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

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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The Daily Grind: Which MMO system or feature is needlessly complex?

Probably one of my greatest and ongoing criticisms of the MMORPG genre is how developers populate these games with systems that are often cumbersome, complex, and needlessly obtuse. And what frustrates me is that they apparently can’t see it, because they’re often working with these systems day in and out (and have created them), so the systems are second nature to them.

MMOs already have a lot of moving parts and continually add on systems, so there is absolutely no need to make any of it harder than it has to be with bizarre progression mechanics, indecipherable statistics, and other game systems that some dev loved but makes players scratch their heads in confusion.

Have you experienced this? Which MMO system or feature — and feel free to list more than one — is stupidly complex and poorly designed?

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Blossom and Decay offers emergent narrative in an anything-goes sandbox

In the market for a full-loot, retro-themed MMO sandbox? Your specific tastes may be satiated by Blossom and Decay, an up-and-coming MMOARPG that will offer crossplay between PC and mobile platforms.

The team is designing the game so that players, not developers, provide the core content: “Instead of scripted quest-lines in the game, players fashion their own narratives through a wide set of social mechanics and external PvE pressure. The world’s story is constantly molded by its citizens. […] Everything is created and arranged by the players wherever they choose, from buildings and roads to respawn-points, quests, goods, trade and the laws of the land. Players will toil to imprint their history in this virgin world.”

In one interesting twist, the game allows for automated offline play in which a person’s character will continue to execute activities by itself.

Currently, Blossom and Decay is enjoying some additional promotion from Square-Enix Collective. The team is lobbying fans to vote for the title to gain support going forward.

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Battle Bards Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music

It’s a catch-all, catch-up episode for the Battle Bards as they dig through new soundtrack releases from MMORPGs that they’ve covered in the past! You may be prepared for an eclectic and enjoyable mix of music — but there is no way that you can steel yourself for the raw and heartfelt confessions that take place on this show.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:

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Star Wars Galaxies book takes fans back to this late, great MMO

Unless you’re willing to venture out onto the wild space of emulated servers, you won’t be getting Star Wars Galaxies back. That doesn’t mean that you can’t reminisce about this MMO from a galaxy far, far away, thanks to the release of an unofficial fan history book called Galaxies: An Empire Remembered.

The 172-page book recalls the history of Star Wars Galaxies from launch through its 2011 sunset and takes readers through the game’s planets, events, and ongoing legacy. More than 700 full-color images, including concept art, are included in this title. “This comprehensive guide gives those who played the game — and those who never got the chance — an opportunity to relive the nostalgia and excitement of this landmark entry into the MMORPG genre,” the description reads.

SWG creator Raph Koster gave the book his endorsement on Twitter by saying, “The passion fans can have for something they loved never ceases to amaze and humble me.”

And while you’re looking back at Star Wars Galaxies, why not read our own Larry’s favorite memory from that game?

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Identity’s town module — with player housing — is about ready to go live

While the idea of a mere “town square” taking up the total landscape for an upcoming MMO test might seem small, that’s only the case if the game in question isn’t Identity. If it is, then you should expect a huge amount of detail and content packed into this “social gameplay module.”

Part of that content is player housing, which will initially take the form of purchasable apartments. The team is currently putting the finishing touches on the housing system (at least for this version), promising players that they will be able to tour all of the apartment types before they make a decision to buy.

Identity has raised $1.26 million to date from 28,152 backers. These are pretty patient backers, too, since the promised town square module has been repeatedly delayed. Check out some housing goodness below!

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Overwatch League gets ESPN and Disney XD television contract

Count this as a huge victory for Blizzard’s attempt to legitimize and popularize its fledgling Overwatch League.

The studio announced this week that it has signed a deal with both ESPN and Disney XD to exclusively televise Overwatch League games for the next two years. The coverage began yesterday with the League’s first season playoffs and will continue through the grand finals later this month. In fact, Blizzard is touting the fact that Overwatch will be the first e-sports championship broadcast ever on ABC.

“We are pleased to partner with Activision Blizzard to bring Overwatch e-sports to our audience,” said Disney XD Senior Vice President Marc Buhaj. “The Blizzard team has created a genre-leading esport and a premium professional franchise system in the Overwatch League. We are kicking off the agreement by showcasing the inaugural season playoffs and Grand Finals live across our linear footprint. Together with our telecast partners at ESPN, we look forward to growing a legion of new Overwatch fans across the next two years.”

Source: Press release

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