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

El Somni Quas draws upon classic Ultima Online for an old-school MMO experience

It’s interesting to see how players who have grown up under the influence of certain MMOs are now making their own games drawing from those experiences. For example, take a look at El Somni Quas, a new indie sandbox that is being created as an homage to Ultima Online.

El Somni Quas is being developed by a team of six Czech Republic players working in their free time to create a hardcore MMO that harkens back to the ruleset of a player-run Ultima Online shard. The title boasts free-for-all PvP with full corpse looting, meaningful achievements, maze-like dungeons, and “no disco-like lightning effects.” It’s using the Unigine and may be going into alpha testing in a year or so.

The El Somni Quas team is not shy about its ambitions, either: “The game is not for players used to [playing] mainstream online games. We are reviving the old-school gameplay system.”

[Source: El Somni Quas, Facebook, Keen Gamer]

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H1Z1 adds grouping system and zombified players this month

Your secret dream of becoming a zombie — yeah, we read your diary — will get a virtual assist from this month’s H1Z1 updates. The survival sandbox is finally making good on plans to gradually turn infected players into zombies.

According to the game’s early access roadmap, players have two major patches to anticipate in April. The first, arriving on the 16th, will add more Steam functionality, throwable weapons such as grenades, and a grouping system to help players team up.

Then on April 23rd, H1Z1 will patch in the ability to become infected and gradually transform into a zombie. This won’t be all bad, as infected players will get zombie night vision and player tracking. This update will also include first-person battle royale servers and drunk vision.

[Source: Roadmap]

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BlizzCon tickets go on sale this week

For many gamers, the hardest ticket to get this year is to November’s BlizzCon 2015, as you have to be fast and a little lucky on the draw to snag one when they go on sale. Consider this your heads-up then if you want to make the attempt: BlizzCon tickets are going on sale this week in two batches.

The first batch of tickets will be put up for sale for $199 each on Wednesday, April 15th at 10:00 p.m. EDT, with the second batch following on Saturday, April 18th at 1:00 p.m. EDT. If you can’t make one of those times, you could ask a friend to buy it for you and then transfer the ticket over to you. Fans have until August 14th to change the names associated with their ticket.

BlizzCon 2015 will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 6th and 7th.

[Source: BlizzCon]

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Could this algorithm detect a forum troll?

We’ve all known trolls who love to dwell in dank forum posts and shadowy comment sections, ready to spread ill will and spark flame wars just to see the world burn. But what if a tool could be devised to identify such miscreants before they could do much damage?

That is one possibility that has arisen from a new Cornell University project in which researchers studied online communities (including IGN) and created an algorithm that can predict which posters had the highest likelihood of being banned in the future. The algorithm isn’t perfect (it misclassifies one out of five users), but the team claims that it is able to spot a troll in as few as 10 posts.

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Take part in a flying raid with Icarus Online

Even if they share common lineage, MMOs must have a distinctive angle or face death by mediocrity. For the upcoming Icarus Online, that hook is flying combat — and lots of it.

Icarus Online is moving forward in Korea and Japan and features both ground and aerial combat. In fact, the title even boasts “flying raids,” which is a good indication that the flight aspect is more than a marketing gimmick.

The fantasy title is using the CryEngine 3 and is heading into open beta in Japan on April 16th. While the Korean version has a regional block, it’s uncertain whether Japan’s beta will too. You can check out the Japanese trailer for Icarus Online after the jump!

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DCUO returns to the Halls of Power with its next update

With DC Universe Online’s sped-up content delivery schedule, players fresh off of the munitions update now can look forward to a new hit of superhero juice with a return to the Halls of Power.

DCUO’s 14th episode, Halls of Power Part II, will take players to New Genesis for a slew of solo and group content. Apparently the nasty Darkseid is trying to gather up ancient artifacts while Granny Goodness is abducting both heroes and villains upon which to experiment. The update will contain daily solo bounty missions, new duos, the Fatal Exams four-player operation, the New Genesis Now eight-player operation, and an eight-player raid called Happiness Home.

Halls of Power Part II is slated to come out sometime “this spring.”

[Source: Daybreak press release]

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Shroud of the Avatar works on street signs as it preps Release 17

Even things as small and seemingly mundane as street signs can represent a lengthy undertaking in the MMO development process. Shroud of the Avatar devoted a section of its most recent newsletter to talk about how the team took suggestions for street names and the difficulty of adding them with their proper signage.

Shroud of the Avatar is preparing to unleash Release 17 on April 30th. In addition to its dev-added enhancements, it will host various community-run events, including a scavenger hunt and a play written and performed by players. Before that happens, however, you might want to watch the following post-mortem of Release 16 as well as a studio tour of Portalarium.

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Lord of the Rings Online announces 8th anniversary awards

Lord of the Rings Online turns — wow — eight years old this month, which means that the game is not only throwing an anniversary celebration, but distributing its annual batch of rewards based on how long a player has had a LOTRO account. However, only players who have a premium or VIP status are eligable for these presents.

The new eighth anniversary rewards include a portrait frame, hooded cloak, and fireworks. The anniversary festival will run from April 15th through the 28th. If you’re looking for a good anniversary guide, Nazgul Owen has you covered!

[Source: 8th anniversary page, festival guide]

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RIFT’s Echoes of Madness update arrives on April 15

RIFT players salivating for Update 3.2 won’t have much longer to go: Trion Worlds announced that Echoes of Madness will be launching on Wednesday, April 15th.

Update 3.2 will present a wide range of improvements, including an overhaul of the wardrobe, better instant adventures, and a reworking of the Hammerknell raid. Hammerknell won’t just be updated with 3.2, but will sport an instant adventure option for soloers who may not have been able to ogle the raid space previously.

[Source: RIFT]

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EverQuest II’s latest forum and Reddit drama

EverQuest II players concerned about alleged excessive forum moderation after a suspension of one of the community’s more prominent supporters and the studio focus on using Reddit as a communications platform were treated to an “open dialogue” yesterday by CM Radar X.

“Forum suspensions are never done on a whim and usually come with a fair bit of warning,” Radar X explained. “Any time one is issued, it is after a string of communication and in hopes that we open up a dialogue with the individual and reach an understanding of what our guidelines will allow.”

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One Shots: Early morning ride

It’s been a long tradition (from before my tenure) to use a black-and-white version of the first picture of the week for the header here at One Shots. It’s interesting to me to see how much a screenshot changes when the color is stripped from it; sometimes it becomes more interesting and sometimes you lose the lustre that color imbues.

This is my roundabout way of saying that today’s EverQuest II picture goes from being so-so to vibrant when you transition into the colorized version. Reader The Lurker says that he took this on during a sunrise ride: “Here I am heading to Qeynos early in the morning and taking a shortcut over the fields. Hopefully no angry farmer will see it and give chase — it’s a gamble!”

So what does it look like when our Massively OP interns get finished coloring inside of the lines? Let’s find out!

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The Game Archaeologist: Roleplaying dreams in Underlight

After years of digging into the field of classic MMOs, I know there aren’t too many undiscovered titles that haven’t been brought to my attention (even if I haven’t covered them all yet). But it was a plea on Reddit for a gamer asking for help to remember an older MMO that took place in a “shared dream world” that dredged up a single word: Underlight.

My ears perked up. My eyebrows raised. This… sounded interesting. To the Googlemobile!

I began my usual digging around, piecing together scraps of information that survived from those dark ages of the internet. What these scraps revealed was an MMO that clung to one overriding principle, to roleplay above all else. Even better, it somehow still survives even to this day. So what is Underlight? For that, we’re going to have to go back two decades.

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Champions Online leaves Cryptic North for Cryptic Studios

Big (but not bad) news for Champions Online: The superhero title is relocating along with its team back to its original development studio.

Senior Game Designer Randy Mosiondz said that the team is leaving Seattle’s Cryptic North and joining the rest of Cryptic Studios in Los Gatos, California with Mosiondz as the title’s lead. Champions Online left Cryptic Studios for Cryptic North in 2013, when the latter was fashioned from the former team and efforts of Pirates of the Burning Sea’s Flying Lab Software.

Mosiondz assauged fears on the forums by taking questions about the move from fans and said that the team is hard at work at Champions’ future: “We’ve already started work on some new costumes including the Variable Robot set and Steel Arachnid set from the earlier fan-submitted costume contest, and [are] planning new content updates.”

[Source: Announcement, forum thread. Thanks to Psi, Mjcbarnes, and ItsBrou for the tip!]

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