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Halo - Training Ground

Halo - Training Ground

Where is it and what's there to do?

Halo was designed a few years ago as a means of easing new players in to the game without them tripping over the big factions in the game and invariably coming a cropper. Simply put, the old methods of throwing the newbs in with the lions were no longer working. Years of paranoia following some fast and loose use of the Trainee flag to enter sensitive regions of space had eventually caused more than one faction to adopt a policy of shoot all Trainees on sight.


Historically speaking, the opening of a new region of space has been met with a tidal wave of affiliations stomping over the new systems in order to claim and control them before the opposition was able to assert their supremacy. If this was to occur in Halo, then its very purpose, a place for Trainees, especially when combined with a shoot all Trainees on sight policy would be not only undermined but positively destroyed.


We therefore designed the systems specifically to be unappetising to the larger affiliations and announced them as such. They were mineral poor even for the common ores and utterly lacking in the rarer ores. At best the systems would be a refuge for the desperate and a place for new players to mooch about while they get their space legs. We were also very clear that Halo was to be heavily GM moderated. We would have no qualms about smashing affiliation assets in Halo should we feel that they were 'taking the piss!'*



There was however a real danger that simply throwing new players into a relatively deserted region of space with little or no resources would quickly cause them to leave the game. To compensate for this we developed Missions (though missions and their design go much further than this).


The first mission encountered by new players was designed as a simple back-story - detail your captain, choose a ship and press a submit button. This then gave the new player the follow on mission appropriate to the type of ship they opted for. We went with the principle that three ships and a total of 9 missions would give them around a month's play time to get the feel of the game. By this time they should be confident to venture further afield, should have been contacted by recruiters and may even have ventured onto the forums to say hello.


There was however the possibility that they needed more time or by opting to try to do all missions simultaneously, running everything they could everyday - they could exhaust the missions within a couple of weeks. They may even have opted to start a political almost immediately but by the same token not quite be ready to leave Halo. To this end we have more invested time coding game controlled positions with a minor amount of AI.


Halo Tramp Haulers

These small and rather dismal ships are operated by civilians (game controlled). They program courses between the civilised worlds of Halo, selling their cargo and buying new cargoes. There aren't hundreds of them so they are far from being the golden goose. They do however give the opportunity for new players to test their hunting skills (read 'Diary of a Privateer').


Last thing we want however is a sudden influx of the big affiliations looking to hoover up all these little nuggets. Rather we want to encourage them to interact with new players, using them as the middle-men for the short period while they learn the game mechanics. To this end the Halo Execution Fleet will be becoming a little more active and used as a deterrent.



Unique Trade Goods

Within the game there are certain items that have a variable value based on their location. This is analogous to real-world items where a cigar in Cuba is considerably cheaper than the same cigar bought in London. An item taken from its source to be sold at the other end of space can be worth more than 10x its source value (often more than 20x) when sold for stellars to a civilian population via a starbase. So, once you have acquired your cargo of unique trade goods, you need to find a means of converting them to stellars (in-game money). The simplest thing is to announce on the trade forum what you have and see who offers what. You can discuss where to drop the stuff off - maybe in Yank at a starbase or maybe somewhere more local. Consider this an important part of getting to know other players. A word of caution though, just because they can be worth as much as 20x to somebody, it does not follow that they want to pay anywhere near this much. At the end of the day, the goods are not worth anything to you until you own a starbase and then only if the starbase is a long way from Halo!


Summary


Halo is a place to start playing in relative safety, get through your training missions or ignore them, do a little privateering if this is what you want and when you feel ready, leave. You can leave via wormholes. There are two - one to Yank and the other to Corewards Arm. While flying the Trainee flag, your ships are limited to Halo and Kastorian Space as these two regions of space are GM moderated. This is for your own protection and to avoid issues such as discussed earlier in this article.



*Taking the Piss! - this is a term that crops up occasionally in Phoenix. While other Online Games may dedicate reams of definitions, we use this little phrase. Effectively it means playing outside of the spirit of the game as defined on an ad hoc basis by the Game Designers. Generally speaking it is fairly obvious, people get defensive about their actions, start quoting game mechanics and pointing at the past actions of others.

 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

.What is It?
..a wOrmhOle?.
…No.. worse..
….the KANG singularity!…
…..It pulls us IN…..
……lOOks sO familiar……
…….yet so strange…….
……..what is……..
………that?……..

*** Flagritz Liberalise Economy ***

In good news for all the galaxy the Flagritzi have vowed to liberate all slaves across their Empire. Furthermore, the hectapods have given up eating other sentient species; taking up a strict diet of veganism and soy chai lattes. Sales of turtle neck sweaters and Forbidden Fruit laptops have skyrocketed.

The news was cautiously welcomed by the benevolent Felini Tyranny who looked forward to reducing the War phase of their daily Nap-Lick-Nap-War-Nap-Eat-Sleep cycle to a perfunctory forty winks.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Baron Womble * A Short History of the DPP * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Empire Strikes: Solo ***

A massive fleet of some 1600 warships, including large numbers of super-heavy capital 300 and 400 hullers, attacked the DEN in the Solo system, catching them with their metaphorical pants down. The DEN gate platform and some two hundred DEN freighters were subject to antimatter missiles amongst other high tech ordinance.

Jack the lad, Viceroy of the Empire, claimed a victory for freedom and the Imperial (right of) way leaving the sullen Dewiek unusually unresponsive.

With DOM platforms firing on CIA ships, will the IMP now demand the DOM add them to the Do Not Fire lists as well? And what exactly is the nature of the DOM and DEN alliance in light of the sustained attack from the Empire? And will the DEN’s alien friends stand idly by as the Empire fleet camps in the vital gate system of Solo? How will the DEN retaliate for this action or are they ready to roll over and have their bellies rubbed?

All this remains unknown. All that is certain is the “feel good” factor across the DTR has increased, with citizens reassured that for some time yet, they may continue in their slumber with the easy assurance that their number is not coming up anytime soon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * New BHD Guy * DOM Statement * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Acropolis Now ***

The IMP and GTT have brought peace and stability to Acropolis.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Goodbye Falconians ***

The galaxy bid farewell to the Falconian Republic as the Human Empire subsumed them into their expanding territories. This marks the second death of an alien civilisation at the hands of the IMP / GTT in recent years. Like the extinguishing of the nearby Ulians, no voices of opposition could be heard from other quarters. This marks a long-period of appeasement by the Detinus Republic and Dewiek Elder Nation.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DOMination * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic