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Archive for the ‘Game Mechanics & Design’ Category

#YOHTAI – A Place For Hearthstone.. Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Posted by Yogizilla on April 17, 2014

Over at Geeky Antics we have been keeping busy reporting the latest #Hearthstone news.  We have info on how to get Hearthstone on the iPad or iPhone now.  We even have some sneak peeks for the upcoming Adventure Mode (Curse of Naxxramas), new cards, and shifts in the meta.  It’s an exciting time to be a geek – especially if you are on a budget!

Stan Faryna has started the #YOHTAI initiative as we prepare for some collaborative livestreams, special video series, and game nights.  Help us out by sharing your Battle Tag over at Geeky Antics and sharing via social media.  Tweet, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Squidoo..  Whatever you use, get it out there – we can do it!

Our hope is that this will help us all find more worthy opponents where the competition is more balanced.  Matchmaking still leaves a bit to be desired on Hearthstone but we reckon the mobile apps and single-player content will change that a lot.  There’s also Arena Mode, which we highly recommend once you get a good grasp on the basics.

Show Stan some love.  Share this and leave comments with your BNet Battle Tag (in the format USERNAME#ID).  Feel free to leave your Twitter, Twitch, Skype, Raptr, and other pertinent social media stuff.

This is #1 of the series and we hope to see many more.  We can’t make it happen without you.  Let’s do this!


Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn (16 April 2014) Issue No. 1.

via Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn (16 April 2014) Issue No. 1.

Posted in Duel Strategies, Free Games, Freemium Games, Game Mechanics & Design, Game Previews & Industry News, Game Updates & Announcements, Social Media, Strategic Gaming, Tips Tricks & Strategies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review & Tips: Marvel Puzzle Quest By Demiurge

Posted by Yogizilla on November 15, 2013

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign Preview Version

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign is a puzzle fighting game much akin to Puzzle Figher. At first glance, people will think you are playing that horrribad, spammy game on Facebook called Candy Crush.. Or PopCap’s own Columns rip-off, Bejeweled. While this is another three-match puzzle game at heart, it’s differences are what make it truly shine.

First, here is the stuff that should be familiar or expected to most. Puzzle Quest is free to play but they monetize via the usual “pay to win”/”speed up your progression” value proposition. It is a social media enhanced game so sharing with and inviting friends does get you some loot. Paying players have an edge but the game is very balanced.

Now for the good stuff!

Puzzle Quest Virtual Economy And Core Mechanics

The standard format in Puzzle Quest is 3v3 but sometimes you will face one or two buffed-up opponents, like Venom, who can literally eat you whole if you are not careful. Damage is dealt by matching colors with higher values. The value or damage hits depend upon your team. If you assemble bruisers in your squad, color matches do more damage.

Color matches collect the tiles for AP (action/ability points) of the respective color. Typically, you need 6 or more of ay given color to really execute anything worthwhile. You will find that some heroes and villains have reduced AP costs the more you train those powers. For example, Venom’s stun, the Symbote Snare, costs 6 AP or less at higher levels.

To train powers, you can use matching covers or Hero Points. I do not recommend the latter as those points are best used for expanding your team size and cover storage (same thing). Hero Points are also hard to come by and ultimately cost money if you are in a pinch. You can only level up characters once their powers are trained. Each power level and rarity has it’s own level cap. The elusive isotope, ISO-8, is what you will typically use to level up your toons.

Sometimes, players will find themselves stuck. Fortunately, you can replay old missions to earn additional rewards. Some missions offer four distinct rewards but distribution is random. This means you will have to do some grinding.

Now, back to how damage is dealt.. Matching four of a color clears a lane and collects all AP in it. matching five or more earns you an extra move and massive opponent damage. Five-tile matches usually produce a critical tile, which increases damage dealt by 10-20% and serves as a wildcard.

As you can see, there is lots of depth here but there’s much more…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Game Mechanics & Design, Game Previews & Industry News, Game Reviews, Strategic Gaming, Tips Tricks & Strategies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mass Effect 3: Is Disappointment Over The Endings Justified?

Posted by Yogizilla on March 25, 2012

About three weeks ago, just over a week from the official release, Mass Effect 3 posts seemed to pop up on every gaming and tech site possible.  The topic, of course, is the outrage over the disappointing Mass Effect 3 ending.  The discussions all boil down to this:


Are we gamers insatiable or was Bioware really lazy here?

Justin Germino of DragonBlogger.com put it all into a good perspective by discussing Five Worse Video Game Endings.  Still, I think core issues have been completely neglected in these discussions.

First and foremost, when one considers that dedicated Mass Effect fans have invested anywhere between 70 to 180 hours of total gameplay throughout the trilogy, you have to wonder, “Was this really worth it?”  I beat Mass Effect 3 about six days after starting it and I must say: I found the missions very satisfying.  Character and plot development alike were very well done, too.

Though I kept my expectations for the ending very low, I expected some sort of closure.  I got that.  What I did not get was an ending worthy of the time invested and all the build-up.  The climax in Mass Effect 3 leaves you hoping there will be at least more DLCs and multiplayer opportunities, if only to keep the addictive gameplay going.

Yes, the ending was disappointing yet it was to be expected.

The Mass Effect 3 Ending Feels Forced

For all the foreshadowing and tragedies that less up to the final moments of the Mass Effect 3 storyline, I can’t help but feel that the ending was forced.  You get a maximum of three possible ending choices and none of them are very satisfying.

The Bioware team did a great job of foreshadowing by making it clear how hopeless and impossible the scenario was..  yet I can’t help but feel that the glimmers of hope were misleading, even after everything goes awry time after time.  I believe Bioware wanted to allow for a truly happy ending but they got themselves stuck and did the only thing they could do: present us with controversial, perhaps incomplete content and let our imaginations do the rest.

I know that by now this horse has been beaten dead but I’m still having a video game hangover due to the severe disappointment here. I almost want all those hours invested back.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Game Business & Politics, Game Mechanics & Design, Game Previews & Industry News, Rantings, The Angry Mob | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Look At The Gaming Industry, Gamer Motivation, And Social Media Marketing

Posted by Yogizilla on February 2, 2012

For those not interested in the business side of gaming, skip this..  But I will say this: we gamers RULE!

I’ve been working on some projects lately with heavy social media and game mechanics involved.  Thing is, the majority of online marketers, brands, and businessses still do not see the massive opportunity here.  I think these numbers speak for themselves:

”]ESRB Video Game Industry Facts & Figures

What’s interesting to me here is that the data hints that socializers are the biggest group of gamers.  I look at everyone as a player, though not all players are necessarily gamers (being a gamer, in the more traditional sense, is more of a lifestyle choice, a conscious commitment)..  Yet we all play games in our lives: reward programs, social influence scoring platforms, sweepstakes, blogging, etc.

Socializers are driven by the interaction and engagement between others.  There is endless opportunity here for thought leaders, inbound marketers, brands, and, well, everyone.  I think the major paradigm shift here is in value propositions.  We’ve always thought of value and ROI in terms of dollars and cents (or traffic and visibility, the mass marketing, noise-making ways of old), yet Nexon, Zynga, FourSquare, and countless others have shown us that a virtual economy can ultimately be profitable, while keeping your overhead costs down.

These market leaders have also shown us that players may not be driven by achievement, high-level competition, or even curiousity.  As human beings, we are driven to feel connected, if not validated and accepted, even if we may be tagged as socially-recluse.  There is power in feeling like you’re a part of something bigger than you, a community, and networking with like-minded individuals..  even more so when we can meet our goals together!  Social is beating the pants off traditional marketing, especially for small businesses and start-ups trying to stay lean.

Zynga was valued at over 7 BILLION, last I checked..  their games are free and very similar to the myriad of mobile and Facebook games out there.  I’d say that should create urgency for us all.

Have you considered implementing game mechanics and design into your online projects?  How about now?

Posted in Game Mechanics & Design, Game Previews & Industry News, Online Gaming, Online Marketing, Social Media | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Will Modern Warfare 3 Steal Battlefield 3’s Thunder? Probably Not.

Posted by Yogizilla on November 3, 2011

I’ve been so deep in Battlefield 3 that I almost forgot Modern Warfare 3 comes out next week. It was my fellow clanmate Joe Fisher (PhallicDragon on XBox LIVE) that reminded me. A small part of me is excited but, for the most part, this will be a game I will put on rotation so I don’t over-play Battlefield 3.

Every credible non-fanboy review I’ve read seems to point at the fact that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 feels more like an expansive map pack than a full sequel. While Joe and other fellow gamers say that Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 are too distinct to compare, I already know Battlefield 3 will be my main game. I also know that the Gears of War 3 Season Pass looks more tempting than a Call of Duty Elite subscription.

With that in mind, there are a few things that make Modern Warfare 3 and Elite subscription tempting…

This. Is. Sparta! Err, I mean Modern Warfare 3.

This. Is. Sparta! Err, I mean Modern Warfare 3.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Game Mechanics & Design, Game Previews & Industry News, Geeky Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Game Design 301: Battlefied 3 Massive Update Opportunities (A Battlefield Wish List)

Posted by Yogizilla on October 29, 2011

Battlefield 3 is by far one of the most fun games (of the MPOG variety) I’ve played online in a long time. KiNgDeeM describes Battlefield 3 as digital crack. Really, it’s that good and I’ll take Battlefield over Halo, Call of Duty, and even Halo!

But there are glaring issues with Battlefield 3 that are supressing the fan boy in me…

First and foremost, let’s be honest: Battlefield 3 has a nice single-player campaign (and CoD fan boys say it’s a rip-off Modern Warfare campaign).. But we’re here for the online multiplayer, regardless of whether you play on PC, XBox 360, or PS3. Now for my issues with the online stuffs in Battlefield 3! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Game Mechanics & Design, Game Reviews, Game Strategies & Tips, Geeky Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

“Zombies, RUN!” GPS Game Mechanics Meets Survival Horror

Posted by Yogizilla on September 14, 2011

My good friend, Nicholas Teri (a.k.a. KiNgDeem), shared a wonderful article about the new “Zombies, RUN!” game for the iPhone (and other smartphones).  You should check it out!  Here are some images and thoughts.  What excites me about the game is that it is a unique title that truly takes advantage of touch-screen and GPS technology alike.  Check out the game in action on the iPhone!

"Zombies, RUN!" screenshots on the iPhone.

These "screenshots" on the iPhone show some very tantalizing screens for the "Zombies, RUN!" game.. You can see it's already a unique video game.

Apparently, this video game is much like FourSquare (which is a game in itself) in that it takes your existing daily routine and makes it more fun.  By combining exercise and game mechanics, “Zombies, RUN!” gives you added incentives for being active.  In this manner, the game seems poised to provide both intrinsic and extrinsic value, which is great since we all know exercise is not always appealing, even if we know the health benefits.

"Zombies, RUN!" uses your existing routes to plot missions.

This and related images in this post provided courtesy of SixToStart.com - thank you!

As you can see here, the routes do not have you running into walls or anything crazy.  The game takes routes you have taken and plugs them into a dynamic mission generation system.  Item drops such as med kits and ammo are randomized so it’s a fresh game every time, without you running around to random locations and having people look at you funny.

Hey, don’t look at me like that..  I’m just texting..  I’m not running away from invisible monsters – REALLY!

This is a pretty zany, if not, crazy game concept..  Which is why I think it’ll be a huge hit!  I’m surprised more folks have not followed suit with these sorts of game mechanics considering smartphones and Internet tablets alike all come with GPS devices these days (most of the time) yet they are severely under-used.

I know some folks will worry about privacy issues  but, for those that are already into the whole social media craze,  I think that’s a moot point.  If the developers are smart about it, they’ll use this is an opportunity to throw in social networking and have some co-op play opportunities.  I can also see this as being a candidate for natural product placement, though I know some gaming purists detest in-game advertising.

The potential here is great.  I’m pretty excited about this and hope Nick follows up with more reports.  This is easily one of the most interesting and innovative games I’ve seen on a smartphone since Angry Birds (though we know THAT game was a rip – Gorillas, Worms, Scorched Earth, Warheads…  yeah, been there, done that).

This game will likely be much more sticky than FourSquare, simply because it doesn’t take you far outside of your normal routine.  Even better, you get rewarded for what you’re already doing.  FourSquare takes a lot more commitment and persistent, which can make some gamers grow bored after a while.  It’d be nice to see Empire Avenue or Klout integrate something like “Zombies, RUN!” into their stats.  I know, it’s not happening but a guy can dream, no?

So, what do you think..  Is this something you’d play?  Let’s discuss.

Posted in Game Mechanics & Design, Game Reviews, Geeky Reviews, GPS Gaming, Reblogs & Syndication | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »