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

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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The Daily Grind: Are you an MMO ‘harbinger of failure’?

Earlier this year, blog Kill Ten Rats wrote about “Harbingers of Failure,” a term coined by a quad of marketing researchers to describe people who “systematically purchase new products that” bomb, over and over.

“Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail – the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed.”

I have joked about being bad luck myself when four MMOs I really liked shut down in the span of a single year. Coincidence, sure, but frustrating. And I have a guildie who is amazingly good at picking the worst class, every time. (He might be doing it on purpose, though!) So let’s talk about the concept as it pertains to our genre. Are you a harbinger of failure when it comes to MMOs or MMO content? Are there particular groups that MMOs appeal to that can signal the doom of a game months or years before it launches?

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The Ghost in the Shell online shooter is live now on Steam

Say this one ten times fast: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online is live today on Steam’s early access platform. The EA packs run from $4.99 to $29.99, though there’s a steep price cut for the middle tiers right now.

Nexon and Neople consider this phase a beta and have asked for feedback; they’ve also addressed why such an iconic IP has been turned into an online shooter:

With such a wealth of great content covered in Stand Alone Complex, picking a genre was no easy feat. However, while watching the series we were particularly excited by Episode 24 of Season One, in which the wrongfully accused team at Section 9 are tested to their limits, forced to take on an opposing Special Ops team in order to clear their names. This episode really made us imagine what it would be like to fight together as a perfectly synchronized team like Section 9, which helped us decide to bring that fantasy to life in a tactical team based shooter.

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Shroud of the Avatar player band records musical performance

Do you enjoy blundering around in your online worlds, encased in darkness with no torch? Good news for you: The latest Shroud of the Avatar newsletter introduces a former palace overrun by kobolds, Holt Fortress, and it’s dark. I mean it. I had to boost the lighting on this picture just to see it!

Portalarium also included a video montage of the game’s scenery from a player named Myrcello and a video of a seven-player musical troupe performing onstage — “the performers included: Margaritte (lute), Leostorm (drum), Arkah EMPstrike (harp), Minerva (piano), Kazyn PhoenixFyre, Jack Knyfe and Kal Tasker (flute)). Check ’em out below.

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Guild Wars 2 plans post-Heart of Thorns balance changes

On the Guild Wars 2 official forums today, ArenaNet’s Gaile Gray has outlined a number of balance changes heading to the game, once again shifting the meta and generating salt from the usual suspects.

[O]ur strategy for adjusting the meta-game in Guild Wars 2 after the release of Heart of Thorns focuses on releasing balance updates on a set cycle – each and every quarter. We began this cadence with the release of HoT in October which undoubtedly changed the way that the game is played across all game modes. In the weeks following the launch of HoT we made a number of tweaks to elite specializations as we began to notice trends that did not align with our design goals. Today we stand about a month and a half since Heart of Thorns was released, and once again we feel it is necessary to make some adjustments for the overall health of the game. This week we will be making a few changes to address some emergent gameplay that has cropped up across multiple game modes.

In particular, expect tweaks (read: nerfs) to Runes of Durability, Mesmers’ Echo of Memory, Meditation interaction in Temple of the Silent Storm, and Revenant skills including Demonic Defiance, Radiant Revival, and Coalescence of Ruin.

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

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best MMO trend of 2015.

Last year, we chose sandbox and social gameplay as the awardee in this category. This year, all trends were back on the table. 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 Trend of 2015 is…

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO studio maintains the best community presence?

Last week, when the Massively staff was debating internally which MMO company deserved our best MMO studio of 2015 award, I argued that overseas studios like Square-Enix have a much easier time impressing playerbases here in the West than home-grown studios. Square in particular has the benefit of being literally far away, delaying update info for the English-speaking audience, skimping on press releases, and occasionally sending a much-beloved Naoki Yoshida out onstage to make people fall in love with Final Fantasy again (it works, too). But Blizzard, ArenaNet, Daybreak, Trion? They’re expected to man a dozen different forms of forums and social media, show up on Twitch, and coddle Reddit day in and day out, and so even their minor screw-ups are utterly public.

I’m not saying Square has never screwed up (hi, Final Fantasy XIV 2010) or that it doesn’t deserve the award (it does, particularly for its classy handling of Final Fantasy XI’s maintenance mode), but there are a lot of other great studios out there that work their communities too. So which MMO studio maintains the best community presence?

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MMO Week in Review: Star Citizen’s ambitions (December 13, 2015)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Star Citizen dazzled gamers this weekend with its new alpha 2.0 version. It also crossed the $100,000,000 crowdfunding threshold, setting off a fresh wave of awe and drama. And don’t forget Trion’s MMOARPG Devilian, which looks to be the last major MMO launch of the year.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Most Likely to Flop

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our most likely to flop in 2016 and beyond award.

Last year, Star Citizen took home this dishonor, leading to much discord in the comments. Star Citizen has yet to actually fully launch let alone flop, though, which is why we tack on the “and beyond.” We also note that “flop” can mean lots of things, from outright sunset to financial ruin to simply not living up to insane hype. And we don’t want anything to flop!

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 Likely to Flop in 2016 and Beyond is…

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