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

Overwatch’s Hamster hero hits next week

We’re going to bet that a literal hamster ball (albeit a well-armed ball) as a hero is going to divide the Overwatch community. That’s to be expected, but if you’re on board with Wrecking Ball — a genetically-enhanced hamster who crafted his own battle mech — then you’re going to be counting the days until he arrives next week on July 24th.

Wrecking Ball may be small, furry, and oh-so-adorable, but he is also packing a punch. His mech includes quad cannons, a grappling claw, mines, and shields. If that’s not enough, W.B. can roll over or slam into his competition.

Hamster or no, Overwatch is happy that its recent endorsement system and looking for group feature has proved to be major hits for the team shooter. According to VG247, chat abuse is way down, as much as 26.4% less in the Americas than it used to be.

Source: Overwatch, VG247

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Destiny 2 deploys Solstice of Heroes: Moments of Triumph update

Good times just might be here if Destiny 2 has anything to say about it. Today, the sci-fi shooter deployed Update 1.2.3 and the bounty of content goodness contained within.

There’s a lot here, although some players are griping at the endgame raid focus of the patch. The update contains prestige raid lairs, 6v5 quickplay in the Crucible, Iron Banner upgrades, tuning for exotic armor, additional bounties, and a ton more. Plus, starting on July 31st, the Solstice of Heroes event will unleash the new Moments of Triumph bounties. Complete enough of these bounties, and you’ll be able to earn a t-shirt, Sparrow, and emblems.

Go into depth with the developers on the July update after the break!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 178: #womenarecosmetic

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over how necessary it is to actually provide MMOs with those icky, wonderful girlie-types. They deliberately deliver a light-hearted episode after last week, full of funky fresh frivolity. Will gaming ever be fun again? It has to be!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Hearthstone delivers a funny Boomsday Project short story, runs Midsummer Fire Festival

Yes, the Hearthstone team is having way, way too much fun with the loopy insanity of the upcoming Boomsday Project expansion. It’s so much fun, who could call it work? Not the person who wrote this new short story that steps into the Boom Labs to look at the mad science in progress. Plus, if you read carefully, you might catch a glimpse of one of the expansion’s newest cards.

Hearthstone is currently enjoying the heat of the Midsummer Fire Festival. In addition to enjoying some special theming, players can earn a new fire emote, take part of a fiery tavern brawl, and earn double gold from quests. This event will conclude on July 30th.

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Fractured pivots from global to regional servers as it pushes toward its Kickstarter goal

Quite often, you hear MMO gamers lament that their communities are artificially separated into different servers, with all of the problems that that entails. A single-shard server seems to be the ideal experience, and one that the upcoming Fractured was aiming to attain… until recently.

The developers posted an article this week explaining that while the original plan was to deploy Fractured on a single server, they received significant pushback from the community on this due to latency and regionalization issues. Looking at the world’s geography and ping speeds, the team has decided that it will eventually roll out Fractured on seven servers that will cover the globe. Additionally, Fractured will be released in Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and English.

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World of Warcraft kicks off the Battle for Azeroth era

While the expansion won’t be here until August, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth officially begins today. That is thanks to Blizzard’s tradition of releasing a features pre-expansion patch with many of the changes that will help to usher players into the new era.

Patch 8.0 is live today with a lot for players to explore and experience. The highlights include a wide array of class changes, PvP War Mode, Communities, upright Orc postures, and a Legacy loot mode (who’s going transmog hunting this week?). Also, next week will see the debut of the Teldrassil and Lordaeron playable scenarios, both of which lead right into the expansion.

And since your Battle for Azeroth fever is burning bright, why not add a couple of degrees by watching the new trailer to a trio of upcoming animated shorts that Blizzard is making? Check it out after the break.

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Kritika Online update adds danger zones, class awakenings, and pet gems

Kritika Online seems like it’s one of those sleeper MMOs that doesn’t get a lot of attention yet is really aggressive and faithful in putting out regular content updates. Hot on the heels of its first birthday celebration, last week’s content update offered up a host of new features and experiences for the action MMO’s playerbase to enjoy.

The patch kicked off with the addition of two new danger zones, Corsairs’ Cove and Coldsnap Village, which are in the “extreme difficulty” range and shouldn’t be attempted lightly. Five of the game’s classes and sub-classes also received second awakening questlines, which when completed will transform the Assassin, Catspaw, Wolf Guardian, Psion, and Vamp into noble (advanced) versions.

There’s a lot of other little improvements, such as five more pets, multiple class skill adjustments, plenty of new special titles, a third force of Etherforce, and brand-new pet gems. These gems increaes the power level of faithful companions and can be upgraded over time.

Source: Patch notes

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Camelot Unchained nears beta as its crash rate drops to ‘acceptable’ levels

“From what we’ve seen so far, we’re in really good shape.”

Mark Jacobs hasn’t given us a firm start date for Camelot Unchained’s Beta 1 yet, but from the sound of his recent livestream, it’s getting really close.

The crash rate for Camelot Unchained has dipped into the “acceptable” range for a beta test, with the average player being able to stay in game for up to four hours without a crash. The team expects that this rate will improve even further for Beta 1, especially as it is trying to “break the build” by stressing the server and testing its capabilities.

Get the full report after the break, with the livestream starting at the 7-minute mark and the talk from Mark Jacobs at 16:40.

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Defiance 2050 performs better than its predecessor but hasn’t won the community over

With last week’s launch of the revamped and rebooted Defiance 2050, Trion Worlds was betting on players flocking back to the sci-fi MMO shooter now that it’s seen improvements and adopted a free-to-play model. However, it doesn’t seem as though the community is giving its approval for the latest version of this game, at least according to Steam, where Defiance 2050 is weathering “mostly negative” reviews.

One common complaint is that the relaunched MMO isn’t really that much different or better than the old game — yet players have to start over from scratch (in an eerily similar situation to last year’s Secret World Legends reboot). Other frequent criticisms include the proliferation of lockboxes, server instability, old bugs that haven’t been fixed, and not enough recognition or extras for players coming from the original game.

Site Kitguru ran Defiance 2050 through a series of benchmarks and compared it to the original game, stating that it “improves upon its predecessor with a more detailed experience.” It was also noted that there was a choppier frame rate on larger resoutions, better AI, and no apparent reason for the reboot on PC.

Source: Steam, Kitguru

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Ashes of Creation’s subreddit has been taken over by Intrepid Studios

Concern and alarm has been raised among the Ashes of Creation community this past week as four members of Intrepid Studios, including CEO Steven Sharif, were granted moderation privileges for the AoC subreddit.

While not unheard of for a studio to be in control of a community subreddit, the potential conflict of interest usually prevents devs from moderating their own game’s community sites. What is far more usual, and what the Ashes of Creation community is now calling for, is that the developers be given special “flair” or tags on the subreddit but stripped of their moderation privileges. With the devs in charge, there is worry that censorship and shameless self-promotion will run rampant.

Steven Sharif addressed the situation with this post: “Yesterday, the owner of this sub Julius messaged me on Discord and offered to return the sub to our control in the hopes of giving the sub to a mod team that had the time to dedicate the tender love and care the sub deserved. I accepted, and will be including the volunteer mod team from the Ashes Discord in the moderation of this sub. With that, I will also become more active on the sub from a discussion standpoint and perhaps schedule an AMA as well.”

Source: Reddit. Thanks Bob!

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The MOP Up: Star Trek Online’s DS9 expansion gets a console release date (July 14, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from ElswordEVE OnlineSoulworker OnlineLeague of LegendsRealm RoyaleSurvived ByEverQuest IIProsperous UniverseBlack Desert Mobile, and Star Trek Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Global Chat: Looking back at World of Warcraft’s Legion

Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.

“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”

We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!

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The Game Archaeologist: A history of EverQuest’s expansions

I don’t know if EverQuest holds the crown title for the MMO with the most expansions, but I’m sure it’s among the top three if not at the number one spot on that list. It’s astounding to count them up and realize that two dozen expansions have come out for that game between 2000 and 2017. That averages to a little more than one per year!

Today I want to pay tribute to the 24 expansions of EverQuest by going through them, one by one, and seeing how they grew and enriched the game over the past decade-and-a-half. I would also love to hear testimonies in the comments as to which EverQuest expansion you enjoyed the most!

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