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

Marvel Heroes dishes out a hefty daily allowance as the game counts down to extinction

Marvel Heroes players are dealing with the fallout of yesterday’s announcement that the superhero MMO is being shut down by Disney and will officially sunset on December 31st. At least before this happens, the community will have the opportunity to play or wear anything they want.

This is thanks to Gazillion’s decision to dish out 1,000 GsMarvel Heroes’ premium currency — every singe day from now to its closure. Even better, all store options are now 50Gs across the board. “This is the best current solution we have with limited resources and technical limitations of the PC, and wanted to make sure this got out to you,” the studio said.

Former Creative Director Jeff “Doomsaw” Donais popped back up on the forums yesterday to praise the work that the team did on the game and urge other studios to hire those laid off: “The actual people who worked in every department on Marvel Heroes were the definition of epic. They accomplished an amazing amount of work with a relatively small budget and an approval process that made everything a little tougher.”

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Battle Bards Episode 109: Club Penguin

When you’ve got a club full of penguins overseen by the Mouse House itself, you know things are going to get both wacky and weird! Club Penguin may not be everyone’s go-to MMO for music, but its wide array of simplified genres certainly give the Battle Bards a lot to discuss on this week’s show.

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 109: Club Penguin (or download it) now:

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Conan Exiles update scrubs out dupe bugs as servers are wiped

By Crom, Conan Exiles is under attack by dupe bugs! Funcom hurried to push Update 31 live yesterday to deal with the issue and add a few fun new options to the game. These features include inventories for thralls, armor patch kits, new building materials, and an artisan crafting workbench.

Funcom said that it will be rolling out a series of server wipes (partial and full) to deal with the effects of the duping. The level of wipe is dependent on the vote results from each server, with only a handful electing not to wipe at all.

“To soften the blow, we’re increasing the harvesting and XP rate on the official servers for the next week, letting you quickly get your stuff and levels back,” Funcom said.

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Shroud of the Avatar entices players to complete survey with in-game rewards

Portalarium and Travian Games are looking for useful feedback for Shroud of the Avatar — and they are not shy in their approach to getting it. The studios is bribing players to take a 10-minute survey about the fantasy MMO in the hopes of understanding “gameplay experiences and expectations.”

The survey in question covers a wide range of topics, such as what makes the game fun, what players have spent money on already, the choice of game modes, quests, combat, dialogue, visuals, and sound. There’s nothing here that suggests any major change to the game or its business model, but it might be helpful for players who want to share specific feedback with the studio.

All survey takers will receive one Gold Crown of the Obsidian (a unit of premium currency) and be entered into a drawing for several other in-game goodies such as a house. To get your reward, you’ll want to take this survey by November 21st.

Source: Survey

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Pantheon devs meet up at TwitchCon and make a convert

It took a convention to bring together a development team.

Visionary Realms shared in its November newsletter that many of Pantheon’s team members — some of whom work remotely across the country — met for the very first time at the recent TwitchCon 2017. As a bonus, Executive Producer Chris Rowan allegedly made a convert to the game out of a disgruntled streamer who stopped by to badmouth MMOs but changed his tone when Rowan shared Pantheon’s challenging, class-interdependent structure.

The studio reported that the convention was a huge boost to the team’s morale and the game’s visibility: “The highlight of the weekend was our presentation on Saturday at the indie stage that culminated with the announcement that pre-alpha testing will begin in time for the holidays this year! Fueled by the excitement of our community over the announcement, we dug deep in our energy reserves and burned the midnight oil with an impromptu meetup at a local restaurant, where we reminisced and looked forward to the coming shared experiences in store for us all.”

Source: Pantheon

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Former SWTOR dev talks about designing ethical lockboxes

An extensive Twitter thread from former Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert grappled with the timely and touchy topic of lockboxes and microtransactions from the perspective of one who designed them.

Schubert said that designers can make lockboxes that aren’t pure evil: “I’ve been working in free-to-play games for four years, and lootboxes are pretty crucial to that business model working. But it is possible to do them ethically, and they are super easy to f**k up.”

“Good [microtransactions] design is an art,” he continued. “It requires designers to be equal partners with product managers to come up with something that is perceived as fair and is celebrated […] MTX will fail if it doesn’t feel good to spend. It will fail if it creates a poisonous environment around the game instead of excitement.”

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Perfect Ten: What to expect when you play World of Warcraft Classic

Are you ready to play the most anticipated MMORPG from 2004? It turns out that, yes, many of you are. The frenzy over World of Warcraft Classic is probably nowhere near its zenith yet, as the announcement of the server has sparked enormous amounts of conversation among the community.

While we most likely have a while to go before Blizzard’s time travel machine is complete, it is not too soon to start thinking about the logistics and reality that a legacy server will entail. The existing emulator community and a look at the past development and operation of vanilla World of Warcraft can give us an idea of what WoW Classic will be like, although Blizzard’s vision may differ in format, business model, and features.

What will it be like to jump back to the first year or two of World of Warcraft and play that version of the game? It’s going to be a drastic shock to veteran and new players alike, especially those who might have forgotten how MMOs used to operate back in the day. Here are 10 things to expect when you log in to Classic for the first time.

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Harry Potter ARG won’t drag down Pokemon Go’s development, Niantic says

Now that we’re all waving around sticks and shouting garbled Latin in preparation for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, it is entirely possible that players in Niantic Labs’ other mobile ARGs might feel concerned that they are about to be benched in favor of the Boy Who Lived.

Not so, says Niantic Labs: “Just like many of you, we’re super excited about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and are working hard with our partners at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and WB Games San Francisco’s development team to bring that to life. However, we — the Pokemon Go development team — want to say that we are 100% committed to creating an ever-changing and growing game that gets our players exploring, meeting each other, and deepening their connection to the Pokémon universe. We’re actively expanding the Pokemon Go development team to build many more amazing features in 2018.”

There’s potential in this game to be a smash hit: The Harry Potter franchise made $25 billion in 2016 alone, showing that its fandom is still alive and thriving. However, few specifics and no screenshots of the game have been revealed so far.

Wonder what we think of the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite announcement? Tune in to yesterday’s podcast or read our essay about the implications of a smartphone Wizarding World!

Source: Niantic Labs

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World of Warcraft Classic CMs talk class balance while the forums melt down

It’s a really weird and interesting time to be a World of Warcraft fan. While the announcement of WoW Classic has revitalized discussion about the launch version of the MMO, it seems just about nobody can agree on what Blizzard should do when it implements the legacy servers.

For their part, WoW’s devs are still sifting through ideas. Two of the game’s community managers spent some time discussing class balance while the dev team continues to be formed. “Should class balance be left as it was, or should it be tweaked within a certain margin, or should it be constantly tuned and worked on?” one CM posted. “I’m not so certain that any specific one is the default, correct choice.”

It sounds as though Blizzard is trying to elicit feedback before it makes any decisions: “If folks want a true 1:1 Vanilla experience, then we want to see the discussion of that. If people think there should be changes here or there, then we’ll want to see that too.”

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Funcom continues its streak of profits thanks to Secret World Legends

The money scene continues to progress generally well for Funcom, which reported a third consecutive quarter during which it made a tidy sum. Funcom reported raking in $6 million in revenue (a little over $1 million in profit), thanks in part to “a very strong launch” of Secret World Legends earlier in 2017.

“[This year] represents a significant improvement from previous years, with the new strategy of more titles with shorter development time proving successful,” the studio said in its Q3 2017 presentation.

Funcom revealed some of its plans for Secret World Legends, such as a refer-a-friend system, a smaller initial download size, a winter event, and new content coming next year. “For Q1 2018,the focus will be on major gameplay and story content release to improve retention and provide a more complete experience for the players.”

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The Daily Grind: How can MMOs repurpose older zones?

One of the best gaming experiences that I had this past year was going through the entirety of the Bingo Boffin storyline from start to finish in Lord of the Rings Online. It wasn’t only goofy, rewarding, and oddly touching at times, but it was a thrill to be able to quest through some of my past favorite zones without having to roll up another alt.

Repurposing older zones for new content is something that the LOTRO devs have latched onto as of late (see: 10th anniversary quests), and I for one applaud this kind of initiative. It feels like such a waste to outlevel a zone and then never see it again. So much work goes into these places, so why not come back to them on occasion and squeeze some more enjoyment out of them?

What do you think? How can MMOs best repurpose older zones? What would be cool to go back and do in those classic zones with your current character?

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Crowfall opens up dozens of race and class combos

It’s a good time to be a Crowfall pre-alpha tester.

The select elite are being treated to a new build today that adds in all of the new class and race combinations that the developers have been discussing for months. As Patch 5.3 wraps up, players can try out the dozens of additional race and class combos in one of the new persistent campaign settings.

Creative Director J. Todd Coleman is happy to see two of the game’s core systems come together: “Now that Campaigns are live, we can start testing the new race, class and discipline systems. Players can now experience an unprecedented level of character building. Dozens of unique race/class combinations and hundreds of weapon styles and subclasses allows for millions of unique character combinations. It will be possible for players to design a character build that has never been tried before.”

The patch also improves visuals across the game, beefs up monster AI, and revamps the character creation and skill training systems.

Source: Press release

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Hyper Universe triggers a free testing weekend, brings in Bruce Lee’s stunt double

Players seeking a different twist on the familiar MOBA format might want to take a look at Hyper Universe. This slightly crazy game pulls together characters from all over the pop culture map and throws them into side-scrolling 2-D maps. The best part? Anyone can try out Hyper Universe for free this weekend, from November 16th through the 21st.

Another big thing happening in this MOBA is the addition of Lui, a thinly veiled Bruce Lee lookalike. Hey, if you need a heavy dose of martial arts, loud shouts, and nunchuck action, this character might hit the spot!

The possibly drunk developers offer some tips and tricks for you to succeed in your weekend excursion. We share the full video in all of its glory after the jump.

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