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    Oct 21st, 2012 at 22:11:07     -    Team Fortress 2 (PC)

    With all of the discussion of balance in class today, I figured what better game to review than Team Fortress 2 for my eighth game log? Team Fortress 2 is a class based first person shooter in which there are many different game modes with various different objects, all of which are team oriented. Team Fortress 2 also has many collectable items (and hats) which change the mechanics of the various characters. For the purposes of this game log, since the study of balance in tf2 is the focus, I will be playing the push the cart game mode on an only-vanilla items server. An only-vanilla item server means that the server only allows for items that were released with the initial build of the game to be used. The reasoning for this is because I and many others believe that the game was most balanced with just these items.
    The game’s class system is the shear definition of balance. There are nine classes: Scout, Pyro, Soldier, Medic, Engineer, Demoman, Sniper, Spy, and Heavy. The Scout is an extremely fast but vulnerable class whom uses his insane movement speed to deliver large damage at short distances. This class usually tries to assassinate squishy and vulnerable targets such as the Sniper. The Heavy class on the other hand, is an extremely slow class whom is exceptionally tanky. This class starts with three times more health than the scout does, and is a high damaging force at close range. He usually serves as his teams meat shield, standing directly next to the cart when pushing the objective. This class is most easily killed by the enemy spy, whom can cloak and disguise himself to get in close proximity for instant-killing backstabs. This class is even more vulnerable than the scout, and is countered by the Pyro, whose flames can reveal stealth. Without further need to go into detail about every class, you should notice that in every circumstance one class is countered by another, essentially rock, paper, scissors. This conceptually balances the game as the teams whom are most effectively using their classes to target their ideal target (ie Pyro kills Spy) will almost always win the game. The dominant strategy in this game is shear teamwork, which is as it should be. Valve has done an astoundingly excellent job balancing this game and it is definitely worth the try!

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    Oct 14th, 2012 at 22:01:43     -    Trine 2 (PC)

    For gamelog #7, I’m deciding to pick up where I left off prior on my platformer rampage. I actually preordered Trine 2 after loving the first Trine ages ago, but didn’t have the chance to play it until just recently. In Trine 2, you play as one of three adventurers: an archer, a soldier, and a wizard. At any time during gameplay, you can transform between these various identities to the one whom which best would help aid you depending on the obstacles and enemies present in the level. Each of the three classes/avatars has different mechanics which constitute different necessary in game maneuvers for puzzle solving. The soldier is a large, tanky, fat man. He has a giant shield which can be used to block incoming projectiles and additionally a giant hammer he can use to smash through volatile terrain. The archer has a grappling hook which can be used to swing across and reach high to great distances. The wizard has levitating powers which he can use to move terrain to solve puzzles. The wizard can also craft boxes and planks out of thin air which have many uses. Every character class has a skill chart and their various abilities can be leveled up, in addition to new ones being unlocked. It is important to note that every time the player changes form to another class, the new character takes the exact location of the old character. In other words, if the soldier can’t reach a high up ledge, the player can transform into an archer, grapple up the ledge, and then transform back into a soldier.

    Gameplay in Trine 2 is exceptionally fun and innovative. The puzzles are more skill based then they are true puzzles you need to sit down and think a while to solve. This is kind of nice in the sense that it keeps relatively fast-paced game flow. Gameplay is also significantly more fun if you play with three other friends in co-op mode, in which each of you are all playing a class at the same time. Trine has a lot to offer and comes out looking pretty strong in the realm of the indie game world. Not to mention, the game is absolutely gorgeous. I wish to give the artist one swell high-five they’d never forget.

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    Oct 8th, 2012 at 01:05:27     -    Magicka (PC)

    For my 6th gamelog, I chose to continue playing a game of the top-down MOBA genre after enjoying League of Legends. I decided to give a very popular game on Steam called Magicka a try. Magicka can be played in single player, cooperative mode against AI, and even has a player versus player mode (which I didn’t try). For my playthrough, I chose to play adventure mode with one other friend in cooperative mode. Immediately I was overtaken by the game’s hilarious storyline. There are many subtle references to other media/memes player will enjoy noticing, in addition to a hilarious story narrator Vlad (who is NOT a vampire!). The game has a much appreciated “figure-it-out-yourself” tutorial, allowing new players to experiment with the spell combination mechanic which is the core mechanic and feature of the game. You use combinations of eight different elements and energy to conjure various spells which can be used to kill enemies and venture across the map. For instance, say there is a giant body of water you must cross as an obstacle, you will discover that you can use the ice elemental spell to freeze the water temporarily and use it was navigable terrain. The neatest part about the game is that despite actual spellbook spells, you have complete spell casting power at the very start of the game. However, new players won’t use powerful combos until later in the game because virtually all of the spell-casting is skill based and learned through playing experience. Even more interesting, there are combos you can do specifically with a partner in cooperative mode. For example, you can merge two laser beam spell of the same element together to create one giant destructive laser. This makes cooperative synergy feel powerful and rewarding. Overall, the game’s storyline and innovative play style made for an extremely enjoyable experience, and my only complaint is that the game was too short. There is loads of DLC available, but available for loads of additional money I shouldn't be spending!

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    Oct 1st, 2012 at 22:23:59     -    League of Legends (PC)

    Finally taking a break from puzzle – platformers, this week I thought I’d review one of my personal favorite games which I’ve played for almost a year now: League of Legends. This is a free to play game of the MOBA genre, which is based of the popular Warcraft 3 Mod DotA. In League of Legends, the goal is to destroy the opponents’ nexus, which is essentially a final game-ending objective at the end of many sub – objective turrets. Players control powerful characters called champions in a 5v5 match, whom become more powerful by killing NPC creeps or by killing enemy champions. The game for many people is much more about mechanics than it is narrative, although each champion has its own lore and backstory if a player seeks the more narrative aspect of the game.

    As far as type of play is concerned, this game appeals most to Agon (competitive play) as this game is a widely play e-sport, making it extremely competitive. Competitions for this game are frequently streamed on websites such as twitch.tv and often have competitions in which real world prize money is available. In fact very soon there is a massive tournament concluding the end of Season 2 being hosted in California with a million dollar prize pool. The sheer strategy and skill required to play League of Legends makes this uprising genre of an “e sport” possible as it is very entertaining and intriguing to watch.

    League of Legends will continue to thrive in popularity to due it’s own adaption of the free-to-play model many online games are taking advantage of now. The game is completely free to play and those who spend real money on the game have no mechanical advantage over one another during gameplay, however real money may buy used to purchase aesthetic skins for champions, which don’t change their functionality but rather just remodel them. This is a great way to draw a large base of players in for the Agon play style, but at the same time provide a business model for the game. I hope Riot continues to develop and maintain League of Legends so that it keeps thriving as it is currently.

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    Entries written to date: 8
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Closure (PC)Playing
    2League of Legends (PC)Playing
    3Limbo (PC)Playing
    4Magicka (PC)Playing
    5Team Fortress 2 (PC)Playing
    6The Binding of Isaac (PC)Playing
    7Trine 2 (PC)Playing
    8Trine 2 (PC)Playing
    9VVVVVV (PC)Playing

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