The world is just illusion

492545_multiple_choiceDuring our recent outing to London I was having a conversation with Mr Van Hemlock about element of games I find interesting. During this conversation it became very apparent that I favour games that offer me the chance to throw a little individuality to my gameplay. Shocking as it may seem I have never really been able to identify the forces that drive me in my gaming choices, especially those that drive my MMO habits.

In the three MMOs that I consider my favourite the ability to choose or customise skills in ways to suit my gameplay or mood is highly flexible and configurable.

  • Planetside – The power to pick up and drop skills in any order brings unique benefits to your team play. Specializing in  heavy assault or proving much needed support at the correct time.
  • City of Heroes/Villains – The power selection may appear limited but you can choice
  • Guild Wars – Limited to 8 skills at one time but with a bank of hundreds to choose from. GW certainly makes you question how you approach each challenge the game offers.

On the other hand, although I found it wonderfully detailed and immersive playing Lord of the Rings online, yet the skills offered to my character (providing you have the currency) made them the same as any other player of that class in the game.

Yes there are unique features that set you apart from the crowd, such as weapons, armour and traits, but these always seemed more like small modifiers to the wider picture. I admit that I’ve never made it to level 30 in the game and maybe it all changes in the end game I guess I’ll never know.

I feel rather silly that it’s taking so long to discover this rather simple fact is the one element I appear to yearn in MMOs, but now I can hopefully bring those elements to the forefront of my gaming experiences.

* Image source : http://www.sxc.hu/photo/492545

PC: Blood Bowl

Blood_Bowl

Over the past few weeks I have been playing the recently released Blood Bowl game from Cyanide Studios. For those of you that aren’t aware Blood Bowl (BB) is a Games Workshop title that started life as a board game. Of all the GW titles I found Blood Bowl to be one of the more exciting envrionments they offered. I enjoyed playing the game thanks to the small amount of time needed to setup and play a match.

Based on the Warhammer fantasy universe the teams compete in a Ultra-violent sport similar in  some ways to rugby and American football, teams of 11 players face off, attempting to score touchdowns and generally doing as much damage to the opposing team (of course without being sent off). The most common Warhammer world races can be found in the game and you can name, colour and brand your team to your liking, of course each race has their own strengths and weaknesses, which you’ll need to learn and play to in-order to

The game boasts two game modes blitz and standard, blitz acts more like a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game but includes a unique slow-down feature that allows you to order and direct your players around without being overrun by the computer AI. Standard mode plays much like the original board-game version with each team taking it in turns to move.

The standard game mode is played over 16 turns (8 per half), there is a timer for each players turn ensuring that your opponent doesn’t spend too long planning their next move. You can play a match in about 15 to 20 minutes.

This game is certainly well polished, delivering exciting gameplay that doesn’t depend too much on highly detailed graphics. The game is very heavily set it the Warhammer/Games Workshop world, but I don’t think that would be much of the turn off for anyone that is interested in playing a strategy game based on a playing field.

In an interesting twist of news, the developers of the game had a run-in with Games Workshop when they produced a game named Chaos League in 2004 which was similar to the BB brand. One of the terms of the settlement was that Cyanide would receive a license to develop a new title using the official Blood Bowl property and GW took ownership of the Chaos League name. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Bowl_(2009_video_game)