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 expansion helped out an MMO the most?

We have talked a lot about great and terrible MMO expansions in the past, but most often, we approach such conversations from our personal enjoyment. However, there’s another way to look at expansions, and that’s to evaluate them in hindsight and point to ones that gave their titles the greatest boost and added the most value and useful features to the game.

Now that we have the advantage of being able to look at expansions over time, which would you say helped out an MMO the most? Which gave that game a great bump in population, interest, and long-term success?

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Wizard101’s main city gets a magical makeover

When you’ve got magic on your side, renovation on a grand scale should be a snap, right? It was probably a little more difficult than waving a wand, but Wizard101 managed to pull a major city revamp out of its hat this week with the July update.

The patch delivered a graphical overhaul for much of Wizard City, character creation, character selection, and the tutorial. Visuals aren’t the only improvements for the newbie experience; music and sound got some major love. Oh, and there’s a carousel that you can ride now!

Hate the changes? KingsIsle is giving players the option to revert to a “classic mode” to bring back the old look and sound of the city hub.

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Warframe finally unleashes Nyx Prime (and others) in next week’s sale

As Digital Extremes opens up its Warframe prime vault next week, so too might many players be opening up their wallets in response.

“Become the master of manipulation! The Prime Vault opens July 24th on all platforms,” the studio said. “For the first time ever, the hypnotic Nyx Prime is leaving the Vault! Charging out beside her is Rhino Prime along with other high-demand Vaulted Prime Accessories, Prime Weapons and discounted Platinum.”

The studio is planning to make five bundles available for sale next week: a “Brains and Brawn” pack that includes several prime warframes, a Nyx Prime pack, A Brute Prime pack, and accessory packs for Nyx Prime and Rhino Prime. The packs will be available across all platforms, although no prices have been listed as of yet.

Source: Warframe. Thanks Alex!

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Black Desert dives down into underwater dungeons

You know where’s a really great place to build a dungeon? Under the ocean. Sure, there’s the bends, flesh-rending sharks, and a severe lack of daylight with which to contend, but you can get some really great deals on real estate down there and won’t have to worry about sewage bills.

Black Desert is thinking along these lines with its brand-new underwater dungeons. Currently debuting this summer in Korea (and coming to a continent near you… sometime!), the trio of dungeons take players through aquatic-themed caves to (spoiler) fight bosses and gain loot.

Get a glimpse of the Mysteries of the Ocean update after the break and then plan on going swimsuit shopping soon afterward!

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Trion Worlds has been hit with layoffs, loses ArcheAge associate producer

Trion has confirmed the layoffs – we’ve updated below.

Trion Worlds in general and ArcheAge in specific are going through a turbulent time this week as the studio has levied layoffs in the studio that have affected an unknown number of employees. Among those affected include ArcheAge Associate Producer Seraphina Brennan and Customer Support/Environmental Artist Jessica Pate.

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No Man’s Sky received death threats over butterflies

On the verge of expanding into a full multiplayer experience, No Man’s Sky has rocketed back into the spotlight with July 24th’s NEXT update. In many ways, it’s absolutely amazing that the space game has reached this point considering its abysmal start in 2016 and harsh community criticism over a then-broken game.

The Guardian scored a rare interview with creator Sean Murray, who spoke on the mess of the launch and the subsequent journey to redemption. He said that the difficulty of the launch experience was “really personal” and that he and the studio received death and bomb threats, which even we chronicled at the time.

“I remember getting a death threat about the fact that there were butterflies in our original trailer, and you could see them as you walked past them, but there weren’t any butterflies in the launch game,” Murray said. “I remember thinking to myself: ‘Maybe when you’re sending a death threat about butterflies in a game, you might be the bad guy.'”

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World of Warcraft Hunters launch #SaveHati campaign

With this week’s World of Warcraft pre-expansion patch, Blizzard has made one group of players deeply unhappy by putting down their pet dog.

Some — but not all — Beast Master Hunters are mourning the loss of their Legion companion Hati, who disappeared with the de-powering of their artifact weapon. Players who had grown attached to the blue pet over the past two years have taken umbrage with the studio for callously stripping it away with Patch 8.0, and the BM community has rallied together to launch a #SaveHati campaign on the forums and Twitter.

“For many hunters Hati is a person, a friend, a companion who has been part of our story for months. Years?” one player posted. “To many hunters, pets are more than just a weapon. To me, Hati is a full-blown character who is tightly bonded to my hunter,” said another.

Blizzard fielded a question on Hati during this week’s livestream, teasing the possibility of the pet’s return in some form in the future — but no plans and no promises were made in this regard.

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ArcheAge’s July content update adds sport fishing, expands fresh start server content

Despite the slightly awkward name — “Phase 4: Reign, Part 1,” really, Trion? — this week’s ArcheAge content update is chock-full of fun for both fresh start servers and those on the well-worn shards.

Fresh start servers have increased the level cap to 55, finally received both the Dwarves and Warborn, and rolled out cars, boats, and farm freighters.

Players can attempt to tackle Mistsong, which the team says is “absolutely the hardest dungeon” in the game. Lots of risk, lots of gear rewards, you know the drill! The patch also updated the trade pack system, made some big gear updates, and fiddled with the Kraken. Fiddling only makes him upset, though.

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Blade & Soul buffs up its subscription benefits in its False Idols update

It’s always a great feeling when you get a good bang for your buck. While Blade and Soul isn’t changing the cost of its subscription, it is making the premium membership more lucrative — and attractive — by adding several new benefits to the service.

Based on feedback from the community, NCsoft is adding a monthly supply of 20 outfit delivery stamps, periodic character alteration vouchers, a 20% discount on chromatic thread, and far better daily login rewards.

All of these subscription benefits will go live on July 25th with the False Idols update. You can peruse the full list of membership benefits on the site and decide for yourself if a monthly fee is worth it.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic lists Season 9 ranked PvP rewards

Grab that lightsaber or blaster and get to making war on your fellow player, because Star Wars: The Old Republic is about to finish off its current season of ranked PvP. The season will conclude on July 31st, at which time a rich bounty of rewards will be poured out on the heads of the best-of-the-best.

What rewards will be causing these cranial concussions, you ask? BioWare posted a list of the Season 9 Ranked PvP rewards, separated into different tiers based on a player’s final rating.

There are a lot of interesting but somewhat expected goodies here, such as battle flags, portrait flair, titles, frame decorations, and — most importantly — tokens. These tokens can be spent on desired rewards, so if you want your holo-rancor mount or stronghold trophies, you know where to go.

Source: SWTOR

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Fractured’s Kickstarter stretch goals include a dungeon crawler inside an asteroid

Sitting at about 80% funded with under a week to go, Fractured’s Kickstarter campaign may come down to the wire in the end. Even so, the studio has unveiled its stretch goals that include both backer and monetary-based benefits.

The first stretch goal, which will be achieved at $127,581, will take players off of the fantasy worlds and into… asteroids? Indeed, the dev team has plans for a procedurally-generated dungeon set inside asteroids that contains monsters, riddles, stealth challenges, and crafting materials.

“The biggest reward of the Labyrinth?” the team posted. “Unique tokens that can be exchanged for weapon skins, armor skins, mount skins, pet companions and other cosmetic rewards — or used to boost the next Labyrinth challenge!”

Other stretch goals for the campaign toss in a Lich transformation, a baby dragon hatchling pet, a free month of VIP access for all backers, more character creation options, fishing, and animal taming.

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LOTRO calls Middle-earth groupies to celebrate Weatherstock X

There is perhaps no MMO player music festival as well-known and -attended as the yearly bash at the summit of Lord of the Rings Online’s Weathertop. This year, the celebration known as Weatherstock will be even greater as it enters its tenth year.

The player-led event kicks off on Saturday, July 21st, at 10:00 a.m. EST on the Landroval server and features 17 bands competing for the audience’s hearts (and votes). If you’re unable to attend in character, you can always boot up the LOTRO Twitch channel, as the music festival will be livestreamed throughout the day.

In other LOTRO news, a small patch dropped this week that made an important adjustment to Wardens, disabled mailing for mithril as part of an effort to combat spam, and allowed Kinship names to use diacritics.

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Saga of Lucimia updates its four-year-old grouping manifesto

It’s a little strange to consider that Saga of Lucimia has been around in development for four years now, but that’s the gestation period of an indie MMORPG for you. While the game isn’t ready to emerge from its shell just yet, the devs felt that the philosophy and advancements that they have made over the past four years warranted a revision and update of its group-based gameplay manifesto.

It’s worth a refresher read if you’re interested in the game, considering that this approach lies central to Lucimia’s design philosophy: “We are building a group-based game, one that focuses on the epic battles, challenges and rewards that come about as a direct result of being part of something epic in scope… not grocery store runs and endless fetch quests where you bring back tongues, tails, and teeth from various mobs.”

Lucimia’s fanatical devotion to hardcore group play has enthralled some and alienated others. As recently as earlier this month, the game’s creative director publicly criticized some testers for forgetting how to group up and overcome obstacles together.

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