Category: Online Game

Pandemic in video games: What games has taught us about virus infections

Image courtesy of World of Warcraft


In this Covid-19 pandemic situation, everyone is looking for solutions. From researches to real-life events, people are digging information to “solve the puzzle” to save the humanity. When it comes to games, there is one example that have been used for studies in case of pandemic. The event is known as the “Corrupted Blood Incident” in World of Warcraft.


In the year 2005, the raid (40 man dungeon for end-game content and max-level character) called “Zul’Gurub” has opened and many people have faced many challenges and fought many bosses inside. The final boss, Hakkar the Soulflayer, in particular, has the ability called “Corrupted Blood” which applies the debuff (a type of penalty) on the player, dealing a lot of damage over time. The spell also spreads to other players who are near. But this spell only has a few seconds duration and only intended for this raid only.


But players found a bug in the systems. In this game, Hunter and Warlock could call their pets and demons to fight for them respectively. They found out that their pets and demons could be affected by the debuff, and if they called their pet or demons back before they die, the debuff would not go away from them. That meant their pets could spread the debuff even if they were not in the raid.


Image courtesy of GamingDose


The debuff then spread into the main city of both the Alliance and Horde faction. As this debuff was intended for max-level characters, that meant the low-level characters would not be able to survive long enough for the debuff to finish its duration. Worst, after they die, the debuff spread to nearby characters. Even the Non-Playing Characters(NPC) in the city also got the debuff, and spread to anyone who got near that NPC.


While Blizzard was trying to patch and fix the issues, the community tried to find a way to quarantine the debuff. They quarantined those who get infected into 1 area, while the lower level stayed in the other area. The healer who could cleanse the debuff tried to cure or heal the infected to prevent them from dying and spreading the debuff further.


But there were those who wanted to “troll” other players, by intentionally getting infected and running into the group of low-level players to spread the debuff. Some people who didn’t know about the incident also get infected and ended up spreading it more. The situation was so critical that Blizzard decided to “reset the server” to reset everything and fixed the bug.


Hakkar the Soul Flayer. Image courtesy of Nautilus/Blizzard Entertainment via Slick Science


After this event in game occurred, many organizations foreseen and took it as a case study. The World Health Organization (WHO) asked Blizzard for the statistics and information of this incident to predict how the pandemic would spread in reality. Another counter-terrorist organization also used this event as a simulation for bio-weapon: How it will spread and how to prevent.


Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, many people used this event as one good example of how the virus spreads. But most importantly, how people’s actions in the game reflect the people’s actions in the real world.


For example:

  • Those people who don’t know about the incident or don’t think it’s real. They are like those people who have little to none information about the pandemic and end up spreading the virus without knowing it.
  • Those people who quarantine and separate the lower-level player to other zones and those who got infected into the other zone. They are like the government who try to set up the law to quarantine people, the first-responders who try to help with the situation, and the people who know about this pandemic and try to quarantine themselves or protect themselves and others to stop the spread of this virus.
  • The “trolls” (not the in-game Troll race, but the description of the action that some player did to “prank” other players) who intentionally took the debuff so that they can go and infect other people. They are like those people who know about the virus, but refuse to acknowledge the danger of this virus and just go outside without any protection.


Aside from the Corrupted Blood incident, other games also use the concept of virus or pandemic in some ways. Some of them come in the form of biological weapons or engineered viruses. Others come in the form of the virus similar to what is happening right now.

Here are some of the games that use these concepts in their games…


Plague Inc – The real-time-strategy game that involves players in creating pathogens to try to kill every human on earth. The game receives a good review from many sources and gained more popularity due to the spread of the virus.


Resident Evil 2 Remake – The remake of the classic Resident Evil 2. The game follows 2 main characters, Leon S. Kenedy and Claire Redfield as they venture in Raccoon City and try to survive the Zombie apocalypse caused by the T-Virus, the biological weapon created by the Umbrella Company.


Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – The Divisions series take place in America, where a deadly virus is spread throughout the country during Black Friday and the whole world through the banknote. You play as one of the agents of the Division, an organization that tries to save the survivors in the aftermath of the global pandemic.


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Following “Soulsborne” games, “Souls-clone” games are born!

A scene from Nioh. Image courtesy of Mercado Libre Argentina


As more and more players are interested in the Dark Souls series, other game developers started making games that resembled the Souls series in difficulty level, the “death penalty” mechanic, and even the map design. These games were known as “souls-clone” or “souls-like”.


“Nioh”, the so-called  Samurai Soul is one example. This game has very similar mechanics with the Souls series. Another example is Hollow Knight – a 2D platform that has the difficulty of the Souls series. From Japanese game development company Fromsoftware, they created Bloodborne – a Gothic-Victorian-themed “Dark Souls”. Bloodborne is also one of the most popular PS4 exclusive and that’s the reason why that this kind of game is called “Soulsborne”.


Image courtesy of HorrorWire


After achieving great success from Bloodborne, Fromsoftware released Darks Souls 3 – the third and final game in the Souls series. Dark Souls 3 cloned some of the mechanics from Bloodborne and its core mechanic got polished. It is also the closing chapter of the Dark Souls series, wrapping up the story that was built up since Dark Souls 1.



After the end of the Souls series, Fromsoftware announced Sekiro: Shadows die Twice, an Action RPG that is so unforgiving that many Souls “veteran” said that it was harder than Soulsborne games in the past. 


While Sekiro shares many mechanics from Dark Souls, such as the unforgiving difficulty and the loss of currency punishment if you die, it also has a lot of things that differentiate itself from other Soulsborne or Souls-like games. It removes the multiplayer aspect of the series, removing the stat customization, various weapon types, and different kinds of magic and sorceries.


In this game, you will play as “Okami – the Wolf”, a Shinobi who failed to protect his master, lost his left arm, and have to bring him back using his ninja skills and a new “shinobi prosthetic arm”.


The combat systems are also changed and focus on parrying the attack more than blocking and rolling as in Dark Souls. The storyline is also more straight-forward, unlike the Souls series where you go through the worlds in which major events had already happened, the story and situation of Sekiro is more linear and easy to understand.


Sekiro gained a good reputation as a new Soulsborne game and has reached more audience. The combat is so challenging and the story is so engaging that it is much easier to understand by the new audience. All of this combination makes Sekiro a very successful game and as a result, Sekiro won the Game Awards 2019 “Game of the Year”./.

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Gaming culture: The rising popularity of “Soulsborne” games

Image courtesy of The Fandomentals


Difficulty level has always been a part of gaming culture. In recent years, one type of game called “Soulsborne” has gained a lot of popularity because of its notoriety for being extremely difficult. In those games, even one small mistake can cost you your game.

Despite its many difficult layers of gaming, a number of gaming communities have grown to like “Soulborne” games.


The beginning of Soulsborne games came from the “Souls” series – an open world action Role-Playing Game (RPG) from the Japanese Fromsoftware video game development company. Its initial start was “Demon Souls”, then slowly gained popularity from its next series “Dark Souls”. So why has it become popular among gamers?


Image courtesy of


Firstly, this series has a unique way of storytelling. Instead of experiencing the linear storyline like other fantasy games, gamers will immerse themselves in the environment, background music, enemies they encounter that eventually create the storyline. It is up to the player to “solve the puzzle” and create their own plot for the game.


Secondly, gamers do not have to learn the storyline of the game. They can just ignore other characters and play the main quest without a clue. Sounds frustrating? 


Image courtesy of Gogame


Thirdly and most importantly, this series is just notoriously difficult. If your character dies, all of the souls (the “currency” to upgrade level & items in this game) collected will be dropped at the point that your character dies, and you have to collect again. Worst of all, if your character dies before you collect all your dropped souls back, all of the souls left will be gone. 


Moreover, even the weakest enemy in this game is so dangerous that it can kill you in just a couple of hits! Thus, the player has to be cautious on every move they take or risk losing precious souls. Not to mention, you will have to retry multiple times before you can kill “the boss” of the game.


Image courtesy of DualPixels


All those factors combined might sound frustrating to most players. Yet somehow, it has created a community of players who come to help each other to enjoy playing this game altogether. They would go through each zone or take down each boss; help each other solving the mystery of the game; make a roadmap for the new player to follow; or try to summarize & explain all stories in the game.


Thanks to the multiplayer systems of the game, it allows players to create a group who has the same interest in doing PVP (Player Vs Player) content in the game, whether arrange a duel, making item builds for PVP, or invade other player through special in-game “Covenant”. /.

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COVID-19 vs Esports: To survive and thrive in pandemic

At this point, we can’t deny that the global pandemic of COVID-19 affects our daily lives. From the city and country lockdown, to the closing of the stores, to the government announcements that people should practice social distancing. This also affected many sports events and forced them to postpone or cancel the competition, such as the Premier League or other traditional sports.


But while most of the sports events have been postponed, Esports took these changes and adapted their own platform. Due to their online nature, it means they can have the match, even if there is no live audience in the stadium. Also, some of the traditional sports try to adapt to the online nature of Esports to create the competitions that people can enjoy at home.


Image courtesy of MotoGP


For example, Grand Prix motorcycle racing (also known as MotoGP) has created the “MotoGP™ Virtual Race” with their hashtag #StayAtHomeGP which brought 10 racers in their tournament to compete in MotoGP20. This event received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both MotoGP fans and game fans alike.


On the side of Esports competitions, many tournaments had announced that they will change the format of their tournament to a fully online tournament. Hearthstone, League of Legends, Dota2, Rainbow Six Siege, and other games competitions have changed their format and run with it. From the caster to the analyzer to the player and the interviewer, they have used the online platform to make the tournament happen, with live audiences watching online from their home around the world.


For the example, the League of Legends LPL (China’s LoL Pro League), LCS (North America’s League of Legends Championship Series), LEC (League of Legends European Championship) and LCK (League of Legends Champions Korea) had shifted to online only tournament, and had crowned their champion of each region or are competing to find the champion of that region. For Hearthstone, the Hearthstone Grandmaster had also shifted to online, and due to the single-player nature of the game, it is quite easier to handle the server than the multiplayer genre.


Image courtesy of LoL Esports Youtube


On the smaller scale, in Thailand, the Tekken 7 tournament hosted daily by TESF (Thailand Esport Federation), became one of the most anticipated events in Thailand’s esport. Because TESF has been recognised by the Sports Authority of Thailand, this tournament is more important than before. Because the top 2 players of this tournament will be trained to become Thailand’s representative alongside Book, who has been recognized as the best player in the country for many years and had just won the gold medal in SEAgame and become the latest EVO Japan champion (with a little drama from the community, consider he didn’t use his main character, but used Leroy which is the most broken character in the history of Tekken). 


This event is also a good opportunity for the new players who didn’t have a chance to compete in the LAN tournament. Many of these new players were considered a “sleeping tiger” and is actually a high level player who never appeared in the offline tournament. The fact that they came out to compete in this tournament means that many eyes are now watching them and might want them into their Esport organizations.


Image courtesy of Thailand Esport Federation

But all of that didn’t come with an obstacle though. Many games suffer from the change of format. For example, The Tekken 7 tournament mentioned above has problems with connection. Because the game uses peer-to-peer connection (connection between 2 or more machines, without a server to handle the connection) This causes problems with either connection loss or the quality of the video. The Hearthstone Grandmaster that was changed to online after changing the location twice has announced that Blizzard will take the responsibility of refunding the flight and booking cost to some extent.


Also, due to the travel ban from many countries, many of the major tournaments have been cancelled. Such as League of Legends MSI (Mid Season Invitation) that just has been cancelled or many of the Dota2 Pro Circuit (Valve-sponsored tournament that awards points and the top teams with the most points will be invited to The International) has been either cancelled or moved to the future. 


Image courtesy of Twitter @DOTA2


Which game that you might be interested in, there are many choices nowadays to watch. No matter if you are interested in MOBA, FPS, Card game, strategy, racing, or even fighting games, there is always something for you to watch during the quarantine. 

(Ref. of Dota Pro Circuit 2019-20 Rankings/Featured image by Philipp Keller)

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Lord Tachanka – จากตัวละครสุดห่วยสู่ท่านลอร์ดแห่ง Rainbow Six Siege

เกม Rainbow Six Siege นั้นเป็นหนึ่งในเกม Esports ที่เติบโตได้เร็วมากๆ ด้วยเกมเพลย์ที่ตื่นเต้นและแปลกใหม่กว่าเกมแนว First Person Shooter อื่นๆ ด้วยความที่มันเป็นเกมแนว tactical ที่กระสุนสามารถเจาะกำแพงได้เกือบทุกจุดและด้วย Operator ต่างๆจากหน่วยรบพิเศษทั่วโลกที่มีความสามารถและอุปกรณ์ที่แตกต่างกันไป ทำให้เกมนี้ได้รับความนิยมอย่างมาก

แต่เมื่อมีการแข่งขัน ทางผู้พัฒนาก็จำเป็นที่จะต้องทำการปรับสมดุลตลอดเพื่อไม่ให้มีตัวละครตัวใดตัวหนึ่งด้อยเกินไปหรือเก่งเกินไป แต่มันก็มีกรณียกเว้นที่ทางผู้พัฒนาไม่ทำการปรับตัวละครด้วยเหตุผลบางประการ ซึ่งนั่นเป็นกรณีของ “Tachanka” หนึ่งใน Operator ของเกมนี้ ที่ความ “ห่วย” ของตัวละครนี้ทำให้มันกลายเป็นมีมและอยู่ในจุดที่ทางผู้พัฒนาไม่สามารถปรับอะไรได้โดยที่ไม่ไปทำลายจุดเด่นที่ผู้เล่นนั้นชอบ

Alexsandr “Tachanka” Senaviev เป็น Defense Operator จากหน่วย Spetsnaz จากประเทศรัสเซีย โดยชื่อ Tachanka นั้นมาจากรถลากติดปืนกลในสมัยสงครามโลกครั้งที่ 1 โดยในเกมนั้น Tachanka เป็น Operator เกราะ 3 ความเร็ว 1 และมีความสามารถในการตั้งป้อมปืนกล RP-46 Degtyaryov ที่สามารถยิงเจาะกำแพงได้ ซึ่งในตอนแรกนั้นมันก็ฟังดูดีในฐานะฝ่ายป้องกันที่จะทำการตั้งป้อมปืนกลแบบนี้

แต่เมื่อผู้เล่นมาเล่นจริงๆนั้น พวกเขาก็พบว่ามันเป็น Gadget ที่แย่มากๆ เพราะเกม R6 นั้น สามารถยิงเจาะกำแพงและพื้นได้เกือบทุกจุด และเกมนี้ควรที่จะเคลื่อนไหวอยู่ตลอด และสร้าง line of sight ให้กว้างที่สุดเท่าที่จะทำได้ เพราะฉะนั้นการที่ตั้งป้อมอยู่กับที่นั้น แทบจะเป็นการยืนรอความตายเลยและถึงแม้อาวุธของเขาจะอยู่ในระดับที่พอใช้ได้แต่ด้วยการที่ตัวของเขาเป็น Operator เกราะ 3 ความเร็ว 1 ทำให้ช้ากว่า Operator คนอื่นอย่างมากจนถูกขนานนามว่าเป็น Operator ที่ห่วยและมี pick rate ต่ำที่สุด แม้แต่ Recruit ที่ไม่มี gadget และอุปกรณ์แต่งอาวุธเลยนั้นเป็นตัวเลือกที่ดีกว่า

แต่ความห่วยของเขานั้นทำให้ผู้เล่นเกิดความคิดตลกๆที่ว่า “เขาห่วยมากจนเขาเก่งสุดๆ” และผู้เล่นบางคนก็เริ่มตั้งชื่อเล่นให้กับเขาว่า “Lord Tachanka” และเริ่มเกิดมีมต่างๆเกี่ยวกับเขา อย่างเช่น “ที่ Tachanka นั้นห่วยเหลือเกินเพราะว่าคนทั่วไปไม่อาจดึงพลังของท่าน Lord ออกมาได้ต่างหาก”

ทาง Ubisoft ผู้พัฒนาเกม R6 นี้ก็ได้พยายามที่จะทำให้ Tachanka นั้นดีขึ้น โดยการลดแรงถีบของปืนลง รวมถึงติดโล่กันกระสุนบนตัวป้อมปืนด้วย นอกจากนั้นการอัพเดตครั้งนี้ยังเป็นจุดที่ Ubisoft นำความเป็นมีมที่ผู้เล่นตั้งให้มาลงในเกมด้วยการติดคำว่า Lord ในภาษารัสเซียลงที่โล่ติดป้อมของเขา รวมถึงการปรากฏตัวของนักพากษ์เสียงของ Tachanka ในตอน Live stream เปิดตัวด้วย

แต่การปรับปรุงในครั้งนี้แทบจะไม่ช่วยอะไรเลยเพราะจนถึงปัจจุบัน Tachanka ก็ยังคงเป็น Operator ที่มีอัตราการเลือกเล่นน้อยที่สุดอยู่ดี แต่ว่าเขาก็ได้กลายเป็นตัวละครที่ผู้เล่นรักและเป็นหนึ่งในตัวละครที่โดดเด่นที่สุดของเกมนี้และก็ยังถูกเลือกในการเล่นอยู่บ้าง จนทาง Ubisoft ตัดสินใจทำ “Lord Tachanka Bundle” ชุดและสกินแต่งอาวุธที่ได้แรงบันดาลใจมาจากมีมที่ผู้เล่นสร้างขึ้นนี้

แต่ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบของแฟนๆเกมนี้ได้สร้างปัญหาใหญ่ให้กับทาง Ubisoft นั่นก็คือ “จะปรับแก้ Tachanka ยังไงที่จะทำให้เขานั้นดีขึ้นแต่ไม่ทำลายจุดเด่นที่แฟนๆนั้นชอบ” เพราะทาง Ubisoft นั้นรู้ว่าป้อมของ Tachanka นั้นเป็นปัญหาใหญ่ที่ไม่เหมาะกับเกมที่ต้องเคลื่อนที่ตลอดเวลาแบบ R6 แต่ถ้าเกิดว่าเอาป้อมออกไปแล้วมันจะยังเป็น Tachanka ที่ผู้เล่นชอบอยู่รึเปล่าและแม้แต่แฟนๆก็มีความเห็นที่แตกแยกไปหลายทาง บางคนก็บอกว่าไม่ควรไปแตะต้องตัวละครที่เป็นมีมแบบนี้ บางคนก็บอกว่าควรปรับแก้อย่างด่วนโดยการเอาป้อมออกไป แต่บางคนก็บอกว่าไม่ควรเอาป้อมออกแต่ควรจะปรับให้เขาเก่งขึ้น เช่นให้ป้อมเขายิงเจาะโล่เข้าหรืออย่างอื่นซึ่งนี่ก็ยังเป็นปัญหาที่ทาง Ubisoft ยังหาทางแก้ไม่ได้