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Fast Tracking - Catching the Phoenix Bug

Fast Tracking

So, you have read a few IGN's and maybe even played some PBM's or PBeM's in the past and have pretty much sussed out what it's all about. You may only be halfway through your first mission and not even got access to the 'create a political' mission along with the other training missions, but you are savvy enough to know you want to dive right in. In fact you are somewhat surprised that most of the literature you have read to date seems to advise caution, playing for a bit longer before committing to either joining an affiliation or for that matter, even paying money. So, following questions from a couple of people looking to leap in at the deep end, I have written a short article on fast-tracking.


The curse of the Phoenix Bug
It's easy to see that there is a lot of depth to the game just reading some the obscure questions that are posed by veteran players of five years and more indicate this. It is also easy to see that a lot of players are passionate about their affiliations. Swapping Private Messages (PM's) can quickly draw you into wanting to join them. They may have quizzed you about your background, enthusiasm and probable commitment. They may have offered you a role in their faction and even waved a reasonable starbase under your nose along with ancilliary holdings and shipping. You are hooked and eager to join. You have also been playing the game for less than a week...

So, how do you get from one ship somewhere in Halo, a bucketful of PM's and a vague understanding of the mechanics to serious player in less than a week?

First and foremost you can complete your training missions even if you have already joined an affiliation. We feel that these give you some clue to the mechanics of the game and may be worth completing after you join an affiliation. Joining an affiliation is a simple matter of going to the recruitment forum (can be found at the bottom of the forums) and clicking Join on the appropriate affiliation. You then have to wait for the affiliation to accept your join request. They may send you a PM question first, especially if you have not already discussed joining them.



Getting a Political
Yup, it's time to start paying to play. This does of course open up so much more of the game and makes life a lot easier (IGN2 Politicals - Being taken seriously). You will need a KJC Account (go to Library > KJC) and create one if you have not already got one. If you have changed email address, postal address and not used it in years, then a PM to Mica is probably your best bet. This will link your credit account (used to play all games run by KJC Games) to Phoenix.
Next pay some money into your account if necessary. It does not need to be a lot though you can qualify for 10% free credit bonus if you pay 50.00 GBP. This will prevent your account from being suspended as soon as you create your political position!
Creating a political (at a weekly cost of 2.00 GBP) can be achieved either through the Create Political Mission (if you have only justed signed up, this may not even be visible) or the order Create Political. Both amount to the same thing though the former is nice for reading material. For speed however, the order is preferable. Whichever you use, you will qualify for 100,000 stellars, a 10,000 stellar weekly income and get a few more ships.

So now you have a political and have presumably been accepted into the affiliation (possibly in less than 2 days). If you have discussed the situation with them, they will now transfer to you all the assets they promised if this was part of an agreement. A word of warning though, it is almost certainly an idea to first check that they will swap the positions if you quickly discover that they are not what you want. Just because you have charged in, you should still get to play the game you want. That's it, that's all there is to it. By joining the right affiliation, you may well have a starbase or two, a dozen outposts and 50+ ships by the end of the first week playing the game!

Disasters
Everybody makes mistakes. In Phoenix these can prove disastrous such as sending your fleet through an asteroid belt or using the Mass Produce order to set the number of factories building an item to 10 rather increasing from 200 to 210, resulting in 190 factories untooling. A quick PM to the GM begging for kindly intervention will generally work while you are still new to the game.


Benefits
The major benefit to immediately scaling up is tackling the Learning Cliff (IGN1). The more positions you control the more mistakes you will make in a shorter period of time due to submitting more orders. The important thing is, because you are doing a lot more orders you will learn how they are used much quicker. If you have a couple of ships, some orders you may only encounter every few months (maintaining, repairing, refitting etc) and as a consequence you may keep forgetting quite how they work. If however you have 20 ships, you get the initial trial by fire, but are regularly undertaking these actions so that soon you are issuing them instinctively.

There can be overwhelming frustration when you only own one position and every turn seems to come back with 'there was a mistake on your turn' and once again you seemed to do nothing. When you own a fleet, this becomes a minor niggle you will come back to once you have dealt with the rest of your ships.

Another benefit is getting to know the universe - both in terms of knowing where affiliation bases are, how to get from one end of the Peripheries to the other and to some extent the distribution of other affiliations. The latter is especially useful if you intend to moonlight as a pirate.
Having more positions also brings you into greater contact with other players which in turn immerses you into the game a lot quicker and at the end of the day, gaming is all about escapism and entertainment.

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

Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround

With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Felini flounder in Winter against superior Dewiek forces

The FEL have managed to get their asses kicked by the DEN yet again after provoking the definitely “not cute or cuddly” Dewiek in the Crossley system. The furry punching bags had bought a civilian flagged outpost in the system, without permission or under certain conditions depending on who you ask, and then had the gall to reinforce this error by positioning warships in orbit. The famously patient warlord Halvor did not buy the story these heavy hull armed ships were merely transports and sent a pack to clear the orbit. The mouthy yet green Felini fleet commander Pr'prz fancied his chances against what looked like a light complement of DEN warships and ordered his own warships to engage in the neighbouring Winter system. The result was predictably a wipe out of the FEL forces consisting of forty-seven capital warships at no loss to the DEN. Once again, a series of calamitous decision making resulted in Felini lives being wasted by a leadership barely fit to clean a litter tray. The otherwise untested Halvor can now claim some victory ale although with his penchant for picking on creatures as weak as Gracians, it’s not exactly clear how much glory this new breed of Dewiek warrior can claim against the legends of old.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Dastardly Dewiek Disregard Yank Neutrality

The governor of a MRC outpost in the Yank system reports that a 400-hull DEN warship called Grey Hunter Axiom entered orbit of Spritzer and opened fire with weapons of mass destruction (WoMD) against a platform, outpost, ground party and ship. Reports indicate significant casualties to Kastorian personnel both in space and on the ground. The KAS Junta is gruffly warning, with a slightly indifferent air, that everybody better stay out of the sector of the outpost for their own health. It is unclear what measures the KAS have or will take against the DEN on this matter. Such a breach of Yank neutrality has in the past caused the Dewiek to froth at the bit against the Empire for their disregard of ‘civilised’ norms. Their current silence on this matter speaks volumes.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


 
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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."


 

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