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

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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Revelation Online's scour dungeons are a leveler's best friend

Even if MMO titles look similar to past releases, we've found that there are always interesting systems and unique quirks to each game that require some effort to familiarize. One of these for Revelation Online is the game's "scour dungeons," which are special instances devoted to the fine art of grinding mobs.

This isn't as bad as it sounds, actually. Every day, players can jump into a scour dungeon to quickly take on a host of mobs and benefit from the experience and loot. In fact, the devs say that these dungeons are one of the best ways to level up and tier up your equipment: "Operating much like a daily quest , you will only be able to kill a certain number of monsters per day in this manner, though the maximum number can be increased over time."

There's even an option to morph into an enemy and go about attacking players for fun, if that's your bag. You can sample one of these scour dungeons in the video below.

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LOTRO's Spring Festival returns

Spring is in bloom, love is in the air, and boots are primed for stompin' some major shrew butt.

Yes, it's once again time for Lord of the Rings Online's Spring Festival, which began Thursday and runs through April 2nd. During the festival, players can participate in traditional activities such as shrew stomping, pub crawling, and navigating the towering hedge maze.

There are a few new rewards in store for veterans of the holiday, including a pair of kites and a very attractive steed. There's a quick overview of the Spring Festival on the site, although if you want the full run-down, you should head over to LOTRO Wiki for the full walkthrough.

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See real life through the lens of an MMORPG

Have you ever heard of this YouTube channel called Casually Explained? It's been growing in popularity thanks to the creator's deadpan wit and his awkward, dry jokes. As much as we'd encourage you to watch through his entire playlist, we highly encourage you to check out his latest video, especially if you're an MMORPG player (we feel safe assuming this).

In his "The Human Player Type," Casually Explained looks at real life and the world through the viewpoint of an MMORPG, fitting the bulk of a human lifespan into the terminology and framework of online video games. Oddly enough, it really works, and the MMO in-jokes are absolutely hilarious if you get them.

Treat yourself to a few minutes of humor by watching it after the jump.

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Dauntless recruits bold and beautiful warriors for its alpha program

Will you be among the first members of the public to pick up your oversized weapon and go monster hunting in Phoenix Labs' co-op RPG Dauntless? You might have a chance if you sign up for the alpha, which you can go ahead and do right now.

As the game eyes a 2017 release, there's a lot of testing that needs to be done between now and then. First up are a series of invite-only alpha tests (covered by an NDA) that will take place over the next few months. These tests should begin in late April. After that will come the open beta "later this year" that will allow players to stream and discuss the title.

"Much like the floating islands of the Shattered Isles, Dauntless will shift, grow, and evolve over time," the studio said in a press statement. "We will be rolling out our closed, invite-only alpha tests over the coming months to help us deliver the best experience possible to players later this year. As a prospective slayer, this is your chance to play Dauntless early and contribute to its development. We can’t wait to jump into the thick of battle and take down behemoths with you!"

Dauntless received Massively OP's PAX East 2017 award for "Best Multiplayer RPG."

Source: Alpha sign-up page, press release

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Meet City of Titans' six heroic archetypes

Thanks to some website spring cleaning, City of Titans made a previously hidden article visible to the masses. This particular page outlines the upcoming superhero MMO's six archetypes, their mottos, and the general playstyle that each will offer.

City of Heroes veterans may be familiar with some of the archetypes here, although some offer slightly different twists. There is the Stalwart, a tank that can take large amounts of damage; the Enforcer, a melee DPS type; the Guardian, a tough paladin-like role; the Ranger, which deals out damage from a long way off; the Commander, which fiddles with crowd control and enemy manipulation; and the Operator, a pet-controlling mastermind.

Each archetype then branches out into three subtypes, such as the Centurion, the Warden, or the Ringleader. Simple math tells us that City of Titans is aiming for at least 18 different classes in its final product.

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Marvel Heroes quietly dishes out compensation for December whoopsie

This one is going to take a little explaining. Apparently, last December someone made a mistake on Gazillion's side where Marvel Heroes players ended up getting extra stash tabs (and then couldn't use them). The players were told to delete the mistakenly awarded tabs and that they would be compensated for the flub.

Without advance notice, that compensation snuck into the game today. Players logged in to find that some of them had 600 or even 1,200 eternity splinters waiting for them as a bonus reward. Some of the affected players, however, only received 200 ES so far. Confusion ensued until a player huddle sorted out what happened.

Gazillion took to Reddit ito comment on the compensation. "So the total amount players will receive if they should receive compensation is 1,200 ES. Players who logged in on X-Mas Day and received the stash item qualifies. Thanks for your patience guys."

Source: Official forums #1, #2, Reddit. Thanks Kalamari and Rain!

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Skyforge sends you to the moon to fight in low-G

One of the advantages of creating a sci-fi MMORPG is that there's little stopping you if you want to send your players to other celestial bodies. Skyforge is doing this with its upcoming Thea update, launching players from Aelion to one of its three moons.

It won't be a walk in the park when you get there. Thea is a low-gravity environment plagued by numerous meteorite storms... but there are rewards to be had here as well. In addition to several types of quests to keep players busy, Thea offers the opportunity to mine a resource that can unlock a brand-new talent for each class.

Another interesting feature of Thea is that it will keep challenges and rewards appropriate for any character that travels there. You do have to attain your divine form as a prerequisite, but other than that, there's nothing stopping you from living out your fantasies as an astronaut making that giant leap for divinekind.

Source: Skyforge

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Neverwinter breaks out Steam trading cards

Did you have a trading card collection when you were a kid? I went along with the crowd buying baseball cards, even though I didn't much care for sports or pictures of sweaty men looking constipated while swinging sticks. It got a lot more fun when Magic: The Gathering came around, fortunately.

Those who enjoy accumulating as many virtual trading cards on Steam as they can will be happy to hear that Neverwinter has come out with its own set of cards. These eight character cards feature characters from the game and can be used to craft badges or traded with other players. These cards are also your path to a better life through additional backgrounds and emoticons.

If you need a whole explanation of what Steam trading cards are and what they do (and this author did), there's a whole page on that.

Source: Steam

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World of Warcraft's Patch 7.2 is coming next week

The hour is nearly upon us and we, we are not prepared. But we are pretty eager! This afternoon, World of Warcraft announced that Patch 7.2: The Tomb of Sargeras will be launching next Tuesday, March 28th.

This comes after a flurry of testing and dev diaries covering the patch's big features. Among these features are the new Broken Shore zone, the Cathedral of Eternal Night dungeon, challenge artifact skins, rebalanced legendaries, new traits, more order hall research options, and of course, a way to regain our flight privileges in this expansion cycle.

What isn't coming next week, however, is the titular Tomb of Sargeras raid, which will open at a later (unspecified) date. PvP season two is set to end on the 28th, with season three starting up right after. Check out the patch trailer after the break!

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TERA sweetens its subscription package

Just because an MMORPG is free-to-play doesn't mean that the studio really wants you to, y'know, play for free. Over the past year or so, we've seen several MMO studios strongly encourage players to make the switch to a subscription from both the carrot and the stick angles.

TERA is more carrot, for sure, especially this week as the fantasy title announced that it's beefing up its subscription benefits with a new daily reward. "TERA has a lot to offer players who opt in for elite status, and En Masse just made elite status that much more tempting...with free EMP!" the studio posted. "Once each day, elite players will be able to collect 15 EMP when they log in on top of all the other perks they get for their elite status."

TERA's sub also includes double dungeon entries, double XP boosts, special store sales, a village atlas, a travel journal, no broker fees, and other daily rewards. So what do you think, TERA players? Is this enough to convince you to make the switch?

Source: TERA

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