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

MMO Week in Review: Paying the price (July 8, 2018)

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!

Undeniably, the biggest story this week – and it’s even on track to be one of the biggest of the year – is the story of how a bizarre altercation on Twitter wound up generating a massive flamewar across the MMOverse, landing on the front page of every gaming site, and cutting loose two ArenaNet employees from the Guild Wars 2 team.

But there was more to the week besides the still-smoldering dumpster fire! We got sweet news about Warframe from TennoCon (it’s coming to the Switch!), Camelot Unchained briefly delayed its beta one phase, and Defiance 2050 rolled into its launch head start.

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

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The MOP Up: Warface is coming to console this summer (July 8, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news that we missed? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Warface, Red Dead Redemption 2, SWTOR, WildStar, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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Make My MMO: Camelot Unchained’s crash rate is coming down (July 7, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, the Kickstarter MMO crowd held its breath to find out whether or not Camelot Unchained would indeed make its July 4th beta test date as planned. Thanks to an annoying crash bug, it didn’t, but the studio is crunching to sort it out and isn’t anticipating more than a few weeks of delay, which isn’t going to seem like much to people who have already been waiting years.

“Still going through the logs. We’ve eliminated a lot of the crashes. Andrew’s working on another fix that should help things as well,” CSE’s Mark Jacobs told backers last night. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to talk about [the date] on Monday. […] Still no long-term change, no short-term change, no change whatsoever in what our original estimate was. We’re getting really close.” He reiterates that the crash rate has gone down, but they really need human testers testing, so get in there if you can.

Meanwhile, Richard Garriott rebutted claims that Shroud of the Avatar is a flop, some troll faked a former Star Citizen developer’s Glassdoor review of the studio, Temtem fully funded, and Fractured has passed 500 backers and half of its Kickstarter goal.

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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MapleStory 2’s second closed beta begins July 18 with founder packs full of poop

If you’re a die-hard Mapler anxious for your next big thing, or someone wondering what the heck a Mapler is, then point your eyeballs at Nexon’s MapleStory 2 site for the answer to both, as the company’s posted up a schedule for its next round of closed beta in the west, coming up on July 18th.

“The second Closed Beta will introduce a number of changes to help us prepare our servers and systems for the full release,” says the company. “This includes new dungeons, more quests to complete, a test of the Meret Market systems and more people to give our network a real workout.”

A second blog post this week dives into everything available in the game’s founder packs, which go on sale the same day as closed beta 2 kicks off. Depending on whether you snag the $25, $60, or $100 package, expect a unicorn mount, outfits, a mushroom emote, titles, and a soft serve tombstone that for some reason looks like poop. It does. They even admit it! The new vids down below should give you a taste of what you’re in for.

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Old School RuneScape’s mobile port is effectively heading into Android open beta today

You might think that people who’d play the “Old School” version of a game like RuneScape might not be the right demographic for a mobile port, but maybe that’s just because there are so few really great MMORPGs on mobile. And as of today, Jagex is expanding the game’s testing on Android devices.

“Closed testing on Android has been incredibly important and beneficial to us, but the time is ripe to get it into the hands of more players,” says Jagex. “Today’s initial release effectively doubles the number of players with access to mobile! If we’re happy with the progress then we expect to be increasing that number early next week. We’ll then continue to increase the number of installs available as and when we’re confident with the build. Sign-ups are not needed, and access to this test is purely on a first-come first-served basis, however, players with access to the current closed test will continue to be able to access Old School RuneScape.”

Do note that to jump in, you’ll need a decent Android phone running Lollipop or better. You’s also need need an OS RuneScape account to try to play. Existing testers are automatically included, and the cash shop on mobile is currently closed. Don’t use Android? iOS development reportedly continues; Jagex says it’s shooting for “later in summer.”

Source: Official site, Android. With thanks to Secrets and James.

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The Elder Scrolls Online is planning a freeplay event next week plus free lockboxes for subbers

Do you want to play The Elder Scrolls Online for free this weekend? Too bad. You can’t. But you can play next week! Yes, ZeniMax has announced that it’s running one of its infamous ESO Plus Bonus Events starting on Tuesday, July 10, and running through the following Monday. Existing subbers, there’s something in it for you too: If you log in during the hoopla, you’ll pick up six free lockboxes.

“To take part in the ESO Plus Bonus Event, log into the game with an active paid ESO Plus membership (the free trial does not count, sorry) each day from July 10 until July 15. Note that in order to qualify, each unique login must occur within a 24-hour time period that starts at 10:00AM EDT and ends at 10:00AM EDT the next day. If you remain logged in over a two-day period, it will only count as a single entry. You must log completely out of the game and back in – only logging out to the character select screen will not work. The free Crown Crates will be delivered to your account by Friday, July 20. Check your Crown Crates menu!”

If you take advantage of the free-play period, know that you’ll be able to check out basically all of the DLC and Morrowind (but not Summerset). You’re getting all of the perks associated with subbing with the exception of the monthly stipend, so that means the experience bonus, costume dyeing, double bank, and so on.

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Todd Howard says ‘Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world’ as Ubisoft and Bethsoft weigh in on games as a service

Are you all in on games as a service? Are single player-games over, replaced by much more profitable eternally online (and lockbox-ridden) titles? Bethsoft’s Todd Howard doesn’t think so. Speaking to GIbiz, Howard says that in spite of Fallout 76’s controversial online nature, the always-on games-as-a-service motif “doesn’t mark the future.”

“Corporately we’ve done a mix; people forget sometimes,” he says. “Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends. Anyone who has ever said ‘this is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”

Ubisoft, on the other hand, has taken a different tack. The company’s EVP of Creative, Lionel Raynaud, spends some time in a corporate blog post to come at the problem from a narrative angle, saying his studio is trying to keep games going by doing its best not to “give finite experiences.”

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Star Citizen offers a speedy look at some of what’s coming in alpha 3.3

Star Citizen’s Around the Verse this week is even shorter than the last few weeks’ episodes, clocking it at under five minutes as alluded to in the episode’s title (you can probably chalk it up to the holiday).

In addition to recapping the 3.2 alpha, which went formally live last weekend, Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner tease a bit of what’s coming in 3.3: new armor and clothing, expanded mission content that pulls in locations like Hurston, and new objectives (like blowing up satellites). Bind culling and object container streaming are apparently “well on their way to completion as well.”

Notably, Gardiner notes that “once FPS AI is fully integrated there will be even more options for contracts including some that will have you hunting down and engaging with dangerous enemies” – apparently, that was slated for 3.2 but the team held it back for polish. The whole episode is below.

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The Daily Grind: How early should an MMORPG’s hype cycle begin?

GIbiz put out an interesting piece this week looking 10 years into the past to see where the buzz was in the game industry back in 2008. It’s worth a read overall (that was the year some rando company called “Riot Games” snagged $7M in funding for something called “League of Legends” – pff, that’ll never go anywhere, amirite), but the segment I want to highlight this morning is the one about the industry hype cycle.

The long-ago author wonders just when the hype cycle for video games should begin, at least in terms of maximizing profits (and presumably not annoying consumers). He compares the Assassin’s Creed franchise to Prince of Persia, noting that the former’s hype cycle was twice as long as the latter’s – and performed significantly better. After all, we’re still talking about AC here in 2018!

It seems a fair topic for MMORPGs as well; for example, World of Warcraft expansion announcements and hype lulls, the difference in buzz lead-up between Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire, and the seemingly interminable Kickstarter MMO dev/hype/funding cycles are perennial subjects here.

How early should an MMORPG’s hype cycle begin? How long before the planned launch of a game or an expansion – or even a Kickstarter – do you actually want to hear about it?

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ArenaNet has let go two Guild Wars 2 devs following a heated Twitter confrontation

Please note that this article has been heavily updated over the last week as this story has continued developing. New additions are at the bottom, but the beginning of the piece is a bit out of date. We recommend our recent Flameseeker Chronicles or Massively OP Podcast to help you get caught up.

The Guild Wars 2 team is short two narrative designers today after a pitched internet war of words on Twitter.

“Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players,” ArenaNet’s Mike O’Brien wrote on the game’s forums. “Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they’re no longer with the company. I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all. As a company we always strive to have a collaborative relationship with the Guild Wars community. We value your input. We make this game for you.”

We presume the employees are Jessica Price and Peter Fries, who have been the subject of a heated Reddit-and-forum flamewar that’s long since passed 10,000 comments and upvotes across its many threads for the last two days.

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Sea of Thieves fixes cannon teleporting (sort of) and bans cheaters

This week’s Sea of Thieves update did keep the servers down extralong on the holiday, but there wasn’t much to it. There’s a new cross-promotional figurehead, a new rocking effect to cannonball impact, less UI clutter in shops, and fixes for several bugs, including this gem: “Players will no longer be teleported back to their ship when they shoot themselves from the cannon on the north side of Devil’s Ridge.” However, this bug remains: “Some players travel in an unintended direction when fired from a cannon.” Can’t wait to find out where people who don’t reach patch notes shoot themselves!

Oh, and by the way, stop being a cheating cheaterpie. They’re on to you. Or “a number” of you. Wait, is zero a number? “This week we’ve banned a number of players who we’ve been able to confirm have been cheating,” Rare says. “Those players have been contacted via email and we’ve removed their Sea of Thieves account privileges. We will continue enforcing a zero tolerance policy to this behaviour and taking regular action against any players who are found to be cheating.”

The new dev vlog is down below.

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It’s starting to look like Valve is trying to murder SteamSpy on purpose

Back in April, Valve announced new supposedly privacy-oriented changes for Steam that had what everyone assumed to be an unintended (and unannounced) side-effect: It would hide everyone’s owned games by default, effectively neutering extremely useful and popular tools like Steam Spy.

Steam Spy’s Sergey Galyonkin, the Epic Games employee who ran Steam Spy on the side, hasn’t seemed particularly perturbed over the last several months since the announcement; in fact, last week, he said he was “excited” at the idea that Valve was working on its own version of the tracking tool. “The reason I opened Steam Spy to everyone was to let smaller developers make informed decisions based on data and to remove some of the information asymmetry that is so pervasive in our industry,” he tweeted last week. “Naturally, I am excited by Valve’s decision to offer a better version of Steam Spy.”

But that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening.

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Elder Scrolls Online deep-dives the dungeons and PvP upgrades of the Wolfhunter DLC and GU19

ZeniMax is back to work today and hyping up Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC. Announced at E3, the Wolfhunter pack will roll out two new dungeons, both with the werewolf theme. The first, March of Sacrifices, sounds like a “Hounds of Zaroff” type of encounter as players will be trying to take down Indrik to please Hircine himself. The second will send players into Moon Hunter Keep to topple the ancient werewolf Vykosa “before she threatens all of Tamriel.”

But of course, as ZeniMax notes, Wolfhunter isn’t the only thing players have to look forward to. In fact, even if werewolves and dungeon romps aren’t your thing, there’s a bunch of stuff coming in the simultaneous release of update 19 that is all free. There’s a brand-new semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, the addition of keep recall stones to alliance PvP, an improved respec system, better werewolf skills, and unspecified class changes too.

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