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

Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns beta FAQ clears the air

Guild Wars 2’s beta test for the Heart of Thorns expansion is one of the hottest tickets in town this spring. Because of this, there’s a crush of people looking to get into it and some confusion over the details.

That’s why it’s helpful that ArenaNet has posted a 15-point FAQ to clear the air on all of the beta test details. The studio said that future beta tests haven’t been announced, and as such, accepted players can’t create characters until those tests begin. When the test does occur, players are free to blab about it as there will be no NDA.

So how can you assure yourself a spot in the next round of beta testing? The team outlines two important steps to making this happen: “We selected a small number of testers for the first round from our newsletter subscribers. Our next test will use this method as well as the ‘Portal to the Heart of Maguuma,’ an in-game item which has a chance to drop from enemies in Dry Top and the Silverwastes. Players who find this item and are signed up for our mailing list are guaranteed a spot in the next closed beta test!”

[Source: Beta FAQ]

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ArcheAge releases the Dread Prophecies update

Ghost ships? An aggravated kraken? Just what in Sam Hill is going on in ArcheAge these days, anyway?

Well, the fantasy sandpark has released one of its biggest updates yet with The Dread Prophecies. The sea-focused patch adds plenty of ways to customize player ships while improving the nautical physics. These souped-up vessels will need to be at their best to tackle a new kraken encounter and fight off world boss ghost ships.

The Dread Prophecies doesn’t stop there, either. The devs have changed Freedich Isle to become a more intense PvP experience, added the Golden Ruins zone, introduced the Mistmerrow battleground, put in more housing in Diamond Shores, and tweaked the archeum and regrade systems. Patron players will also see increased offline labor regeneration as part of their subscription benefits.

On Reddit, usually a grumpy place for ArcheAge fans, the tone is remarkably pleased. Check out the patch’s release video below.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO biomes do you love and hate?

Environment is super-important to me, both in real life and in video games. My surroundings have a large impact on my mood, with my favorite places lifting my spirits and oppressive ones turning me into Oscar the Grouch.

Thus, I find myself gravitating to certain zones in MMOs. Pastoral settings such as Lord of the Rings Online’s Shire or welcoming woods like World of Warcraft’s Elwynn Forest are safe bets for a dose of Justin happiness, as are Christmasy-type winter wonderlands. But I find jungle zones irritating, lava zones tired, and anything with a sand motif to be only useful as a highway to better places.

Which biomes do you love and hate?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Jukebox Heroes: Mists of Pandaria’s soundtrack

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Western games putting out Asian-themed expansions and conjuring up a soundtrack to match. On one hand, we already have oh-so-many Asian MMOs (and scores) on the market that for another region to try to get in on that action feels a little forced and unnecessary. On the other hand, why not? It’s no big deal and can foster a multi-cultural atmosphere in the game.

Mists of Pandaria is World of Warcraft’s love song to Asia, which is probably more intentional than coincidental considering how many of the MMO’s players live there. The soundtrack, while a cut above a similar approach with Guild Wars Factions, is decent but hardly among the game’s all-time best scores. It infuses the fantasy world of Azeroth with exotic-sounding instruments such as the erhu, guzheng, and dizi, creating another take on this popular franchise.

So how does Mists of Pandaria’s score acquit itself? Let’s find out!

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Anatomy of Murder dares you to solve a murder mystery for cash

Think you’re the world’s greatest sleuth since Sherlock? Then you might want to try your hand at a new massive online murder mystery challenge, especially since there’s a sizable cash prize attached.

Anatomy of Murder is an episodic experience that players can explore through their browsers or phones. Within the two 45-minute video episodes is reportedly everything needed to solve the mystery. By picking the correct combination of killer and motive, players will have a shot at winning the AU$250,000 prize.

The game has been in the works for 13 years and plans for a sequel are already underway.

[Source: PR Newswire, Anatomy of Murder]

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Massively OP Podcast: Episode 11

After a short one-week hiatus, the Massively OP Podcast is back and has brought another guest co-host along for the ride! We spend a lot of time this week looking at older games, including shocking (sort of) revelations about a certain spacey MMO. We’re sure you can guess which one.

Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!

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Perfect World to become privately owned

Perfect World is no longer a publicly traded company, as founder Michael Yufeng Chi made a deal to take the company private.

Chi will take over Perfect World by merging it into a new company, Perfect Peony Holding Co., which is located in the Cayman Islands. Current investors will receive $4.04 a share as part of the buyout. The deal is made possible by a $900 million loan from a Chinese bank, is approved of by the board, and will go forward later in 2015.

Perfect World Entertainment, the game division of Perfect World, recently made the headlines due to a series of layoffs worldwide.

[Source: Washington Post. Thanks to Paraxes for the tip!]

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Guild Wars recalls what a long, strange trip it’s been

As you might have already been aware, today is the original Guild Wars’ 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Community Manager Gaile Gray wrote up a post in which she walks down memory lane to talk about the formation of ArenaNet, the debut of Guild Wars Prophecies, and the game’s subsequent updates.

“I think it says a great deal about the company’s founding philosophy that — years before the release of their game — they were thinking not solely of development but were also thinking about how to communicate with their future players and fans,” Gray notes.

The article covers several quotes from current and former ArenaNet team members while noting some of the game’s important milestones. With 10 years of Guild Wars behind us, what are some of your favorite memories from the game?

[Source: Guild Wars 2]

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DCUO’s stat flattening is not the end of the world

One upcoming change to DC Universe Online has some players concerned, although it may not be as bad as feared. Daybreak announced that it will be flattening stats in Game Update 47 to better match players’ power with the appropriate enemy levels.

“In order to provide a more consistent experience while progressing through the game and decrease the stat difference between low and higher CR characters, stat progression in general has been flattened,” Daybreak said in its patch notes.

To allay fears that this will nerf characters to the ground, one player has posted a series of videos and analysis to show that it the changes are “not a nightmare,” although she admitted that they increase the challenge of the game in some areas.

[Source: Patch notes, forum]

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Dark Age of Camelot welcomes traveling merchants, prepares next patch

If the latest Dark Age of Camelot newsletter is any indication, the team and community are crazy involved with this classic RvR MMO. Broadsword said last night that it is preparing Patch 1.118 for late May or early June with “exciting new content” as well as fixes for pet pathing issues, revamps to several old dungeons, and improvements to the casual group finder.

The team says that a traveling merchant with special wares is visiting the game until May 4th and invites players to apply to be one of a select few volunteer helpers. As for upcoming events, the newsletter reports that a 5v5 free-for-all tournament is in the works, as are tweaks to the UI, the new account center (scheduled for this fall), and the reskinned Camelot Herald (coming before the end of the year).

[Source: Newsletter]

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Children’s Week returns to World of Warcraft

Won’t somebody please think of the children! Oh… someone did? And there’s a whole week dedicated to those wee ‘uns without parents? Now we feel like a heel.

Children’s Week has returned to World of Warcraft, giving every player the chance to be a big brother or sister to orphaned tykes. Of course, you’re not just doing this out of the kindness of your heart; you can earn one of several special pets by taking an orphan on tour of the world. This year there are a few new rewards, including a pet care package and a couple of toys.

The event is already underway and will end on Monday, May 4th.

[Source: Children’s Week via BlizzardWatch]

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Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown launches today

After quite a while in early access testing and a significant name change that appears to have displaced much of the “online” component of the game, Shadowrun Chronicles is officially launching today with its first campaign, Boston Lockdown.

The launch is accompanied by several balancing changes, a polishing pass, and plenty of bug fixes. Players can form a team of “runners” to tackle missions with turn-based combat in this cyberpunk setting. While it can be experienced completely solo, there is an option to join up with other players in hubs for a co-op run.

The standard version of Shadowrun Chronicles is $40 while the deluxe version will run you $60.

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Dev polls community about bringing back original Darkfall Online

Are you unsatisfied with the way that Darkfall Online has progressed after transforming into Unholy Wars? There may be a window of opportunity to undo all of that and bring the game or at least a copy of the game back to what it used to be — if that’s a concern of yours, of course.

Aventurine’s Axilmar put out a poll to the community on Reddit asking whether players want the game to revert back to its former state: “This an informal poll of mine, not a company one, since the last few days I’ve read many posts that say ‘bring back DFO.’ So, I’d like to see if there is actually any real interest in bringing back DFO. If there is, i.e. if there are many upvotes, let’s say over 5,000, so as that one can support this as a business proposal, I will ask my managers to check this out.”

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