Archive for Tannhäuser

Sumtjin ’bout Overwatch

This game is super nice and in some aspects all I wished for. Not only because it is very fun to play and looks amazing (even with my crappy graphics card). No, it is because it is cohesive, so incredibly cohesive. One glance and you can see that there is a unified vision behind its presentation.

As some of you who reads this might know, I have complained about DOTA 2 and LOL not having a cohesive style. Not that their art style is a scrambled mess, cause it isn’t, both their art styles and visual presentation are very cohesive. But the worlds they present aren’t. DOTA 2 just began as a mod of Warcraft 3 and later on they decided to create a story to it so it isn’t weird that they have everything from Greek gods, to internet trolls. LOL opts to use the little more cohesive world idea of having the heroes/champions being pulled from different dimensions to fight. Which to me is a bit cheap, but I can buy in to, it also allows the creators to make whatever they want, so kudos to them for that.

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However, with Overwatch I am seeing for almost the first time a Hero/Champion based game with a cohesive world vision that bleeds in to all the facets of the game. (Yes I am sure some other games have done this before (Tannhäuser for example) but I use this as an example because it’s big, popular and won’t be discontinued any time soon).

Why this excites me is because I am really looking forward to see what Blizzard will do with it. Will it they further the metaplot of the world later on? Maybe rework some of the old Heroes or give them new skins that reflect the story?

The story progression will probably mostly be delivered through comics and CG-trailers as they have up to this point, but even in game we get snippets of information about the cast. Will they down the road ad more “fluff/lore”-voice lines to heroes? I have no idea what Blizzard will do with this new amazing IP so I’m just giddy to be along for the ride.

Pic found here.

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Another thing about Tannhäuser and MOBAs

Lately I have been playing a lot of Dota 2 and also discussing MOBAs in general. Even though I love Dota 2 with its colorful heroes and fun gameplay I do find it lacking in some aspects. Which I think many MOBAs are lacking in, which is “world building/lore consistency”.

To be honest, I do not think MOBAs need a strong “world”, what they need is characters that are easy to understand and fun to play. But the reason that I have been thinking about this is because I and some friends are intrested in how to present narrative and worlds. Which you can do through the characters. In Dota 2, which is the MOBA I am most familiar with, the world created through the characters lore is nonsensical and a patch work. Almost every hero’s lore is only about themselvs and a completely new place which we have never heard of, which is never mentioned again later. The quality and amount of lore is also very uneven with some being very good and interseting while some is just bad.

So the world is very dodgy and we do not get a sense of what might exist outside of the “arena”. But what they do well is fleshing out the heros personality. Though some of them are very one dimensional, they are still very easy to recognize and most are a little humorous. What is also interesting is how some of the characters have special responses when they face certain heroes or have them as allies. This creates a conection between some characters and hints that there might exist something outside the “arena” it helps with creating a world and also makes the characters more interesting.

In Tannhäuser, which has at least a few similarities with MOBAs, the world building is top notch, in my opinion. So why is it good, well to begin with, we get a sense of what the world is like just be the premise of the game. WW1 never ended, it is still going. Each major faction has turned to alternative sources for power to finaly shift the balance in their favor and win the war. Just by the premise we know that the world is our world, earth. In almost every characters lore you get information about the world, the characters relationship with other characters. We even get information about characters that you cannot play which are only part of the lore. The lore is consistent. Dota 2 have lore that creates relationships, for example Bristelback’s lore, it says he has a beff with the character Tusk. But it has one problem, it does not actually state it is Tusk he has a beef with. And in Tusk’s lore, even though a similiar event is mentioned as the one in Bristelback’s, Tusk’s lore does not mention or even hint about Bristelback. So in theory, their lore could be disconected.

What Tannhäuser also does well is that the characters feel cohesive. The factions in the game differ a bit, but within each faction the characters feel like the steem from the same place, and no faction is so widly different from the other that they feel alien when compared. In Dota 2, though it is some kind of fantasy world, there are characters that feel like oddballs. Venomancer, a man turned into a super poison thingy-majingy from exposur to extremly deadly poison. To me, that sounds like a comic book villain, not something that belongs in a battle between “good” and “evil”. Most characters does not even have a reason to be in the fight, just by reading the lore.

As I said in the beginning. MOBAs do not need lore, world building or fleshed out characters, since MOBAs are not about that. But if it wants to have it, it needs to be built with that in thought from the beginning and be cohesive and consequent.

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More Tannhäuser

What makes Tannhäuser such a great game according to me is that it has a lot of different interseting “modes” and decisions. Before a game begins you decide what faction you will be playing as, which in and of it self will affect a lot how you will play the game. After chosing your preferred faction you have to build a team that might be sufficant at dealing with the other players faction. Each faction have very different tactics and strenghts, so when chosing your team set-up you have to carfully think about what strategies the other player might use with that team, and also how to work around the other factions strenghts and your factions weaknesses.

When you have finally decided which characters to use in your team, you have to choose what equipment each character will be using in the game. To create a good team, you need to think about how each characters will interact with the rest of your team, but also how they will act against the enemy team. You might need to take a specific equipment pack to counter an enemy character and then equip another of your characters to work as a support for your counter character.

When playing everything is about positioning… almost. But positioning is very important, and the team that can secure/controll certain key points of a map will have a clear advantage. So even though Tannhäuser might look like just another ameritrash romp, I would never label it as such. It is true that it can be played more casually and then might seem like a game with a lot of flavour and little else, but as soon as you begin to think a little about strategy and how to combinate charactes equipment and abilities, you will see the depth that exists in it.

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BOARD GAMES!!! Tannhäuser

If someone ever asked me the question: “What is the best game ever made LOL ROXOR 77 CAT?”

I would reply: “Tannhäuser my dear, Tannhäuser.”

Maybe not, but I do think Tannhäuser is a very good and interesting game (which sadly is no longer in print 😥 ). So some of you who reades this (who am I kidding, I do not have any readers, everyone is just too busy playing dota and spending time on facebook) might say: “Hey! I know about that game and it sucks, really bad. The rules are a mess!” and to that I can only reply: “Well, you are half right.”. The game was originally made by the french company Take On You, for short TOY and these guys and gals… I do not know what they were thinking. Because their version of the game was a total mess of rules and unbalanced shenanigans.

The version that I want to cheer for is the “re-release” made by Fantasy Flight Games, or FFG for short. When they aquired the rights to the game they did a complet overhaul of the rules, but some things could not be changed (Tala and the Matriarchy). The new game created by FFG, yes it was a new game if you ever played with the old rules and then with the new ones you would understand, was a thrilling tactical 2-player game of smal-scale skirmishes between the Union and the Reich in a alternate univers, in which the Great war was still going strong 1954. By the Great war I mean the first world war.

Yeah… so I did not explain why it was good, so therefore I will do that in another post 🙂

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