Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, March 11, 2010




By M E Saqlain

Most gamers know and love the custom Warcraft 3 map Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a map whose popularity challenges that of the original game itself. With time, it spawned a genre of its own, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, inspiring the creation of Heroes of Newerth (HoN) and League of Legends (LoL). While HoN is still in closed beta, LoL has been public for a while and won several prestigious awards from Gamespy and MMOSite. A standalone game that is downloadable for free from the official website, League of Legends includes Guinsoo, one of the creators of DotA, in its creative team.

Graphically, the game is gorgeous with cell-shaded textures and cartoony Champions. While itfs not a technical marvel, the uniqueness of the Champions is a major improvement from the ancient graphics of DotA. Unlike HoN, the Champions of LoL have their own set of exclusive abilities and make interesting quips and taunts that are highly amusing when triggered after a kill. However, itfs the game play of LoL that sets it apart.

Some new features include the Summoner spells, Runes book, and Mastery skill-tree. Before each game, you choose 2 Summoner Spells which you can cast for free; each spell has different cooldown and enhances strategy by offering many build combinations: for a mana hungry tank, you may choose Clarity, which instantly restores mana to your champion and nearby allies; for a DPS Champion Killer, you should opt for Flash (aka Blink in DotA) to hunt down enemies; or you can select Teleport if your Champion is too slow and you need to frequent the base often. In the Rune Book, you can install 30 runes which you can buy from the Store with Influence Points (IP that you gain from playing games). Runes offer boosts in-game such as increased attack speed, mana regen, health, ability power, and so on: the possibilities are endless, and different rune builds complement different champions, enhancing the replayability of an already awesome game. The Mastery skill-tree is reminiscent of WoW, and improves your championfs abilities in game without costing any IP. As your Summoner gains levels, you unlock additional Rune slots and Mastery points, maxing out at Level 30.

Aside from the above unique additions, LoL is a much simpler and newbie friendly game. With the Recall ability, you can blue pill back to base any time you want without having to worry about town portal scrolls or mana; be wary of the 8 second delay though. LoL is also faster paced and encourages aggressive play by removing Denials (hardcore DotA players might be turned off at this point) and loss of gold at death. Donft let these discourage you, because therefs still a lot of strategy involved, and in higher levels of play, the matches get really intense.

Map changes include the addition of Brushes, where your champion is Stealthed unless an enemy enters it; this allows for playing mind games and setting up clever ganks to make the hearts of enemies race. Another change is the addition of buffs obtainable by killing neutral creeps, replacing the in-game runes system of DotA. These key changes increase the smoothness and intensity of the game, all the while making it an enjoyable experience.

Unlike in other MMOs, where the richer gamer gets stronger and the poorer keeps feeding the richer, in LoL the things that cost solely real money are cosmetic improvements. Champions and Runes can be bought with both Influence Points (winning yields more IP) and real money. Every week, 10 Champions are available to be used for free so that you can try out the Champions before investing IP in them. Some Champions cost more IP than others, but you should be able to buy good Champions by playing only four or five games.

League of Legends has already been released and distributed in America, Europe, and Australia. Recently Riot Games, the makers of LoL, has made a deal with a South East Asian publisher to release the game in that region. Very soon the game will be released worldwide to test the skills of players from across continents. The best part about LoL is the response of Riot Games to the gamers. They have been releasing new champions and patches often that balance and improve game play; whenever there is a major concern posted in the forums, they have done their job in addressing it swiftly with satisfaction.

League of Legends is a true successor of DotA, taking certain elements from the original and diversifying it with its own innovations. The community is friendly and welcomes new gamers with enthusiasm. Being a DotA noob myself, Ifve found getting into the game really enjoyable.

This is all well and good, and it's definitely a good game, but there's just one drawback. It does not support offline LAN play, which kinda ruins it for gamers in Bangladesh. Maybe, some day, Bangladesh can boast an internet connection which can take the strain of international multiplayer gaming.

By The Anarchist Kitten

No Goats. No Glory.
Larry Hooper: Lieutenant Colonel Django used funds from the project's black budget to procure prostitutes...
Bill Django: That's a lie!

Larry Hooper: ...and to get drugs for himself and his men.
Bill Django: That... well, the hooker thing is definitely a lie.

It would be difficult to single out what made The Men Who Stare at Goats a good movie but if the above excerpt from the movie is any indication, it would have to be humour. And even then, it'd be difficult to single out what made the movie so hilariousGeorge Clooney's sharp and impeccable comedic timing or Ewan McGregor's witty comebacks, or the fact that he played a Jedi in the Star Wars trilogy and this film parodies the Jedi? Whichever way you look at it, there's something to laugh about for everyone in this film.

Based on the outrageously 'true' story by Jon Ronson, filmmaker Grant Heslov in his feature film debut brings to life this story about Bob Wilton (McGregor), a young reporter who goes to Iraq during the Gulf War to try and find a story worth telling and prove to his ex-wife that he isn't weak or frail. He ends up stumbling upon an undercover US military operation known as the Army's First Earth Battalion. This special branch's sole purpose is to create a non-lethal form of fighting enemies using psychic and telepathic means to disarm, interpret, and engage during wars. He meets Lyn Cassidy (Clooney) who is a "psychic" soldier for the US government, trained by his free love hippie instructor Billy (Bridges) to use his mind, peace and love to overcome enemy soldiers in any given situation. The two embark on a journey through the desert, small towns, and through the mind: Lyn on a mission and Bob covering an increasingly bizarre story.

Clooney's character is absolutely ridiculous and that's what makes him so good; this reviewer doubts the film would have made it without Clooney. His facial expressions and his screen presence are so powerful and shocking that no matter what he is doing, be it trying to burst a cloud with his mind or locating people thousands of miles away using his mind, or explaining how they tried to learn invisibility but settled for learning how to avoid being seen, he is hilarious.

But Clooney is not alone; Kevin Spacey, the primary antagonist of the movie and Jeff Bridges, the peace loving, drug-addled general, star as other members of the psychic soldier unit, both offering their own unique kind of comedy. All that coupled with McGregor's witty comebacks and comments makes for an ensemble that will keep viewers laughing from start to finish.

The story is very unique and the film uses that as a great advantage to itself in setting up the humor. The characters are not necessarily very real but are taken to heart right away. The film is intriguing, smart, witty, hilarious and all in all, quite enjoyable. It's certainly not the funniest movie in the world, but it's one of the most interesting and intriguing stories that one can't get enough of. The humor is fast-paced, smart, witty and quirky, and if that is your thing, you will laugh.


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2010 The Daily Star