Archive for May, 2011
League of Legends (a.k.a. LoL) is one game that composes the Legacy of Defence of the Ancient game on Warcraft III.
You have one objective: kill the enemy nexus that represents their base core. From your own nexus spawns creeps, sent to fight the enemy team.
Pokémon is child’s play, right? Between the animé and the adorable plushies sold, it probably seems so. However, the world of competitive Pokémon battling is extremely in-depth, and requires more knowledge than is initially assumed. The first place to visit is Smogon; one of the best resources at your disposal while learning the ropes of battling.
The most important point of competitive Pokémon battling is the idea of tiers. Pokémon are categorized into various tiers, to create a balanced metagame. The tiers are Uber (everything goes), OU (overused), BL (borderline), UU (underused), and NU (neverused). (Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the tiers are still being decided for the Black & White metagame, so the tiers are based on usage rather than actual strength. In a few months, enough playtesting will have occurred that each and every Pokémon properly be placed in a tier.)
When playing an NU battle, only NU Pokémon can be used. In a UU battle, UU and NU Pokémon can be used. This continues until playing Ubers, where you can use every Pokémon. The most commonly played tier is OU, but people sometime tire of seeing the same Pokémon over and over, and play UU battles as well. The reason for these tiers is to provide a scale on how strong each Pokémon is, so there aren’t battles where one trainer has vastly superior Pokémon to another in-battle.
Image from Galactic WaterCooler
Storm8 games, you’ve probably seen them around when browsing the App Store or Android Market. There are currently nine games from them available:
- World War
- Racing Live
- Pets Live
- Ninjas Live
- Kingdoms Live
- Zombies Live
- Rock Battle Live
So you are tired of getting owned by those darn accurate sentries standing in the way between you and victory, lurking around the corner, more vicious than a spy. You want to get some action. You want to get kills without raising a finger. You want to heal people without holding your left mouse button, or, hell, healing more than one person at the same time! Or, your latency is too high and you’re tired of getting without giving.
You want to be an Engineer. So do I. And well, how can I blame you! The Engineer class in TF2 is awesome. Think of what a great engineer can provide to his team:
- Teleporters! shuffle people from spawn to the action in a fraction of the time!
- Dispensers! stationary medics that also replenish ammo and can treat more than one person at a time!
- Sentries! kill people without lifting a finger! Create a no stabbing area for enemy spies!
- Alternatively, Minisentries! Annoy the hell out of the other team with small, inexpensive grief generators.
Indeed, you’re so awesome for your team that, for balance, your life is pretty awful.
- You and your toys become the #1 targets for the enemy team, only bested by ubers.
- Speaking of ubers, you’re mostly powerless against them. You can’t uber a sentry.
- You are pretty useless on your own. Your weapons suck. Your health is low. Your wrench is average, until your toys go online.
- If you aren’t careful, any enemy classes can bring your 3 minutes of engineering into dust in matter of seconds. And you don’t have to take my word for it; that sucks.
Is the frustration you’ll have worth it? Let’s see what the rules of the game are.
Yes, apologies for the cheesy title, but well, it sort of works…
OK, I’m writing this section having not yet played the game. The box is here on my desk – and apparently it’s the “special edition“, which is nice, but I’m fairly sure I only ordered the base game [Actually, I've now checked, and I did only order (and more importantly only pay for) the normal version, so apparently that's an extra £3 of random unlocks for "free"...]. Anyway, it’s waiting to be opened and pushed on to Steam, but the release date in the UK is tomorrow, so I’ll probably have to keep waiting.
Let me just say that at this stage my attraction Brink confuses me. Prior to release I’ve been quite excited about it, but this is strange, as I’ve “gone off” the FPS genre over the last few years. I can’t really put my finger on it, but they just don’t really attract me any more. Sure, I’ve played the Mass Effects and Fallouts, but there the shooting there isn’t really the main focus, so probably the only full-on shooter I’ve played any time recently is Team Fortress 2, and I don’t think I’ve even played that for a months. But, something about this game has grabbed my attention, I can’t now put my finger on what that is right now, hopefully after I’ve logged some play time.
Out of interest, I had a look at some reviews of the game on the web, and they seem to be slightly mixed. A week after the US release, and the PC version was scoring 72 on MetaCritic, which is not bad, but hardly excellent. It’s fair to say that since reading the reviews I’ve been a little bit apprehensive, but will have to wait until tomorrow to try it out myself (and seriously, what’s with the staggered global release dates? Especially when the game’s PC version is Steam only. It just feel’s so out-dated).
Combat in the Witcher 2 is difficult. This is no Hack&Slay, blindly wading into a group of enemies and attacking them will result in a quick death. The difficulty is increased to frustrating levels by the tutorial, which doesn’t explain much and just drops you into difficult fights without telling you how to fight. I’ve summarized some basic combat tactics here that should make the initial fights less frustrating. I’m not assuming any investment in advanced talents, all the tactics here are valid for a low-level witcher.
I first heard about OnLive from a co-worker, before it was even in beta. He thought it was going to revolutionize gaming. So I kept an eye on it. I signed up for the mailing list. I was able to get in on the ground floor, and watch the service from the very start.
You’ve probably noticed that OnLive hasn’t completely revolutionized gaming yet. But it still might…
First, let’s talk about the service. OnLive is the name of the company, but it’s also a gaming service and a piece of hardware that plugs into your TV. You can choose to connect through their “micro-console,” but you can also get the exact same content from an internet connected PC or Mac.
What’s interesting and futuristic about OnLive is how you get your games. In short, you don’t. You have no discs. No game data is stored to the micro-console or the PC hard drive. It all lives on a server farm in another city. When you want to play your game, you connect to the server farm. The game starts up on one of those servers, and the OnLive system transmits the video output across the internet, to your TV or PC monitor. When you push a button on your keyboard or controller, that input goes across the internet to the server, where it has some effect on the game that’s running there.
If nothing else, this system is a significant paradigm shift. There are a few advantages and disadvantages to disentangle.
In a world where most media forms are available as illegal, free copies before they are even available legally, people are constantly faced with the decision of whether to purchase legal copies of their games. For some people, the fact that pirated games are illegal is a sufficient reason to avoid them. But as one of our newer users, Sandeepan, asked recently, are there other reasons why gamers should purchase legal copies of games rather than pirate them? Answers from several different users made a compelling case that yes, there are.
I’ve played FarCry at some distant point in the past; mostly multiplayer at a LAN party if I recall. I didn’t finish the single player, but I’m not sure why now as it was quite a long time ago. It’s probably because of this that I completely ignored Crysis when it was released in 2007. The game’s sequel was released recently, but the original was on offer stupidly cheap on Steam last week, so I thought I’d pick it up.
On release, the game was known for requiring something akin to a small cluster of super computers to run on the highest settings, so one clear advantage of first visiting the game four years late is that these power requirements are now easily surmountable (thank you Moore’s law!). My current machine is a 1GiB GTX460 on a 4×2.3Ghz AMD Phenom with 4GiB DDR2 RAM – not exactly top-end gaming hardware, but hardly shabby – and seems to run the game smoothly (although, I haven’t actually measured the frame rate) at a full 1920×1080 with 4×AA and everything cranked up to the highest setting. So, I get the best the game can offer, and because it started with such a high bar, it has aged well so far.