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

Global Chat: Is it worth your time to alpha test MMOs?

Taugrim raises a very interesting question this week on his blog. Namely, is it really worth your time to alpha test MMOs these days? For him, at least, fickle players and unresponsive developers don’t make it a beneficial activity.

“A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs,” he said. “And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.”

If you’ve been burned one too many times by alpha, beta, and early access testing, perhaps you can relate. Read on for more essays from the MMO blogosphere, and don’t forget to check out this month’s exciting Blaugust Reborn event that’s raging across blogs!

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No, World of Warcraft’s warfronts won’t go live with Battle for Azeroth

One of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s key features won’t go live when the expansion launches this coming week. Blizzard announced players are going to have to wait a while to experience Battle for Stromgarde.

“Similar to other types of endgame content such as raids and rated PvP, the Battle for Stromgarde will not be immediately available at launch,” the studio said. “Instead, it’ll open a few weeks later.”

Blizzard went on to explain how the Horde and Alliance will take turns controlling the keep and assaulting it, offering players on both sides a rotation for the PvE scenario. Warfronts remain one of the lesser understood new systems in this expansion despite Blizzard hyping them strongly during last year’s Battle for Azeroth reveal.

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Bless compensates for downtime, is 67% off this weekend

Neowiz is decompressing from the rollout of this past week’s Assassin update in Bless, which went… more or less OK. The studio said that it will be creating more instances of the Siege of Castra to accommodate the high demand for the battle. The studio also apologized for the extended downtime this past week and compensated players with 500 Lumena for the inconvenience.

“We also heard your feedback that you didn’t like runes/spirits breaking,” Neowiz added. “As such, we plan to include an update in the near future so that runes/spirits no longer break in Peninsular War or Siege of Castra.”

The title is currently a whopping 67% off on Steam early access, allowing players to pick it up for just $9.89 through August 13th.

Source: Steam

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The Daily Grind: Where have you gotten bogged down in MMO play?

Probably one of my biggest bugaboos (that’s a technical term) in MMO play is when I get bogged down trying to progress through a certain point in the game. Maybe it’s a difficult to navigate zone or a frustratingly tough area, but there’s nothing that kills my enthusiasm to log in than when I’m making slow-to-no progress in my gaming sessions.

Recently I had to make a concerted effort to push myself through Northern Mirkwood in Lord of the Rings Online. While it was spot-on with its dark, eerie atmosphere, the visual difficulties coupled with the challenging terrain made questing a plodding affair. At least I got out and saw the daylight again!

Where have you gotten bogged down in MMO play? Have you ever hit a wall that was difficult to pass? Did you make it through or just give up?

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EVE Online overhauls a half-dozen ships and improves the starter experience

You notice how other studios, rather than scrambling away from next Tuesday’s World of Warcraft expansion release, seem to be trying to compete with it in some way? EVE Online is certainly not the only MMO that’s pushing out alternative entertainment for the larger community. The August release for EVE should improve the game overall with some spiffy ship redesigns, an update to the tutorial, and client performance.

Six iconic ships — the Navitas, Thalia, Tayra, Bustard, Badger, and Crane — are all slated for visual reworks when the patch lands on August 14th. These are all getting better models, textures, visual effects, and animations, so the ship you end up with next Tuesday may seem like a completely new experience.

And speaking of new player experiences: “This update focuses on delivering a new basic starter site for rookie pilots, as well as combat challenges displayed via The Agency and a new Agency UI for training tasks. These challenges are repeatable, but new pilots will only be rewarded with skills upon first completion as part of the rookie orientation process.”

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Fallout 76 signs on Inon Zur for another musical tour of duty in the wasteland

It’s hard to imagine a Fallout game these days without the haunting and beautiful score of video game composer Inon Zur. Fortunately, players this fall won’t have to fret about Zur’s work being absent from the online Fallout 76.

“Thrilled to finally reveal that, yes, I am scoring Fallout 76!” Zur posted on Twitter. “It’s been an amazing journey collaborating with Bethesda Studios on the biggest Fallout game yet and I can’t wait to share the new music with you.”

Variety has an exclusive interview with the composer. Zur said that this will be one of his “most unique scores to date” that involves “sophisticated and emotional” tracks as players explore the post-apocalyptic landscape of West Virginia.

This will be Zur’s fifth soundtrack for the long-running franchise after Fallout Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Fallout 4.

Source: Variety

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League of Legends Lead Designer Ghostcrawler moves to an unnamed project

Let’s play connect-the-dots today and see if we can see a picture forming over at Riot Games, shall we? Back in July, its co-founder dropped a befuddling tease about the studio creating an MMO, which was then somewhat refuted a week later. Then the studio continued to talk way too much about MMOs to anyone who would listen.

Now there’s a new dot in the shape of Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, who announced that he’s leaving the League of Legends team to work on one or more projects in development. One of these couldn’t possibly be an MMO that need the help of a former World of Warcraft dev… could it?

“My new position at Riot is head of creative development,” Street said. “We’ve been up front that we want to put the ‘s’ in Riot Games, and I am helping with that effort. In addition, we have been taking Runeterra as a world more seriously, as you’ve probably realized with the release of the Ryze CG and the world map.”

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City of Titans explains costume unlocking

A recent post by the City of Titans team in which it briefly mentioned “costume unlocks” for the upcoming superhero MMO got the community’s full interest. As such, the team followed that post up with a newer one discussing how costume unlocking is going to work when the game goes live.

The team stressed that a “majority” of costume and customization options are going to be available to everyone from the start. But the remainder will require unlocking, either from direct microtransaction purchases or through gameplay. And yes, every cash shop item can be obtained in-game through some effort.

“Items unlocked through gameplay will work a little differently,” the dev team explained. “Unlocked assets will only be available to the character that unlocked it, so if you want it for multiple characters you’ll have to earn it multiple times. Some items will come as rewards for completing storylines while others will be available just by exploring the world. Some will be easier to get and some will be harder, but all of them can be acquired through in-game effort alone.”

Source: City of Titans. Thanks Ali!

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World of Warcraft makes some big last-minute class adjustments before Battle for Azeroth

As the final few days count down before Battle for Azeroth drops, World of Warcraft’s developers are making some significant last-minute class adjustments to make sure that players will be in a good place at level 120.

This class change hotfix is mostly made up of buffs — mostly. Many builds, such as Frost Death Knights, Beast Master Hunters, Marksman Hunters, Holy Priests, Elemental Shamans, Feral Druids, and Demonology Warlocks are getting across-the-board increases to their damage output. There are a few nerfs as well, most notably to Assassination Rogues, but they are not nearly as extensive. Many PvP tweaks are being made as well.

And if you’re still hot and bothered over the recent storyline, you may want to listen to this recent interview with former Blizzard lead Chris Metzen, who discusses the negative reaction to the War of Thorns storyline and the harrassment of the writing staff.

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Red Dead Redemption 2’s gameplay video makes the west look like an activity-packed theme park

Considering that Wild West Online is a wild dud these days, players looking for multiplayer western action are turning their eyes to Red Dead Redemption 2. The game is coming out for consoles on October 26th, but Rockstar Games continues to be cagey as to whether or not the open-world title will make an appearance (as is rumored) on PC.

One thing we do know a bit more about the game this week is how it will look and play, thanks to a six-minute gameplay video that highlights the various activities and features that this highly anticipated sequel will contain. Polygon says it’s impossible for the studio to give a real feel for the Red Dead Redemption experience in a series of quick video clips, so take this with a grain of salt.

Rockstar did confirm that it will be supporting the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro with this fall release, in case you have the best console hardware the market has to offer.

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TERA soars high with next week’s gloomy dragons and flight missions

Hope you don’t have plans for next Tuesday, because TERA is bringing its big sky guns to bear for a major content update.

The Guardians of the Sky patch is going live on August 14th, taking to the sky with some wicked awesome flying dragon mounts. These additional mounts, which come in both combat and transport versions, sound pretty cool: “Each of these dragons — Gloom, Dusk, and Storm — has some variety of HP/MP-restoration for you while you’re mounted, and the ‘combat’ versions also have passive skills that increase your Crit Power after you dismount, and ‘roar’ skills that increase your damage against monsters.”

And by jumping into the new Guardian Legion mode, players can enjoy a couple of different types of flight missions. There’s the orb-collecting Rhapsody of Wind and Fire mission, or the much more combat-centric Search and Destroy quest. Just ‘ware the sky whales!

Source: TERA

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The Overwatch Summer Games are back

You’ve been training for this moment all year long, and by “training” we mean “aggressively burping while sitting in your comfortable office chair.” You’re ready. You have the makings of a champion, so get out on the field and prove your mettle!

The Overwatch Summer Games have returned for another round, running from now through August 31st. In addition to the usual activities and rewards, there’s a new Busan Station Lúcioball map to enjoy this year and over 50 new items added to the game’s lootboxes.

Generally, it’s a good time to grab some limited-opportunity skins, especially if you like fighting in breezy summer attire.

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Battle royale hit Fortnite kicks off its beta on (some) Android devices

Llamas, shopping carts, burgers, and golf: It’s never a dull moment around Fortnite. And now the insanely popular battle royale game has a new platform to dominate with the official beta release on Android.

Starting today, Android users can join their PC and iOS friends by downloading the free-to-play PvP title on their tablets and phones. Actually, the release is somewhat limited, with the initial rollout being limited to Samsung Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 users right now. Additional Android devices will follow at a later date.

Fortnite does support crossplay and “cross-progression” between PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mac, PC, and iOS.

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