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360 degree Review - Paradigm Shift

360o Review - Paradigm Shift

At the start of last year during the cold dark days when most people are hibernating, we conducted a fairly thorough analysis of the game looking at trends over years and from this produced what we think were reasonable speculations as to the possible future of the game. We also looked to see if certain concerns players had voiced had merit and to what degree.

The nice discovery was that the game was doing well. The player base, though changing was staying at static levels. We were seeing some affiliations had grown significantly even though others had shrunk. What was interesting though was which factions had grown and where they were active and which had shrunk and where they were most active.

The disconcerting discovery was that there was a distinct divide with the game. The factions that were recruiting, growing and very active were largely based on secret space and expanding further into secret space. It was found that the vast majority of starbases built over the past five years were in secret space and this is despite the addition of Corewards and Orion Spur. Further, the ratio of secret to public starbase was accelerating as public starbases were being dismantled or downgraded to outposts.

We questioned various leaders why they were favouring secret space. The answer was clear. Colonisation of public space meant compromising roleplaying in order to buddy up with aggressive factions or potentially fighting an endless war against dedicated wargamers. Many held the view that this was not viable as the combat system favoured all out aggression. What was very interesting however was those building in secret space felt forced to do so rather than doing so preferentially.

As wargamers want opposition to fight they are also unhappy that factions are primarily expanding into secret space. As such it was looking like without intervention nobody would have the game they wanted. The question raised is what is to be done?

The first thing was simply to define what we wanted. This was fairly obvious:

A rich communal environment where all players can get involved, interact, fight, explore, trade and create legacies. There also needed to be areas where small factions could thrive without large aggressive factions simply using weight of resources to dominate. We are definitely not looking to neuter aggression but want to emphasise projection of power, locus of control, how it can be deployed and diplomatic repercussions.

We realised though that bringing the game in line with the vision shared with the majority of players was neither going to be without issue or quick.

Elephant Hunt

For this to happen we had to first tackle the elephant in the room – ground combat. Not all ground combat, but rather the super-elite form whereby a potentially unlimited size ground party could bypass all orbital defences and bring everything to bear on its target. Up to this point we accepted that dealing with the issue was in the player domain but all we were achieving was pushing one faction into every greater specialisation in waging this kind of combat and everybody on the receiving end out of public space.

The first stage of resolving the issue was simply to render bypassing orbital defences on developed worlds impossible. We introduced planetary shields as part of infrastructure. This feature along with improvements to platforms means that invading a world (starbase) is now a two step operation; dealing with orbital defences then the ground assault. Of course we also had to revisit orbital defences ensuring that they could be up to the task. Players now have the ability to develop some serious defences that are more than just follies that telegraph the actions of the aggressor and give the defenders greater opportunity to play a part other than victim.

As planetary shields potentially only delay the initiation of ground combat we appreciate that the update is however a step along the road, not the destination. We need to reshape ground combat altogether, moving away from the propensity for overwhelming odds in order to achieve near immediate but no less absolute victory. To this end it is our ambition to make combat fun for the defender – no small feat to say the least.

With one eye on the future of ground combat, the second step was to introduce benefits for making space communal rather than exclusive. Unlike the hatchet job on the ability to bypass orbital defence, this is more subtle and can be read about in Living Together (in the next IGN - soon).

Is open for business...
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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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******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


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).