Brianna 'Bree' Royce


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

Nexon’s LawBreakers will be a Steam exclusive, won’t be free-to-play

CliffyB’s Nexon-backed shooter LawBreakers isn’t breaking the law, but it might be breaking hearts over those medial capitals, am I right? At GDC this week, Boss Key Productions revealed that the OFPS will be a Steam exclusive aimed at PC… for now.

The game won’t be free-to-play, either, which MMO players will note is unusual for a Nexon-backed game over here and runs contrary to original launch plans. It’ll be a “digital premium title.” The price is still unknown, but Boss Key vows it “will not have the $60 price point of a traditional box product.” The FAQ reads,

“After careful consideration of how the game has been progressing, we realized free-to-play wasn’t the right fit for what we’re building. Lawbreakers is a competitive game at heart and that means balance is a big priority. Using a digital premium model helps ensure an even playing field by giving fans access to every available role without barriers.”

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Camelot Unchained’s new patcher, Friday Night Fight Nights, and new pics

Camelot Unchained’s weekly update has arrived, and the team is still crunching away. Mark Jacobs delivers news on several ongoing projects:

  • An early alpha version of CU’s new patcher is ready, built partly by backers. It “already blows away what we had created previously,” says Jacobs.
  • Testing of Friday Night Fight Nights has begun! (It began at 11 p.m. EDT last night, in fact.)
  • There’s the usual list of user story card requests and reports from backers and devs, many partly or fully addressed.
  • The devs drew attention to the CUBE building system and the ongoing player gallery there. Move over, Landmark!
  • And CSE has put together a boardgame (in the devs’ spare time, not with company assets) that it hopes to invite backers to play in the near future.

There’s also a ton of new concept art and some screenshots, which we’ve collected right here for your perusal.


Das Tal’s ‘March Mayhem’ alpha event kicks off today

Das Tal has implemented a big patch just in time for its long-planned March Mayhem test event.

The patch focuses on resource distribution intended to “add a completely new layer of diplomacy and trade to the game” as well as on client performance, Linux and Mac patchers, and updated visuals for multiple game environments. “The game world is still harsh but also a bit less dreary and monotonous,” says Fairytale Distillery. “In some rare cases you might even find a cactus in full bloom or some rare ice flowers in the mountains.”

The studio wrote earlier this week that it had invited 300 new testers for this event.

MOP’s own MJ Guthrie will be streaming from the alpha event tomorrow at noon (Saturday, March 19th, at 12 p.m. EDT) and handing out keys for the test, so stay tuned!


Guild Wars 2 team streams ‘Building Online Spaces for a Massive Community’ panel from SXSW

If you’re not at GDC or SXSW this week, then you might be feeling a bit left out of the video game industry hoopla, but worry not: ArenaNet is bringing a slice of the events back home to you. Beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT today, the studio will be streaming its own panel from SXSW in lieu of its regular Friday Guild Wars 2 show.

“Host and moderator Rubi Bayer will be joined by developer guests Associate Game Director Steven Waller, Head of Narrative Leah Hoyer, and Environment Design Specialist Josh Foreman for the panel ‘It’s Your World: Building Online Spaces for a Massive Community.'”

We’ve embedded it below for anyone who wants to watch live; ANet says it’ll rebroadcast at 6 p.m. EDT for anyone who misses it.

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Landmark’s next big update arrives Monday, wipes claims and characters

Daybreak has been amping up communication about Landmark this past week following the news that it’s plotting a spring launch for the sandvox MMO in lieu of completing EverQuest Next’s development, and its next update is on the way:

“We are still in the process of internal testing, but if all goes well, we plan to roll out the big update for next Monday, March 21 at 10am pacific time. There will likely be 24-48 hours down time due to the extensive changes. If we find some issues during testing that mean we need to push this date, we’ll let you know!”

The studio promises a stream during the downtime and reminds players that characters, claims, and guild names will indeed be wiped.

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Pantheon hopes to ‘bring back the magic’ of classic MMOs ‘without the tedium’

Gamers Nexus has a timely video interview with Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid that might allay the fears of those watching the development of his old-school MMO.

“The main thing we want to bring back is a social game, a cooperative game, where players need each other, […] have time to make real friendships, [and] can really call the game a home,” McQuaid tells the interviewer, acknowledging the challenge of mixing newer gamers who are interested in co-op PvE play (but unaccustomed to it) and older gamers who miss old-school play but lack time for excesses.

“A lot of the needless repetition, too much grinding, sitting there for hours working on your factions… and we’re trying to keep the sessions shorter,” he explains. “We’re targeting around a two-hour session so that a person can still log on with his friends, play a couple of hours, and have a sense of accomplishment. […] And it doesn’t have to be a six-, eight-, ten-hour crazy session because it’s just not really compatible with people’s lives anymore. […] If we can bring back that magic without the tedium or the excessive time or the excessive grind, I think that’s the way to go.”

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Massively Overthinking: The future of Daybreak

This week’s Massively Overthinking topic revolves around the EverQuest Next cancellation, of course. MOP Patron Roger sent us 11 (!) questions to pick from. I’m going to break it down to just these core questions:

  • Do you believe the “not fun” excuse?
  • Could Dave Georgeson or John Smedley have prevented this?
  • Are EverQuest and EverQuest II “safe”?
  • Will Daybreak ever make another MMORPG?
  • And what’s the future of the EverQuest franchise?

I posed them all to the Massively OP writers to ponder this week.

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SWTOR announces KOTFE Chapter 12: Visions in the Dark, due April 7

BioWare has just announced the next story chapter for Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion: Visions in the Dark.

“In Visions in the Dark, releasing April 7, players will venture deep into the savage wilderness of the planet Odessen to face the immortal Emperor Valkorion for the first time since becoming the Outlander. As part of the confrontation, you will uncover dangerous secrets about your destiny that bind you to your dark enemy. For those that can master the challenge, there is a great reward waiting – a powerful new weapon inspired by some of the greatest Force™ users in the galaxy. Meanwhile, your Alliance will risk everything in a life-and-death mission to strike at the very heart of the Eternal Empire – this intense battle offers the chance to shatter Arcann’s forces forever.

Subscribers of Star Wars: The Old Republic can play the Knights of the Fallen Empire story and unravel the truth of their destiny in Visions in the Dark for free during their subscription period. Players subscribed by April 1 will receive added firepower with the bold new HK-55-inspired Weapon Set that includes in-game items such as HK-55’s Sniper Rifle, Blaster Pistol and Vibrosword.”

Visions in the Dark launches April 7th, 2016. Check out the trailer!

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Crowfall preps ‘Siege Perilous’ castle siege testing for ‘later this month’

ArtCraft is previewing its next big pre-alpha rollout for Crowfall, codenamed Siege Perilous: the “first phase of testing for some of the initial features that will eventually become [the game’s] castle siege system.”

Design Lead Thomas Blair writes that the testing phase will take place on a modified map that leaps past the prep stage of battles straight to castle sieging itself. One faction defends the Tree of Life inside the keep, while the other defends its grove outside the keep. Victory comes through destroying the enemy tree(s) or outlasting the timer.

Siege weapons, in the form of catapults that function as Crowfall’s “first working mounts,” will be seen in action during the test; players will use them to bust through the walls and towers of castles.

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Tree of Savior puts its early access to player vote

The Tree of Savior devs are reworking their plans for early access based on player “feedback.”

IMCGAMES says that its three-month exclusive access plan was conceived from concern over stability once the international audience stampedes the game’s doors; it hoped to avoid high concentrations of players, queues, and bots and wanted to use the early access to gauge demand.

“However, we realized that we had missed some critical points after seeing the feedback on yesterday’s announcement. The largest point that we missed was that the 3-month gap may cause a divide in the gaming community. We had made options to access the game at lower prices after 1 or 2 months in order to lessen such a divide but realized that it wasn’t enough. The feedback gave us a chance to reconsider the initial plan of having 3 months of exclusive access as it proved to be too long for many players.”

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Blade & Soul’s Silverfrost Mountains expansion includes eight dungeons

NCsoft has just announced more content coming to Blade & Soul this spring in the form of what it’s calling the Silverfrost Mountains expansion.

“The Silverfrost Mountains expansion for Blade & Soul is coming soon, and unlocks an entirely new continent full of new zones, new quests, and new challenging endgame content—while also increasing the character level cap to 50, and Hongmoon Level to 10. It’s also the biggest leap forward in the ongoing story, bringing players one step closer to unraveling the engaging world narrative, and revenge for their school and master.”

The company says to expect a new capital city, Zaiwei, as well as eight new dungeons, “new and vast 24-member open world instances,” a new world pvP zone, and upgrades to clan crafting too.


Albion Online dev vlog on dungeons, armor, and the swamp biome

Albion Online’s devs have broadcast a brand-new develop vlog shot inside their new studio, appropriately bedecked with faux medieval stone and stained glass.

Game Director Robin Henkys, Creative Director Jörg Friedrich and Game Designer Michael Schwahn discuss heretic dungeons, PC graphics improvements, a new boss, the armor system rework, crafter disadvantages, new spells, and the swamp biome. There’s even a little plug for the game’s novel.

The 21-minute talk is embedded below.

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Enter to win a Neverwinter PC howler mount from PWE and Massively OP

Just in time for this week’s Neverwinter: The Maze Engine release on PC, PWE has granted Massively OP 40 mount codes to give away to our readers!

The codes are for a rare blue Howler mount that boosts movement speed by 80% and includes three insignia slots (crescent, barbed, and enlightened). It’s a bind-on-pickup mount that you can redeem only one per account, until June 30th, when the keys expire. Critically, these codes are redeemable on PC only, so if you’re a purely Xbox One player, you can skip this one!

The keys will work for all PC players except those located in China, Korea, Egypt, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Read on to enter to win!

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