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

Greed Monger delays refunds again because of crypto market dips

There’s been another update in the long-running saga that is Greed Monger.

Greed Monger is easily the most infamous MMORPG Kickstarter failure to date, having raised over $100,000 back in 2012 to build what the developers said would be a “crafting-focused sandbox MMORPG.” By 2015, the project imploded as devs abandoned it over a lack of funding, generating scam accusations from angry backers. Subsequent attempts to revive the game failed, but earlier this year, the original founder, Jason Appleton, resurfaced and vowed to reimburse Kickstarter backers with his newfound cryptocurrency fortune. (Appleton has his own account of the past few years of Greed Monger drama, primarily blaming incompetent lead developers, trolls, and the press for the failure of the game.)

The problem was many Kickstarter backers claimed and claim they still haven’t received those refunds, and in May, Appleton railed at angry backers on Kickstarter, saying that he’d closed down application for refunds, that he’d run into technical hurdles trying to reimburse people, and that he was under no obligation to give these refunds. A few weeks later, he blamed refund delays on both PayPal’s byzantine processes and on the backers who hadn’t come up with a mass-reimbursement system or otherwise helped him.

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Discord has launched its own video game storefront into beta, and it kinda looks like a Steam-GOG mashup

We all rolled our eyes when Valve’s new Steam chat client borrowed heavily from Discord‘s proven best practices for chat, but most people didn’t seem particularly inclined to switch. Wonder if the same will hold true now that Discord is aping Steam’s core business?

Yep, this week Discord revealed its new mission to “bring the games to you” via Discord Nitro, which is basically a video game storefront built right into your chat. Its chief difference appears to be its marketing; Discord says it’ll be offering a “curated” approach, a “cozy neighborhood book shop vibe” when it comes to sales, with what sounds like a cross-platform launcher too. So maybe more like GOG than Steam, but with the Steam look. And it’s working on publishing specific indie titles with temporary exclusive launches too.

The company says the platform is currently in beta for some 50,000 Canadian participants. It promises that “Discord’s voice, text, and video chat will continue to be a primary focus for” the team.

Source: Discord blog

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Massively Overthinking: Should MMORPGs incentivize exploration – and how?

Our Daily Grind on exploration last week sparked an intriguing follow-up from MOP reader Miol.

“When asking about sightseeing and exploration in MMORPGs, you also mentioned the lack of rewarding incentives for exploring those worlds, or worse, a poor implementation of such features, as you pointed out by Guild Wars 2’s vistas. Many of Wander’s mechanics also come to mind for me. You and many commenters in that article stated that their exploration mostly happened by their own initiative!

“So what features would you all wish in an exploration-heavy MMO? Is Trove’s Geode with its non-combat spelunking on to something? Would exploring other players’ curation and display of art already be enough for you, a la Occupy White Walls? What would an MMO need to simulate a fun road trip? Would looking for that one place with those until-then-unmatched resource stats, be a definite must for you, as in Star Wars Galaxies? Or is open-world housing more of a priority, so you can find that perfect spot for your porch? Purely just survival features? Or maybe even, as Andrew once mentioned, a certain mechanic for dying, as in Project Gorgon?”

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Trove is back online after major economy exploit; Trion to offer compensation, ban perpetrators

Trion’s voxelbox Trove was down most of yesterday thanks to what screenshots clearly identified as a massive duping exploit that positively trashed the game’s economy overnight. Bonus, I got the fun task of explaining to my young kid why his favorite game was down (this is why we can’t have nice things, etc.).

At the crack of dawn today, Trion finally got the PC servers back online after what appears to be extensive clean-up of the game’s economy and the accounts participating in the exploit. In the current build of the game, Megaflux Tanks have been all but disabled on multiple fronts, and tradeable versions of lootboxes have been stalled too.

“We agree that this was a rotten and awful event, but unfortunately not something that we could have predicted or tested for,” Trion says. And no rollback is happening: “We appreciate [player] feedback on the concept of server rollbacks, but we will not be doing this for this issue.”

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The Daily Grind: Is it time to move on from PvP ‘factions’ in MMORPGs?

I’m think I’m over factions in MMOs. I get why RvR games need them, and I’ll grudgingly concede that the average player is far better off joining an arbitrary NPC faction for PvP than wading through the morass of player gangs and protection rackets that pass for guilds in some sandboxes. But for MMO themeparks where the PvP is minimal or walled off or without any impact on the world, I’m kind of sick of them.

That feeling’s come to a head the last few weeks thanks to World of Warcraft’s cheesy attempts to rile up the playerbase and make us shout down the “other side” like sports hooligans. One reader pointed out how these kinds of factions still functionally divide friends from playing together for no reason. Another called faction jabber “forced propaganda.” I wouldn’t be sorry to see factions go away in most MMOs. The whole thing feels so fake and exhausting.

Is it time to move on from PvP “factions” in MMORPGs? Am I missing some vital and necessary function for this type of design?

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Runewaker’s Guardians of Ember is getting a relaunch in the west thanks to Gameforge

It’s been a weird 2018 for Guardians of Ember. Back in February, Valve booted its publisher, Insel Games, off Steam, citing review manipulation in regard to another of its games, Wild Buster. Wild Buster was heavily affected, such that Insel transferred its publishing rights and rebooted it with a new name to get it back on the platform this past spring.

So what happened to the MMOARPG Guardians of Ember, the Runewaker game that was actually pretty decent at what it did? It kept on running through the studio’s own website and the Humble Store, but now, it’s upping its profile with a move to European mega-publisher Gameforge.

“Gameforge — the leading western publisher of popular Asian free-to-play multiplayer online games like SoulWorker, Elsword and NosTale — today announced that it has acquired the publishing rights to Guardians of Ember, the popular Hack’n’Slash MMORPG from Taiwanese developer Runewaker — creators of Runes of Magic and Dragon’s Prophet. […] Guardians of Ember will officially re-launch later this year in North America and throughout Europe through Gameforge. Currently, the game is being operated by Insel Games in the west; Information regarding how existing Guardians of Ember players will migrate their accounts and game data will be shared soon.”

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Endless Trials seeks $66K on Kickstarter to build a semi-hardcore endgame PvE MMO that omits grind

Here’s a new one for us, and if you like it, you can throw money at it right now: It’s called Endless Trials, and it is gunning for some of the more tedious and repetitive tropes of MMORPGs. With graphics that look more like FML than WoW, Endless TrialsET – bills itself as “an MMO without the boring parts,” which to the three-man Danish dev team means a focus on endgame instead of “tedious leveling and grinding.”

“We all love a good challenge, something fun, something that pushes us and affords us a sense of accomplishment. The leveling and grinding part of the game, however, that is where boredom can creep in. With that in mind, we have set out to create a new, semi-hardcore MMO that focuses on endgame content. We are calling it Endless Trials, and it is our attempt at making raiding great again! Each new character will follow a brief introduction quest, and when we say ‘brief’ we mean exactly that: it will take just an hour to finish. From there, you get some basic gear and get in on the real action, battling dungeons with your friends, completing daily quests for rep and rewards, farming for crafting materials, and hanging around the space station with other players. This is a game in which leveling plays a minimal role. The key here is excitement. We want Endless Trials to feel fresh every time you play, not like a job that you are doing half the time just to get to the real fun!”

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Trove has been down since the crack of dawn thanks to an economy-breaking dupe exploit

Bad stuff is happening in Trove. Or was happening. Right now, nothing’s happening at all because the servers came down early this morning, and the game probably won’t be back up for PC players until late this afternoon. It’s apparently because of a bug/exploit following Tuesday’s update that was wrecking the economy.

“Yes, we will be compensating players for this downtime,” Trion tweeted. “However, all focus is on getting the economy cleaned up, so the details will be worked out after it has been completed.”

Trion hasn’t definitively posted what exactly the bug was, but as MOP tipster Tanek pointed out, players have some pretty good guesses: It looks as if was some sort of extreme duping related issue that saw miscreants sharing the wealth via community chests, which brought the player market to a screeching halt as the value of everything went bonkers with bajillions of currency flooding the game world. Players were anticipating a rollback too, but perhaps the extended downtime will be enough to remove the ill-gotten currencies without disrupting honest players further.

Source: Official site. With thanks to Tanek!

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PUBG developers embark on three-month ‘FIX PUBG’ campaign in which they are doing the fixing

Make no mistake: PUBG Corp. and Bluehole really do understand the flaws in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and the studios are focusing on fixing them. That’s the takeaway from FIX PUBG, a splashy new campaign and landing page that lays out the battle plan for players. And I do mean a battle plan.

“Our dev team is gearing up for battle,” the devs write. “Our mission: Destroy bugs, deliver long-needed quality-of-life features, and take PUBG to the next level by shipping fundamental performance improvements. Throughout this campaign we’ll share specifics about what we’re working on and the expected time it’ll take to address the issues.”

Apparently, this focused effort is expected to last around three months, during which the teams are “dedicating the vast majority of [their] resources to addressing [player] issues with the game and implementing [players’] suggested improvements.” Everything from client performance and server performance to patching up cheats and fixing matchmaking once and for all is on the task list, drilled down to specific goals into October.

Source: Fix PUBG. Cheers, Kinya!

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Blizzard teases ‘multiple Diablo projects in the works,’ with reveals ‘later this year’

It’s not exactly a secret that Blizzard has been working on something Diablo-related for a while as we’ve been tracking the company as it posts job openings for new Diablo games and fended off rumors about D3 mobile and Switch ports. That D2 remaster is still floating in my memory too. But confirmation is good, and we’ve got some of that on tap.

“We’d also like to let you know that the forges here at Blizzard are burning hot, and we have multiple Diablo projects in the works,” Blizzard Community Manager Brandy Camel teased in a brief video the studio posted today on Twitter. “Some of them are going to take longer than others, but we may have some things to show you later this year.”

So, BlizzCon is finally going to bring the Diablo love! Got any speculation?

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Ashes of Creation lays out its phased alpha roadmap, plans more hires this month

Ashes of Creation’s latest newsletter has a few bits of interest for those watching the game from afar. For starters, Intrepid says it’s now “officially passed 100 developers on the project” and plans to announce an addition 21 new hires in August.

And what are they working on? Alpha, of course. The studio says it counts “over 8500” folks testing alpha one; that’ll close once it hits 10,000. Moreover, the rest of alpha is being sorted out into different phases.

“Phase One of Alpha One, which will be accessible next month, will be focusing on the action side of combat, and will include modes of; Open World Battlegrounds, Castle Sieges and City Defense Horde Mode. This phase is designed to test the mechanics of our action side of combat, as well as, our castle siege systems, and adaptive AI mechanics in the Horde mode.”

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Interviewing the Bless team on the Assassin, merges, PvP, and concurrency as the patch goes live today

Bless Online is rolling out a hefty content update today as promised, including the Siege of Castra PvP battleground, the faction-based open-world Capital War, and of course, the sneaky Assassin class. We had a chance to speak with Neowiz – specifically, Lead Game Designer Junyoung Hwang, Combat Designer Seongil Ma, and Chief Creative Officer Jangchoel Rhee – about both the update and ongoing concerns in the game. Read on!

Massively OP: First, regarding the Assassin: I’ve yet to see a rogue class in an MMO that wasn’t overpowered in some way in PvP, and that goes double for a class newly added to the game – studios just can’t seem to stop themselves from making the new toon a bit too appealing. How is Neowiz working to avoid all that, while still making the class something people want to roll up as a new toon?

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Revelation Online has officially launched on Steam with free welcome packs

Happy Steam launch, Revelation Online! Yep, as promised, My.com has ported the free-to-play game to Valve’s popular platform all official-like as of today. And it’s not even using the early access tag.

“Publisher My.com is proud to make its breathtaking massive multiplayer online role-playing game Revelation Online available on the Steam marketplace for new players to finally experience the award-winning title. The game hits Steam in full force, with seven classes and nine expansions worth of added game modes, rewards, dungeons and housing, providing a massive MMO experience sure to both challenge and enthrall players as they explore the varied and far-reaching lands of Nuanor.”

Worth noting, newbies are going to be picking up freebie welcome packs just for jumping in. Additional paid starter packs running up to $64.99 are also available.

The game originally soft-launched in the west in 2017, with plenty of content along the way – including housing. This past May, My.com merged its Western and Russian dev teams too.

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