Archive | March 2014

Da Vinci or Not Da Vinci

Vetruvian Ezio

 

Hello everyone,

The game I’ve decided to write about is Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, in particular the second game into the series, Assassin’s Creed II, where you take control of a young Italian named Ezio Auditore, whom, after his fathers death, joins the Assassin’s Creed cause, that is preventing Templars, a religious order, from gaining control and power over the World. To do so, Ezio must kill several key Templar members in order to annihilate the Templar’s plans.

Ezio gains more skill and experience throughout the game, developing his skills, weapons and gear. However, there is an interesting historical character in the middle that helps him do so. This is purely fictional, but it’s nice and enthusiastic to have a character of such charisma in the game, helping Ezio with his cause. The name of that character, the genius of his time, was Leonardo Da Vinci… In this discussion post I will talk about his potential absence.

 

Identify the question and define relevant variables

How would the story develop without the presence of the great Leonardo Da Vinci? Where would Ezio find help and information? Where would Ezio buy his newly engineered weapons? Would the story be has entertaining? Does the presence of a well-known, real character make the audience gain more interest? These are all question that would have to be answered if Leonardo Da Vinci was taken way from the game.

The variables would be, the new character or shops that would deliver or fulfill Ezio’s needs and how would that affect you buying other gear: since most of the gear of Da Vinci given to Ezio is free. That would affect deeply the amount of money you could spend on certain things, since you’d need those items.

The difficulty of the game is a third variable, would it be harder without that gear, If that didn’t exist at all because of the absence or the engineer.

 

Specify Assumptions

 

My assumption, firstly is that the game wouldn’t be as entertaining storywise, these types of characters are used so that the player sinks into the game, and goes “Wouah, look Da Vinci!” That is the negative side of taking away that likeable character.

Secondly, I the game would be more difficult if the gear wouldn’t be so easily given by a friend, If you had to acquire them through difficult tasks, it would make the game harder, and the feeling of accomplishment would be greater. Moreover, if those items would be sold by shops, along with other items, since those weapons given by Da Vinci are more crucial to you, you’d have to give on buying nice gear or secondary weapons to give priority to those that are essential, but you could have yourself a choice and go for a challenge and try to complete the game without those weapons.      

 

Formulate a Hypothesis

The game may have less charisma in the end because a character that is revered throughout the World didn’t help you, but the player would have finished the game with a lot more difficulty depending on the choices of weapons they would make. It would give the player the ability to strategize, maybe give up on those crucial weapons and gear and try a harder way, the game would be more flexible, and there would be more paths to the end of the game. Players could test their skills to the limit, weather in collecting money to buy everything, which would become much harder too, or kill the last man with the worst weapon you could find.

Players would manage their money and buy what they think would be more appropriate to achieve the end of the game.

 

Test the hypothesis

There is more than one-way to test my hypothesis, first of all I would put a simple option of having hints activated or not. This way more skilled players could dive into the game “blindfolded” and strategize the way they wanted, and less skilled players would have a small guidance, as if Da Vinci still existed.

Secondly I would incorporate greater financial gains in the end of the missions, that would have to be tested a lot, so that the appropriate amount would be given (since there would be more items to buy), so that the game wouldn’t be to easy or too hard. Make it accessible to everyone, and so that any type of player could enjoy it. Money gain would be key, because if you can buy all your items too easily, the game will be boring and simple, if it’s too hard, less experienced players will give up on it rapidly.

A third method would be giving players a more deeper weapon systems where some weapons have advantages or disadvantages over others ( A bit like RPG class and weapons systems), so that there wouldn’t be “crucial weapons” but rather a set of weapons that are all equally important.

I would like to remove this character from the game, to make the game more flexible, although he is a great character, removing him would give the designers and players infinite options. The game could be more versatile, more fun and more customizable, depending on who takes the controller. The character could exist too, for the historical credibility, but if that importance was taken away from him, player’s strategy would have a much greater role in the game…

Thank you for reading,

 

Sources:

Clayman David. (2010, March 10). A Sequel that triumphs over the original in every possible way. ign.com. Retrieved from http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/03/12/assassins-creed-ii-review

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The Perfect Clan or Guild

I’ve chosen a particular MMORPG that I like, DCUniverse Online. I was also going for The Lord of The Rings, but I’ve decided to focus on DC UO because it has a bit less fame that the major ones like Warcraft, Everquest or Diablo.

 

In DC UO we do not talk about clans, but leagues. Leagues are basically the same as clans, but it makes reference to the Justice League, a group of well known super heroes that include Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman and so on. The game is based on the DC Universe, that is why they are called Leagues.

 

Leagues help your economic status because when you are in a League and at the max lv (30), you have new missions that open up, to get new items, money and power ups. Being in a League certainly improves your economic status because you become stronger. However if you are not at max level, you can take harder missions and level up much quicker.

 

Personally I play a bit differently when I’m in a group because I don’t want to fail the group. I like to strategize and be the most helpful that I can. When I’m playing alone I tend to rush in like a brute sometimes and don’t really care about what’s around me. However in a group there is a reputation to gain or maintain as a League so I like to “behave” and work towards the group benefit.

 

If we talk about the perfect league, it’s hard to tell what is the perfect League. I think it’s the one that works perfectly, where all the members fit in with a particular role/task and they perform it to perfection. I think that there has to be one or two leaders to guide the group, to give a path of strategy, even if everyone is a part of the league, there should be one “representative” that ultimately makes the decisions and keeps the group united… I think the best way to keep people in a group is to find enjoyment for everyone; there are missions that ones find more boring that others, so there should be a nice balance so that everyone is satisfied.

 

The best way to determine who joins is to keep an eye on some players and invite them. You shouldn’t accept entrance from unknown players because they may not be dedicated or even care that much.  Communications among clan members and battles with other clans may influence the performance of a clan.  They may want to join a League for one particular mission or trophy and will give up right after. That is not beneficial and does not keep the League united. I’d ban those who don’t work for the team, who are always against the decisions and that create a bad environment between the team. A clan, league or guild works like a team, in any sports, if you have someone who doesn’t row in the same direction as the team, and then they should be invited to leave. A League should have a certain posture or “code” that everyone follows, all in favor of the League.

 

I would use division of labor in my League because it’s the best way to have an efficient group. Some are expert fire users or Ice, some fly and others run extremely fast, if you give a task to someone that fits their skill, and then you will optimize the efficiency in the missions. For example keep healers away from battle so they don’t get hurt, and keep the strong in front. Maybe make those who fly go first because they can hurt the opponents from a distance, or hit them and quickly leave. Every special ability is important like in any firm, which is why it would be beneficial to the economy of the group, to its efficiency. What could happen in a negative way is people getting bored of the same role every time, that is why some variety has to be found so that every one is satisfied.

 

To conclude I think the perfect include should include: A balance between the levels of the players, so that missions aren’t too easy or too hard for some members and a variety of skills to take on any mission/situation. People with the personality that fits the intent of the group in the game…

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Gonçalo Pereira

 

Sources: Lee, H., Choi, J., Kim, J., Park, S., & Gloor, P. (2013). Communication, Opponents, and Clan Performance in Online Games: A Social Network Approach. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 16(12), 878-883. doi:10.1089/cyber.2011.0522

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