Justin Olivetti

Senior Reporter

A casual gamer and long-time MMO fan, Justin is often heard yelling, "Player housing for all!" in the Massively Overpowered offices. In addition to news, he tackles LOTRO Legendarium for LOTRO, The Perfect Ten, Jukebox Heroes, the retrospective Game Archaeologist series, One Shots, and the Massively OP podcast.

Personal blog: BioBreak
Twitter: @sypster

Path of Exile has 'a lot more expansions coming'

Pretty much every MMO player dreams of sitting his or her favorite developers down to get the honest and direct truth. While Grinding Gear Games isn't making house calls (yet), the dev team did make an effort to satisfy community curiosity by tackling an assortment of 30 submitted questions about Path of Exile.

There was some concern over the potential for a bug flood when the expansion drops this fall. GGG said that it's on top of it: "There's a lot changing in 3.0.0 so there's a lot of scope for problems to creep in unless we find them. To deal with this, we've expanded our QA team over the years and it's currently the largest it has ever been. In addition, we're running a beta for 3.0.0 specifically to find problems before they affect the live realm."

There was no confirmation regarding a launch date for the expansion, but the team did discuss lengthening the ignore list, trade improvements, the Xbox One launch, and controller support. The team also hinted that there are "a lot more" expansions being planned for the MMO.

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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Sims Online emulator's test server sees strong community interest

The underground revival of The Sims Online is seeing marked interest from the community, as players are checking out the current FreeSO beta. In fact, a month ago, the team set up a Sunrise Crater test server and has been pleased to see the activity that it has generated.

"At max, we’ve sustained 350 concurrent players in around 60 lots, on one server box," the team reported. "There are just over 2,000 lots on the map, and 11,521 avatars in existence. Cumulatively, sims have §75,528,319 in the bank, and have bought §92,393,467 worth of objects (191,956 objects)!"

A wipe will eventually hit the test server, but this won't be coming for a while. The lead developer said that players shouldn't expect any major new features soon, as he needs to finish up his Masters project first. So for the time being, "bug fixes and stability" are the mantra of this game. FreeSO actually had to downshift from an open beta to a closed one back in early January due to the server getting swamped.

Source: FreeSO

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H1Z1 makes it easier for you to see what you're hitting

H1Z1's PvP side is finally getting some much-needed love (sorry, slight dig at Daybreak's preferential treatment of King of the Kill). The devs posted a new diary this week to talk about the three major projects that the team is tackling this month.

With 64% of players polled telling the studio that game optimization is "extremely important," Daybreak's engineers are working to improve framerates and overall performance. Another project is providing useful visual feedback from firearms so that players can easily tell if their shots are hitting body armor... or just bodies.

Vehicle destruction was the final topic for discussion: "We added several different vehicle degradation states that trigger at various damage thresholds. Take enough damage, and your car loses torque, handling, and eventually, turbo. The new vehicle UI helps to communicate these states with warning lights, and you can see the impact of each state on your overall mobility with the speedometer."

Source: H1Z1

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The MOP Up: ARK's console editions get a hair-do (March 26, 2017)

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? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Destiny, Eternal CrusadeElder Scrolls LegendsHearthstonePokemon GoMU LegendLineage IIARKUltima OnlineSword of ShadowsGhost Recon WildlandsRagnarok OnlineHeroes and GeneralsElsword, and Dota 2, all waiting for you after the break!

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The Black Death takes 'drastic action' to shore up early access

"Back in November 2016, we were seven months into early access, and it was clear to us the game wasn’t in the state we wanted it to be in. We needed to take some drastic action."

This confession comes from the latest Black Death dev blog, which was penned to bring fans up to speed on the plans for this survival sandbox. The game is getting ready to release its V0.12 update on March 30th, which includes a day/night cycle, revamped player housing, over 10 new music tracks, additional spawn locations, and pillaging areas.

The patch will also showcase its reworked combat system: "Combat has prove to be a very difficult system to fine tune, it has a lot of moving parts and relies heavily on 'game feel.' With V0.12 combat is driven by an improved physics system meaning more accurate swings and hits, better feedback from striking different materials and a generally more responsive game play experience. "

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Final Fantasy XIV walks players through NA data center relocation

A new North American data center has been in the works for Final Fantasy XIV for years now, and in mid-May, Square Enix is planning to flip the switch. Hopefully, this will decrease latency to those accessing the game in the region and offer improved services.

The studio walked players through the switchover, which will require up to 48 hours of server downtime to perform: "As has been previously announced, with the release of our upcoming expansion Stormblood, we are planning major updates and upgrades to our server system to allow not only for increased server efficiency, but also increased inventory capacity, worldless (cross-world) party matching and friend management, and additional content and increased field size for new areas. All which we hope will contribute to increased playability."

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One Shots: I took a picture THIS big!

When you take the best screenshot in the world and want to impress your friends, do you find that you end up exaggerating a tiny bit? Perhaps with wide-flung arm motions and tall tales of shutter speed and multiple lenses?

Reader Matthew dishes up a boast for us from Elder Scrolls Online: "This screenshot amuses me for two reasons. Firstly, my friend Jacob and I met up yesterday for the first time in a week and discovered that we'd somehow dyed our gear almost the same color. Secondly, Jacob decided to mess around whilst I was taking a screenshot but his dancing animation plus my character's idle 'look around' animation has randomly made it look as though Jacob's Dragon Knight is telling my Sorceror how big the monster he just killed in the dungeon behind us was!"

This is when kobolds mysteriously transform into elder dragons through the power of storytelling. Onward and upward!

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Albion Online's new gathering gear helps you get the goods

25Have you ever wondered how strange it was that your fantasy MMO character ends up doing grunt work like farming, mining, or baking apple pecan pies with delicate flaky crusts in your battle armor? That won't be the case in Albion Online, just in case you were wondering.

With the new Galahad update, gatherers now have their own specialty outfits that will assist the player in the task at hand. By donning one of these gatherer outfits, players can not only look the part but also gain access to special skills to assist in harvesting mats from the game world.

Each of the five gathering professions have several tiers of these outfits to pursue, with the higher offering an increased yield to mats gained. The backpack slot, which is part of each four-piece set, will allow players to carry far more resources than they would be able to otherwise. The only question is, does wearing one of these outfits automatically put a big target on your head for merciless PvPers?

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Cloud Pirates opens up a new deathmatch map

We're going to assume that if you're already sailing in some sort of magical airship and engaging in aerial combat with disgruntled associates, then you probably have no issue with exploring a region created by an ancient and insane alien race. It comes with the territory.

This past week, Cloud Pirates launched its Death or Glory update, at the center of which lay a special deathmatch map named Fractal Space (no, it's not a Guild Wars 2 crossover, alas). There's incentive for fighting on this map, as the bad guys have a chance of dropping a very valuable core for players to use or sell. In addition to the map, the update brought daily rewards and a brotherhood ladder system to the Allods Online spin-off.

Check out the Death or Glory trailer after the break!

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Camelot Unchained attacks its own test server with an army of bots

While it's always important to get players on to test servers for that human element, what if you need a huge army of characters on demand that never give up? That's when you take Camelot Unchained's approach by unleashing an army of bots on its test server to stress it out as much as possible.

"Right now, we have bots firing off 20,000 skills per hour, and logging in and out 16 times per minute, to help us not only track down issues like this, but also to stress test the ability system," the team said in this week's newsletter.

And when there's a Camelot Unchained newsletter, there's always a list of Camelot Unchained tasks that the team has tackled over the past week. Some of the items of note include work on archery mechanics, figuring out where your character respawns when it dies, and the first pass of the "banes and boons" system.

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RIFT acknowledges expansion issues, talks about new zone and challenge servers

If you felt let down by the execution of RIFT: Starfall Prophecy, you're not alone. In this week's producer's letter, Trion Worlds admits that the expansion had "shortcomings" that need addressing. To wit, the studio said that it is "pouring heart and soul into improvements" to shore up the content as it moves forward.

Speaking of moving forward, there's certainly a lot of exciting things on deck for RIFT, starting with the imminent Patch 4.1. This update will add eternal weapons, a planar crafting revamp, a 10-player raid, and new weekly quests. Following that is the return of Carnival and the release of Patch 4.2 with its brand-new level 70 zone, Vostigar Peaks.

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The Daily Grind: What long-term MMO tech issues still annoy you?

The other day in Massively OP office chat, Eliot and I were reminiscing about World of Warcraft's launch period and in particular a bug that would lock your character down into a looting pose for minutes on end, even as you scooted around the world. It was a particularly annoying issue that persisted for a long time before the game engineers finally squashed it.

In LOTRO right now, there is a mind-boggling amount of lag and rubberbanding going on in the high-level areas as a majority of the playerbase crowds into these areas. There have been nights that I logged out due to frustration overwhelming my desire to play, and I sincerely hope it gets sorted out soon.

That's one of the caveats of playing online games, which is that there are always tech issues that need fixing. Some of these prove to be more troublesome to fix or are ignored by the dev team in favor of working on other projects. When they significantly disrupt your play experience, it can sour your time in a game or even push you away for good.

So today's topic is a bit of a gripe session as I invite you to share long-term tech issues in MMORPGs that greatly annoyed you (or continue to annoy).

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