Posts Tagged ‘world of warcraft’

Game Thoughts

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I have been playing a few games lately:

World of Warcraft

I got the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I liked it quite a bit, but have not played in a while due to raids requiring lots of time and the fact that my guild starts raiding around midnight my time. This is not good for the job.

  • I never did much reputation grinding, but the curve seems to be much lower.
  • The new vehicle/mount system is neat, but I find it very confusing because the mount’s name is shown instead of the person riding it.
  • The story line, quests, and cinematics were nice. I really enjoyed playing some of the quests and learning more about the story.

Dead Space

This is basically a survival horror type game on a space ship. (Read: Resident Evil 4 in Spaaaace) I finished this recently, and, while I don’t really understand the ending or some character motivations, it was a lot of fun.

  • One of the big features is limb dismemberment. I thought it would become silly and old quickly, but it turned out to be surprisingly entertaining and even satisfying.
  • I purchased a suit off of the xbox live market place for a modest fee, not knowing that it was a fully-upgraded suit. I am slightly disappointed that I did not experience the suit upgrade path.
  • I really like the weapons. They are different enough from the standard game weapons to be interesting but familiar enough to be comfortable.
  • The answer the question “Could things possibly get any worse?” is always “Yes!”

Windows Solitaire

Yes, Windows Solitaire.

  • Vista’s Solitaire is superior previous Windows’ versions of solitaire. Multiple levels of undo is very nice, but not the only improvement.
  • I don’t win very many games of solitaire.

Gears of War 2

My brother and I played through the campaign together on regular difficulty, and I have been playing Horde mode with my friend. (Coop multiplayr against increasingly difficult waves of computer-controlled enemies)

  • The game’s plot is once again a mess and unsatisfying.
  • Fortunately, the gameplay (once again) makes up for its shortcomings in other areas. (Seriously, coop is really good)
  • The Hammerburst was changed from a 3-burst firing mode to straight semi-automatic. (I guess… it’s single fire, though holding the trigger down will fire continuously) I really preferred the burst fire from the first game better.
  • Bloodmounts in Horde mode are ridiculous. Perhaps they were tuned with more players in mind? I found them really really difficult.
  • The new mortar weapon is fantastic.

RPG Stat and Leveling Systems

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

I have been thinking about RPG stat and leveling systems recently. It seems that most games use a few basic systems: Point Buy, Fixed Stats, and Random Stats. I will focus mostly on computer games, but this should apply to other games as well.

Point Buy

Point Buy is probably what most people are familiar with for computer RPG games. I am generalizing this a bit here though. The standard point buy system from Dungeons and Dragons is explained here.

Many computer games use a modified point buy system. If we generalize, there are two main parts to the point buy system:

  • The player has a pool of points to draw from
  • The may purchase stat points for his character using points from this pool

Fixed Stats

A fixed stats system is one that provides predetermined stat scores for characters. Many games start all characters out with 100 hit points, for example, or if the game has multiple classes, each class may start out with predetermined stats.

Random Stats

A random stats system is one in which the stat points are determined by some random factor. Dice may be rolled, or the computer may use a random number generator in some fashion. Often, limits or options are presented, such as being able to choose the higher of multiple numbers.

In The Game

Most computer games use a combination of these systems. A standard mixture is point buy on top of a fixed stat base. These can also be used during the game for character advancement as well. Not only can stats be improved, but skills and abilities can be selected as well. Other stat bonuses from equipment or skills are often included in the system as well.

Examples

These examples are just games that I am familiar with at the moment.

  • World of Warcraft — Uses a fixed stat system for characters (each class has set starting stats) with an emphasis on increasing stats with equipment and talents. Stats increase by a fixed amount when the character increases in level. Talents are selected using a point buy system. The character receives 1 talent point every level after 9 and talents cost 1 point to improve.
  • Diablo 2 — Uses a fixed stat base (each class has set starting stats) with a point buy system on top.  Each character receives 5 stat points and 1 skill point per level. Stats and skill cost 1 point each to improve. Some quests may grant stat or skill points as a reward.
  • On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness (Penny Arcade Game) — Uses fixed stats throughout the game. Stats increase by a fixed amount when the character increases level. The player has almost no control over character stats. Some quests in the game will increase certain stats, however, but these values are fixed as well.

For me, it is interesting to look at these games and examine how the leveling systems affect my play. I enjoyed playing all of these quite a lot. If I rank these games based on amount of character customization, I find that the games with more customization options are games that I want to replay. I have almost no desire to play the Penny Arcade game again because I have already done almost everything. I do want to play more World of Warcraft, partially because there is a lot that I haven’t done (the game world is very large) but also because there are many ways that I can customize my character. Diablo 2, in contrast to WoW, has a much smaller game world, and I have explored almost all of it, but it also has a very high replay value because of amount of character customization that can be done.

City of Heroes is mediocre

Friday, April 6th, 2007

There’s a new MMO sub-forum over on the Penny Arcade forums. One of the threads derailed into a discussion about City of Heroes and why it sucks or doesn’t suck or something. I wasn’t really sure. In any case, it prompted me to think about why City of Villains didn’t hold my interest for very long. (I have only played CoV, but from what I understand, it’s pretty much the same as CoH only with villains and different classes.)

I loaded the game up on my new computer and played for a few hours the last couple of nights. I don’t have much time, but here’s a quick run down of things that I remember from playing before, and what I rediscovered recently:

  • Character creation is still awesome.
  • Even though character creation is awesome, it is still not as customizable as I would like. (I can’t make a guy that wears a trench coat and has robotic arms for example)
  • There are entirely too many costume options that involve skulls, bones, and chains or barbed wire.
  • Performance is still terrible for the graphics quality.
  • The user interface is clunky. (This seems to be an issue with many MMO games)
  • Super jump is really fun.
  • I fight way too many snakes.
  • In fact, I fight way too many of the same thing over and over again in the same locations. (Didn’t I just clean out this warehouse? Should I even bother doing it again?)

And actually, this last part is probably my main issue with the game. The game feels incredibly repetitive. Most of the missions seemed to be slight variations on “Go to the warehouse and kill everything inside.”

You may ask how this is different from World of Warcraft or any other MMO. They have quests to go kill tons of stuff, and you end up killing stuff over and over.

I’m not quite sure what the difference is. City of Villains just feels different. Maybe it’s because WoW has larger and more immersive environments including instances instead of smaller, cramped instances. Maybe it’s because CoV’s instances are basically all random rooms and hallways. Maybe it’s the lack of loot that bothers me, or that there are no trade skills or much else to do besides kill guys. Perhaps it is simply because CoV isn’t as polished as other games. I will have to think about it some more.