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

Eternal Crusade expands battle maps to 64 players, introduces stronghold mode

To war! To victory! To patching!

The battle cry has gone out for Eternal Crusade founders, who can now download and try out the game’s fifteenth patch. There are two significant changes with this update: the addition of a stronghold game mode (featuring the Imperial Fortress Harkus) and the increase of map capacities to 64 players. The patch also throws in a couple of new weapons, a UI overhaul, and new voiceovers.

Stronghold mode will feature two sides, attackers and defenders. If attackers can take all of the capture points by the end of the timer, they win; otherwise the defenders emerge victorious. Defenders only have a limited number of lives to compensate for the advantage of hunkering down in a fortress.

The team warned players that the patch was put together quickly and is “rough around the edges,” so if you’re trying it out, expect some issues and frequent hotfixes.

Source: Patch notes

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon lays the foundation for player testing

Darkfall’s Rise of Agon reboot spent the last week prepping the servers for the game’s eventual player test, according to a new developer diary. Perhaps setting up a balanced server configuration doesn’t sound exciting to you, but rest assured that it’s quite important if you want to enjoy the game in the future.

“Now it’s a matter of getting the development tools into the right hands, ensuring AI is functioning across the board, and creating an optimal environment for play testing,” the team reported. “Once we have both player quest and clan systems up and running the game will be very close to where it was at when it shutdown in late 2012.”

The team also reported that it’s improving the website, making a list of all bugs from the original version that need to be addressed, and reviewing all of the materials that Aventurine sent its way.

Source: Dev diary

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Heretics storm into Albion Online

Albion Online is beefing up its PvE game with this month’s Cador update. If you’ve been following this title for any length of time, then no doubt you’ve noticed that its patches are downright huge — and Cador is no exception.

Cador begins with the addition of the Heretic faction, which will show up in new Heretic-themed dungeons overseen by dark masters. Another big change with the update is Albion Online’s new death mechanic, which allows players who run out of health a chance to get back on their feet before dying for good. Armor has been recategorized, a fame bonus mechanic has been introduced, and over 25 new abilities have been added to the game.

Sandbox Interactive said that Cador’s progress will allow the team to focus on adding more ability choices to weapons and lays the groundwork for the upcoming PvP reputation system. Patch notes? Oh yeah, we got ’em, so pour over all of the goodness here and let us know how the game is going if you’re in the test right now!

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PSA: ArcheAge is giving away five days of patron time this weekend

Psst! Hey kid, want some free… game time? Sure you do! All the hip cats are doing it, and you can get your first taste for nothing. Of course, after that it’s going to cost you!

Your MMO freebie this week is five free days of patron game time in ArcheAge. Just log onto the game sometime between March 24th and the 29th, and Trion Worlds will add that five days of premium time to your account. Patron access includes the ability to own land in the game, enjoy a larger labor pool, and snag five loyalty tokens every day that it’s active.

ArcheAge recently made the news for its renewed attempts to crack down on rampant cheaters in the game, including rewarding players who have stayed out of trouble to date.

Source: ArcheAge

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Allods promises patch by the end of March, announces collector’s edition

Is it strange for an MMO to be coming out with a collector’s edition years after its launch? Allods Online doesn’t think so, apparently, as the free-to-play title announced the details of its new collector’s edition set that’s coinciding with the release of Update 7.0: New Order.

The digital collector’s edition, priced at around $50.28, includes two pets, a uniform, premium currency, and various consumable buffs. Allods Online is also selling a starter pack for $16.75 that comes with a pet and a handful of the aforementioned consumables.

Whether or not the playerbase bites at the lure of these packs, Allods Online will be treating everyone to Update 7.0 on March 31st. The team’s been talking up this patch for a while now which will contain a reworking of its class roster, new role aspects, a reforging system, a change to its lockbox mechanics, more quests, and a level cap increase to 70. New Order will be broken up into four mini-seasons, so expect to hear more about it in the coming months.

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Infinite Arms lets you play with toys and video games at the same time

Do you play video games? Well, of course you do, unless you’re incredibly lost on the internet right now. But do you — and be honest here — still collect and play with fully articulated and poseable action figures? If it’s “yes” to both, then Infinite Arms is gunning your way.

Infinite Arms is an upcoming free-to-play mobile title that wants players to fiddle with customizable toys that interact with the game via bluetooth. Also, there are six-player arenas and biweekly episodic updates to keep all types interested.

The title is attempting to differentiate itself from other game/toy hybrids with something it calls games-to-life: “The concept behind games-to-life is to bring characters and universes of beloved games into the real world so that fans can interact with them in new and exciting ways.” Think tabletop wargaming networked, perhaps. Part of this process is apparently being able to pump out new toys to a waiting audience much faster than normal.

Still confused? It’s a strange game, no doubt. Maybe the following trailer will help to clear things up.

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Perfect Ten: Most notable console MMORPGs to date

It used to be that hunting for a console MMORPG was one of the most fruitless endeavors known to gamers. The PC was where it was at, dating all the way back to the birth of MUDs back in the 1980s. For decades, console gamers could only look on in envy as their PC comrades enjoyed persistent worlds, massive multiplayer, and online events.

The scene, of course, has radically changed, particularly over the past five years. Now studios are downright eager to tap into the console market with their online titles, and in some cases these MMOs have proven to be much more successful on those platforms than their PC version counterparts.

While a full list of every console MMO to date would far exceed a top 10 list, I thought it was worthy of drawing out the most notable titles that have existed to date on video game consoles. Some of these are long extinguished, some are famous disappintments, while others are flourishing even today. What would you pick for this list? Let us know in the comments!

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EverQuest II previews the desolate isle of Zek

EverQuest II players may not have heard much about the island of Zek, but that’s for a good reason: The small landmass was all but uninhabited until recently, the unfortunate fallout of an ancient war. However, Zek will reopen for business next month with the release of GU 100, and Daybreak has a short preview for high-level players looking for a new challenge.

Zek has been the staging ground for many battles and incursions in the past, and when it opens its borders to players, it will be in the midst of a new struggle. A band of orcs is trying to take over the entire island, which means stomping out the last remnant of the dying forest. Players will take up the cause of the woods and its defenders when they arrive.

GU 100 is scheduled to arrive on April 28th but will be available only for subscribers. The entire update is aimed at high-level characters.

Source: EverQuest II

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Jukebox Heroes: MMO tracks to make your heart happy

Music doesn’t just speak to emotion; it often evokes it, conjuring it out of thin air with notes and tones and those squiggly lines on the staff that always confused me in band. If you don’t like being emotionally manipulated, you probably should never listen to music, since it is downright underhanded in tweaking how you feel at the moment. Of course, once you’re aware of it — and you all are — you can use that manipulation to your benefit by altering or enhancing your mood at will.

Maybe it’s the most innocent drug of them all: Just pop a music pill and wash it down with a little boogie. Feeling down? Here’s a tune to perk you up! Need some energy to get going? This track has 180 bpm of pure adrenaline! Want to write some college freshman poetry? Put on an album that distills inky depression into a vortex of black notes.

While I do like a wide range of emotional compositions, I am certainly partial to MMO tracks that positively exude unabashed joy. Today, in no particular order, I’ve put together a playlist for you of six MMO songs that make your heart happy.

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Chinese publisher Youzu snaps up Bigpoint

Free-to-play operator Bigpoint looks to be the latest company to be acquired by a foreign firm. Games Industry reports that a deal is ready to go through next month that will see Germany-based Bigpoint bought out by China publisher Youzu Interactive.

The deal, which includes the purchase of $89.7 million in stock, won’t be the end of Bigpoint but will see the merger of the two companies become a force for future game offerings. “With the support of Youzu, we will be able to further invest in our talent, the amazing experiences they create, and the reach of our games,” said Bigpoint CEO Khaled Helioui.

Bigpoint owns and operates a large library of titles, including Drakensang Online, Battlestar Galactica Online, and Dino Storm. The company also has a Game of Thrones MMO that’s been in the works for a while. Back in 2011, the company was valued at $600 million.

Source: Games Industry. Thanks to Winterskorn for the tip!

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Echo of Soul adds new continent, increases level cap

Nay, thine eyes hath not deceived thee: We are indeed going to talk about Echo of Soul today. It’s been a long time indeed since we’ve heard much from this fantasy title, but at least the word is positive. Echo of Soul released its second content update yesterday, Wrath of the Goddess, and there’s a lot to digest in it.

The tentpole additions for this update are an increase of the level cap to 70 and the brand-new continent of Kharath. This landmass is about two-thirds of the size of the original game’s continent and showcases an empire that’s economically divided into several castes.

Also with this patch, Echo of Soul added several dungeons, threw in some new ultimate skills, and included a pair of high-level hunting grounds. Players will discover that there were some resets that happened with all of the changes, most notably to level 50 soul skill XP and all learned attributes. It’s a rather large update, so check out all of the details in the patch notes.

Source: Patch notes

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Chronicle: RuneScape Legends transitions into open beta

Advertising itself as having “no mana, no minions, and definitely no random number generation,” Chronicle: RuneScape Legends offers players a different kind of digital card game. The best part? You can play it right now, thanks to its release into the waters of open beta testing.

The card game spin-off from the popular MMO RuneScape offers both PvP and PvE encounters and seeks to “shake up the world of competitive card games.” The open beta launch also introduced the dungeoneering draft mode, and Jagex has promised that old-school RuneScape content was coming next month. Chronicle’s closed beta testing covered over 250,000 games played.

You can check out some of Chronicle’s screenshots as well as its open beta trailer below.

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Oculus Rift launches next week, could turn your room into a VR chamber

Next Monday, virtual reality will take another step from hypothetical discussion topic to actual reality with the launch of the Oculus Rift. The VR headset will be coming out on March 28th with a 30-title line-up, including Elite Dangerous, EVE Valkyrie, and EVE Gunjack. The hardware is priced at $599.

As players attempt to wrap their heads around the virtual reality concept and what it could mean for the future of games, another possibility for the Rift rears its head: turning your room into a VR chamber. The second wave of Oculus Rifts will include an additional sensor that will track users’ physical location, allowing for the option of moving around a room as part of the interactive experience.

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