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

Glitch releases two-volume soundtrack

While Glitch hasn’t been available to play since 2012 (and won’t be again until Children of Ur and Eleven finish their revival projects), the music that helped to make it so memorable now lives on thanks to the efforts of crowdfunding.

Composers Daniel Simmons and Xavier Vochelle recently released a two-volume soundtrack for the sunsetted title, which has since been the focus of a news segment on CBCSoundscapes of Ur and Glitch Variations are both available to purchase on BandCamp for $11 CAD apiece. Both albums come with a PDF of Glitch art and a hefty dose of nostalgia.

[Source: Soundscapes of Ur, Glitch Variations, CBC news]

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Run, Valiance Online, run!

There’s always a world of difference between viewing MMO screenshots and videos. Sometimes you just have to see a game in action to get a good feel for it, which is why it might please you to watch a test model run, jump, and fly around a town in Valiance Online.

Valiance, one of three spiritual successors to City of Heroes, has finished its transition to the new Mecanim animation solution. The team said that this is just part of the effort to get the title launched on Steam: “We’ve also decided to add the new testing environment in preparation for our venture to Steam. This huge patch has been delayed for quite sometime, but we’re certain that everyone will be most happy with the improvements once it’s released.”

You can watch the test environment video as well as see a pre-alpha screenshot after the break!

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Mortal Online has ‘a few thousand’ active players

Ever wondered how many people are playing Mortal Online? Star Vault CEO Henrik Nystrom was unexpectedly candid about the question on the forums, saying that there are a few thousand subscribers powering the game’s PvP scene.

“There are currently a few thousand players that [are] currently active players,” Nystrom posted. “Not counting [free-to-play gamers] as they [vary] a lot every week.” He also said that a majority of the players are located in the US and that there has been a “small but steady increase” of subscribers as of late.

Mortal Online is preparing an expansion into the Sarducaa region some time this year.

[Source: Mortal Online forums, Sandboxer]

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Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO pet classes

Most folks have certain class traits that appeal to them. Some love being that long-range archer sniper, while others get juiced on the feeling of being an invincible tank. There are those who prefer healing, those who love hybrid set-ups, those who like to conjure fire… and then there are those who love pets.

On our first Massively OP Podcast we fielded a question about MMO pet AI, which set me off on a long speech about just how much I love pets in games. Man, do I love ’em. I love how they make me feel as though I have constant companionship, I love how I feel “overpowered” when I’m fielding one, and I love how combat feels when I’m attacking a foe with one or more allies at my side.

Chances are, if your game has a pet class, that’ll be the one I’m playing. Here are my top 10 favorite pet classes in MMOs that I played for a serious length of time.

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What do you think about WildStar’s capital cities?

What do you think about WildStar’s two capital cities? Do you love or hate them? What do you think could be improved in them? These are the burning questions that Carbine Studios is asking of its playerbase this week.

In a forum post this week, the dev team solicits feedback on the cities, their layouts, and their services. The team is even open to removing unwanted portions and adding new elements to make it an ultimate destination: “In our eyes, a capital city should be a central hub for player gathering and trade. It should be Grand Central Station to send you wherever you’re bound. It should help lead you to the content you’re interested in.”

In the recent Protogames Initiative patch, WildStar overhauled its city touring tutorial for low-level players. Players can leave feedback for cities on the forum thread.

[Source: WildStar forums]

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Daybreak’s John Smedley: EverQuest Next is going to be ‘more than ok’

Worried about this week’s mass firings of Daybreak employees and wondering what might happen to both Landmark and EverQuest Next? The studio has a few words of reassurance for you on that front.

“[EverQuest Next] has the largest development team at SOE. It is going to be more than OK,” Daybreak President John Smedley tweeted yesterday. In another response, Smedley said, “The EverQuest franchise is our lifeblood and we treat it with the respect it deserves.”

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HEX throws free Valentine’s Day tournament

Whether or not you have plans for this Valentine’s Day weekend, HEX would like you to consider its arena test server as the most romantic locale between two lovers and a whole lot of enemies.

The beta title announced yesterday that it’s bringing back the arena starting today and continuing through Saturday evening. As a bonus, the team is throwing a free tournament on Saturday with booster pack prizes that can be carried over to the live game. All players will get a free entry ticket, although to participate a player must have an account that was created on or before February 1st.

[Source: Arena test server]

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Richard Garriott: Open development and crowdsourcing is a ‘joy’

There’s a lot of debate and discussion these days as to the virtues and usefulness of early access and transparent development, but at least for Richard Garriott and his team, it’s been a “joy” to experience.

Garriott spoke with the Escapist about how both crowd sourcing and open development has benefited Shroud of the Avatar greatly thus far: “Now we know, as soon as we have a half-baked idea going in, just what people think of it. Players can weigh in and help guide the creation we are making for them. [It] also let them know where we might need help. The crowd sourcing of everything from music, to art, to even code has grown out of this foundation.”

[Source: The Escapist]

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Nexon pressures NCsoft as largest shareholder

While Nexon and NCsoft may be competing developers in the MMO space, business has made strange and hostile bedfellows of both.

After purchasing enough shares to become NCsoft’s largest shareholder last year at 15.1%, Nexon is attempting to put pressure on its rival to conform to certain demands. However, tensions are running high as NCsoft is pushing back against those proposals.

Last week, Nexon issued a proposal to NCsoft with an unspecified deadline to allow Nexon to appoint a board member, sell certain non-core assets, disclose wages for unregistered board members, and adopt an electronic voting system for shareholders, among other demands. NCsoft responded to the proposal although the specifics of the response were not revealed.

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Crowfall will be buy-to-play with optional sub

Although we don’t have the full idea of what Crowfall is, today we know more about how we’ll be paying for it in the future.

ArtCraft released a pricing FAQ for the upcoming fantasy title in which it revealed that the game will be buy-to-play with an estimated retail price of $50. There will also be an optional VIP membership package (around $15 a month) that includes behind the scenes access, passive training for three character slots, priority server access, pricing discounts, and other “non-balance affecting benefits.” VIP membership tickets will also be bought and sold between players. These prices are specified for the North American market for right now.

The team also released a sneak peek at another one of the game’s classes, the Confessor, and a heaping of backstory in the form of fantasy scripture.

[Source: Pricing FAQ, the Confessor, War of the Gods (part 1)]

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The Soapbox: Facing an industry of change

Right now I believe that we are on a threshold of change in the MMO industry, and it feels a little uncertain and a lot scary.

While there are MMOs being made and developed as you read this, it seems as though there are less of the traditional big-budget titles with highly recognizable IPs and more indie projects that are operating outside of the normal paradigm. We have games that are funded entirely through fan support. We have spiritual successors instead of sequels. We have MMOs that are also single-player titles. We have devs over here jumping on the Minecraft wagon, devs over there trying to get a piece of the League of Legends phenomenon, and devs designing for a specific audience rather than a general one.

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Listen to a Star Wars Galaxies and Earth & Beyond ‘post-mortem’

If you’re looking for a blast to the past of science fiction MMOs, then clear your schedule for an hour of enlightening talk by industry vets Raph Koster and Chris Klug.

Koster and Klug compare their experiences and approaches with working on Star Wars Galaxies and Earth & Beyond, respectively, in an older panel from 2004 called SciFi MMPs: Lessons Learned. In the talk, the two discuss key game mechanics and how they forged new ideas in the burgeoning MMO space.

Koster posted a link to the lecture on his blog along with a series of slides that were used for the SWG portion of the talk. While the panel was recorded while both games were operating, Koster says that he considers it “the closest thing to a post-mortem for Star Wars Galaxies or Earth & Beyond out there.”

[Source: SciFi MMPs: Lessons Learned]

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Guild Wars 2 celebrates the Lunar New Year

It’s the Canthan Lunar New Year in Guild Wars 2, so the question you have to be asking yourself is: Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?

If you are feeling lucky or in need of a fun diversion, GW2 is bringing back the Dragon Ball arena with a few new improvements. By participating in the arena, players can attempt to win a lucky great ram lantern backpack. The Lunar New Year is also replete with lucky envelopes to trade, divine lucky envelopes to buy, and homemade lucky envelopes to gain from achievements. Each envelope has a chance at gifting players with cool items, and if that’s not enough, the community will enjoy a 15% bonus to magic find during the event. That’s a lot of luck!

We’ve also got a look at the new crimson lion weapons in a video by Massively OP friend Bog Otter after the break.

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