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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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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

”Necessity hath no law”

Lord Cromwell of the DOM slapped a fleet of privateers, on charges of "knavery", "bad manners" and "poor sportsmanship." Such offences carry the death sentence in the Dominion, a nebulous territory neither part of the Empire nor apart from it. At least thirteen Armadillo class ships, typically sold by the DOM, were destroyed at a location Cromwell was unwilling to disclose publicly. Bloodthirsty Dewiek as well as "prince of peace" Yahn Wodenzoon were quick to congratulate the DOM for their merciless carnage. It seems the consensus in the galaxy’s ruling class is that not presenting valid identification is a crime worthy of the murder of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unfortunate crewmen. This is all just another indicator that the political elite are far removed from the lives of ordinary people who are seen as little more than meat inventory. It is telling so-called “man of the people and the downtrodden” Wodenzoon so readily aligns himself with this grisly concord. Meanwhile, the archaic elocutionist Cromwell further establishes the recent trend of mild exertions of power by the cold-blooded DOM.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the Fox

The galaxy is still digesting news of the return of Xavier Fox to the boardroom of the GTT. The ailing corporation's share price began a sharp rally after a six month downward spiral under Ike Krieger, credited with being the worst CEO in the megacorporation's history. The only surviving board member from Fox's initial tenure as CEO, and perhaps across the entire GTT board, is Antt Tilton the Research Director. The reclusive Tilton is the brains behind the ascension of GTT technology, particularly in the field of antimatter weapons and super-heavy dreadnought size ships, Tilton offers a small measure of continuity during this tumultuous time. Mr. Fox has therefore resorted to a broad appeal for new blood to join the ailing firm. So far, the result has been a number of two-dimensional "Yes" persons being promoted to the C-suite. Still, key stakeholders were upbeat with one commenting, "Fox is the man to turn this bloody disaster around. He knows how to put a great team together and where to bury the bodies of the non-performers."


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

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

And so with the news,
 
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As part of the update outlined in the 7th February post, turn fees have been increased as from today.

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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,
 

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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