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 Daily Grind: Should MMO customer service repair player mistakes?

In the comments of our article discussing Daybreak’s move to reduce gamemaster support for player “gameplay errors,” I was surprised to see a few of our readers shrug it off, arguing that gamemasters shouldn’t have been bothered with restoring accidentally deleted items or characters in the first place. “It’s not unreasonable for [Daybreak] to expect their players to make smart decisions and deal,” said one player. “This isn’t that big a deal,” wrote another. “Just take responsibility for playing the game and most mistakes can be avoided.” A third opined, “Heaven forbid that players should take responsibility for their own mistakes!”

In my mind, video games are supposed to be fun, not a punitive life lesson in horrific accidental misclicks, so smoothing over genuine mistakes is exactly what I’d think gamemasters should be doing — and it’s what they do in lots of other MMOs. What do you think? Should MMO customer service and gamemasters be in the business of fixing player mistakes and keeping everyone happy?

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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Thank you from the Massively Overpowered team

Last night, 12 hours into an insane streamathon, our 28-day Kickstarter to fund Massively Overpowered’s reroll drew to a close with some of our very dearest friends and supporters and readers joining in for the party. It seems that 1665 of you really kinda like us, MMOs, or both; you smashed through our Kickstarter goal and our core stretch goal, funding us to 152% at $75,938. There are insufficient words to express our gratitude. In most of the successful Kickstarters we cover, backers are more or less preordering a game — they’re getting a thing for themselves. But our backers were donating to a dream and a legacy. We know how very much more we were asking than the typical crowdfund, and we won’t forget who poured the foundation of this house.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s gratifying to work hard when we know you’ve got our backs.

-Team MOP

P.S. Hugegantic is a perfectly cromulent word.

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PAX East 2015: MOP’s Eliot Lefebvre will guest on MMO community panel

January’s Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go? panel did so well at PAX South that the organizers have decided to go for an encore at PAX East this weekend, and Massively Overpowered will be part of it once again.

Our own Senior Reporter Eliot Lefebvre (aka the Final Fantasy Storyboard Guy) will serve on the panel, which also includes ZergID’s Alex Albrecht, Camelot Unchained’s Jenesee Grey, The Repopulation’s Joshua Halls, and MMORPG.com’s Bill Murphy. Here’s the topic up for debate:

In early MMORPGs, interacting with other community members in places like taverns and main cities was a necessity for advancement and survival. Today, interacting with random players has become a rare event instead of the tools for survival. Is this what we all wanted to happen?

If you’re at PAX, you can join them on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST in the Arachnid Theater. The rest of us will just have to wait for the debrief!

[Source: PAX East schedule]

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Betawatch: March 6, 2015

After a brief delay, Camelot Unchained’s alpha went live this week; City State Entertainment even threw in a builder tool to sweeten the pot. What else is new in the land of MMO testing?

Our complete list of MMOs in testing is below.

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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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