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

Fortnite’s map update spawns a new city and biomes today

It may not be exactly all-new, but Fortnite’s battle royale map is definitely improved thanks to today’s loudly trumpeted update.

Patch V.2.2.0 expands and enhances the current battle royale map by fleshing out the western side with a new city, a mine, and other landmarks. Biomes have been made to be more distinctive as players traverse the terrain, and there are some cool new grass and water effects to enjoy. You know, as you’re fleeing for your life.

The update keeps on going, too. There is voice chat in the pre-game lobby, no more friendly fire (at least for the time being), a better sniper scope reticle, level streaming, better optimization, and fully destructable corn stalks. Practice true scorched earth policies while dominating!

Fortnite is on a tear in the PvP scene, with two million concurrent players and over 40 million downloads to date. Check out the map update overview after the break!

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Crowfall’s Raph Koster goes into insane depth on the cost of creating video games

If you have an exceptional memory, you might recall that a couple of months ago, Crowfall and Star Wars Galaxies designer Raph Koster wrote up a blog post on the cost of making games. The MMO expert followed that up this week with a much, much more detailed presentation that attempts to show hard data to back up his claims.

Koster said that he used industry contacts and other research to assemble data from over 250 games made from 1985 to today that shows the development cost minus the money spent on marketing. He even goes so far as to break down the cost of dollars per developed byte of information, which is where he sees costs for game falling. He said that when you look at it this way, players are getting a “deal” for games these days.

“Lots of people have made the observation that in terms of raw purchasing power, players pay around half of what they used to in the ’80s,” he notes.

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Pantheon recaps 2017 and looks at harvesting

Are you pinning your hope and hype in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen for future MMO entertainment? Then you’ll definitely not want to miss out on the January newsletter, which will no doubt do much to stoke the fires of excitement.

A bulk of the letter recaps the team’s accomplishments over 2017, saying that it was a “remarkable” year that saw the start of the pre-alpha testing phase, increased exposure due to conventions, livestreams with the developers, and implementation of new technology.

“My favorite would have to be the memory of watching the first players log in to the first session of pre-alpha testing and begin to scatter all over Thronefast,” wrote Creative Director Chris Perkins. “More than anything else, those moments at the beginning of pre-alpha sealed for me the honor and joy of what I get to do each day.”

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Battle Bards Episode 113: Anarchy Online

Alien, quiet, and weird — that’s the Anarchy Online soundtrack for you in a nutshell. For the first episode of 2018, the ever-contentious Battle Bards are back to quibble about, gush over, and nitpick the score to one of the older sci-fi MMOs on the market today.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 113: Anarchy Online (or download it) now:

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SMITE unleashes the dog from hell

It’s not Hagrid’s dog from Harry Potter and it’s most certainly not the evil corporation from Mass Effect 2, but SMITE’s Cerebus brings both the bite and the bark of these entities to the MOBA.

Cerebus, this week’s new playable character, challenges players to control a three-headed dog from hell with a bad temper. Its tail can spit venom, its breath damages everyone in front of it, and Cerebus can even summon up the souls of the damned to damage and pull enemies. He’s probably not the type to do all this and then roll over for a good ol’ fashioned belly rub afterward, however.

SMITE Patch 4.25 adds a few new god skins, including Sweet Tooth Sol and Brimstone Beast Camazotz, and throws in some more Ragnarok event quests. Get a quick overview of the patch below, and check out our in-depth look at the game’s other improvements!

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Just Survive wipes and starts over for the sake of ‘fair play’

Yes. There is indeed a yeti with a sniper rifle in the header. Let us all pretend that he doesn’t exist and he might not target us for destruction. His attention is no doubt preoccupied by Just Survive’s January 16th update, which begins with a full wipe and hopefully goes uphill from there.

Don’t get your hopes up too much for a major content patch, however, because this update is mostly about “bugs and fair play.” Probably the elimination of the former and the support of the latter. Daybreak announced that it has made significant improvements to the game’s anti-cheat system and fixed a dupe exploit.

“While we were initially hoping to push this update out without requiring a wipe, escalating abuse of the exploits fixed within indicated that it would be best for our players to wipe out the unfair advantage that these abusers had gained through cheating,” said Daybreak.

A content update is on the way “several weeks” from now with a new tier of construction, raid re-balancing, and the upgrade system.

Source: Patch notes

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Age of Conan busts out a (small) patch, says saga server info coming soon

There’s a heartbeat in Age of Conan after all!

Funcom turned its attention to the maintenance moded MMO this week with a small patch, pleasing a community that feared it would never see more additions to the game. Update 5.1 has a few nice quality-of-life improvements, such as XP for melee fatalities and a whole mess o’ pets available to purchase on the gilded vendors.

The studio also confirmed that the Saga of Zath server information will be “coming soon” to players eager for word on this fresh start, limited-duration shard. The saga server is scheduled to launch in early 2018 and will allow players to roll new characters that can earn special rewards by reaching goals before a certain date.

Source: Patch notes

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Secret World Legends patch lays foundation for more events

Scraps of hope, brief Twitter conversations, and small hotfixes: These are the things that the Secret World Legends community are hanging onto these days as they await any word from Funcom on the larger content offerings that were promised for this winter.

A couple of small patches have recently hit the game to keep that hope alive. The January 17th update patched in functionality that will allow Funcom to run more “systems events.” The studio pointed to the upcoming double anima shard weekend as an example of such an event.

And for those that ended up with a load of unused malevolent snowflakes in their inventory after the winter event, the patch on January 9th allowed them to turn those in for currency.

Source: Patch notes

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The Daily Grind: What MMO zone biome puts you in an adventuring mood?

Two of my favorite MMORPG zones are World of Warcraft’s Mulgore and WildStar’s Algoroc. Both managed to catch some of the spirit and flavor of the American west that I absolutely loved when I lived there, including the vast views, the towering mesas, and the feeling of isolation and expanse. Whenever I find myself in an MMO region like this, I feel inflated with the spirit of adventure.

I think we all feel that. Some zones make us feel less enthusiastic about playing in them while others make us drag our feet because we never want to leave. Western zones, wintry biomes, and coniferous forests are among my favorites in games.

What about you? What type of MMO zone or biome puts you in an adventuring mood?

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Stardew Valley multiplayer arrives – in the creator’s house

Sorry for the headline tease, but we couldn’t resist. As Stardew Valley fans — or “Dews” as they call themselves — eagerly wait for the long-promised multiplayer update, creator Eric Barone teased the community by saying that he was enjoying it in the privacy of his own home.

“Four-player Stardew Valley LAN party at my house,” Barone tweeted. “It’s really fun. It still needs some work, but the underlying network code is solid. Being in the same room and yelling at each other about what to do next, or if anyone has any stone, is great fun. Can’t wait to share this. Also, I’m finished with the new content and have shifted all my attention to getting multiplayer ready!”

Barone confirmed that players can indeed marry each other in the game. The last we heard, Stardew Valley’s multiplayer mode was slated to arrive in early 2018. The PC version is scheduled to get the mode first.

Source: Twitter

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 153: It’s a whole New World

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin sift through early 2018 news, including a possible leak of Amazon’s New World, a touching player memorial in RIFT, warnings of alien attacks in Elite: Dangerous, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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PSA: Grab sci-fi squad game Red Solstice for free

How about a completely free multiplayer game to brighten up your Tuesday? Humble Bundle has you covered.

The games deal site is running a free promotion to hand out copies of 2015’s The Red Solstice (normally, the title retails for $20). The Red Solstice throws eight players together in co-op missions across a hostile Mars. You’ll want to move fast to grab this, because the free promotion will be over on Wednesday.

“We are thrilled to see so many players online once more,” the game’s devs said on Steam.

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