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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:27:38     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    After getting much experience with Fox I am starting to grow more and more fond of him. Whether it is just mere-exposure or the fact that I like his play style, I am not sure, but it has led me to find more depth in one character than I thought there was. Fundamentally Fox is almost always faster than his opponents, so using his quick attacks is generally the best way to keep your foe off balance, while driving up his vulnerability to be KO’d. Besides those tactics Fox, and other characters, you will find have surprisingly strong moves that can be harder to pull off, but when well timed can be devastating in almost any situation. Fox displays this in his upward attack, where I found myself able to take out an unsuspecting person in one shot that was not at all prepared to dodge an attack. Also the smaller utility mechanics that each character has are fun to play around with and can be very powerful, like Fox’s reflecting shield. When carefully used (especially against Samus) you can send back her deadly fully charged bolt right back at her, generally with much surprise. This kind of randomness and unpredictability seems to be what success hinges on in the game. The less of a grasp your opponent has on what your next move might be, the more they are off balance, and the easier it is to deliver unmitigated damage.
    Of course also with any fighting game, evading and blocking becomes a greatly useful skill. Being able to roll and block allows you to easily get in attacks with ease – not to mention stopping any damage from hitting you. Unfortunately this can turn games into rolling and blocking wars, though the shield has a timer, and more experienced players will quickly jump on you and use the throw ability that cannot be blocked. All in all Super Smash showed me a new level of depth with these more thoughtful play tests. When you sit down and just focus on one character you really begin to understand the ins and outs of him, and even after all this time I still learn new things about the characters I play each session. Of course this is what makes Super Smash still one of my favorite games to play after all these years – it’s always fun and I always find something new.

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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 00:54:25     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    As an old avid Super Smash player, I felt like revisiting the game to get some more focused insights into it. For me it quickly became an instant classic, and it and Super Smash Melee are still to this day my favorite multiplayer fighting game. It’s seamless ability to allow four players to fight each other makes it practically perfect and very entertaining. Super Smash even has a good amount of variability in its choices for characters, ranging from the slower stronger characters, to the quick and small. There are four main character types in Super Smash. There are the characters like Pikachu, who are quick and small, good and evading, have weak attacks, but are susceptible to being KO’d very easily. There are characters like Fox, who are quick and moderately small, also good at evading, have stronger attacks and utility abilities like being able to reflect attacks. Then there are characters like Donkey Kong, who are big and strong, but very slow and their lack of mobility makes them easily killed if knocked off. Finally there are characters like Captain Falcon, who are slightly larger than Fox, but have less mobility, but very strong attacks akin to Donkey Kong.
    Besides character variability there is also variability in play style. You can play where the goal is to be the last one standing with lives, or you can play where the player with the most kills is the victor. For the sake of these logs I will be focusing on one player to get a better feel for skill development with one character, to see how much depth there is to each character.

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    Feb 8th, 2007 at 23:07:05     -    World of Warcraft (PC)

    After playing much of the same battleground I have gotten a better feel for the strategy attached to it. Seemingly there are two routes to victory, one is by controlling 3 out of the 4 towers, and the other is to control 2 out of the 2 towers, but the make sure that you control the capturing of the flag. Being a mage of my new spec, I found my job was better suited for stealing towers that were not heavily defended. Being that I can take care of 1-2 people handly with the sneak attack, I took back a few towers in this way. In one instance the same guy tried to kill me three times and only succeeded the third time with a friend. Being this new talent build is much different from my usual one. Namely it is much more burst oriented and explosive, but the second I don't have my target writhing in flames he is mercilessly beating on me, and in some cases quickly killing me. This can make it very hard to kill more than one person, as well as recover from being ambushed. All in all it is alot of fun to see the people around me light up and fall to the ground, but I see myself sooner or later going back to my frost mage ways, where I can use my better evasive skills to get around getting killed.
    This new talent build and other things for me has really shed light on the diversity that I see all around in WoW. In my one class I can have many different combinations of special skills and abilities that all dictate how I play - and are all different play styles. This makes Mages, or any other class, viable options for whatever you want to do - all you have to do is change around your talents and you can play exactly how you want to. This makes the game very appealing and always gives you something fresh to do. Bored with your spec? Just undo your talents for a small fee and redo them for a nice breeze of fresh air from your beaten to death class. I have found WoW also has diversity in many other aspects, namely being a player who plays to kill other players - or a player to plays to raid and kill dragons with groups of allies. Talent builds, equipment, etc. All play into this and you can set yourself up for one or the other or both. This allows the hardcore and the causual player to generally live in harmony and to both have a good time, focusing on what they want to get out of the game.

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    Feb 8th, 2007 at 14:48:49     -    World of Warcraft (PC)

    Being a Mage since the release day of WoW, I obviously have a large amount of playing time. I did quit for some time, but after experiencing the new expansion I was lulled into coming back and getting my mage to the next high mark of Level 70. After alittle less than a level a day I did finally get to Level 70 and am now more powerful than ever and can fly. MMO's have always been games that have been incredibly engaging for me. The constant presuit of the highest levels and the best gear have always kept me inspired to spend large amounts of time playing. Characters in their races and classes are very well defined and constructed, though there are always people complaining. Most complaints come from people believing their class is underpowered - but generally this just means that they cannot kill any other player they want in any situation. People also consistenly complain that some classes take less skill etc. But my experiences have been that relative equals in class and gear can easily be decided by skill and careful decision in skills used. There is also a great amount of debate between Alliance and Horde - the two factions - racial abilities and alike come into fiery discussion. All of these emotional characteristics debates, I believe, are what makes the game so engaging as well. I myself hold certain grudges against classes, or people from the horde, or even horde in general. When I see a horde walking next to me, I know it is just another person sitting at a computer, but my cognitive instincts quickly label the player is a potential enemy or victim. Even dinction between different races brings to light different emotions when I see one - even though they are all the same people in general.
    But I digress from my playing session discussion. For my session I decided to just join the constructed PVP Battleground: Eye of the Storm, with a new talent build that makes my mage use a heavy amount of fire damage. Eye of the Storm is a zone where winning includes holding a combination of 4 different towers and capturing a flag to reach 2000 victory points. As far as my talent build, I have generally been a Frost mage, so this was something new. Frost being very defensive, fire is the opposite with instant cast spells that do alot of damage quickly, but this leaves me very "squishy". So insurprisingly I have found myself dying much more often. Inspite of this the fire spec has been pretty fun to play around with. Especially in a battle against one other player I have pulled off being tactiful and being able to keep the player stuned, slowed, or rooted and killing them without them having even a chance to touch me. In my next session I'll play around with more of my options of survivablity and also how my spec helps or hurts my team in this battleground.

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