NBA 2K 14

The video game I want to analyze here is NBA2K series produced by 2K. I have been playing the game starting from NBA 2K9 and the newest version currently is NBA2K14. The game is a sports game with many different modes. The most basic one is to control an NBA team fight against another one. I love the game because I love both playing basketball and watching NBA matches. I find it interesting and competitive especially playing with friends instead of combating with AI.

Main website:

Youtube demo video: (The demo is on PS4)


Figure. NBA 2K 14


l  Essential Experience

n  The game is able to accurately capture the essence of what a player or a manager or a coach gets from playing a real-life basketball/NBA league. For example, you can play as a player starting from rookie year to win numerous awards.

n  The game allows people who are not good at playing basketball enjoy the fun of basketball.

n  The game allows experienced basketball players or NBA fans to gain the sense of achievement by building great teams and winning the championships in the league.


Figure. 30 teams in NBA league

l  Fun

n  NBA 2K series are definitely full of fun. The games contain many different modes which fulfill different requirements and I love combating with my friends via the games.


Figure. Play 1 on 1 with best friend

n  Among all the modes, I love the Jordan Challenges and Create a Legend in 2K 11 best. I can not only experience the highlights in Air Jordan’s career but also play as Jordan starting from his rookie year and finally become a legend by our own effort.


Figure. Create a Legend

l  Skill

n  The game requires multiple skills to play well. Different modes even require different sets of skills. For example, Quick game requires the skill to control the whole team; MyCareer mode requires the skill to control only one basketball player; Association requires the management and trading skills, etc.

n  Players like us have to improve our skills to achieve the goals we want.


Figure. MyCareer mode


Figure. Control one player in one match


Figure. Manage the whole team


Figure. Control the whole team in one match


l  Fairness/Competitive

n  NBA 2K series are definitely skill-based and fair games. Players with more skills and experiences are more competitive compared to those who seldom play the game. There are strong teams and weak teams, but your skill will finally decide which are indeed strong.

n  You can adjust the “fairness” by selecting suitable difficulty levels. There are several levels for players of different background.


Figure. Different difficulty levels allow various players to have fun

l  Control

n  NBA 2K series are powerful “control” games. The game has training sessions that help players get familiar with and therefore master the controlling system. You can always complete complicated actions by using game controller or keyboard.


Figure. Training Camp

n  It is also the “realest” basketball game. A few years ago, NBA Live series was another famous NBA basketball game. However, it eventually failed to compete with NBA 2K because of its controlling system was too poor. It was too easy to score and I cannot feel the power of my controlling skills.


Game description
Limbo is a 2D side scroller platform game in which the player controls a nameless little boy who is looking for his sister. The player does not learn anything about a backstory. To progress in the game the player has to solve puzzles which make use of mechanical effects, gravity, magnetism, among other things. Additionally, one has to avoid dangers such as foothold traps. In some cases, these dangers are not immediately visible, such that the player cannot help but make the character die in the first attempt and avoid them in a subsequent try when he knows about them. The game appearance is a dark, moody, greyscale look. It makes heavy use of fog and artistic blur. The deaths of the character are usually cruel, illustrated by disturbing animations of the detachment of body parts.


gameplay video:

Lens of Pleasure
What pleasures does your game give to players? Can these be improved?

  • It is satisfactory to solve a puzzle and make progress in the game: resolving a period of frustration with a “eureka experience” of finally seeing the solution can be very pleasurable 
  • well-designed graphics, artwork and sound which work together in an aesthetically pleasing way are an enjoyable to experience for the player

What pleasures are missing from your experience?

  • Game does not provide pleasure for players who especially enjoy the following game mechanics:
    – levelling up
    – collecting things
    – noticeable improvement over time
    – creating things
    – action
    Those aspects are not present in the game design.

Why? Can they be added? 

  • It seems like a conscious choice by the designers to keep the game as simple as possible and to concentrate on the core experience, avoiding everything that could distract from it.

Lens of Surprise
What will surprise players when they play my game?

  • In many cases, deadly foothold traps cannot be spotted beforehand. Suddenly seeing the main character die in one of them will probably shock most players.

Does the story have surprises? Do the game rules/artwork/technology?

  • When first playing the game, it is surprising not to get any type of instruction on what to do.
  • The very reduced graphics style might be surprising for some players; however many players have already seen screenshots before they start playing \
  • The movements the player can execute (running left/right, jumping, pushing and dragging objects) are not surprising since it is common to all platformer games.

Lens of Curiosity

  • since everything is kept very mysterious, player’s curiosity is triggered
  • curiosity is the motivation to keep on playing since no formal goal is stated

What questions does my game put into the player’s mind?

  • There is no explanation or introduction, so players will ask themselves:
  • Who is the character? What are his goals? What is the objective of the game? What is this dark and foggy venue?
  • Mysterious things, like a white butterfly, are placed in the game world without any further explanation. What are these things about?
  • How difficult will the game puzzles become?

What am I doing to make them care about these questions?

  • The game hooks the players with interesting puzzles
  • The possibility of a great story which will unfold later and resolve the beginning mystery keeps the player interested.

Lens of Freedom
When do my players have freedom of action? Do they feel free at these times? When are they constrained? Do they feel constrained at these times? Are there any places I can let them feel more free than they do now?

  • When solving puzzles, player has the freedom to interact with moveable objects in the game world. For example boxes, ropes or corpses of beasts. However, the number of these objects is usually very low.
  • The overall freedom the player has is very limited. Firstly of course by the fact that the platformer-genre only allows movement in two spatial dimensions. Secondly, because at every state in the game there is usually only one way (or very few ways) to progress.
  • Other than trying to solve the puzzles, there is not much else to do. This fact does not change for the entire duration of the game.
  • Despite this lack of freedom, the overall feeling of the game is not dominated by feeling constrained. This is partly achieved by the level design: Progress is made by moving to the right, and there is no boundary at the right until the end. This makes the world seem big and open, even though in fact only a certain range of the world can be accessed at any given time (you can’t move all the way back to the left because of certain one-way obstacles in the level design)

Lens of the Visible Progress
Players need to see that they are making progress when solving a difficult problem.
To make sure they are getting this feedback, ask yourself these questions:
What does it mean to make progress in my game or puzzle?

  • The visual environment changes from a forest to a more industrial setting
  • The character of the puzzles changes from (involving classical mechanics, animals, etc.) to puzzles which make use of technology such as electricity or gravity-inversion.
  • The difficulty of the puzzles gets slightly harder in the course of the game
  • Besides those aspects, we don’t feel progress. For example, the character does not learn

League of Legends

Game: League of Legends
Game Type: MOBA
Players: 5 v 5

League Of Legends

Opinions on the game

League of Legends (LoL) is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, inspired by the mod Defense of the Ancients for the video game Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

League of Legends was the most played PC game in North America and Europe in terms of the number of hours played. As of January 2014, over 67 million people play League of Legends per month, 27 million per day, and over 7.5 million concurrently during peak hours. Currently, it has become one of the most played in Asia as well as the World Champions being Asians previously (TAIWAN).

The main game’s objective is to destroy the last structure on the classic map, the enemies’ “Nexus”. Other maps have differences in the rules and objectives, such as the map “Dominion” where the team’s Nexus will lose health when the opposing team has at least three of the five towers in their control.

This game is frequently compared with its counterpart DOTA. However, it is different from DOTA in many ways. Some of the ways are:

  1. Different mechanics
  2. Bushes along the lanes that hide heros
  3. Dragon that is similar to Roshan in DOTA but weaker
  4. No “Denying”
  5. Heroes are bought instead of free to play
  6. Weekly free Heroes
  7. Masteries outside of the game itself to allow players to customize how their heroes play.


1. The Lens of Surprise

The mechanics of ganking and how the players utilises the spells on each characters to their benefit will surprise players when they play my game. Bushes along the lanes will allow players to hide from enemies to suprise each other. There is also Fog of War that only allow the player to see what is around his character or his team. Since this is a MOBA, different players can use their creatively to surprise the players themselves

2. The Lens of Skill vs. Chance

This is usually a more serious game as there are 5 people playing and if you
spoil the game it might result in spoiling the game for everyone else. Hence this is a game

Team Fight

where the player should have a certain level of skill. However, there is always a custom games where players can train to play. The game is also tedious as there are lots of tatics to follow and adhere to. Adding more elements of chance does not enliven it as many believe this game to be based on skills. However, there are still some elements of chances that will surprise the players like % of stun chance.


3. The Lens of Cooperation 



This game focuses on team work to win and accomplish the mission. Each team has 5 players and there are different roles in the team (Carry, Support, 1Tanker) which makes a critical role in team fights. Each roles have different abilities to support, carry or tank in which they assist each other in team fights. For example, a Support Class Hero Soraka can heal her allies in battle by using her ultimate(Wish).

4. The Lens of Essential Experience

In this game, the essential experience that it provides to the players is the challenge of mixing up the skills and trying to predict the opponents moves and working together as a team to achieve the goal of the game.

5. The Lens of Time


The length of the gameplay is determined by the status of the game. Only
when the team is able to defeat the other teams Nexus will the game end.
Hence, some player might be frustrated if this game drags too long due to the
difficulty of destroying the opponent’s nexus.

Dota 2


Dota 2



Dota 2 is a sequel to the game Defece of the Ancients (DotA) which is a custom map on Warcraft 3. Basically, the game is a battle between 2 teams, the radiant and the dire with 5 players on each side. Each of the players will be controlling a hero which is chosen from a pool of more than 100 heroes. Every hero has different skills and attributes and they also have different roles to play in the game. Their heroes would level up, learn new skills and become stronger as the game progress by killing weaker computer controlled monsters or opponent heroes. The main objective of the game is to defend your own base and destroy the throne (aka ancient) in your opponent’s base.



  • Lens 37 cooperation

Dota 2 is a game that require a high level of cooperation. In a team of 5 players, there are various roles that each of them can take on such as carry, support and semi-carry role. Each role as their own special jobs and if they are not fulfilled, it will affect other players and the whole game play. In the game, players are able to communicate with their own teammates and usually, the more experience players will guide the newer players on what they are supposed to do and what special jobs they are supposed to fulfill.


  • Lens 25 goals

In Dota 2 , there is only one ultimate goal of the game which is to destroy your opponent ancient. However, there can be a series of smaller and more specific goals such as killing a tower or killing the heroes (which is the opponent) and fulfilling these smaller goals will allow your team to have a better chance in achieving the ultimate goal which is to win the game by destroying the opponent’s ancient.


  • Lens 27 skills

This game requires a variety of skills from the players. One of the more important skills in Dota 2 is teamwork. A team of 5 average players will be able to outplay a team of 5 skilled players if they are able to communicate better and display more teamwork in their play. Sometimes, individual skills is important as well. A highly skilled individual is able to help his team win the game even when his opponent are not very skilled. However, in most scenario, if the skill level of both teams is similar and not differ by a lot, the team with more teamwork will usually emerge victorious.


  • Lens 32 Meaningful Choices

Dota 2 often requires players to make decisions in game. For example, when a player level up, he gains one skill point and he has to decide on which of the 4 skills he wants to level up. Different skills give your different advantage and sometimes, levelling up the right skill would make the difference between life and death. Players also would earn gold in game by killing other heroes or computer controlled units. Deciding on what items to buy with your gold is also a very important decision to make as you have different allies and enemy heroes every game and choosing the right items in the particular situation would improve your chances of winning the game.


  • Lens 36 Competition

As you are fighting against 5 human players, there will always be competition. Recently in Dota 2, it implemented a ranked matchmaking option whereby after you played a couple of games, the system would give you a rank and when you are finding game, the system would match you with players with similar rank as you as your allies or enemy. When you win a game, your rank would improve and if you loses. With this system, you would also be match against players of the same skill caliber and hence there would always be competition when you play. If you are really good, you could find a few friends and for teams to take part in competition. In recent years, there are a lot of competition organized for Dota 2 both online and offline with really good prize money to be won. For example in August, Valve organized one of the biggest Dota 2 competition of the year called The International where the first price money is over US$1.4 million. There is a link for the grand final of the International below if you are interested.


Interested Links

Dota 2 Documentary by Valve

Dota 2 Trailer                        

History of Dota                     

The international Grand Final






Team Fortress 2


Team Fortress 2 (TF2)[1] is an online competitive First Person Shooter (FPS) that consists of 9 distinct types of character classes. Each 9 classes have their advantages and disadvantages against one another, just like the simple game of rock-paper-scissors. Two teams, Red and Blu (not Blue), will compete against each other to achieve an objective. For example, Blu will push the bomb cart to a destination and Red will try their best to obstruct/stop them. Or, both teams will try to enter opposing team’s intelligence room to steal their briefcase and head back to home base to score a point.


Lens #2: The Lens of Surprise

  • Each holiday seasons Valve[2] will update the game with new weapons, gameplays, skins and/or hats. There is always something to look forward to at every Christmas, New Years, Halloweens, Easters, and other western holiday seasons.
  • Once in a while when a player dies in-game and waiting to re-spawn, random weapons or hats will be given to the player.


Lens #16: The Lens of Player

  • TF2 is a typical FPS game with the main objective having to kill the opposite team. In general, players like to shoot with different types of guns in different playable maps.
  • Players would hate to see similar gameplays with a limited range of weapons to choose from. Therefore TF2 has different objectives, a wide range of maps, and updates for new weapons and accessories in every holiday seasons.


Lens #27: The Lens of Skill

  • The most fundamental skill is aiming, obviously. For Sniper to deal a large amount of damage, a headshot is required; getting either instant kill or 95% of the life chipped off from the opponent’s health. The rest of the characters also require good aiming skill, though not as essential as a Sniper class.
  • That aside, to kill without a good aiming skill is also possible. For instance, the Engineer can build a Level 3 sentry gun and sit by one corner and drink his beer; that sentry gun will shoot all incoming opposite team at 100% accuracy. The Engineer just needs to resupply the ammo and repair the sentry gun. Medic needs to point at his healing target at a general direction and he can heal the target already. Spy needs to get behind an enemy’s back and stab them. Demo-man lays down some sticky bombs and waits for his opponent to walk by before detonating them. It’s about trickery and mind games, too.


Lens #38: The Lens of Competition vs Cooperation

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being competitive and 10 being cooperation, TF2 would be a 7. Though skill is a necessity in a FPS (you can’t be winning if your aim is off), it’s the cooperation of the team members that will enable the team to complete the objective.
  • Players are given a choice to play either competitively or cooperatively, and the outcome of the match will depends on the ratio between competitive players and cooperative players. If there are more competitive players on a single team and there are more cooperative players on the opposing team, then the latter have a higher chance of winning the objective. But of course, there has to be a good mix between competitive and cooperative players; being competitive will motivates but the player might die easily while being solo. Being cooperative will help each other during difficult times but the motivation to finish the objective isn’t as great as a competitive player.
  • TF2 doesn’t have a campaign or story mode; hence in all the gameplay it has to offer, it is the competition of who can achieve the objective faster.


Lens #76: The Lens of Character Function

  • There are in total 9 different types of characters in TF2; Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demo-man, Heavy, Engineer, Medic, Sniper and lastly, Spy.
  • All of them have strong points and weak points, which balanced out nicely in the end.
  • Scout is strong when the terrain is big and against slow-moving classes, but weak whenever he is in open ground.
  • Soldier is strong against low health classes while weak against Sniper.
  • Pyro is strong against Spy, while weak against medium and long range weapons.
  • Demo-man is strong against low health classes but weak against long range weapons.
  • Heavy is strong against low and medium health classes but weak against Sniper and Spy.
  • Engineer is strong against anyone as long as his sentry guns are up, but is effectively a sitting duck.
  • Medic is a healing class which helps to keep his team alive. His primary role is not to kill and run away whenever possible.
  • Sniper is strong against anyone who is far away, but weak whenever he is in range of others’ killing zone.
  • Spy is strong against anyone whose back is facing him, but weak whenever he is spotted.
  • And since every character has both strong and weak points, it is absolutely essential that the whole team must compromise with each other to achieve their objectives.



League of Legends VS Defence of the Ancients 2

Disclaimer: I am aware that I am risking my life by writing this post. If you are a hard-core fan of DotA 2, take note that this post favors League of Legends. If you want to argue why DotA 2 is more suitable for you, please write your own post (I play one DotA 2 session for every three League of Legends sessions. For me both games are great, but one is better than the other)

League of Legends (gameplay-video) and Defence of the Ancients II (gameplay-video ) are undoubtedly the most popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games (link). There are myriad of non-stop arguments on the internet about which game is the best. Both player communities have their own opinions why the game they play is better than the other. I have played both games for a considerable amount of time (each > 4 years if DotA I is considered). Having played both games, I believe I am in a prime position to share my opinion on how both games hold up to each other

For the benefit of the inexperienced, I will briefly describe the gameplay of both games. Both games – LoL and DotA 2 – need each player to control a character in a 5 VS 5 game. The characters spawn (and revive) on their base, and their goal is to destroy the opponent’s base. There are several rewarding tasks that must be done by every character to achieve the goal:

  • Creeping – killing enemy computer-controlled troops to gain money (money is used to buy equipment to further strengthen the characters) and experience (characters can gain level from experience and learn abilities/ get stronger)
  • Killing – killing enemy player-controlled characters to gain money, experience, and to punish them (loss of gold in DotA, and absence from the game field for several seconds in both games)
  • Pushing – destroying enemy defensive structure to allow troops to further attack their base
  • Customization – learning abilities and buying items are two main means of getting stronger

Among these two games, statistics has declared that League of Legends is more popular and commercially successful compared to DotA 2 (link1; link2 ). DotA 2 did indeed experience a rapid growth during its opening, but it was due to burst of players who are familiar with DotA 1; however, League of Legends player statistics has been proven to be growing for four years.

While a portion of DotA 2 supporters argue the reason of LoL’s popularity is due to it is an “easy game”, I have my legitimate arguments that probably will be easily dismissed by them if they have not played both games for at least a year.

The Lens of Simplicity/Complexity

DotA 2 supporters often claim that DotA 2 offers more “complexities” than League of Legends. I cannot argue with that. However, it does not imply at the slightest that to excel in DotA 2 is harder than to be good at LoL.

There is a fallacy that DotA 2 complexity makes it more competitive and in-depth. This is totally untrue as the complexities are innate – they are not the products of game dynamics. These innate complexities make it extremely hard for a new player to learn DotA 2, as they carry the burden of knowledge – that is – to win a game, knowledge is more important than skill. Even mechanically speaking, these innate complexities are not intentional in the first place; it is the legacy of limitation/presets of Warcraft III on which DotA 1 stands on.

Here are some examples of innate complexities that are epitome of burden of knowledge for DotA 2 beginners (Note: this section may interest ONLY experienced reader):

  • Orb effects – whether an attack modifier item work together with another attack modifier is totally arbitrary as it is originated from Warcraft III.
  • Black King Bar Spell Immunity – it repels damage from all abilities, but does not make your characters immune to other characters’ ultimate abilities’ effect (another Warcraft legacy)
  • Imbalanced distribution of complexity – some characters are totally easy to play such as Skeleton King which only has an active ability, while some others are really complex such as Chen which has five abilities, and needs to control other characters (neutral creeps) with their own abilities. Beginners who are oblivious of this fact can accidentally choose a very complex character.
  • Damage type – normal, pierced, siege, hero, spell, chaos, pure, composite, etc. each damage type is reduced by different resistance and is very confusing for new player (compared to normal, spell, and pure damage in LoL).
  • Thundergod’s Wrath – deal damage to all enemy characters and reveal them, but stealth characters are only revealed, not damaged. A failed programming attempt made into innate complexity.

In comparison to DotA 2, League of Legends does not have these so-called complexities. Complexities in League of Legends arise from dynamic action of the characters. A good example will be “denying”. In DotA it is possible to deny (kill) your own troops to prevent enemy from getting experience and gold. It is not possible in League of Legends. Some argue that this make DotA 2 more complex, however the reality dictates otherwise. In DotA 2, a player will try to monotonously deny his/her creep while in League of Legends a player will devise a complex way to prevent their opponent from creeping such as nuking and zoning. Ingenuity on usage of abilities and items is needed to compete in League of Legends.

The Lens of Pleasure

Another thing that makes League of Legends more popular than DotA 2 is the pleasure it guarantees to its players.

In DotA 2, when you kill a player’s character, you will gain gold and experience while the killed player will lose gold. This makes early kill really game-changing in DotA 2. If a team manage to secure its dominance in the early game (first 10-15 minutes of a 45 minutes game), it is very likely to win the game. This is because the team whose players are killed frequently will not be able to gain level/ buy better equips while the dominating team will keep getting stronger from the kills. Moreover, if a character dies he can immediately be revived by paying. Winning team can confirm their victory, since a blunder – that allows other team to win – can be redeemed.

The experience of a common DotA 2 public game is described as follow: 10-15 minutes of anticipation and excitement, another 30 minutes of bullying/ or being bullied. This will make a game slightly fun, and later either it becomes boring since a win is guaranteed, or it becomes depressing since a loss is imminent. Although this does not apply to every game, this commonly applies to general public games. (Note that professional competitive scene in DotA 2 is very different from public games)

Meanwhile, League of Legends do not penalize killed player by reducing their gold. This way, early kills do not assure victory since the opposing team has a chance to strike back. League of Legends also disallows instant reviving. The suspense never ceases even until the end of the game since a mistake from either the winning or losing team can be the end for them (eg. The winning team players’ characters are all killed in a teamfight, and the losing team rushes to destroy the base). League of Legends still reward early dominance but it introduces negative feedback to the winning team.


It is clear to us now why League of Legends is more commercially successful compared to DotA 2. Firstly, it is because League of Legends does not have a lot of innate complexities as in DotA 2. This makes the game easier to learn by beginners. Secondly, in public scene, League of Legends provides more pleasure to both the winning and losing players by creating continuous suspense; while DotA 2 aims only to please the winner.



Official Website



Hearthstone is a free-to-play online collectable card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Recently entering open beta in late January 2014, Hearthstone pits players head to head in a 1-on-1 card battle, similar to existing card games, for example, Magic: the Gathering. The object of the game is to take your opponent down to 0 HP, and players can do so with the aid of minions, spells or weapons.

Lens of Rules

In a strategic game like Hearthstone, knowing the rules of the game is a key component in playing the game well. By knowing the mechanics, players will be able to optimise their game play.

A Battlecry effect targeting Minions

An example of this is the Battlecry mechanic, which takes place whenever a minion is played from the hand onto the field. However, getting a minion with a Battlecry effect onto the field by other means will not trigger that effect.

To ensure that players are certain of these rules, Blizzard has been very specific in the wording on the tooltips and even the cards themselves. Some of the terms used in the game like minion(referring to any creature on the playing field), hero(the player’s character in the game) and character(both minion and hero) have been clearly defined and worded on cards. Emphasis is also put on words ‘ALL’ so that the player is clear that these effects affect both parties.

Lens of Competition

It goes without saying that Hearthstone is a competitive game, since players are battling each other out in every game they play. However, Blizzard has implemented several modes of play so as to cater to the different competitive levels of the player.

Ranking system

Firstly, there is the Ranked mode, where each win brings you closer to ranking up, all the way to the Legend ranks. This provides players with a goal; to get the best rank they can possibly get. This mode matches players of similar ranks, so that players are matched based on relative skill levels.

There is also the Casual mode, where players can practically match-up with anyone else. This is useful for anyone trying out new decks, or for players to have just started and not want to jump straight into Ranked play. This mode also has a matchmaking system which matches players by their skill level.

Lens of Luck vs Skill

In any card game, drawing the right cards at the right time can tilt the chances of winning highly in a player’s favour. However, this does not means that the chances of winning is just purely luck.

Mad Bomber can even damage you!

Players can mitigate the need to draw the right cards by simply having more cards in their hand. This is a term known as card advantage, where the player with more cards has a higher card advantage, simply because he has more options to play his cards. In Hearthstone, certain cards have mechanics that allow for additional card draw, but are significantly weaker than their similar cost counterparts, and it is up to the player to manage when to go for card draw, and when to play more efficient cards.

As a virtual game, Hearthstone also uses effects where the results are random. This gives the game more uncertainty and leaves things to chance. However, these effects take place when cards are played, giving the player control of when these random effects happen, and this is where skill and strategy comes in.


Lens of Endegenous value

The strongest legendary in terms of stats

As Hearthstone is free-to-play, Blizzard makes money from players purchasing packs of cards with real currency. Like in other physical card games, cards have varying rarities. This gives the cards an endegenous value, as players gradually expand their card collection by opening more card packs. Cards of the Legendary rarity are hardest to find, but are the strongest and have the most devastating effects. Card packs can also be obtained via in-game gold, but this takes a much longer as time is spent to earn gold. As such, the endegenous value of cards in Hearthstone is a reward for investment, be it monetary or time.

Also, players have levels for each of the 9 playable classes. Simply by playing the game, win or lose, players get experience points and level up their characters. Hearthstone rewards players with cards that unlock every 2 levels while they level their characters to level 10. Player can thereby add more cards to their arsenal by simply putting in the time to level up their characters.


Lens of Balance

Hearthstone has had several major patches in which cards have been changed due to balance issues. An example of this is to a card which gives all friendly minions Charge, an ability that allows a minion to attack on the turn it is played. In combination with high damage minions, players were able pull off a One Turn Kill combo to win in a single turn without the opponent being able to react. Blizzard then decided to change this card so that this effect now affects minions of 3 or less attack power, so that the card does not lose its effect entirely, but also removing the One Turn Kill.

Cards of the Warrior One Turn Kill combo




CS3247 Game Development Assignment 1 – Option 1


Dishonoured is a first person, stealth, action adventure video game released by Arkane Studios, and is ranked among top games made in 2012. The game is set in the fictional, industrial city of Dunwall, where a new regime rises to power after the assassination of The Empress and the kidnapping of The Princess. Players follow the story of Corvo Attano, who, originally the personal bodyguard of The Empress, is framed for her assassination. Forced into becoming an assassin for the Loyalists, he then seeks to clear his name and restore The Princess to power from the grasp of the rebels.



Dishonoured is a game I greatly enjoyed, and lavished hours upon hours on. The following will attempt to analyse the factors that made this game such an appealing piece not just for me, but for so many around the world.

  • The Lens of Freedom

The appeal of Dishonoured lies significantly in the freedom it gives its players. Players are able to choose from a pool of multi-purpose abilities and gadgets for Corvo to use, effectively allowing players to customise Corvo to their unique play style as they choose. Unlike many games where levels are designed such that level progression is practically linear, the developers even made it so that the levels are designed to accommodate for the use of those multi-purpose abilities and gadgets. Provisions are made so that skills such as “Blink” (teleportation to a location a short distance away) can be used effectively in most parts of the stages, should the player choose to do so.

List of available skills.

List of available skills.

Additionally, players can choose how they will achieve the primary objectives. For example, in infiltrating a building, there isn’t only that one air vent, or that unlocked balcony door. All these are available as access points, along with the main door, or perhaps even a sewer entrance. And as the player explores the stage, players uncover different ways of achieving that end goal of “assassinating” key targets. Further, following from the last point, players are also given the freedom to craft their own brand of vengeance against the conspirators who framed Corvo. Whether they choose to create a bloodbath by rampaging through the stage, or to simply sneak in quietly and take out the target, or perhaps to even decide to spare the target, all these are available as options for the player. Lastly, players are also given the option of building their relationship with the other characters the way they want to through speech options and optional quest objectives. In making all these choices, players become stakeholders in the game’s progression. This makes for a far more immersive experience. Additionally, the freedom given in the players’ actions gives tinge of realism to the game.

  • Lens of Essential Experience

Dishonoured provides for a range of experiences for the player. The primary experience is that of being an assassin. A word thoroughly misrepresented thanks to the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise, Dishonoured brings back the full flavour of what it means to be an assassin – you are sneaking around in a place where your presence is unwelcome, and any one mistake could be your last. Armed guards are actively looking out for signs of suspicious activity, and traps have been set for the unwary. Players experience the excitement of doing the forbidden, and triumphing over the overwhelming odds. On a smaller part, Dishonoured also provides the experience of being empowered to right the wrongs done to you on your own terms, as per the setting of the narrative.

One of the available endings…

One of the available endings…


  • Lens of Meaningful Choice

As mentioned, the player is allowed to choose how they play – do they submit to vengeance and kill, or not. How should they respond to the characters they interact with? In Dishonoured, these choices have an impact on things such as Corvo’s relationships with the other characters, as well as the outcome of the overall narrative. As a close subordinate of The Empress, The Princess looks to Corvo’s actions for guidance now that her mother is lost. How The Princess would rule, once Corvo’s mission is completed, will depend on how Corvo decides to act in the course of the game. Thus, the player’s actions are given meaning, allowing for better immersion into the game.

  • Lens of Challenge

In attempting to infiltrate the large maps created by the developers, players will need to consider and plan various things, such as skill builds, equipment upgrades, as well as the timing and details of executing the infiltration. Then, upon execution the player will need to react swiftly to factors previously unknown to them, and make new plans for their next move. Overcoming these challenging problems is part of the fun of Dishonoured.


  • Lens of Curiosity

Dishonoured gives players a wide variety of options – the various supernatural skills, the range of gadgets and modifications – but few of these are actually really essential to the game’s progression. Thus, players are free to wonder – suppose I played without supernatural powers, or without gadgets, or if I had to kill everyone, or if I had to spare everyone? Additionally, as mentioned above, Players may attempt stages again by progressing through different access paths. Thus, Players are free to handicap themselves, challenge themselves, and re-attempt the game to see how it would play out. This makes for hours of fun exploration.



Patapon 3


Lens of Economy
There are 3 basic types of “currency” in Patapon 3 – Ka-ching, Materials and Equipment. These 3 are used to upgrade the gear of your 4 men “army”. All 3 of them are earned through clearing stages (most of which are repeatable) and every stage has at least 1 treasure chest which gives a prize, usually an equipment. The stages can be cleared in a short amount of time and relatively easily. Storyline bosses may take longer (2 to 3 stages which must be cleared at 1 shot). Clearing the storyline increases difficulty as well as the rank of the items that can be obtained. These 3 resources are used to upgrade the obtained equipment at the blacksmith. Some materials and equipment become randomly purchasable from an NPC after an early part of the storyline. Farming can hence be monotonous by repeating a few stages, but there is a variety to choose from. Fortunately those are not the only type of “currency” and also grow with farming. Patapon 3 has a levelling system, a typical trait in many games. Levelling makes your army stronger, as well as unlocking different classes and set skills. Patapon 3 has two types of skills and levelling methods instead. The first is set skills which are associated with certain jobs and unlocked at certain levels. For example, Allosson (the stronger version of  a bow user) has a set skill which creates a tailwind while Fever Mode is activated, increasing his range while reducing that of your enemies (and defending your army from spore-type attacks). These set skills can be equipped by the Patapon before beginning a stage, and you are free to mix and match them (The maximum number of set skills equippable depends on the class). Patapon also has class skills which are passive. These are levelled by repeated use, which may empower a class as well as its related branch-classes. How does throwing 4 spears instead of 1 sound?

Lens of Skill
Patapon 3, like its predecessors, is a rhythm game with some elements of RTS. Hence this game actually requires a few skills – a little “music” sense, thumb-movement (in my case, I use my thumb), tactics in choosing your line-up and battle process (selection of skills, equipment, miracles etc), decision-making (when to use the said skills) and ability to keep calm while not jumbling your fingers.  The commands are issued to your “army” in the form of 4 drumbeats, getting a perfect timing for the beats will grant several advantages like being able to invoke your Uberhero’s skill (in “FEVER Mode”). Giving perfectly timed commands also speeds up charging to “FEVER Mode” when The other members of your army also gain bonuses like stronger attack or defense, and even activate some passive skills known as set skills. You also become able to use miracles. While perfect initially sounds impossible, the time-frame given is sufficiently lax and takes little practice to get the hang of it.
There is a good number of commands, not too many which become hard to remember. The variety is good as well, with retreating and jumping to evade attacks, guarding, dancing, charging and attacking. This leaves sufficient room for tactics to some degree. Decision-making applies more for bossing when the damage is from potentially one-hit kill techniques which range from grabbing and eating your poor Patapon to being stomped by the foot of a giant. The need to keep Fever activated can be challenging at times as a poorly executed command will break it and potentially cause failure.
There are also some limitations such as failing the stage if Hatapon (The flag bearer) dies. As long as there is at least one live Tatepon or a melee class, Hatapon will remain invincible. However, Hatapon’s defense and hp are like paper – so keep your tank alive.
Both new and old players can practice at the training grounds while getting low-ranked chests at the same time. Therefore, there is sufficient means of letting players get used to the commands and control system. There are also a few levels of difficulty that can be selected at a later part of the storyline, which becomes progressively harder.

Lens of Character traits
The Patapons in the game have small fragments of personality, they are mainly your Uberhero (through some choices you make through the game which affects certain events) and the anti-heroes. There are also some rather stupid ones which grants some humour (or facepalms) during the storyline. These can range from single-tracked minded enemies to those who still have honour or some who perhaps aren’t as bad as they seem. They help to bring out the storyline, as in the case of most RPGs.

Lens of Challenge
The monotonous nature of just killing all your enemies and levelling all their structures and contraptions to the ground is broken by the storyline, having stages where you go head to head against the anti-heroes which range from racing, arriving at the enemies’ base ASAP and even shooting missiles at the enemy platform. These mini-games are repeatable and have decent rewards, offering some incentive to play them. Each of these mini-games has different objectives and gives players even more opportunity to strategise and test their line-up.
The challenge in Patapon 3  is essentially to keep at least 1 tank alive, maintaining Fever mode and not jumble your fingers during boss fights which require a deeper sense of observation and prediction. The is particularly so since the Patapons only react after a complete set of 4 beats – you must already be sure of your command when you hit the first beat. Otherwise, you will likely end up breaking fever mode to react in time, or possibly result in loss if a bad decision was made.
Moreover, let’s not forget your nemesis are not called anti-heroes for nothing, they have their own special skills as well such as charging through your line-up which disrupts your attacks or putting forth a giant shield that protects their henchmen.

One of the “mini-games” where you have to reach the opponent’s flag before they reach yours.

Lens of Feedback
The feedback a user receives mainly come on 3 occasions occasions, during and after clearing a stage and during loading screens. The loading screens often offers tips on how to play the game or reveal the class trees that can be unlocked – useful for beginners. Hoshipon, who takes the role of a knowledgeable old geezer will guide you through the storyline, giving brief tidbits of information about the next stage. After clearing stages, there is also usually a short animation about what your adversities are doing, be it internal strife or a prelude to a nasty welcome prepared for you in the next stage.
During battles looking at the eyes of your Patapons also offers some information, such as if they are within attacking range of an enemy, depicted by having slanted irises. They also give a rather sad cry when they perish in combat. They also offer various forms of audio feedback, such as disappointment (“I knew it!” – in Japanese) when you messed up a command and more enthusiasm during Fever Mode.

Tip shown during loading screens : Spear-class tree
Another useful tip on upgrading equipment to make your army stronger

World of Tanks

Assignment 1 – Option 1

1280x800Game: World of Tanks
Link to game:
Gameplay video:

Description of the game: World of Tanks is a team-based massively multiplayer online game featuring armoured warfare in the mid-20th century. Players can choose from an arsenal of over 240 tanks from seven different nations, including iconic tanks such as the German Tiger and Soviet T-34. There are five different classes of tanks – heavy, medium, light, tank destroyers, and self-propelled guns. Each of these five classes has a unique characteristic, and they each play a different role on the battlefield. Players are put into 15 minute 15 vs. 15 battles where they either attempt to eliminate all enemy tanks, or capture the enemy’s base.

2 – The Lens of Surprise

  • As World of Tanks features human players, the element of surprise is inherently present as you rarely know what the other players might do.
  • Random number generator (RNG) system that is implemented in the accuracy of guns and critical module damage can give pleasant surprises to the player. For example, if one manages to destroy the ammo rack of a tank, the tank blows up, regardless of how much health it has. This is known as a 1-hit KO. Sometimes, RNG sends your tank shell flying to an unintended location, and it actually manages to kill an unintended enemy (or ally)!
  • The physics system in the game allows players to pull off stunts such as flying off a cliff and landing onto another tank. This happens very rarely and it is always a nice surprise to see it happening, even if you are not the victim or the one performing the stunt.
  • The link below is a playlist of lucky and interesting physics going on, that appear in gameplay from time to time.

German Tech Tree

17 – The Lens of Pleasure

  • The tanks available in game are placed in a tech tree, from tier 1 to 10. The higher tiers feature the more iconic tanks, as well as tanks that look simply sexy. It is a pleasure to finally see your coveted tank sitting in your virtual garage, especially after working so hard to get it.
  • Once in a while, your team fails you and you find yourself in a, for example, 1 vs. 4 situation, and you manage to emerge victorious from the engagement. Or sometimes, you manage to do a monstrous amount of damage, or manage to get the killing blow on half the enemy team. Pulling off such achievements gives the player a since of pride and happiness.
Leopard I

Leopard I. What a sexy tank.

32 – The Lens of Meaningful Choice

  • World of Tanks is a game where you have to make choices in every moment of the game.
  • The player’s ability to make these choices also translates to their level of skill in the game, as well as whether or not you emerge victorious from the battle. The following is a general idea of the thought processes and choices the player can make.
  • Start of the battle
    • Where should I go?
  • When the enemy is sighted
    • Am I in cover? Should I take cover or keep moving?
    • Should I move out of cover to engage the enemy?
    • Who should I prioritize?
    • Am I able to damage or kill the enemy? Will they damage or kill me?
    • Should I attempt to immobilize the enemy (harder to pull off, but it is an advantageous move), or go for an easier hit?
  • Near the end of the battle
    • Should we capture the enemy base, or should we destroy all enemy tanks?
    • How much time is left in the battle? Will it influence the above choices?

What will you do?

42 – The Lens of Simplicity/Complexity

  • Simplicity: The game mechanics and controls are similar to any first-person shooter out there. The WASD keys are for movement, and the mouse is for aiming and shooting. This is sufficient enough for the player to contribute to the game, especially at the lower tiers. The more intricate mechanics of the game do not make a big impact on the battles yet.
  • Complexity: However, to become a better player, especially as one advances to higher tiers, you need to properly understand the complex mechanics the game has. Concepts such as angle of ammunition impact, and the vision and camouflage system are very important skills to master later on in the game.
  • Simply put, this is a game which is easy to learn or play right off the bat, but hard to master.
  • Even veteran players will have to practice to use these concepts well in their battles.
  • Complexity of battle mechanics:

62 – The Lens of Inherent Interest

  • A purely tank-based battle? There are very few games like this, unlike the crowded market of first-person shooter games. Surely it must pique the interest of some people.
  • Driving a tank around, blowing other tanks up? How often do you get to do such a thing, or even see it happening? Awesome!
  • Wait, I can drive the Tiger and/or the Maus? Awesome!
  • Ever wondered how the Leopard would fare against the Centurion? Or maybe the Tiger against a King Tiger? How about the performance of prototype or unmanufactured tanks? Now you can find out.


    The Tiger I