Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1.4.5 Launches Today

Warhammer Online's 1.4.5 patch will be pushed out to the live servers this morning!  This is one of the largest updates the game has seen, as it introduces the new Fortress and Relic system.  Most importantly, it gives something new for the players to do.  Since the servers are down for the update, lets take a look at 1.4.5 content.

Q and A's

Fortress Q&A with BioWare Mythic
WAR 1.4.5 Q&A


Claming a Fortress
Relic Bonuses


Dwarf and Greenskin Generals
Empire and Chaos Generals
Elf Generals

Grovod Caverns

Sadly, I was unable to make the PTS for the revamped scenario.  Someone else did make a video though!  The voice you hear is that of WAR developer Keaven.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Too Many Games

Every once in a while, the stars and planets align in such a way that a perfect storm of game releases occurs.  Could this be what the Mayans predicted would happen in 2012?  In the coming month, there are a bunch of new game titles being released which I am interested in.  I'm not quite sure how I will have time for them all.

Victoria II:  A House Divided.  This is the first expansion pack for Paradox's Victoria II.  Besides a US Civil War scenario, it includes some major economic and political changes which should make the game more enjoyable.  Check out this AAR (After Action Report) for a preview.  This should be released on February 2nd.

Crusader Kings 2.  Another Paradox game, which is shaping up to be very cool.  Taking place from the year 1066, the game focuses Medieval Europe. What makes CK special is that it takes into account all of the family connections and religious influences of the time.  There is a long Let's Play series on youtube.  This game is set to release on February 14th.

StarDrive.  The alpha test for the upcoming 4x game, StarDrive is improving constantly.  Just last night I got in my first fight, and it was a lot of fun.  I posted a video last week showing off the scale of the game and how firing your flagships weapons works.

Star Trek Online.  This week also marks the 2nd anniversary of Star Trek Online (Feb 2nd to the 6th).  As a part of the celebration, players can obtain a new vessel, the Odyssey class. It will only be available for a limited time, so i'm going to have to go get it.  Then later in the month, a new Featured Episode series starts!  These are the best part of STO, so I'm pretty excited.

Warhammer Online.  WAR's 1.4.5 patch should be going live very soon, and it is looking good.  A ton of work has went into the Fortress revamp and I can't wait to see how it plays out on the live servers.

Star Wars: the Old Republic.  I've started up my first alt, Tirew the Jedi Knight.  He's still only level 12, but a lot of fun to play.  I'm taking my sweet time in the game, as it's all for the story with me.

Mass Effect 3.  Technically, this is in March (6th I think), but close enough.  Can't wait to fight some Reavers!

I didn't even get to mention the backlog of console games and Wrath of Heroes which I want to play.  It's really pretty crazy, the amount of choices we have these days.  Oh, and I need to finish Skyrim.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

StarDrive Alpha Video

Testing has begun for the upcoming 4X game, StarDrive.  For an intro to the game, check out this post.  The game is still in its early stages, but I am impressed enough that I want to start showing it off.  First up, lets check out the scale of the game.

You are able to zoom out to a galactic view, then zoom in all the way to the individual ship.  The one is the video is your flagship, which you directly control.

At the end of the video I show off the firing arcs.  Each weapon has its own arc and range, making placement very important.  When showing the arcs, you also get a view of the ships design, which I found to be really cool.  I can't wait to get in there and customize my ships.

For more information about StarDrive, visit their website.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Elf Generals

With the arrival of Relics to Fortresses in the Warhammer Online 1.4.5 patch, we also get special guardians called Fortress Generals.  What makes these npc's special is that players can assume control over them in order to defend their relic.  If they are not being controlled, they will act like normal npc's and attack when enemies are near.

Some things to know about Fortress Generals:
  • They have a ton of health.  Healer archetypes have ~240,000 hp and the rest have ~160,000hp.
  • Each has 5 abilities for the player to use.  
  • They do not do a lot of damage/healing, less than most players.  However, some have some nice utility.
  • The Fortress Generals are only available when a Fort is claimed.
  • If you take a General too far away from the Fort, you will revert to your original form.  Dying is the only other way to drop the General.

High Elf Generals

General Telissys, Archmage

General Lanfenthi, Swordmaster

General Aeloyll, White Lion

General Noresiteal, Shadow Warrior

Dark Elf Generals

General Laneann, Disciple of Khaine

General Ridirthi, Blackguard

General Enorasaine, Witch Elf

General Norlafyr, Sorceress

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Empire and Chaos Generals

With the arrival of Relics to Fortresses in the Warhammer Online 1.4.5 patch, we also get special guardians called Fortress Generals.  What makes these npc's special is that players can assume control over them in order to defend their relic.  If they are not being controlled, they will act like normal npc's and attack when enemies are near.

Some things to know about Fortress Generals:
  • They have a ton of health.  Healer archetypes have ~240,000 hp and the rest have ~160,000hp.
  • Each has 5 abilities for the player to use.  
  • They do not do a lot of damage/healing, less than most players.  However, some have some nice utility.
  • The Fortress Generals are only available when a Fort is claimed.
  • If you take a General too far away from the Fort, you will revert to your original form.  Dying is the only other way to drop the General.

Empire Generals

General Abagar, Warrior Priest

General Gelonas, Knight of the Blazing Sun

General Kabaspar, Witch Hunter

General Ralottolf, Bright Wizzard

Chaos Generals

General Webrell, Zealot

General Arthawrall, Chosen

General Thandiel, Marauder

General Alaynark, Magus

More Generals:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dwarf and Greenskin Generals

With the arrival of Relics to Fortresses in the Warhammer Online 1.4.5 patch, we also get special guardians called Fortress Generals.  What makes these npc's special is that players can assume control over them in order to defend their relic.  If they are not being controlled, they will act like normal npc's and attack when enemies are near.

Some things to know about Fortress Generals:
  • They have a ton of health.  Healer archetypes have ~240,000 hp and the rest have ~160,000hp.
  • Each has 5 abilities for the player to use.  
  • They do not do a lot of damage/healing, less than most players.  However, some have some nice utility.
  • The Fortress Generals are only available when a Fort is claimed.
  • If you take a General too far away from the Fort, you will revert to your original form.  Dying is the only other way to drop the General.

Dwarf Generals

General Skobik, Rune Priest

General  Hengrudon, Ironbreaker

General Banlund, Slayer

General Nuzil, Engineer

Greenskin Generals

General Maggog, Shaman

General Pugratt, Black Orc

General Ragalitz, Choppa

General Gozras, Squig Herder

Friday, January 20, 2012


Earlier this week, I mentioned that I was tempted to make a SWTOR alt.  I'm sad/happy to announce that I have given in and rolled a new character.  I decided to stay on the Republic side, so I could build up my trade skill network.  The class choice turned out to be an even tougher decision.

I was very tempted to make a Smuggler.  It looks like a fun class with a lot of character.  However, there were a couple of things working against it.  One, I had already done Ord Mantell with my Trooper.  Two,  I have been using blasters a lot already.  As a result, I rolled a Jedi Knight.

Tirew, my long time WAR character, was reborn in SWTOR.  So far, I am having a lot of fun with the class.  Being able to Force Leap is pretty nice, and he makes very quick work of enemies at this early level.  Once he reaches level 10, I'll probably pick up Cybertech, Underworld Trading and Slicing.  That way I can keep my group of characters in Armoring mods.

SWTOR is having a bit of a rough week.  I won't go into details, as I'm sure you know.  Unlike some drama obsessed bloggers, it really doesn't bother me.  I am into SWTOR for the long term, so short term issues are not much of a concern.  Besides, it's just a game.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Who needs a ship?

Stellar Fortune is an always evolving project of mine.  Will it ever actually see the light of day as a real game?  I hope so.  Until then, I use it as a platform to try new ideas and technology.  This week saw important changes for the project, which I'm pretty excited about.

Kendo UI.  Much of the work that has gone into the web version of SF is Javascript.  Using JQuery worked pretty well, but it soon became clear that it was just getting to be too big and complex.   I took a look at some frameworks and settled on Kendo UI.  It wraps up JQuery into a lot of nice controls, including a DataSource model.

Here is what Stellar Fortune looks like now:

Agents.  Since I don't want SF to be about combat (there will be some), it occurred to me, why does a player need a ship?  Customizing a freighter is only so much fun.  Flying stuff from point A to Point B is also not very exciting, even though the decision making process can be.

As a result, I made Agents to do all of the actual work and leave the decision making to the players.  In the trade example, a player would choose an Agent from a list, and he/she would move the goods for them.  Then the player would sell the goods.

Agents can also be hired permanently, if the player owns a company.  They can be trained for new skills ( pirating, factory management and so on) and given ships.  Most importantly, they can be hired out.  So beyond some starting Agents, I hope everything is done with player companies.

Now on to my current problem.  Space is hazardous, so Agents can be told to avoid sectors.  This will cause them to take a different route.  A different route means a longer trip, more fuel spent and the destination may be out of range.

The hazard could pop up after the Agent is en route, so what happens then?  If they cannot make it to the destination, does the whole job just get cancelled?  That would kinda suck for the player.  Recalculating paths is also not very cheap resource wise.

I'm sure there is a good compromise somewhere.  Range limits could add a lot of depth to the game.  The map is pretty empty, so it will be up to players to build the infrastructure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SWTOR Temptation

It took around a month, but my Commando has finally finished Chapter 1 of his class story.  Level wise, I am 32 which is what the final quest wanted.  Overall, I enjoyed the first story quite a bit.  I also felt that the final fight was pretty satisfying.  My companion, M1-4X, died and I was left with only a couple hundred hit points.

For my Legacy, I chose 'The Werit Legacy'.'  Crazy, I know.  I am very interested to see what else they have planned for that system.

Now on to the temptation.  My original plan was to play the Trooper until 50, then roll an alt.  However, now I'm wondering if I should start that alt right now.  The main motivator for this is crew skills.   If I start an alt now, his crew skills can support Quentin here in a relatively short amount of time.  If I wait until 50, they won't be useful anytime soon.

Then I start wondering if I should roll an Imperial Agent, which looks awesome.  He would be of no help Crew Skill wise to my Commando, but it'd be a different leveling up experience.  On the other hand, a Smuggler looks pretty cool too.  The downside is that I would revisit areas I just got through.

I'm not sure what I should do.  Start Chapter 2, or roll an alt.  Hmmmmm

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

PTS Events

This week, Mythic will be holding three testing sessions on the PTS in order to test the new Relic system.  Each session will focus on a different pairing.
  • Wednesday, January 18th  8-10 pm EST (1-3 am GMT) - Dwarfs vs Greenskins - Thunder Mountain
  • Friday, January 20th  4–6 pm EST (9-11 pm GMT) - Empire vs Chaos - Praag
  • Monday, January 23rd  8-10 pm EST (1-3 am GMT) High Elves vs Darkelves - Dragonwake
Templates will be provided, so stop on by.

Claiming a Fortress

With the 1.4.5 patch now on the PTS, I was able to hop on and check things out.  Specifically, I took a look at how to claim a Fortress.  The primary prerequisite is that you need to be an Alliance Leader in order to make the claim.  Thankfully, I was able to get an Alliance setup to test with.  On to the Fort!

Getting to the Fort

In every tier 4 warcamp, there is a new flag which will teleport you to that pairings fortress.  It is only active if your fort still has a relic.  If it has been taken, the flag will not work and also look very drab.

Claiming the Fort

Once you are at the Fortress, head to the 3rd (I think forts have 4) floor.  There you will find an Alliance Altar. Click on it, and a few OK's later you are now the owner of the fortress.  Your guild news window will mention the fort was claimed.

Money in the bank

Owning a fortress is not free.  It costs 24 gold per hour.  The gold is taken from your guild bank, so make sure you have some money in there.  The Relic guardian, located on the top floor by the relic, also acts as a Guild Banker for members of the controlling alliance.


Once you claim a fortress, your Guild Banner will be used to decorate it in certain places.  this is a nice touch from keep claiming which has returned.

That's all there is to claiming a fortress.

The main problem with the system on the PTS is there really is no feedback.  Looking at the banners seems to be the only way to tell if the fortress is claimed and by who.  The map does not provide any tooltips like keeps used to give.

The other problem is that bonuses received by being the owner of a fortress do not show up anywhere.  Hopefully Mythic can put in some kind of indicator (buff icon) that lets you know that you are receiving the bonus.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stardrive Q&A

Last week, I posted about an upcoming 4X game called Stardrive.  The creator of the game, Daniel DiCicco, was kind enough to take some time and answer a few questions.  It is a very promising game, which I cannot wait to get my hands on.  Read on for the Q&A.

1)  Can you give us a high level overview of your upcoming game, Stardrive?

StarDrive is, at its core, a hardcore PC 4x with deep ship design and empire building.  I am to provide today's PC gamers with a beautiful looking, fun to play space strategy game that scratches all of their space strategy itches.  We have research, ship design, diplomacy, exploration, and great RTS/Arcade combat with a lot of depth.

2)  When I was reading about Stardrive, the thing that really got me excited was your inspirations.  Master of Orion 2 and Escape Velocity are two of my favorite games.  How have they influenced Stardrive?

Masters of Orion 2 was and is the gold standard for 4x games.  It remains immensely satisfying to me to this day to build a fleet of specialized ass-kicking ships and to go on a rampage through enemy territory, conquering planets and stealing technology, repercussions be damned.  While there have been many noble efforts at recreating this experience in recent times, these games have not been able to satisfy me in various ways.  To me the most rewarding aspects of MOO2 were designing my ships and then actually commanding them in the battles with all of the many various options to customize my experience.

Escape Velocity was another awesome space experience for me in my youth and what I took from EV was that arcade ship combat is deeply satisfying as well.  I believe that the marriage of the 4x concepts from MOO2 with the arcade action of EV will make for an excellent game that many old school gamers like myself will enjoy.

3)  Will players be able to mod or customize the game?  For example, add new stock ships or races?

Definitely.  I spent countless hours modding EV and I am absolutely supporting modding right out of the box.  Races and ships will be easy to add to the game, as well as new weapons, adventure dialogs, planets and planets types and so on.   Most of the game data is stored in plain-language XML files, so no coding knowledge is necessary to tweak the stats on something or to add some new things entirely.  I will support modding to the fullest extent possible and it is my sincere desire to see a Star Wars mod made as soon as possible:)

4)  Since there is a focus on shipbuilding, will there be a way to simulate battles in order to try new designs out?

Not in the 4x game, but instead inside our challenge mode.  For players who don't want to do a full 4x experience, we have a simpler challenge mode where you get a certain amount of resources to design and build a fleet and then you take that fleet against ever more challenging combat situations.  If you're familiar with Gratuitous Space Battles, this system is similar to what was seen in Cliffski's game.  Challenge mode is just a kind of quick-play mode to let you load up StarDrive and have a nice fleet battle without having any consequences on your carefully planned empire.

5)  What kind of multiplayer options will Stardrive feature?

StarDrive will feature an arena-like team deathmatch mode where, much like challenge mode, you have a set amount of resources with which you can build a small fleet.  As you destroy enemies you earn more resources to call in new ships.  The ultimate objective is to destroy the enemy base.

There also will be full campaign multiplayer support.

6)  How big of a map can players expect to see when Stardrive launches?

This is a variable that can be set when you create your game.  I find that 50 star systems works well and gets conflict going pretty quickly, but we can support maps that are 10 times that size very easily.  We also have a "star cluster" map option where a map consists of several regions of space that are separated by long wormholes, the entrances to which are guarded by what are essentially "creeps".  When you beat the creeps, you can access more of the galaxy map and potentially be the first race to discovery some unique goodies we have hidden throughout.

7)  When it comes to 4x games, the AI is very important.  First, in providing a challenge.  Second, taking care of micro-managing the player may not want to do themselves.  How has this been going for Stardrive?

I can tell you that AI is a big challenge, but I don't have to reinvent the wheel here.  I'm using a pretty standard goal-oriented approach to programming the AI for high-level strategic decisions.  The ships themselves have a separate tactical AI that is used to evaluate combat situations, and this provides a pretty nice emergent combat model.  There are a number of different AI strategies as far as their research priorities and fleet strategy (i.e. big and heavy, small and fast, swarms of crappy ships versus lower numbers of quality ships, etc).  My goal in developing the StarDrive AI is to make it not cheat, and to make an AI that can beat me at my own game, literally.  When I've done this, I'll know I'm done.

As far as micro-managing goes, we've got a lot of clever systems in place to minimize the burden on the player.  For instance, the player makes a few high level decisions about what type of colony a planet will be by setting production/farming/research ala MOO2.  And like in MOO2, if a planet was say an industrial planet without food production, then you would build a freighter fleet to bring food to your industrial planet.  In StarDrive, you can import and export not only food but production as well, and the player just chooses between import/export/store for these resources.  The player has to build freighters as well, but the freighters aren't abstractions -- they are ships in your empire, and they have cargo limits and so on.  The AI knows what to do with this information and it coordinates your freighters to move goods throughout the empire according to your high-level commands.  Some research technologies reward the player with cash for moving goods this way. All the player has to do is make sure that his freighters are protected.  So the micro-managing is handled by the AI, but the strategic management of what to build, what to protect, where to import or export, those decisions are made by the player.

8)  It looks like the Kickstarter campaign was a great success.  For people who may have missed it, will there be another way to gain early access to the game?

Yes there will be, for sure.  But with Kickstarter where people are pledging money to help fund development, I know that I don't need to provide a polished product right away to them.  People understand that this is a game in development.  For me to charge money for early access, I want the game to be relatively complete so that people don't buy it, see an unfinished product, and write us off.  That said, I am toying with some more alpha funding on Desura so stay tuned for that.

9)  When do you hope to launch Stardrive and for which platforms?

I am aiming for a mid-late summer release on PC only.  We should have a feature-complete beta ready by the end of March for our Kickstarter beta testers, and at that point I will likely open it up for pre-order/early access as well.


Thanks Daniel!

Friday, January 13, 2012


A few weeks ago, I was looking around Kickstarter and something caught my eye.  There was a 4X space strategy game project called Stardrive.  Since I cannot resist 4x games (Thanks Master of Orion) I had to check it out.  I was quite impressed and opted to help fund the project.

It seems I was not alone, as it ended up getting over 200% funding.  With a focus on ship building and influences from MOO2 and Escape Velocity, I'm pretty excited about the game.  Check out the project video:

Edit: Check a Q&A with the Stardrive developer.

Check back next week for a Q&A with Stardrive developer Daniel DiCicco.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1.4.5 hits the PTS

The long awaited 1.4.5 patch should be arriving on the PTS sometime today.  This is a rather hefty patch since it includes the new Relic and Fortress system.  Mythic posted the patch notes which come in at close to 2,500 words.  The patch is all about Relics and the new Grovod Cavern scenario, so there isn't anything in the way of career changes.

Let's take a peek at some of the interesting parts.

Fortresses are all  about Player-Initiated Defense. An Alliance willing to put their neck on the  line is able to claim the Fortress and several all new ‘defense’ points. 
Here they are trying something new and giving players a sandbox element.  Fort raids can happen at any time no matter what the state of the campaign.  It'll be interesting to see how players react.

Claiming a defensive point or the Fortress will  also spawn banners that show the Guild banner for the Guild that claimed the area.  Fly your flag proud!
Nice to see this feature back.  

A Fortress Foreman spawns inside the Gatehouse, allowing any allied player to purchase Heavy Wood to repair damaged doors  (which works the same as with Keeps); and a Fortress Door Field Kit, which will allow you to rebuild a destroyed  door, bringing it back to a live and closed state, but with only 35% of its  health.
This is a bit different than how Keep sieges work currently.  Personally, I like it better than what we currently have.

While a relic resides in its home fortress, a  Rally Flag will be available in each of the Warcamps of that pairing.  The flag is located near each Warcamp’s  healer and allows players to teleport directly to the fortress to defend the  relic.   The arrival location for the  Rally Flag changes every few seconds to ensure attacking forces can’t predict  the arrival.  However, please be aware  that if the attackers have breached the inner sanctum, the Rally Flag may be a  dangerous way to enter the battle!

Interesting that it is all pairing based.  Will it make it too easy for defenders to respond, or will it be just right to get some defensive presence there in time?  We will see.

When the campaign has moved to the city siege,  players may now queue and enter the city siege via the Scenario Queue window or  by clicking on the appropriate City in the ‘RvR tracker’ available on the map.
Does this mean you no longer have to travel to the enemies city?  Not sure how I feel about that.  A lot of combat happened as a result of the traveling.  On the other hand, it would be nice to get there quickly.

There is a ton more to read, so go check it out.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Map

Since I've been in a productive mood lately, I decided to give an important piece of Stellar Fortune an overhaul.  The map I currently use in the game is really just a placeholder and not very functional.  To really be useful, the game map needs to be more flexible and more interactive.

I settled on using OpenLayers ( Open Source Google Maps ) which allows for a much more interesting map.  With it, players can now zoom in and out, move the map around and interact with the map itself and markers.

You can check it out here:  http://alpha.stellarfortune.com/maptest

It is not hooked up to the server, so you don't need to login to play around with it.  I think it is pretty neat and offers a ton of potential over a static image map.  For example, I could easily use this for planetary maps.  I can also highlight individual sectors for things like territorial control and route visualization.

What do you think?  Did it work for you?  If not, please let me know which browser you were using.  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Star Wars: The Old Republic has been out for a few weeks now, and I am still enjoying the game quite a bit.  It is the best PvE MMO I have ever played.  That being said, I am a little nervous about what the future holds for SWTOR.

This is, of course, all very subjective.  SWTOR was made to appeal to a wide audience, which leads to the risk of certain segments being alienated by future development.  That's just the way it goes for large projects.  My fear is that I will be in one of those segments.

It really boils down to one type of content which I do not enjoy at all:  Repeatable PvE.  That includes Dailies, Flashpoints and Operations.  I don't like to do the same PvE stuff over and over again.  If SWTOR makes that kind of content their primary development path, I'm not sure how long SWTOR will be for me.

What kind of content do I like?  New story content and PvP.  SWTOR is not a PvP focused MMO so it will probably never really satisfy me on that front.  However, combine that with interesting story content and I am pretty happy.

With their first major patch ( 1.1 ), SWTOR is adding new Operation bosses, a new Flashpoint and Daily missions for them both.  So it really does nothing to assuage my fears.  On the bright side, I still have plenty of content I do like ahead of me, so there is time for BioWare to address my concerns.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Relic Bonuses

Om Friday, Warhammer Online Producer James Casey posted some very interesting news.  One big question was remaining about the new Relic system coming in 1.4.5.  What kind of bonuses will the realm that holds both pieces of the relic receive?

Now we know:

As noted before, here are some numbers.

Currently, our values for the relic bonuses are as follows:

  • Dwarf – Greenskin: Owning both Relics in this pairing will award all members of that Realm a 200% bonus to earned coin.
  • Empire – Chaos: Owning both Relics in this pairing will award all members of that Realm a 5% bonus to damage.
  • High Elf – Dark Elf: Owning both Relics in this pairing will award all members of that Realm a 5% bonus to healing.
  • All Pairings: Owning both Relics of any pairing will award all members of that Realm a 5% bonus to RP. These stack with each other, so owning all three pairings would total a 15% bonus.

The current costs for claiming are as follows:
A periodic upkeep cost of 6 Gold every 15 minutes (for a total of 24 Gold hourly) for Fortress,
A periodic upkeep cost of 3 Gold every 15 minutes (for a total of 12 Gold hourly) for individual defensive points.

Remember, that we want to get feedback on these and see how they work out on PTS, which is planned for next week.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the figures.


My first impression of the bonuses is one of disappointment.  I feel this way for a couple of reasons.  First, they have told us for the longest time that they didn't want to directly increase the power of the stronger realm.  Adding to damage and healing is about as direct as you can get.  The coin bonus is fine, but there really isn't much to buy.

The second reason is that damage and healing bonuses are just plain boring.  Wheee, my 1000 damage hit is now 1050.  That is not compelling at all.  I was really hoping for bonuses that would make things more interesting.

I'm fine with the RP bonuses though, as everyone (who isn't RR100) likes RP.  Will these bonuses be attractive enough for players to spend the coin on Forts?  I guess we'll see.

On a positive note, he did mention PTS should be up this week.  

Friday, January 6, 2012


As I mentioned earlier this week, I am in one of those productive kind of moods.  So far, it has been mostly directed at my on and off again project, Stellar Fortune.  I still like it as a web game, rather than a Unity 3D game.  Basically,  I've been thinking about how to make a compelling game that does not involve combat.

Seems like every game I play has combat as an integral part.  I'd like Stellar Fortune to be mainly an economic game, but is that enough to make it interesting?  It really comes down to giving players enough to do.  Here's what I have...

Buy low, sell high.  This is the base level of the game, where new and mid-level players will earn money.  Not very exciting though, mostly about the research.

Companies.  Once a player has enough money, they can start a company.  this would be an official (and name approved) entity with it's own wallet and functions.

Raw Materials.  Companies can open facilities which generate goods like minerals or agricultural products.

Manufacturing.  Companies can also open factories to make more complex goods.

The next import aspect of the game is Factions.  out in space there will be a number of inhabited (and uninhabited) planets.  The ones with populations are controlled by a faction.  If your company wants to build a facility there, it must get in good with the Faction.

This would make up a big part of Corporate wars, as companies jockey for influence using legitimate (and not so legitimate means).  When it comes down to gameplay though, I'm not sure how fun it would be.  I see Company A spending money to dig up dirt on an official in order to blackmail them.

It'd be a click, wait a bit then another click or two.  I'm not sure it would actually be fun or provide any interesting decisions.  I suppose if the system was deep enough, it might.

Stock Market.  I'd like to do a lot of stat tracking when it comes to companies.  That should allow for some intelligent decisions to be made about what to buy, instead of just a guy on the forums.

Territorial Control.  Taking control of a planet (and space) would be reserved for the larger companies.  Here players would be responsible for planetary management and who knows what else.

These are just some thoughts I wanted to get down.  Still not sold on it being a concept worth making, especially in this day and age.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More Relic Info

With the Holidays over, the Mythic team is back at work.  Warhammer Online Producer James Casey hit the forums to answer some questions about the upcoming 1.4.5 Fortress/relic feature.  You can read the original post here.

Full copy of the post:

Finally got some time to read through the whole thread again as I gave it a once-over yesterday. Lots of stuff to comment on.
For some of the questions on actual numbers (relic bonuses and maintenance) I need to double-check some values and I'll give you those later today. One thing to note there is that they will likely need some tweaking based on feedback and PTS testing like any variables. :)
I made a list of some of the top stuff so I'm just going to run down a list.
We have the bug someone mentioned with Rams in our tracker for code to look at.  
A number of people pointed out the disparity between defense and attack, but as noted by others, the idea is that it is a difficult task. That being said, some of the ideas for attackers are things examine further and consider for inclusion potentially; for example a AAO based PAM system for attackers. 
Some people commented on the alliance buffs for claiming and maintaining areas in the fortress. Those buffs only stay up if they are paid for and maintained, and only affect the fortress area. That being said, the bonuses for owning both relics in a pairing are not alliance based but affect the whole realm based on the pairing owned. 
To answer someone's question, the guild that claims an area pays the cost, the alliance benefits though. 
We can look at additional items to purchase potentially but not in the initial push.
Likewise there are some good ideas in the thread on ways to tweak AAO. I'd like to get feedback on PTS before we look at those further. 
Attackers still respawn in the previous zone, but something we can consider is making a way to change that based on criteria (perhaps population). Good topic for further expansion. 
As for the single ram, there can actually be two rams out at once and there are 3 doors into the fortress and 1 inside. So the battle will be different than the keeps in that sense. As well, since all fortress are up and not part of the campaign, there are a number of options for both sides, whether dominant or not. 
There are no limits on population in the area currently. As someone pointed out, it should be no worse than when a third pairing is being pushed and the other two are locked. 
The mobs are based on current levels of players and gear in tier 4 and we'd love to get some feedback into how effective they are for 'defended' (alliance claimed) and 'undefended' fotresses while on PTS. 
Currently there are no plans for Skaven to be carried over into this area. 
I’ll be back later today or in the morning with some numbers and more comments. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

SWTOR Crafting Missions

As I've been leveling up my Commando, I have tried to keep my crew skills in pace.  I have Armstech, Scavenging and Investigation all around 200 at the moment.  So far, I have done pretty well selling what I craft, specifically Barrels ( Artifact/Purple ).  I also use them for my character and my primary companion.

The big hurdle for me was how to get enough Artifact (or Purple) materials to craft Advanced modifications.  Normal Investigation missions only have a small chance to give purple mats.  It's much too expensive to rely on them to craft.

That's where Crew Missions come in.  These are obtained through Slicing and often for sale on the GTN (AH).  Once purchased, just right click on one in your inventory and the mission will be added to you Crew Skill window.  It takes a bit longer than the average mission, but is worth the extra time.


If your companion is successful, they'll bring back a number of different goods.  Most importantly, Artifact/Purple crafting materials like Polyfibe or Ceraglass.  This is a very reliable way to be able to produce the best crafting items.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And We're Back

Between Christmas, me getting sick and New years, there has not been much activity lately on this blog.  That's all over now though, so it's time to get back down to bidness (or business). It's now 2012 and the holidays are over, so I expect gaming stuff to start picking up again.

Warhammer Online's 1.4.5 patch should be out any time now, and I'm looking forward to it.  SWTOR's warzones are nice and all, but overall it's not really a substitute for a PvP game.   With the new patch, I will start to spend a bit more time with the game again.

SWTOR is going nicely.  My Commando, Quentin, is currently level 26 and on Tatooine.  I've really been enjoying my story and exploring the game.  I'm pacing myself, as I really have no reason to rush to 50.  I like when games grow around me, instead of behind me.

I've also got that productive feeling going on.  The Arsenal of WAR, TOR Nexus and Stellar Fortune are all a consequence of that, so we'll see what comes of it.  I've been thinking of doing some more stuff for Stellar Fortune lately.  I have a lot of pieces there for a nice space sandbox game, just need to fill it out.