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

Age of Conan adds a bear mount and quest line for seventh anniversary

It’s shaping up to be one doozy of a month for Age of Conan as the title celebrates its seventh birthday. In the May newsletter, developer Sezmra gave an overview of what players should expect when the event arrives.

The centerpiece of the seventh anniversary will be the addition of a new questline for one to three players levels 20 and higher. The story will take place through four areas and take players to the Blue Mountains and Vanaheim to stop an invasion from the north.

In addition, there will be a rotating series of side quests, tons of rewards, and for the first time ever in Age of Conan, the opportunity to obtain a bear mount. “The vision of charging into battle atop a raging bear mount is going to be pretty astonishing!” the letter gushes.

Source: Monthly newsletter. Thanks to Kieran and Jon for the tip!


Skyforge dares you to beat its anomalies

One thing is for certain: When it releases, Skyforge will not be lacking in its variety of content. Today, the dev team posted a diary about yet another kind of challenge called anomalies.

Anomalies are special open-world areas that require a full five-person group to tackle. The goal is to reach various ether resonators, each of which will be guarded by fierce creatures. Killing the creatures and completing quests will charge the resonator, resulting in larger reward payouts when they’re finally reached.

At the center of each anomaly is a subterranean temple, where the strongest resonators, most dangerous monsters, and most lucrative rewards are found. To get to the resonator, players will need to use the Tactical Sense stat to cut through enemy defenses.

Source: Skyforge


Dofus overhauls creaky crafting system

There are revamps and then there are revamps, if you know what we mean. Dofus is clearly not messing around when it announced that it will be overhauling its vital but aging crafting system with the next big update.

Crafting is quite important to Dofus, as most of the game’s items are made by players. The new system coming in 2.29 roots up everything that wasn’t working, whips it into shape, and adds a layer of better functionality on top.

The list of the changes is almost too long to mention, but we can highlight a few for you. The new system will allow every character to start off with every profession and learn them all. Tools will no longer be needed, many crafting professions will be merged, and crafting will now level up to 200 (from the current cap of 100).

Source: Improvements to the professions system. Thanks to Ben for the tip!


Survarium reverses its disastrous server merge

Even though they may be feared, server merges are a fact of life in many MMOs. One such merge came this past April in Survarium, in which the North American and European servers were smooshed together to better consolidate the population and provide faster matchmaking. However good the intentions, the end result has cheesed off many North American players.

As such, Vostok Games apologized and said that it will be reversing its decision by un-merging the servers to restore them to their former region-bound status.

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Nexon revenues rise in early 2015

After reading through Nexon’s financial report for Q1 2015, one can imagine the company skipping along while whistling a merry tune. Yes, it’s generally good news for the MMO publisher, as Nexon’s revenues are up 9% year-over-year and looking strong almost across the entire board. While revenue was down in Japan, it rose higher in North America during this period.

The company attributes its performance to rebounding titles (such as Dungeon & Fighter), the launch of DomiNations (an empire builder), and the Lunar New Year period. Nexon’s primary source of revenue is from PC games although its mobile division is accounting for around 16% of income. It’s also noteworthy just how much Nexon depends on Asia for its revenue: China (44%), Korea (39%), and Japan (11%) account for a vast majority, while North America, Europe, and other markets make up only a paltry 6%.

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Perfect Ten: Future MMOs that I can’t wait to play

I imagine that most of us have a future bucket list of MMOs that we wish would get here already. It wasn’t but a couple of years ago that I was salivating over several major up-and-coming releases, including Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, and WildStar. My list of most-anticipated never seemed to get smaller, it seemed.

Flash-forward to 2015 and it feels as though we’re in a different era all of the sudden. Games are still being made, to be sure, but there seems like there are fewer blockbuster-wannabes on the horizon. I’m really happy playing what we already have, although I miss that feeling of “ooh, I can’t WAIT!” that used to drive my excitement.

Even so, there are several titles in development that have my attention to varying degrees. Maybe some of these aren’t the big-budget extravaganzas I was used to and maybe a couple are long shots, but as it stands, here are 10 future MMOs I can’t wait to play.

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Heroes of the Storm World Championship coming to BlizzCon

With the well-fought Heroes of the Dorm tournament out of the way, Blizzard is preparing an even larger community event for Heroes of the Storm that leads straight into this November’s BlizzCon.

The Heroes of the Storm World Championship will begin this summer across five major regions and culminate in an eight-team battle at the convention. Sign-ups for qualifiers are either already live or coming soon, depending on the region. The studio has shelled out a $1.2 million prize pool for the event, out of which $200,000 will go to the winning team.

Heroes of the Storm is on the verge of releasing, with June 2nd set as its official launch date.


World of Warcraft goes on the offensive against bots

World of Warcraft botters, beware: Blizzard is coming after you hard. The studio said yesterday that it has leveled the banhammer against several accounts — perhaps as many as 100,000 for up to six months — using botting software.

The notice of the action was short and to the point: “We’ve recently taken action against a large number of World of Warcraft accounts that were found to be using third-party programs that automate gameplay, known as ‘bots.’ We’re committed to providing an equal and fair playing field for everyone in World of Warcraft, and will continue to take action against those found in violation of our Terms of Use. Cheating of any form will not be tolerated.”


The Repopulation adds diplomacy minigame with new patch

Wait, there are other ways to resolve conflict with in-game NPCs than to stab large holes in their torsos? The Repopulation seems to think so, as the sci-fi sandbox has added a new diplomacy minigame with today’s 15.4.1 patch.

This new system allows you to interact with “intelligent” characters and use various skills such as diplomacy, intimidation, or entertainment to try to get them to see things your way. According to the patch notes, “The minigames offered are selected based on the NPCs current moods, dilemmas, their profession or other elements. Players will be given multiple choice options to take, and a roll will be made against the appropriate skill.”

The patch adds a slew of improvements and additions, including feature upgrades to the UI, more options for player cities, changes to the combat system, a hacking minigame, and the Wailing Chasm dungeon for groups and raids.

Source: Patch notes


Raph Koster used MMO design to help revitalize a bar trivia game

You might know Raph Koster from his MMO legacy as a designer on Ultima Online or Star Wars Galaxies, or perhaps from his current role on the Crowfall team. But what about Buzzfeed Trivia?

Polygon has a fascinating read on how Koster was brought in to update a bar trivia game after it had started to decline in popularity. After playing and observing the game, he noted that players weren’t able to get better at trivia games, unlike an increase in skill that comes with playing a lot of, say, League of Legends. So he said that he needed to change it up so that everyone could feel useful: “We needed to give the players who weren’t necessarily great at trivia several ways to be good at the game, without necessarily being great at trivia.”
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Rodinia War melds strategy and fantasy action

What flavors go well together? Peanut butter and chocolate, obviously. Sarcasm and stand-up comedians. Mario and mushrooms. And now, apparently, builder games and MMORPGs.

This mash-up is the basis for Rodinia War, a Korean browser-based title that is half fantasy kingdom building and half traditional MMO. It bills itself as “the world’s first web strategy RPG game,” although you might want to take that claim with a giant grain of salt. In it, players build up a plot of land in an isometric view, send out armies to conquer new territories, and get their hands dirty with some one-on-one fights.

Rodinia War went into closed beta testing earlier this month. We’ve got the trailer for you after the break.

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Heroes of the Storm devs talk Kael’Thas and character design

Wondering how Blizzard’s developers choose from the studio’s incredible roster of characters and then crafted those selections into Heroes of the Storm’s champions? Then you might want to check out this new AMA on Reddit in which two of the MOBA’s devs talked about the process of bringing a new hero to the game, such as the recent Kael’Thas Sunstrider.

“All the while, we balance, lightly at first while things are coalescing together, then much more heavily as we near release,” the devs wrote. “Does the character FEEL overpowered while not actually BEING overpowered? Are some talents obviously better for the same purpose?”

They also addressed the recent hefty nerfs to Diablo and ETC on the test server, saying that these were design changes long in coming so that both characters would have more viable talent builds.


Neverwinter cracks 1.6M players on Xbox One

If you’re looking for Neverwinter’s true success story, it might not be on the PC at all. Cryptic Studios announced today that ever since launching on the Xbox One, Neverwinter has racked up an impressive 1.6 million players on the console. Those players have whipped up 2.3 million characters and slayed over a billion bad guys, leaving the Union of Nefarious Workers reeling and asking for a break, already.

To keep the ball rolling, the studio said that it has five major content updates planned for 2015. The Xbox One version is behind the curve compared to the PC edition, as modules such as Elemental Evil are still winding their way to release on the console.

Source: Cryptic press release


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