE and Cryptic have granted Massively OP 50 keys for the popular T6 Valiant ship to distribute to our Trekkie readers. Oh, yeah, it’s sweet:

The Tier 6 Valiant Class Tactical Escort is based upon the highly successful Defiant Class design. Unlike the Defiant, which was designed specifically to combat the Borg, the Valiant Class was built with the Federation’s new enemies in mind. This starship features a Lieutenant Commander Tactical/Pilot specialist seat and its own unique costume. In addition it can use the Defiant, Gallant, Gallant Refit, Vigilant and Vigilant Refit costumes for free, and it can use the Sao Paulo costume if that starship is owned.

For this giveaway, we’re going to do something a bit different: We’ll be doling out keys in two separate batches of 25. So if Mo says we’re out, try back this afternoon when we’ll have refreshed for the afternoon crowd. Clicky the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to try to grab a key!

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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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