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

Das Tal puts power ratings in front of player names

Here’s a not-so-hypothetical question for you: If you were playing a highly competitive multiplayer game, would you want a rating concerning your skill and gear to be displayed on screen at all time? In other words, would you be cool with the game telling others how much of an elite — or noob — player you are?

Das Tal is trying out such a system with today’s patch: “Added a ‘power level indicator’ before your character name. It goes from C (complete newbie) to A++ (top 5% of all players). This indicator is an amalgation of your play time, equipment quality, ability levels, and [kill/death] ratio.”

The patch also changes up the experience system, adds rested XP bonuses, introduces an event calendar, and allows players to create up to three characters per server.

Das Tal got a nice injection of funding earlier this month from investors that will allow the team to complete the core game.

Source: Das Tal

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BlizzCon sells out first batch of tix in minutes

So sorry, Mr. Charlie, if you woke up this morning with the delightful fantasy of heading over to the BlizzCon 2016 site and picking up a ticket or two. The first wave of passes sold out last night lightning-fast. Blizzard Watch reports that the round of tickets were gone within five or 10 minutes of going on sale.

This year, Blizzard switched to a different ticket provider, Universe, to handle the crush of fans looking for admission.

The $200 tickets include entry to the popular November 4th and 5th convention in Anaheim, California, as well as a goody bag. If you missed out on getting one, then you still have two options. You can try your hand at getting a ticket from the second and last round on Saturday night, or you can purchase one of the virtual tickets to watch the proceedings from afar.

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Jukebox Heroes: Six cover songs of popular MMO tunes

There’s a dedicated subcommunity of video game music afficionados out there that love these soundtracks so much that they devote considerable effort to producing all sorts of cover songs of their favorite tunes. In a weird way, you kind of know that your game’s soundtrack has made it if it prompts fans to start producing covers.

And believe it or not, this extends to MMO soundtracks as well. I never thought to check to see if there were covers of MMO tunes, mostly because I thought that the niche was too tiny to prompt such interest. But I was quickly proven wrong by how many I stumbled over.

Today we’re going to take a survey of six fan cover songs of popular MMO tunes. Do you know any others? Post links to them in the comments!

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Asta Online pumps out first major content update

Even though Asta Online hasn’t officially released yet, it’s in that persistent open beta state that’s launch in all but name. So we’ll go easy on Webzen for getting super-excited about pushing Asta’s so-called “first content update” today and not quibble about semantics.

The patch is pretty sizable and kicks off with a new team arena map, Ora Fortress Underground Arena. This arena hosts 5v5 battles on a different type of playground than the Arena of Constellations, just in case you had grown bored with the latter already.

Other features of the update include a “very hard” difficulty mode for two of Asta’s raids with better gear rewards, access to intra-faction battlegrounds, and more achievements and titles.

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The Crew heads off to the stunt races

The Crew isn’t the sort of game that you want to give to first-week drivers ed students as a way to teach them responsible vehicle operation. But it certainly is a terrific release if you’re a model driver who wants to live out the fantasy of a wild life.

Speaking of getting really wild, a new patch for the game this week has introduced motorcycle stunt races. In this mode, players can explore special tracks and perform all sorts of crowd-pleasing tricks, then engage in off-road races that combine speed and fancy flips to create as crazy of an experience as possible.

The patch also throws in a few new camera options for those who love filming themselves, a freedrive challenge, more summit qualifying events, sliding for bikes, and a new car, the Pagani Zonda. PvP players who were trying to cheese rewards by sitting idle will no longer get away with such lazy attitudes.

Check out some of these new stunt moves below!

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Bless Online AMA gets all of the questions, has few answers to give

Those anticipating the arrival of Bless Online in the west are still coming to grips with the news that the game will be published by Aeria Games in North America and Europe. To mollify any concerns, the Aeria team assigned to Bless took to Reddit yesterday for an AMA about the incoming title.

Topics in the discussion included questions over pay-to-win, server strategies, comparisons to Trion Worlds’ handling of ArcheAge, censorship, localization differences, possible PvE worlds, the business model, and the starting roster of classes and races. However, if you are looking for concrete answers to most of these, you will come away disappointed. Many of these questions were met with variations on, “We don’t know as we just started working on the game. We’ll look into that and get back to you later.”

Alpha was announced to be starting “soon,” with beta coming months down the road.

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PAX East 2016: Mars survival game ROKH delivers demo, preps Kickstarter

The next week may be crucial to the future of ROKH, a persistent survival sandbox that happens to be set on Mars. Darewise Entertainment announced yesterday that it will be demoing the game at PAX East this weekend in the Kickstarter Arcade room. The demo will thrust a team of two into a a 155-square mile map of the Red Planet with the challenge to survive as long as possible.

Speaking of Kickstarter, Darewise is prepping a Kickstarter campaign for ROKH that will commence in early May. Will the exposure from PAX East help build momentum for the crowdfunding effort? We’ll see soon, but until then you can check out ROKH’s Kickstarter teaser video below.

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Blizzard begins distributing Overwatch’s digital goodies

If you haven’t noticed, Blizzard sure does love to cross-promote its games through special edition extras. Encouraging players to explore the entire Blizzard ecosystem is a sound strategy to keep the money somewhere in the studio’s domain.

In this spirit, Overwatch has started to distribute digital goods in Blizzard’s other titles to players who have pre-purchased the Origins Edition of the upcoming multiplayer shooter through the Battle.net shop. The $60 edition includes a Baby Winston pet in World of Warcraft, Mercy’s Gaze wings in Diablo III, several player portraits in Starcraft II, Tracer as a playable character in Heroes of the Storm, and an Overwatch card backing for Hearthstone.

The edition also includes Origins skins for Overwatch, which will unlock when the game goes live. Players who pre-ordered somewhere else or who might elect to wait to buy until a later date can nab these digital items on or after the game’s May 24th launch.

Source: Overwatch

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite MMORPG ‘Oh crap!’ skill?

We’ve all been there: You saunter into a combat situation, feeling all elite and cocky, and before you know it, you’re in over your head. Your team is dying, you have mobs, er, mobbing you, and you don’t have the room or time to think. You need a breather — and fast.

That’s when you slam your hand down on that (metaphorical) big red button and activate your “oh CRAP!” skill. It’s the skill that has saved your bacon more times than you can recall. It either heals you, or pushes away the enemies, or picks up your team, or otherwise gives you a second chance at a victory. We’ve seen these skills across many games and in many forms, but they all are generally the same in that you keep them in reserve for a truly dire situation.

So what’s your favorite last ditch “oh CRAP!” skill? What skill has saved you countless times in your MMO?

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PAX East 2016: Let It Die is a crazy, gruesome survival action game

If you haven’t noticed, we’re currently in the middle of another game development trend, this time centered around making survival action games. Can’t go two steps around here without one tripping you up, really. And here’s another contender, coming at you live during PAX East this week: Let It Die.

Created by Grasshopper Manufacture, Let It Die is a “crazy survival action game” that appears to take place in some sort of future dystopia. We don’t know much about the game itself past what we can deduce from its trailer, but we can say that Let It Die definitely skews to the gruesome end of the spectrum. Also, you can eat live, squirming rats for health.

We’ve got the PAX announcement video and teaser trailer below, although you should be warned that both are rather bloody.

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Battle Bards Episode 73: Spooky & Magical II

By popular demand — which you should read as “Syl’s imperial fiat” — the Battle Bards podcast is returning to the fertile musical landscape of spooky and magical tunes. From undead taverns to fairy courts, the bards explore all manner of sparkly, moody themes. So turn the lights down low, brew your favorite beverage, and enjoy!

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 Olivetti co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Player.FM.

We’ve got Episode 73: Spooky & Magical II for you after the break featuring music tracks from Lord of the Rings Online, Final Fantasy XIV, ArcheAge, World of Warcraft, and more!

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Mu Legend wants to satisfy your ARPG cravings

Has Mu Legend grabbed your attention yet? This action-RPG has been in development since 2011 and is on the cusp of closed beta testing in Korea, with about 60% of the game completed at this point. If hopes, dreams, wishes, and ponies can pull together, it should be coming over here as well.

MMO Culture posted an interview with the dev team about the making of this prequel to 2001’s Mu Online. But just because the game shares a name and lineage with Mu Online doesn’t mean that Mu Legend will be merely a graphical update.

Mu Legend was decided to be hack-and-slash MMORPG with the previous quarter view,” the devs said. “We thought having a quarter-view will allow users to feel the joy of mass battle using simple mouse and keyboard control”

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Hearthstone confirms April 26 launch for Whispers of the Old Gods

Talk about those old gods, man. They are always dreaming inky doom for fleshy mortals, rising up through shower drains to interrupt your karaoke, and above all, taking your candles. No wonder that the Hearthstone denizens fear and respect them greatly.

Blizzard confirmed today that the next expansion for the digital card game, Whispers of the Old Gods, will be launching on April 26th in North America across all devices. Other regions will have to wait until the 27th. It’s probably an old god conspiracy.

Hearthstone’s third expansion will offer 134 new cards, including forbidden cards, that will undoubtedly change the overall game meta. If you pre-purchase a 50-pack bundle of expansion packs, Blizzard will generously throw in an Old Gods card backing for your troubles. You can check out the trailer below!

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