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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 14:25:50     -    World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC)

    One of the most important and diverse elements of the game is its reward system. In World of Warcraft you can gain rewards through many different means. The main means by which you get rewards is their standard level up system, as players progress through the game by killing monsters and such they end up gaining levels. The game, including the expansion, has a total of 70 levels in it. By gaining levels players are rewarded with access to new abilities, gear, and content. This modivates players to continue playing the game all the way to the maximum level. However once reaching maximum level, Blizzard needed some way to keep their players playing the game. One of the ways that they accomplished this is by rewarding players with better gear the more they continued to play the game. This is done mainly through 2 different ways. Players can either progress through additional PvE content which is exclusively availible to level 70 players. By defeating dungeons and obtaining new gear, players can move onto the next dungeon where they can obtain even better gear. The second method is through PvP arenas. This is a new system which is pretty much unique to World of Warcraft, however more games which are in development are starting to boast PvP reward systems as well. In the arena system players can compete with eachother in small groups, at the end of each week players are compared against eachother. Although all teams get some arena points, those who preform better get more and are able to obtain their rewards faster.

    The last aspect I want to touch on, due the the fact that this game is a MMORPG, its community and how it has effected gameplay. This is one of the things that I believe has helped put blizzard far above any of its competitors. Blizzard has the game split up so that there are many different servers for a player to choose from when starting the game, once a character is made on a server they can only be used on that server (though you can pay money to transfer them to another server once a month). Each of these servers only has a few thousand players at most, which is strangely not that large given that around 10 million players are subscribbed world wide. What this does is actualy create small communities of players within the game, each server has its own unique feel which is made up by its own community. Some servers even develope their own slang words that are not seen on other servers. These small effectable communities give you a feel that you are actualy a part of their world, and that your actions can actualy make a difference in the world.

    What would you change about the game? What was frustrating?
    One of the main things I find frusterating about the game is how it unfairly favors group play over individual play. In order to obtain most of the high level gear in the game you have to spend endless hours with groups of other people. Granted that it is a MMORPG and the point is that you are playing online with thousands of other players, sometimes its nice to be able to do your own thing the way you want to do it. The way I would change the game is by adding more individual content, from individual PvP, to instances which can have a scalable difficulty depending on how many players are participating. Though you can play as an idividual in PvP by joining battleground through solo queueing, this often puts you up against groups of players which have been organized to play as a group. This results in unbalanced gameplay which is often not enjoyable. Even so, these battlegrounds do not give you access to the best rewards in the game which still require you to play as a group. I think the key to a good MMORPG is giving players the option to play alone with everyone. :P

    What is the tone of the gameworld? How does the game create this tone?
    Because World of Warcraft is actualy a continuation of their previous strategy game line, Warcraft, Warcraft II, and Warcraft III, it keeps the same tone that was in those games. The Warcraft as a world in itself has a tone of being an exciting land full of adventure, mystical creatues, with an air of humor and fun. Much of this is obtained through the look and feel of the game. The game has a very cartoon look to it, the colors are bright and characters features are exagerated. A lot of the game also has a very humorous underpinning. As players interact with different quests, they are sent on some crazy quests which often have references to our culture. An example of this would be that there is a quest called "Finding A-Me" A-Me is a robot and has nothing to do with the popular novel of "Finding Amy", however references such as this pop up all over the game and will often lead you to laugh a bit while you play.

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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 12:42:05     -    World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC)

    World of Warcraft is a fantacy Massivly Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) based in the world of Azeroth where players can level characters, obtain new gear, socialize with other players, and compete against eachother.
    World of Warcraft is currently the top MMORPG on the market, and there is no doubt that its success must be due at least in part to its gameplay.

    Though not unlike other MMORPGs in many regaurds, World of Warcraft seems to have a special appeal to its players. The first thing that you notice is that when you make your character you get tossed right into the game. Unlike so many games these days, which have you running around competing basic tutorial things just to see how their game works. World of Warcraft has a fairly standard control scheme which makes picking it up and playing quite easy. The game's reward system leads to very compelling gameplay which keeps people playing for hours on end. One other thing that will be of note about this game, is Blizzard Entertainment's great use of community and culture as a method to drive their game forward and keep it the most popular game on the market.

    When starting a character in World of Warcraft, the player is given 10 different races, 5 alliance 5 horde to choose from. Each race has between 4 and 6 classes it can choose from the 9 total classes in the game. An important thing to note about this is the fact that the game is split into 2 major factions, the horde and alliance. Right from the start of the game, you are forced to choose one side, after choosing you will be nearly unable to communicate with your opposing faction and in many occasions you will be forced to fight them. This is an important aspect of the game because as Chris Crawford describes, it creates conflict, and adds an important element to gameplay. Challenge that is derived from the players rather then scripts in the game itself tend to be both more dynamic and more compelling. The game is balanced such that both factions have access to all the classes, but are still different in the fact that they contain none of the same races. The classes which are currently in the game are Rogue, Warrior, Druid, Hunter, Warlock, Mage, Priest, Paladin, and Shaman. Each of these classes has their own unique gameplay mechanics that seperate them from the other classes, yet Blizzard has managed to keep them fairly balanced through repeated fine tuning throughout the life of their game.

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    Feb 18th, 2008 at 21:30:55     -    Kirby's Adventure (NES)

    After playing through the first few levels of Kirby's Adventure, I have found that some aspects of the game make it way easier then it probably should be. For example, the character Kirby is able to inhale air and float around. Although this might normaly be fine, in many levels enemies only inhabit the bottem half of the screen, this allows you to simply float along the top to avoid them. Granted that isnt nearly as fun as actualy swallowing your enemies, but it seems like they should have done something to help prevent it.

    During my second gameplay session I also came across another mini-game. There is a quick-draw mini-game, where you must click the a button quickly once you see your opponant draw their weapon. Another nice feature about the game is the fact that at any point you can go back and play levels which you have already completed. Just incase you missed something that you could have unlocked, this allows you to fully explore the levels you have already played, as well as play the mini-games from those levels.


    What would you change about the game? What was frustrating?
    I think I would make the game a little more challenging. A lot of the bosses are far too easy if you obtain the right powers. Also the fact that you can just fly around at the top of the screen and avoid enemies makes the game way easier then it should be. I think it would have been good for them to make the tutorial video automaticaly play when you start a new game, rather then only playing if you dont hit start when you first boot up the game. I only watched the tutorial right before my second gameplay session, so I ended up realizing that there was a lot more I could do then I was previously aware of. Granted if I had a game manual that might have told me to watch it ;)

    Your thoughts on innovative elements of the game?
    I think that Kirby's ability to swallow enemies and absorb their power was quite an innovative element for the games time. Even today you dont see many games where how you play your character is dependant on the enemies that you face. This adds another level of complexity and helps this become a completely revolutionary platform jumper game. For its time, the mini-game feature was probably also quite innovative, espessialy for its game type. However these days you can find mini-games in almost every game.

    What is the tone of the gameworld? How does the game create this tone?
    This game has a very silly and upbeat tone. Your character is a pink fluff ball who floats around sucking up his enemies. Every time that you swallow an enemy and get a new power, a little display window has a graphic displaying what power your character has. Each of these graphics tend to be silly pictures of Kirby doing something related to that power. The music also helps set an exelent tone for the game, up beat tones and a catchy tune gives you the feeling of a very happy dream world.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 18th, 2008 at 21:31:36.

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    Feb 18th, 2008 at 16:30:59     -    Kirby's Adventure (NES)

    Kirby's Adventure is a 2d platformer game in which you play the character Kirby. Kirby is a strange and interesting creature who has the power to inhale enemies and absorbe their powers. As you play the game you must obtain different powers to overcome the obstacles each level provides and defeat the final boss.

    The gameplay of Kirby's Adventure is broken into 3 parts, so far as I can tell. There is your standard level, where you defeat a series of minor enemies while jumping from platform to platform. There are boss levels, where you fight a major boss in order to progress to the next level. Lastly there are bonus stages, where you can complete mini-games in order to get extra points, extra lives or hitpoints.

    The standard levels of Kirby's Adventure is mostly a platform jumper with some minor puzzle sovling elements. One of the unique features that makes this gameplay different from your standard platformer is Kirby's ability to inhale his enemies and absorb their powers. Each power has its benefits, such as shooting lazers, becomming a fireball, growing spikes, and many more. In some parts of the game, in order to move on, you have to find and use the correct power in order to overcome your obstacle. Mostly this involes hitting a bomb(which explodes all the blocks near it) with one of your powers. This makes up the puzzle solving aspect of the game, though not very complex, it is more then you see in most platform jumpers.

    After completing a series of standard levels, you get to the overall boss for that level series. In the special boss levels once you enter the level, you are instantly faced with a stronger then normal enemy. The bosses life bar is displayed below and you must find a way to defeat it before it kills you. One thing that often helps is the fact that you can bring in any power you want, but if you get hit you can end up losing that power. In some cases, brining a power into a boss fight can make it much easier. For example the first boss can easily be defeated using a sword and simply standing next to it and slashing him.

    The last type of gameplay in this game is its mini-games. After each standard level one of the mini-games allows you to shoot kirby up into the sky. The further you shoot him the more points you get, and if you get all the way to the top then you can end up getting an extra life. Another mini-game is the crane game. In this you attempt to use a crane to pick up a Kirby from a box of stuffed animals, this very similar to the ones you see at arcades with real stuffed animals. So far as I have seen there is also an arena mini-game where you fight a lesser boss type enemy in order to get a health reward. I havent seen any other mini-games yet but I am sure there might be more.

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    1Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360)Finished playing
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