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

Elder Scrolls Online brings back the ‘Midyear Mayhem’ PvP event next week

ZeniMax is gearing up for a big PvP showdown in The Elder Scrolls Online next week with what it’s dubbed the Midyear Mayhem PvP Event. As it was last year, the idea to push players into the ongoing Cyrodiil battlefield from July 26th to August 6th with the promise of extra experience and sweet, sweet loot.

“To ensure you’re able to take the field, we are opening up two additional 7-day CP Alliance War campaigns during the event, and have additional ones ready to go if needed,” says ZeniMax. Players who tackle all of the seven event achieves will be picking up a laurel wreath headpiece, and everyone will see special “boon boxes” dropped and stuffed full with siege items, housing items, motif pages, consumables, reagents, and even Akaviri-themed goodies. Plus, legendary-quality rings and necklaces are available for purchase by PvP players too.

Incentive enough for you to go out and smash other players in the capital? Or are you just waiting patiently for Wolfhunter?

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen in small claims court, Fractured nearing the finish line (July 21, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Fractured ramped up its Kickstarter dev blogs as it nears the finish line of its crowdfunding effort, which ends in just four days. As I type this, it’s less than $10,000 away and I think it’s looking good. The studio posting up the details of its Star Wars Galaxies-esque player city system probably helped.

Meanwhile, Albion Online teased its upcoming crafting changes and recapped its largest battle ever, Elite Dangerous saw a teensy patch, Shroud of the Avatar prepped the upcoming patch, we took a look at Legends of Aria’s closed beta, and Star Citizen had a dose of drama as a backer took CIG to court over its refund policy and effectively lost, having been sidelined to arbitration. It capped off the week with a fresh concept ship sale, too.

Finally, Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs did update backers last night on the current state of the build, as the game’s beta was delayed an additional few weeks over its crash rate. “Testing overall has been great,” he says. And yes, the crash rate is still coming down – higher than he says he’s seen in some live games, but not good enough for him.

Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Ultima Online plans rentable storage vaults for F2P players, plus new castle and keep designs

With the game’s 100th patch in the rear-view mirror, Ultima Online’s developers are already hard at work on the 101st patch due out in September, according to Broadsword’s latest newsletter. Notably, Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong says that the planned housing refresh is indeed coming that month, with new castle and keep designs on the way, subject to a player contest to decide which ones make the final cut.

Broadsword is also still working on “storage solutions” in the wake of the game’s free-to-play conversation last spring; players will be able to effectively rent 125-slot vaults for their account, shared across all characters, at a price roughly equal to $3 per month. If you don’t pay up, you lose the storage space – oh, and everything in it. It might be easier to just pay the $10-$13 sub and get a house, yeah?

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Atlas Reactor launches new Oblivion map just in time for a double-experience weekend

Trion’s big games always get so much attention that I always forget about Atlas Reactor, but here it comes this weekend with a mighty patch and event for loyal players. In fact, it’s getting an all-new map called Oblivion.

“Oblivion awaits in Atlas Reactor, prepare to embrace the darkness in a Necrolancer inspired map for PVP, VS Bots, and Custom Game modes. Oblivion comes out July 20th and is an open arena that features hidden camouflage and cover along the edges. Dominate the battlefield and seize control of the centrally located healing powerups to survive in this tactical deathmatch.”

Players checking out the new map this weekend will be treated to double expies; Trion says there are only five chapters left in the season for those of you working on ranked awards, so now is the time.

 

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Dauntless previews the flaming exotics arriving with The Coming Storm expansion

Dauntless turned heads earlier this week by announcing two things: It’s racked up 2M players in free-to-play open beta, and it’s got a big patch coming up in August, complete with a hub makeover, new content, and new gear. Among that gear are two new flaming exotics, which Phoenix Labs has previewed in a new dev blog. One is a fiery morningstar that turns the floor into lava, and the other…

“The first of our two new Charrogg exotics is the Skullforge. With a heavy metal structure and dynamic flame effects, this piece will add flare to any Slayer’s setup. Battle is where this helm really shines, though. When you land your first hit, you’ll see flames start to flicker from the helm’s metal crown. Land a few heavy blows in a row, and you’ll light up hotter than an aether-fueled bonfire.”

Look, if somebody comes at me with a hat that is literally on fire, I am backing away slowly and then very, very quickly.

The game’s most recent version fixes Godhand bugs, duplicate gear, and sword and pike issues.

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Rend discusses sweeping content changes, wipes alpha servers ahead of new testing surge today

Keep an eye on your inboxes today if you’re hoping to get into Rend’s alpha test: Frostkeep announced this week that it’s added two new servers and “thousands” of new testers today. The downside? The existing four servers will be wiped, so all testers are effectively starting over.

In addition to the character redesign and talent rebalance features in progress, Frostkeep says it’s also targeting “sweeping changes to the game’s harvesting and crafting logistics and overall game cycle timing” plus updates to the Yggdrasil biome, taming, metaprogression system, “increasing early to mid-game competitiveness to reduce the snowball effect of one faction getting ahead. The overall goal is to make a cycle of Rend last longer and play like less of a frantic race to the finish line.” You’re not going to be able to port a truckton of mats across the map like it’s nothing anymore, either.

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Stardew Valley is finally really truly launching PC multiplayer on August 1st

Stretch your mind back over two years ago, when the much-loved Stardew Valley first confirmed it was getting a multiplayer version, thereby justifying our burning desire to write about it on Massively OP. Original creator Eric Barone and the studio he brought on to handle multiplayer, Chucklefish Games, kept a tiny trickle of hope coming over the last two years of seeming delays, but multiplayer went into beta testing this past spring, and now we have a real release date: August 1st. Yes, soon! That’s for PC, Mac, and Linux; the YouTube blurb says Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch are still underway.

As previously reported, the patch allows four players at a time, so three including the host player; you can marry other players, divorce them, chat, share farms, and share money, but only the host can pause the game (and it pauses play for everyone), and a few things are separate, like inventories and relationships. And everybody gets a cabin.

“In deciding what to share vs keep separate, our main goal was to encourage cooperation and teamwork,” the devs wrote on Steam when the beta was in testing. “Since the farm and your money pot are your main way of progressing through the game, they have to be shared in order to facilitate cooperation. Without this, there would be no need for players to even interact!”

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Fractured’s player city system is the evolution of Star Wars Galaxies

MMORPG sandbox Fractured has five days to secure another 16K to make its $116K Kickstarter goal – and it just broke the $100K barrier as I’m typing this sentence. Dynamight Studios has a big housing and town update out today that ought to give players a reason to push it over the edge.

“In Fractured, having a base of operation is something really desirable for all players,” says the studio. “As with all our features, we don’t want to exclude any part of our userbase from enjoying the game, and that’s why we’re giving everyone plenty of options on how to live their social life. In the system we’re building, lone wolves can claim their own lot of land outside of a town, where they can build a home, basic crafting stations, cultivations and livestock. More social players can instead band together and start a settlement, or join an existing one. The most ambitious players can become the elected leaders of a free town through politics, or autonomously rule one connected (and dedicated to) their guild.”

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Star Citizen is working on the AI patrols to make griefing much harder, reveals medical concept ship sale

On this week’s episode of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse, Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts recap “emergent gameplay” events recorded by the community, including a humorous take on the Cry Astro protest we wrote about last week.

“The mission team has been working to implement FPS AI into persistent universe locations, and they’ve recently started testing AI patrols around Cryo Station,” Roberts says, hinting an end to the protest fun may eventually be coming when the NPC lawmen show up even if players can’t break the lines themselves. “This is the first step to bringing a more robust law system to the EU, which will eventually make it harder for players to throw their weight around like they’re doing at Cry Astro right now.

Meanwhile, CIG has revealed the RSI Apollo, a medical concept ship that will run $225 to $270 depending on variants chosen; there are packs up to $1550 too. That’s in real dollars.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite non-awful gaming subreddit?

I want to flip the tables on the whole toxicity/Reddit thing a bit. Earlier this week, we talked about some of the problems Reddit has. But not every gaming subreddit – or every subreddit, for that matter – is a cesspit of drama. I can never write off the whole platform because I’ve had really enjoyable experiences on the subs for some of my other hobbies, for single-player games, and even for niche groups for MMOs.

For example, have you ever checked out /r/GuildWarsDyeJob/? You guys, it’s basically a fashion show in there. It reminds me of the old Guru forums where people would post up their awesome outfit/dye combos for classic Guild Wars, only this one’s got much more Guild Wars 2. People are super creative, and the commentary is constructive too.

What’s your favorite non-awful gaming subreddit? Which one truly deserves an epic shout-out?

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Massively Overthinking: What important lessons are MMORPGs failing to impart?

MOP reader and Patron Brett has a burning question about the lessons we’re learning (and not learning) from playing MMORPGs.

“In his book Theory of Fun, Raph Koster suggests that games are really just systems of learning things in a way that we enjoy with fewer consequences. In his words, ‘That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.’ If that’s true, then modern MMORPGs and their narratives would seem to be a pretty mixed bag of lessons – individual power can be accumulated like wealth; evil can be conquered through solo and group acts of courage; violence is a feasible solution to almost every problem; your race, nation or profession defines a lot about who you are; and accessorizing with the most expensive bag is possibly the most crucial decision to make before leaving home.

“So with so much opportunity at the moment for our real-world societies and communities to be better, I’d like to know what you think is the most important lesson or lessons that MMORPGs could be teaching us, but currently don’t? How could these games leave us wiser or more richer people for the experience?”

I’ve posed Brett’s questions to the team for the resurgence of Massively Overthinking this week.

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PUBG pushes out custom match patch, apologizes for insensitive cash-shop items

PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s update 18 is live on PC servers today after a brief stint on the PTS. As we previously reported, the update adds new weapons, a new truck, and the new custom match creation mode, which allows players to combine their selected game mode with other presets, like weather, spawn types, and maps. And yes, that includes the zombie mode that for some reason everyone wants in spite of the fact that every new zombie game is instantly mocked. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Meanwhile, PUBG Corp and Bluehole have apologized for upsetting Korean fans with the addition of an offensive Japanese military symbol on a pilot’s mask and the inclusion of an AI bot named Unit 731, presumably after the Japanese army division known for chemical and biological experimentation on Korean, Chinese, and Russian captives during WWII. There’s your history lesson for the day.

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Netease calls PUBG Corp’s copyright lawsuit ‘shameless’, Riot and Tencent win non-compete lawsuit against alleged cloner

Remember back in April, when Korea-based PUBG Corp. accused China-based Netease of ripping off PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with its battle royale titles Knives Out (which is making bank) and Rules of Survival, and subsequently lodged a lawsuit against it in the US courts? Then remember when Netease threatened to sue everybody who cloned it and PUBG dropped its other lawsuit against Epic Games?

Netease has responded to PUBG Corp.’s complaint against it with a motion to dismiss, predictably arguing that no company is entitled to ownership of an entire genre like battle royale and that the copyright act protects only original expression; specifically, it claims PUBC Corp. cannot legally copyright things like game lobbies and health bars.

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