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

Make My MMO: Divergence Online takes Steam by storm (October 10, 2015)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Divergence Online landed on Steam Greenlight, bolstering its ongoing Indiegogo campaign by rocketing to #15 on the platform’s Greenlight list. The developer has vowed to push out daily patches and reminded Steam voters that “any contribution at or above $30 on [the Indiegogo platform] means you already get a free copy of the game when it’s released on Steam. You don’t have to ‘re-buy’ anything.”

Read on for Divergence’s latest alpha 3 video and our roundup of the rest of this week’s crowdfunding news.

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Players publish video tribute to Landmark developers

A group of Landmark players have posted a heartwarming tribute video to the folks at Daybreak working on the game. Players Denghe, Oxillion, and Xyloriel, who say they’ve logged almost 10,000 hours of playtime among them, thank the devs for what they call “a hell of a game.” Actually, they thank far more than the devs:

We would like to extend our gratitude [to] the teams of Landmark. To Facilities… for keeping the basics like a building up to work in. Legal… For keeping everyone out of trouble. Finance… Folks need to be paid. Customer Service… dealing with all of us out here. Marketing… Someone has to sell it. Operations… the hardware always needs love. Executives… steering the ship. Art… ideas to imagery. Design… fantasy to reality. Tech/programming… putting in the bits. Production… rendering completed. QA… is your code ready. Team Landmark as we see it.

If you haven’t checked in on Landmark in a while, the video serves a second purpose: It shows fly-through after fly-through of the game’s environments and animations, and it looks damn good. Check it out below.

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RuneScape took down 1.4 million bots last year

RuneScape’s customer service team has lined up for its very own horn-tooting infographic, and if the stats are accurate, the team deserves those toots.

According to the infographic released yesterday, the sandbox game employs 41 mods who’ve helped 420,000 players helped in the last year, nuked 1.4 million bots, moderated 4.8 billion lines of chat (“more than double the lines of code needed for all Google services,” Jagex claims), and tackled 82,000 bug reports.

We’ve included the whole image below.

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ARK has already sold 2 million early-access copies

How do you sell 2 million copies before you officially launch your game? Be a studio with a survival MMO on Steam. And, you know, not abandon your game. That part is not as easy as it sounds.

Studio Wildcard issued a press release today to celebrate ARK: Survival Evolved’s 2 million copies sold since its early-access launch last June, emphasizing its weekly dino additions, new biomes, and new competitive gameplay elements. ARK is slated to officially release on Steam and console — Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (“with Project Morpheus support”) — next summer.

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Massively Overthinking: PvP MMOs without the PvE

Back in April, we ran an Overthinking about a perceived lack of high-quality PvE-oriented MMO titles on the horizon, and that’s a conversation that keeps coming up whenever we talk about upcoming MMOs, particularly Camelot Unchained, as we did on the podcast last week. And that leads me to this week’s question:

Would you play an MMO without standard PvE combat? Are you planning on playing Crowfall, Camelot Unchained, or other MMOs that focus on PvP (and non-combat activities like crafting) to the exclusion of PvE combat, or do you need to be killing mobs for it to feel like a “real” MMORPG?

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Shards Online’s latest newsletter on playtesting and ‘managing’ PK behavior

Shards Online has posted its latest newsletter on the heels of last weekend’s pre-alpha 3 preview event, which included over 100 testers. Citadel’s Derek Brinkmann wrote,

“This month and the next we are continuing to focus on features and polish that directly improve the player experience. We are getting close to finishing up the core UI improvements and we are shifting our focus towards player progression and goals. We will be extending the new player experience to include combat, crafting, and player housing while also tweaking the controls to make movement and targeting more intuitive. Our goal is to make Pre-Alpha 3 as fun as possible and to get you guys coming back to Celador every day to find something new.”

Shards developer Bruce Bonnick carved out a corner of the newsletter to discuss player-killer playstyles on non-consensual PvP shards, as well. He says the studio is considering multiple ways to “manage” rather than “prevent” player-killing, including guard zones, patrols, and escorts.

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Neverwinter: Strongholds arrives on Xbox One next month

If I were a serious business console gamer, I think I’d be going crazy at the delay between PC launches and console launches for Neverwinter, but here comes another one: PWE has just announced that Neverwinter’s Strongholds update, which went live for PC gamers back in August, will release for the Xbox One on November 3rd. The expansion brings the titular strongholds to guilds and a 20v20 Siege mode for PvPers.

PC fans, meanwhile, can keep their eyes on Underdark, due out later this fall.

Check out the Strongholds video and images below!

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World of Warcraft and RuneScape make Twitch’s top games list for September

Don’t put much stock in what people are playing on Raptr? What about what people are watching on Twitch?

The streaming giant recently released its September stats, and while you won’t be surprised at some of the titles dominating screens — League of Legends, Hearthstone, Dota 2 — there are a few standouts, particularly in the pseudo-MMO category. H1Z1 stands at number 8, Destiny’s at 5, and World of Tanks came in at 15, for example. World of Warcraft is the highest-ranked true MMORPG, but it’s not alone; RuneScape — yes, RuneScape — actually made the list in the 20th slot. It was 19th in August, so you can’t even call it a RuneFest fluke.

Twitch calculates its rankings based on total minutes watched. Check out the whole list on the official site, and mosey on over to our own Stream Team to see which MMOs we’re streaming.

Source: Twitch


Chronicles of Elyria dev blog: Permadeath in MMORPGs

Announced earlier this year, Chronicles of Elyria is a startup sandbox in a sea of such sandboxes, but some of its features are rare even within the MMORPG genre.

Massively OP has been hosting a series of exclusive dev diaries from the CoE team at Soulbound Studios over the last few weeks to further explore the game and solicit feedback and questions, and today we have the next installment. This third such blog, written by the devs themselves, is presented below and focuses on the p-word: permadeath. Soulbound argues that permadeath isn’t over; it’s actually the next step for the genre and even ties into alting and the game’s business model. Enjoy!
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RIFT goes Into the Wilds today; check out the trailer

RIFT’s servers are down and getting patched with the game’s 3.4 Into the Wilds update, but don’t despair; Trion has posted a trailer to tide you over.

Massively OP’s Justin previewed the update a few weeks ago. Expect the brand-new Primalist calling and a little bit of everything, including a new zone, raid, and dungeon. “Patch 3.4 is so big,” he wrote, “that Trion Worlds considers it an expansion-worthy update in all but name and for the fact that it won’t be raising the cap past level 65.”

Enjoy the trailer and new pics!

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The Daily Grind: So what mystery title is Daybreak working on?

Tucked into Daybreak’s announcement letter yesterday about the company’s new digs and Jens Andersen’s new role was the revelation that Daybreak is “currently working on” “an as-yet unannounced title.”

Leaving aside our inclination to snark about how maybe Daybreak should finish Landmark, H1Z1, and EverQuest Next first — admit it, your brain went there — I had to wonder about the mystery title. What is it? Is it an MMORPG in keeping with SOE’s legacy? Maybe something the studio doesn’t have at all, like a mobile title or MOBA? What about a console-oriented OFPS?

The only thing I’m pretty sure it isn’t is a home for Star Wars Galaxies refugees!

Let’s get our speculation on! What are they up to over there, other than enjoying their brand-new kegerator?

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Daybreak appoints Jens Andersen Executive Creative Director, hints at new title

Good news for fans of Jens Andersen’s leadership of DC Universe Online over the last several years: He’s gotten a nice promotion. Daybreak announced today that Andersen’s been appointed the Executive Creative Director of the studio. Even more intriguing is the news that Daybreak is working on a new game.

I’d also like to announce our newest Executive Creative Director at Daybreak Games: Jens Andersen. Jens has been the driving vision behind DC Universe Online as its Senior Creative Director, and this new role expands his creative direction to include not only DCUO, but also H1Z1, PlanetSide 2, EverQuest Next, and an as-yet unannounced title we’re currently working on. It’s an extremely exciting opportunity for Jens, and we could not be more thrilled to have him join the executive team here at Daybreak. [Emphasis ours.]

Andersen posted a letter to the DCUO community earlier today, hat-tipping Associate Creative Director SJ Mueller, who will helm DCUO going forward, and Jesse “Loche” Benjamin.

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Exclusive: Elsword’s Sander Secret Dungeon video

A new dungeon is on the way to the Western version of Elsword: a secret dungeon hidden away in Sander, the City of Sand.

Years ago, the means of all life and power, Sander’s El, had become unstable and detonated due to a horrible mistake by the Alchemist Vapor. Due to the explosion of the Wind El by Vapor, the fabric of space and time in Elrios had been shaken… The surge sends the El Party back in time to the most dominant and historic battle that had one time, was fought between every tribe of the vast Sander Desert.

Due to Vapor’s atrocious mistake, once the El had exploded, the nightmarish Behemoth’s colossal power and inherent anger intensified beyond belief. The Behemoth rears its ugly head and now sets to use the tribe infighting to lay waste to all who oppose the demonic blight. The El explorers take on the daunting undertaking of stopping the Behemoth once and for all in hopes of restoring peace to the tribes.

Enjoy the exclusive preview video below!
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