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

SkySaga alpha patch adds ‘fun, meaningful progression’

Players logging in to SkySaga this past week will have encountered a game that’s been changed and improved across the board (and hopefully for the better). The team completely replaced the UI, nixed the social hub in favor of the City of First Light, changed how health works in combat, added treasure amber rewards, made PvP available all of the time, introduced progressive combat challenges, included a perks stat system for weapons and armor, and made plenty of adjustments to crafting and the economy.

“Our main goal for Alpha 6 is to introduce game mechanics that allow for fun, meaningful progression,” the team posted. “Each realm will now become much more challenging in the harder adventures — but will feature weapons and armour that make the onslaught worthwhile!”

You can watch the Alpha 6 trailer after the break.

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Otherland adds Wood Isle zone, raises level cap

The 5Isle area of Otherland has grown significantly bigger this week with the addition of Wood Isle, a new area brimming with missions and challenges. The new forest zone includes 70 quests and plenty of dangers, with monsters lurking in the dark and a demonic threat.

November 27th’s patch also increased the level cap to 55 and tinkered with the combat system. “The developers have focused on improving combat by rebalancing the damage and healing system. Combat is now more challenging, strategical and enjoyable for all players,” the announcement stated.

Otherland is 50% off until December 1st on Steam.

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The Game Archaeologist: Ultima X Odyssey

I think any MMO veteran has a private list of prematurely canceled games that he or she deeply wishes had been completed and launched. I wish we lived in a world where Project Copernicus was a joyous fantasy world rather than a sour news story or where Interplay had free reign to make Fallout Online.

But perhaps one of the greatest “could have been’s” is also rarely discussed these days due to the passage of time: Ultima X Odyssey. The second proposed sequel to Ultima Online showed true promise, an intriguing morality system, and an art style that still holds up today. The more I’ve learned about it over the years, the more I mourn the fact that it died before it was ever born.

So what made this game so special? What are we missing today by not having it? Let’s take a trip back to the early part of the 2000s to discover this Ultima successor.

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The Daily Grind: What upcoming MMOs are on your to-play list?

The other day I got into a conversation with friends about which upcoming MMOs were catching our eye. While I have more than enough gaming on my plate right now, I am fairly sure that Devilian will get some of that time when it goes live, and I am being weirdly tempted by Tree of Savior of all things. Project Gorgon always remains on my list although I’m waiting for a beta edition to really jump into that game.

Blade and Soul and Black Desert appear to be two of the more hotly anticipated titles on the horizon, although I’ll wait to see if there’s a huge wave of positive personal testimony when they come out. I own Shroud of the Avatar, so whenever that comes out I’ll owe it to myself to get my money’s worth there. As for Star Citizen, I am firmly in the neutral wait-and-see camp.

What upcoming MMOs are on your to-play list?

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Massively OP’s holiday gift guide for Marvel Heroes & superhero MMO fans

If you’re a superhero fan or close to someone who is, you are certainly not lacking for options as to where to spend gobs of cash this holiday season. Between the movies, comics, TV shows, and (especially in our case) the games, superpowered entertainment is bursting to both thrill you and ask you for a minor financial donation.

Today I’m going to run you down a few ways that you could buy a present for that loved one (which includes you, because you’re so lovable) who is into superhero MMOs that ranges from the affordable to the rather pricey. From Marvel Heroes to DC Universe Online (and, um, those… other games?), here’s what I would recommend!

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Elite Dangerous: Horizons beta delayed until Monday

Elite Dangerous players have probably already noticed that the expected start of the Horizons beta didn’t happen on November 9th as planned. That’s because Frontier ran into a few snags and decided to postpone the beta until next Monday.

“We are very sorry about this, but it is not yet ready for a proper beta test because of some blocking issues,” CEO David Braben posted. “We are confident in the Monday 30th date as we already have the key components to fix the issues we are seeing.”

To take the sting out of the delay, Braben posted a sneak peek of a ship doing a very close fly-by of Europa and promised that players will be able to land on that moon in the expansion. Check it out after the break.

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Sphere 3 gets worldwide launch on December 2

Looking for a fresh new MMO to take you into the last month of the year? We humbly present to you Sphere 3, which has just announced a launch date of December 2nd.

The free-to-play fantasy title has two core attributes in its design: “hardcore” and “PvP.” Players won’t be coddled with a targeting system but are instead challenged to use skill and reflexes to dominate the battlefield. Sphere 3 promises hundreds of quests, castle sieges, and a happy-go-lucky storyline involving “political deceit, war atrocities and vile treachery.”

The developers paid special attention to making sure that Sphere 3 will run smoothly on a wide range of machines so that performance won’t be a factor in the action gameplay.

Source: Nikita Online press release. Thanks to Feodor for the tip!

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Tara Strong on voicing Marvel Heroes’ Magik

Marvel Heroes’ newest playable character has a very familiar voice actress behind her. Tara Strong, who has voiced characters in many cartoons and Star Wars: The Old Republic, returned to the superhero MMO to tackle a Russian accent for Magik. She previously lent her talents to the game for Squirrel Girl and Dagger.

In a new video released this week, Strong discusses what she’s learned about the character and how she tackled the role. “Magik’s voice has to be strong but not off-putting. She has to be likable,” Strong said. “She has a lot of different sides to her.”

You can check out the video after the break!

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Guild Wars 2 hints at WvW overhaul as WvW dev departs studio

A big revamp of Guild Wars 2’s world vs. world mode is in the works according to a Reddit post by Lead Developer Colin Johanson.

Johanson was responding to a query about possible Engineer legendaries, to which he said that the team has had bigger projects on its plate: “The reality is we need the bulk of our own internal engineers (coders!) to continue to focus on stuff like our major WvW overhaul right now we’ve been working on for over a year that’s much higher priority for the game overall.”

World vs. world has seen significant changes with Heart of Thorns, including a new map and a restructuring of its guild objectives system.

Source: Reddit. Thanks to Moo Milkpants for the tip!
As Massively OP commenter Dystopiq has pointed out, Johanson’s comments come just as ArenaNet’s WvW design lead, Devon Carter, departs the studio. “It’s generally the case that there will be no comments about internal stuff like this,” Carter wrote on Reddit. “For a variety of reasons, but, that’s just the reality of things. WvW will continue to be an important part of the game.”

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Jukebox Heroes: Ragnarok 2’s soundtrack

Game soundtracks like this are the reason why I scrounge outside of the well-known MMOs for hidden gems. As I’ve often said before, the quality (or popularity) of a game and its soundtrack aren’t always equal. So while Ragnarok 2 might not be the MMO on everyone’s lips these days, its soundtrack is certainly worthy of being poured into our ears.

While the original Ragnarok Online’s score is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition for me, the sequel is a treasure trove of delightful tracks and energetic melodies. Ragnarok 2’s score was composed by Yoko Kanno, who is well-known for her works in many anime projects including Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Bebop. She’s also had her fingers in Continent of the Ninth (C9), which now puts that game’s score on my to-listen list.

Whether you’ve played Ragnarok 2 or not, I hope you join me for this brief tour through its musical highlights!

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World of Warcraft is looking to fill key roles

It’s always a fascinating if tantalizing trip to head over to a studio’s job openings page and see what positions the company is trying to fill. Sometimes it can be an indication of future projects or of key developers moving around.

A peek at Blizzard’s career page shows that World of Warcraft has quite a few listings up right now, as befits a game of its size. However, the studio is most in need of a new lead producer, an art director, and an assistant art director.

Another “critical position” that Blizzard is looking to fill ASAP is for an art director on an unannounced Diablo project.

Source: Blizzard via MMORPG.com

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Check out Destiny’s legendary edition and refer-a-friend program

Do you have a friend who hasn’t gotten into Destiny but might be ripe for the converting? Bungie is hoping that you’ll persuade him or her to give it a try and is providing incentive for both parties with its refer-a-friend program.

By teaming up and going through quests in this program, everyone involved can earn several cosmetic rewards in the game. These include shaders, emblems, a mount, emotes, and sword skins. VG247 has a breakdown of what each of the rewards look like, if you’re looking for a non-PR perspective.

We’ve got the new refer-a-friend trailer after the break as well as a spot for the new legendary edition that is available to buy this holiday season.

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Trove throws a ‘block’ Friday patch

Hey, we don’t make the puns; we just report on them. Trove has indeed released its Block Friday patch in time for Thanksgiving here in the US, and players are gobbling it up.

In addition to several sales for the holiday, the patch includes the tools and ability for players to start creating their own custom battle arenas. Now, the full toolset isn’t available yet, nor will players be able to fight in the arenas until a future update, but it’s a good start for those wanting to make their own PvP pits.

The patch had a rougher-than-normal rollout, although everything seems to be fine now. You can check out a player video guide to the patch and its various goodies after the break.

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