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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.

 
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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** 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

 

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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