Normally when we think of a typical space strategy game we imagine it to be PC turn-based single player, especially if we’re talking about 4x games. Reference examples of these games are Master of Orion, Galactic Civilizations, Alpha Centauri and the Space Empires series. In spite multiplayer features are sometimes offered, although somehow limited, there is an emblematic recent case, namely GalCiv2, where multiplayer possibility is not provided at all. I invite you to read the article Galactic Civilizations: The case for no multiplayer where one of GalCiv2 lead developers explains the reasons why they did not included multiplayer in the game.
From a single player to a massively multiplayer online experience
I’m an hardcore fan of PC strategy single player games, as I grew up with them (you can check the about page of my blog to see games I’ve been playing for 20 years now). My experience using multiplayer features in this games is very limited, and my online multiplayer experience nonexistent to a few months ago. Seeing my sister, also an old school strategy gamer herself, playing World of Warcraft (a.k.a. WoW) for about 4 years straight now (and the single only game she plays these days) made me think twice about the online massively multiplayer phenomenon and so I decided to give online games a try at my own risk. I recommend you to read the article World of Warcrack and the future of MMOGs to get the feeling of how addicting WoW is and how this is impacting the gaming society in a way that will only be fully understood in some years from now.
So some months ago a friend of mine, knowing my interest in strategy games, recommended me to try out Travian: an ancient world strategy web-based MMO game. I enjoyed playing Travian immediately. First of all it is free, very simple to play (you only need an Internet connection and a web-browser) and surprisingly enough to me the game was very addicting. I did not knew by then (and frankly I’m still figuring it out now) from where was this addicting factor coming from, since the game is pretty basic. Is it the simple gameplay experience itself? Is it the social aspect of the game? Or is it both? At my own pace I started to play Travian regularly. Naturally after having a positive experience with Travian I could not stop to ask myself if there could be also some MMO space strategy games, and possibly even 4x out there. The answer is yes and a lot of them. Many are already available, many others are in the making.
Web-based space strategy MMO Boom
So if in the recent past 4x space strategy games favored so much the single player experience (as it seems to be its main characteristic) is it feasible to think that this genre can be successful in the MMO world? And a more important question: can the new space strategy paradigm be MMO? After making a quick search I found OGame, one of the most influential space strategy web-based MMO games out there. I played OGame for a while, and I still play occasionally. It is a satisfactory enough game. You can read my review of OGame in SpaceSector.com: Ogame Review, Tips and Strategy Guide. But there are many others. And the most difficult part these days is to figure out which ones are really worth it to give it a try. You can get a comprehensive list of space MMO games at Galaxy News.
As you glimpse Galaxy News list of space MMO games you can’t help to be surprised, not to say ultimately shocked, to see how many of these games are already available, or under development. They account 145 space MMO games in their database. Some of them show great potential. I tried so far: Astro Empires (which I already made a review), Cosmic Supremacy (a very complex and promising game), Dark Orbit, Ferion and Pirate Galaxy just to name a few.
What’s your MMO experience?
I decided to write this post to share with you my experiences playing space and non-space MMO games, since the process of discovering this new type of games to the amazement of how simple but how addicting these games can be. It would be very interesting to get feedback from you guys, the space (and also the non-space) gaming community. Do you play MMO games? If so which ones do you currently play (or played), and which of these do you recommend to other gamers and why? Ultimately it would be very interesting to discuss here your opinion on if MMO games could be the new paradigm for 4x space strategy.Subscribe RSS
- Ogame Review, Tips and Strategy Guide
- Astro Empires – MMOG – First Impressions
- Paradox Interactive Announced Red Frontier
- The Space Pirates and Gratuitous Zombies Battles Bundle!
- Colonia: A Single Star System Space 4X/RTS [Kickstarter]