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About Ryan Thompson

Ryan is a ludomusicology graduate student at the University of Minnesota currently researching interactive audio and how it is changing modern gaming.
Latest Posts | By Ryan Thompson
Bringing a MOBA game to XBLA: Guardians of Middle-earth detailed
8 years ago

Bringing a MOBA game to XBLA: Guardians of Middle-earth detailed

XBLAFans was able to sit in on a conference call last week with Guardians of Middle-earth Producer Bob Roberts and Senior Producer Ruth Pomandl. They shared intricate details about the game’s development process, what it was like to balance a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game for the console space and some details about how various systems will work in the game.

Players new to the MOBA genre should consider checking out Monolith’s own video tutorial series explaining it. The basic idea, though, is that players choose one of a number of heroes (five of them are unlocked initially, and the others are unlocked via in-game currency), and fight on a team of five champions against a team of five other champions. While each champion has unique talents and attributes, there are five basic character archetypes. These include:

  • Enchanters –- low maximum health and low physical damage, but they output lots of ability damage and withstand ability damage better than other classes.
  • Defenders –- high survivability but low damage.
  • Warriors –- the most balanced class and the most versatile as a result. They take a fair amount of damage and deal a fair amount in return.
  • Strikers –- the physical damage equivalent of Enchanters, meaning lots of damage but very low survivability.
  • Tacticians –- slightly more survivability than average but focus on AOE disruption and controlling the flow of movement across a lane.

In most PC MOBA games, players shop at an item store for items to upgrade their characters as the game progresses. Guardians mixes things up by introducing a less UI-intensive series of systems that should help make the console experience go more smoothly. Players can set loadouts similar to League of Legends rune and mastery systems  before a game begins, except that the loadout options in Guardians are even more extensive. There are three loadout systems in place for players to manage and utilize throughout a game — Potions, Commands and Guardian Belts.

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Guardians of Middle-earth character reveal:  Ori and Agandaûr
8 years ago

Guardians of Middle-earth character reveal: Ori and Agandaûr

By  •  News

Two more heroes were recently revealed for the upcoming Guardians of Middle-earth.

This time around, the new hero fighting on the side of good is Ori, dwarven scholar and brother to Nori and Dori, giving him a tie to the upcoming Hobbit film. As an Enchanter, Ori functions in the role of a mage, and looks designed to deal out lots of damage utilizing combinations of magical spells. One of his abilities, “As it is Written,” marks enemies, making followup spells deal even more damage. He looks to be a fun combo-based mage.

Agandaûr, Sauron’s lieutenant, fights on the side of Mordor in a similar role, despite his knight-like appearance. Agandaûr’s Overcharge ability powers up the remaining skills at his disposal, making his Shockwave a formidable strike. It is worth noting is that Agandaûr possesses a teleport — usually extremely powerful in MOBA games, since the teleport can be used for both offense and defense. He will be a hero to watch once the game releases in December. Check out the video below for the full rundown on each champion:

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Postmortem on Dust: An Elysian Tail
8 years ago

Postmortem on Dust: An Elysian Tail

By  •  News

Gamasutra put up an excellent article today in which Dean Dodrill, developer of Dust: An Elysian Tail, recounts the successes and failures of this summer’s most popular Summer of …
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Cave Story receives ESRB rating for Xbox 360

In case you haven’t yet played the popular indie masterpiece, Cave Story received an ESRB rating for the Xbox 360, hinting that some announcement of a release for the …
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Character reveals for Guardians of Middle-earth
8 years ago

Character reveals for Guardians of Middle-earth

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Monolith and Warner Bros. recently released a bunch of new information on Guardians of Middle-earth, an upcoming multiplayer online battle-arena game for XBLA. The game is set to release in December, which will also see the release of the highly anticipated film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, marking Peter Jackson’s return to the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien.

First, two new characters were revealed, one from the forces of good and the other from Mordor. The first of these new characters is Eowyn, shieldbearer of Rohan. Her skill set should position her well to be a supportive hero capable of standing in the front lines during engagements, helping make the Defender class an active participant in combat. She focuses on healing and shielding others, with her ability to stun nearby enemies if they approach keeping her safe while she provides support for champions more focused on dishing out damage.

Dishing out the damage is the specialty of the other hero just revealed, Mozgog the orc. A Warrior designed to go toe-to-toe with others in melee range, Mozgog’s abilities increase his damage and mobility, sometimes at the expense of his health. Mozgog’s ultimate ability included a fear effect, nicely referencing the emotional effect the orcs had in the films. The above video highlights both of these new heroes in a bit more detail — for those readers new to the genre, Monolith has released a series of introductory clips discussed after the jump.

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Karateka screenshots released
8 years ago

Karateka screenshots released

Last week, the folks at MTV posted a few screenshots of Jordan Mechner’s XBLA remake of Karateka that turned up on Xbox.com. The screens have since been taken …
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NiGHTS Into Dreams… review (XBLA)
8 years ago

NiGHTS Into Dreams… review (XBLA)

NIGHTS Into Dreams… was developed and published by Sega. It was released on October 5, 2012 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.

NiGHTS Into Dreams… like the re-release of Jet Set Radio for XBLA last month, is a game from an era remembered with great fondness by gamers old enough to have played the original in its prime. NiGHTS is a game that dreamed large for its time, and as a historical curiosity, it is outstanding that Sega has seen fit to release it to a wider public. Unfortunately for the last great dream of Sonic Team, while it remains a grand vision with fantastic artistic direction, it has not aged very gracefully.

For anyone reading this review with no prior experience of NiGHTS, it was released for the Sega Saturn in the fall of 1996 on the cusp of the transition from 2D to 3D gaming — for reference, Super Mario 64, largely credited with completing this transition, was released a month afterwards as a release title for the Nintendo 64. NiGHTS (which is both the game’s title and the name of the main character) has its great moments, but they are tarnished by a few annoyances that are signs of the game’s original time period

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Amazon currently discounting Xbox Live Gold Memberships
8 years ago

Amazon currently discounting Xbox Live Gold Memberships

By  •  News

If you are looking to extend your current subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold, Amazon is currently selling a [easyazon-link asin=”B0029LJIFG” locale=”us”]Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Membership[/easyazon-link]  to the service for $46.00 …
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Wreckateer and the ‘Kinect Tax’

By  •  News

A few days ago, Polygon posted an interview with Iron Galaxy Studios CEO Dave Lang, who released the XBLA game Wreckateer during this year’s Summer of Arcade promotion. Chief …
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