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

The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best sound design?

We pay a lot of attention to what we’re seeing in MMOs, but have you ever stopped to really process what you’re hearing? Sound design is a crucial but often overlooked aspect of games, and I thought it was high time to give proper respect to those MMOs that do it well.

Two of my favorite titles, Lord of the Rings Online and The Secret World, both nail great sound design, in my opinion. LOTRO’s non-musical sound effects in the Shire were a huge part of what drew me into that game world, and I can’t tell you how many times that TSW has freaked me out by inserting weird noises into my eardrums.

What do you think? Which MMO has the best sound design?

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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Linkrealms reboots as an open PvP server

As the name of the brand-new Phoenix server implies, Linkrealms is rising from the ashes of oblivion to deliver a fresh experience for players.

Linkrealms, a free-to-play sandbox MMO in the vein of Ultima Online, is opening up its first new server in years. The Phoenix server is an open-PvP server that “[harkens] back to the roots of classic online roleplaying games where your choices mattered.”

The server features a brand-new world, the fruits of game balancing work, and constant support in the form of a live dev and CS team. Players can try out the Phoenix server beta starting on February 27th for a few weeks, and following that the server will be wiped and then presumably launched for good.

[Source: Linkrealms is reborn, FAQ. Thanks to Chris for the tip!]

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World of Warcraft goes live with Patch 6.1

It may be one of World of Warcraft’s smaller content updates, but Patch 6.1 still squeaks into that category with several quality-of-life improvements to the fantasy MMO.

Players logging in today will enjoy new Blood Elf models, an heirloom tab, certain graphical improvements, support for colorblind players, a racing minigame, and various tweaks to the garrison system. This update may also go down as one of the vainest that WoW has ever done, as a new feature will allow players to take character selfies and then tweet them to the world.

You can watch the video “survival guide” to Patch 6.1 after the break, and don’t forget to read Eliot’s column on what this update is missing.

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Crowfall pushes its Game of Thrones connection

If you’ve gotten the eerie feeling that Crowfall is not-so-subtly trying to establish a connection in fans’ minds between the MMO and the hit fantasy franchise Game of Thrones, you’re not crazy. From ominous bird imagry to ending campaigns in winter (because winter is… y’know), Crowfall is not shying away from latching its wagon to George R.R. Martin’s series.

Now there’s an even stronger connection, as ArtCraft has posted two pieces of concept art done by Game of Thrones artists. We’ve got those pieces in our new (and growing) Crowfall gallery, which is waiting for you after the jump. As a bonus, we’ve also thrown in the new Kickstarter video pitch for the game.

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H1Z1’s Hizzy Awards showcase player achievements

Now that the Oscars are over, where will award show junkies go to get their fix? Never fear: Daybreak has you covered with the Hizzy Awards, a show that serves to highlight some of the interesting achievements from H1Z1’s alpha testing thus far.

“After we did the first server and player wipe, we came away with a lot of awesome stats. Things like, who crafted the most arrows? Who was the first person to die to a zombie? Who killed the most people using a vehicle?” the team teased.

You can watch the full award ceremony after the break.

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TERA dungeon triggers player controversy

A new TERA dungeon named Ghillieglade has raised the ire of European players who discovered that the “extremely easy” instance delivers incredible rewards with minimal effort. So what’s the controversy? The problem is that the dungeon is primarily accessible to paying members with free-to-play gamers being limited to a once-a-week run (and that only after running 20 related quests).

North American players worried that they will be dealing with the alleged play-to-win design can sleep easier knowing that En Masse will be making adjustments when it arrives in the region. Of significant note is that all players will be able to run Ghillieglade at least twice a day and that some of the premium rewards, such as crafting mats, have been changed or eliminated.

[Source: Reddit #1, Reddit #2, TERA EU, NA forums]

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Crowfall: The ultimate union of MMOs and strategy

What do you get when you take a few of the most experienced developers in the MMO industry and give them the freedom to buck the safe trend of copycatting World of Warcraft? And what would you get if you further challenged them to combine the progression from MMOs with the always-fresh strategy genre? You might just end up with something like Crowfall.

As you read this, Crowfall has launched its Kickstarter funding campaign after weeks of speculation, reveals, and an always-ticking countdown timer. ArtCraft has done all it can to prime the pump for community investment, and now we’ll have to see whether it will pay off spectacularly… or be deemed too niche for primetime.

Last week, I chatted with ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton for a no-holds-barred discussion about Crowfall. Enough with the teases and partial revelation; I wanted the full picture. What is Crowfall, really? And how will it set itself apart from the MMO pack?

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The Daily Grind: Are you still on board with EverQuest Next?

The Daybreak buy-out. Mass layoffs. No more Storybricks. And it might not even be free-to-play!

There are plenty of reasons to go all Chicken Little about EverQuest Next, but strangely enough, I feel practically sanguine about it. I’ve seen all too often how we the community overreact to news without knowing all of the details or how the future will bear out (despite claiming to predict otherwise), and I think that there’s still some strong hope that EQN will not only be released but be an interesting game worthy of the EverQuest moniker.

But that’s just me. What about you? Is your faith shaken in EverQuest Next or are you still on board with it?

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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Order and Chaos Online update adds dungeon, wheel of fortune

It doesn’t look like peace is coming any time soon to Order & Chaos Online. In fact, a fallen angel named Annemone has invaded the game with Update 23, and it’s up to players to put an end to her cackling laugh.

Update 23 came out last week for the mobile MMO and includes a new dungeon called Rising Flare: Burn Out the Night. This sub-volcano instance has three bosses and plenty of shiny new loot. Annemone’s mischief isn’t the only action that this patch offers, as players can take a daily free spin on the wheel of fortune for prizes and unlock special mounts for the Year of the Sheep event.

You can watch the Update 23 trailer after the jump!

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Starriser takes a stab at space empire strategy

Have you ever had a whim of dropping your normal, ordinary life and taking to the stars, not to peacefully explore them, but to conquer and rule over them as a merciless dictator? Haven’t we all, really. Fortunately for both you and the real galaxy, Starriser has appeared on the scene to give us a virtual taste of this experience.

A “massive online strategy” title, Starriser promises to allow players to build up a space empire and duke it out with fellow emperors. Currently the website is skimpy on specific game features, but it is currently accepting beta sign-ups for those interested.

[Source: Starriser]

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PlanetSide 2 soon expanding PlayStation 4 beta to Europe

European PlayStation 4 players will soon have no reason to feel left out of the PlanetSide 2 fun, as Daybreak informed the community over the weekend that the console beta will soon include the region.

“Rest assured that as soon as we launch in EU we will send out a huge batch of codes to our EU players,” Executive Producer Clint Worley promised. He also mentioned that the team is hard at work addressing some issues players have had with beta key redemptions.

Worley said that the next beta patch will open up three new continents, add a tutorial continent, and apply “a massive amount of bug fixes and updates.” The patch will also trigger a full wipe, so be forewarned.

[Source: Official forums]

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EverQuest is getting a new progression server

EverQuest has made a reputation for itself over the years as an MMO that isn’t afraid to experiment with progression servers, and as such Daybreak has announced that it is planning yet another such server for players to experience.

“The cool thing is that the entire team’s been talking about a progression server, and that’s one of the ongoing discussions we’re going to have and will hopefully wrap up in the next week or two,” Executive Producer Holly Longdale announced during a video Q&A session. “It’s less now about should we do a progression server and more about what kind of progression server will we do as a team.”

The devs said that players can expect a poll regarding different progression server “flavors” in the near future.

[Source: Forums, YouTube @ 15:45]

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