March 07, 2016

Master of Orion - Week 1 Hands On

Captain's Log, Star Date 201573 - Journal Entry 1

When I first loaded up Master of Orion, I was not entirely sure what I was going to experience, I knew about the game of course, but over the years my interest in such titles has waned. But I was determined to give it a go, to see how I faired, turns out not great, not even a little.

When you start a game, your first step is select the race that you will be playing as, for me it was a pretty easy choice, the Bulrathi, think Russian bear mixed with dog and you get an idea of what the look like. As each race has developed, before you start the game, they all have strengths and weaknesses, some will thrive on planets with lower gravity, while others heavier, some require lush worlds to populate, others can go for the barren if needed. But while planets are key, they also have specialist skills, meaning if you prefer to play by being more direct and confrontational, using humans might not be the best choice. I based my choice on the looks of the races, I had mine selected and I jumped in.

Sadly, this game was not to be, within 20 turns, I had declared war on the human race, after agreeing to peace and I lost my fleet, well I could fix that, I started anew. I picked the Alkari, the hominid bird people, but quickly started again after hearing a few lines of the advisor, my ears are still hurting. I then selected from the Psylon race, think area 51 alien and your pretty close to how they look, except with more arms. Starting off this time, I knew two things, firstly to avoid starting a way with another race within the first 20 turns and secondly, pay more attention to the tutorials, so I did not inadvertently start a war.

After 50 or so turns, I had a decent military fleet, a few planets colonised and all was going well, I had made an alliance with the Bulrathi, who were also colonising in nearby systems. We had, a part of our alliance, agreed to share star charts, allow us to discover more of the galaxy with less travel, it was the start of a good alliance, as the turns clicked by, I ventured out to more systems, along the way I discovered a warp path that I was unable to use, as it required an upgrade to my ships warp drives, which required some seriously advanced research to get. What that meant was, in order to move out of my little corner of space, I had to pick a specific series of research to acquire it, with each individual part having a number of turns required to acquire it, with the number increasing the further you get down the research tree.

While I was focusing on that, I had my colonies keep building ships, defences and systems for planetary growth, but that came at a cost, pollution. Getting larger colonies and building more complex facilities has the trade-off of an increase in pollution, which if left unchecked was going to hurt down the line. So my production lines changed from ships to pollution control, which thankfully got things back on track, however while I was focused on that, one of my scout ships that was exploring on its own, found something dangerous, a creature that decided my scout ship would make a tasty snack and with that I was down a scout ship.

Because my pollution was under control, I built up a fleet of destroyers and headed back to the planet where my scout ship was an entrée and with a suitable sized force, I took out the creature, with minimal damage to my ships. It was at this point, where I could do very little with the space I had left, until I unlocked the upgrade, I was left to build more ships and gather more resources, but before I knew it, another race had discovered my little corner of the galaxy, the Alkari were here and we made a pact to be peaceful with each other and it was at that point, my research was done, my upgrade was ready and space was open to me again.

My first week exploring the galaxy was slow going, mostly because I had to learn about all the different parts of the games mechanics, but now that I have unlock the ability to jump through the unstable warp points, I can’t wait for my second week.

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