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

League of Legends (2009)


Game: League of Legends (2009)


• Introduction
League of Legends (LoL) is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game which is similar to Defense of the Ancients (DotA). For every game, each player will get to choose a character, also known as champion and are teamed alongside with other players to destroy the enemies’ base. Similarly to DotA, the players earn small amount of gold passively during the game and by killing minions and enemies’ champions. After each game, players will earn experience points after each game which allows them to level up their Summoner (personification of player) till a maximum of level 30. Gaining levels will unlock mastery points and tune slots which help to improve the overall strength of the player’s chosen champion in-game.

• Lens of Character Function
– Every champion is unique in their own ways. They play different roles in a game too
– There exist several character functions such as the junglers, assassins, fighter, mage, support, tanker and marksman
– For instance, a support champion naturally plays the role of healing wounded allies and strengthening their stats, such as providing them with higher defence or speed for several seconds. They can also be used to stun the enemy champions to buy time for their allies to escape. A good such support in LoL would be Sona
– Not only should a team have well balanced characters, they must also decide which champions should run the top, mid and bottom lane, depending on the functions and equipment, for more advantages

• Lens of Competition
– LoL is a Player VS Player (PVP) or Player VS Bots game
– Playing with bots will be pretty boring for advanced players as the enemy bots are very predictable since they are programmed to do their every action
– Each game in LoL PVP is a trilling competition since every player have different playing styles
– and thus, playing frequently and gaining experience is really important for serious competitive players as they must be exposed to different styles and learn how to counter them

• Lens of Cooperation
– Nobody plays to lose, especially in a team game. Therefore they will be more pressured to contribute to the team in one way or other
– It is important for teammates to look out for one another’s backs and help each other to escape whenever their champion is at the brink of death
– Newer and weaker players usually are more selfish and complain a lot during the games, especially when other players make a kill steal (KS) or they will fight over which lane to use
– On the other hand, stronger and experienced players cooperate to take down enemies together even though they did not get the kill, they will offer the lane to someone who needs it for than their champion
– Communication is very important when playing LoL. Most of the time, I would sign in to Skype to talk to my other teammates about the strategy we should employ in the game according to the way our enemies play

• Lens of Skill
– LoL is not really a difficult game once you get a hang of it. Most of the time, a win and lose is highly dependent on the players’ skills on how they use the champions and good teamwork
– A team with an extremely skilful and strong player and four other weaker players can still win a team of five average players and of course, it also depends on how well the other team can cooperate too
– Memorising all the skills and abilities of every champion is definitely a plus point as you can predict and avoid the incoming attacks
– The timing to stun opponents and to use skill shots on them is really important as well. For instance, one of my favourite champion Anivia, has a skill called Flash Frost which flies really slowly for a short distance in a straight line, thus I must always predict the movement of my enemies before firing Flash Frost, a hit can damage and slow down the movement of enemy champion by 20% for 3 seconds which is very crucial for the enemy to escape and for myself to take the kill
– Adding on, players should also know what to equip their champions during the game. Strong players know how to vary the equipment used during late game, while less experience players would google their champion’s guide beforehand and follow the recommended equipment set

• Lens of Chance
– In every game, there bound to be some chance and luck too. Although LoL is a game that depends on skills, players do have chances to finish off their enemies even though it seems near impossible
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiu5quoGvoU
– In the above Youtube clip, it portrays the chances that the champion Ashe has to finish off opponents from far with her Enchanted Crystal Arrow. The players must be really skilful in estimating the timing to make those kills
– Furthermore, equipment such as the Phantom Dancer allows the champion which wields it to have an increase chance of 30% critical strike which is extremely crucial during a 1-1 battle in game

Although chance plays a part LoL, I believe that experience players, who balance their team well with the correct champions, along with good teamwork and skills can still dominate the game. All in all, I believe LoL is a well-balanced game of fun and skills which is why they are extremely successful in the gaming industries. They are rumoured to be able to be on par with DotA or even surpass it.


World of Tanks

Assignment 1 – Option 1

1280x800Game: World of Tanks
Link to game: http://worldoftanks.asia/
Gameplay video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8whsF5JJfM

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: http://wiki.worldoftanks.com/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