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Lords of the Black Sun | Officially release. Available now on Steam

Endless Space: 4th Free Add-on Released And 50% Sale

By on March 12th, 2013 10:29 am

Endless Space: Virtual Awakening add-on

Amplitude Studios released Virtual Awakening, their fourth free add-on for Endless Space. The add-on is already available on Steam since yesterday, and you just need to fire the game and Steam will auto-update.

The first add-on, Rise of the Automatons, brought a new custom faction, a new trade route UI panel, updated AI and diplomacy. The second add-on, Echos of the Endless, injected some “ambience” and “life” content. The third add-on, Lights of Polaris, brought a new wonder, hero, Steam achievements and “battle actions in auto”.

Only three free add-ons were originally planned, but later on Amplitude announced a fourth which would contain all the rewards unlocked during a Steam free weekend.

Virtual Awakening, the fourth add-on, adds the following:

1 new Technology

  • Gas Giant Transformation

2 new Buildings

  • Deep Space Facility
  • High Energy Array

3 new Planet Anomalies

  • Hostile Dust
  • Endless Trouble
  • Humeris Insidentes

4 new Random Events

  • Mad Scientist
  • New Religion
  • Sleeping War Machines
  • Endless Facility

4 new Heroes

  • Pirate
  • Deuyivan
  • Automaton
  • Virtual Endless

6 new Exploration Rewards

  • Pool of heroes is refreshed
  • Unveil surrounding systems
  • 4 boost (industry or approval)

See the full release note here.

Well, this seems to be it concerning free add-ons for Endless Space, at least for the time being because Amplitude seems to be focusing their full attention on the Endless Space expansion now. We covered Amplitude’s expansion announcement back in August of last year. More on that when we have details on content and expected release date, but, the main focus of the expansion seems to be a major overhaul of the combat system.

50% Sale until March 18th

In addition to the new free add-on release, and to commemorate 300,000 copies sold, Endless Space will be on sale until March 18th on Steam.

For more information on Endless Space checkout our review (made before all four free add-ons) and the AAR ”Playing the Amoeba”. Information on where to buy can be found on our game’s list page.

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Lords of the Black Sun | Officially release. Available now on Steam

20 Comments


  1. Joe says:

    Nice!

    I do wonder if anyone will share their thoughts more extensively after testing this latest patch.

    I checked out the game when it was initially released (and not since then), so I would like to know how the accumulated patches now influence the experience compared to the initial one…

    Are there already any such reviews out there?

    Joe

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      I’d also like to know the current state of the game.

      I played once on launch for about two hours and decided the ‘Space Lane’ only travel reminded me too much of broken (at launch) SOTS2 and so I’ve not touched it since.

      Free dlc etc is good, but is the game any good? Would be interested to hear from someone who’s played it alot.

      • jackswift says:

        I loved the game during the beta, so I’m a bit biased towards the gameplay here. Like Ashbery76 stated below, the game has really improved on the immersion factor – lots of new planet hazards/improvements/wonders, exploration bonuses and random events, more factions, more streamlining of the UI, etc.

        However, if you found the combat a big turn-off at the initial release, it hasn’t changed. Battles are very pretty but there is little tactical depth. Combat is what they’re focusing on in the first expansion, so if the battles were a deal-breaker, I would hold off on going back until the expansion comes out.

        If combat wasn’t that big of a deal but you were put off by the lackluster explore and expand phases instead, they have really improved on that front.

        Late game is still a tedious mop-up exercise, at least they’ve got the other victory conditions.

      • jackswift says:

        Oh, and don’t forget that they do have the warp drive tech you get during the mid game. You’re only constrained by space lanes in the early phases. :)

  2. huio says:

    i saw initial release- the combat sux- is still the same?

  3. sly ostinato says:

    I’ve played this game way more than I really care to admit, but I will give you my fast and critical evaluation of it and its 4 “add-ons”

    First, they weren’t really add-ons but more like patches with one or two artwork niceties thrown in to make people feel like they were really getting something. These 4 “add-ons” are where the game should’ve been when they rolled it out back in July 2012. But they were in more of a hurry to get something out the door so they could start raking in the cash.

    Second, the combat systems is the same – a card-based way of fighting. Sure they added some tweaks to give you more player-controlled options, but that is it.

    Their development of this reminds me of how Civ IV was handled – where it won’t be to its full, playable potential until several expansion paks later. I’ve done my best to steer friends, family and colleagues away from this until it is truly worth it.

    If you can get it during a 90% off sale, then it might be worth it in its current state. Better yet, get a buddy to loan it to you. There are now workarounds floating around the internet for you to override the Steam DRM system.

    The artwork and music are quite nice, but eye candy alone doesn’t make a game. If you were looking for some deep, strategic gameplay, you won’t find it.

  4. Ashbery76 says:

    The game has improved in immersion terms with lots of events,wonder building,ect but the combat is the same.The first expansion is going to improve the military side.

    http://forums.amplitude-studios.com/showthread.php?16026-EXP-Overview

  5. Mark says:

    I was mildly tempted by this title a few months back. But the starlanes and the shallow tactical combat kept me away. I cant see that anything has changed to make me alter my opinion.

    There are plenty of other space 4x games out there and on the horizon that look far superior.

  6. Alien JD says:

    I really like the look of this game and the UI lay out. What’s wrong with the combat? I watched a couple let’s plays and it sort of looked like the combat was simulated Rock Paper Scissors. Is that accurate?

    • jackswift says:

      Yes and no. You design your own ships, and there are three different kinds of armaments: missiles, lasers and projectile cannons. There are analogous defenses for each: flak cannons, shields and armor. There are ~12 of each type of weapon or defense; they’re not labeled Lasers I, Lasers II, Lasers III, etc. but they might as well be.

      Battles have three phases, long range, medium range and melee. Missiles and lasers are effective in all phases, projectile weapons are generally only useful in medium and melee.

      There’s no actual “rock, paper, scissors” mechanic though as lasers don’t beat missiles and projectile doesn’t beat lasers. It’s more of just building ships designed to counter what your enemy has (facing tons of missile boats? Build ships with tons of flak, etc.) and letting your designs do the work. I usually have a mix of missile and laser ships and don’t bother with projectile weapons, they’re not accurate enough to do any real damage. If they were able to shoot missiles down as well as pound enemy ships, then they’d be pretty awesome. Maybe in the expansions when they add fighters and bombers things will become a little more fun.

      And of course every round you play a “card” based on what tactics you want to use. You can try to enhance your fleets weapons, sabotage the enemy, repair your ships, increase your accuracy, etc. These cards play more like “rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock” where if you play a card that counters your opponent, you will double your bonus while the opponent will get nothing. In some cases both cards can cancel out or not affect each other. If you’re clever (or lucky) you can defeat forces greater than your own, but the majority of the time numbers and power decide the battle, not your card-playing prowess.

      • lammaer says:

        Actually there is SLIGHT a rock-paper-scissor mechanism.(maybe it is not the best term here)

        Missiles are long range so they are effective in the first phase of the combat as well – but they are slow (if I remember well if you destroy a ship which launched missiles, it’s missiles will detonate)

        Beams are effective only from the second phase (medium range) and cannons are in the 3rd phase (close range). Both systems however deliver damage 3 times per phase, so they CAN kill a ship within a phase, while missiles can kill only at the end of the phase.

        Also, if I remember well, cannons/beams can switch targets if their current target destroyed in a phase, while missiles cannot – thus missiles can be wasted (overkill) while beams/cannons will be more efficient.

        • jackswift says:

          Well, I’ve had laser fleets waste enemy fleets in just the long range round and projectiles do considerable damage in the medium range round. Depends on the enemy ship design and if you have any admirals or racial bonuses affecting your accuracy/damage (and battle cards of course). I remember playing a multiplayer game against a friend who sent nothing but heavily shielded missile boats against me and I still wasted his fleets during the first phase because of my admiral bonuses and successful “target locked” (increased beam damage by 20%) cards.

          Missiles will not detonate if their host ship is destroyed (more of the “fire and forget” model), however it is true that missiles will not retarget. This is why I usually make fleets heavy on lasers with some missile boats thrown in and only use projectile ships to keep enemy ship designs “honest”.

    • Alien JD says:

      Thanks for the info. Very helpful. I think I’m going to pick this up and give it a try after I finish my MOO2 game. I liked Gratuitous Space Battles a lot and the combat sounds like it is a bit similar but with added empire management. Thanks again.

      • lammaer says:

        Well, if you are GSB fan, then probably you wont enjoy ES. As the combat here is the weakest point (not to mention the poor options of weapons and equipments R&D).

        Eg, researching is like Laser, Laser2, Laser3, Laser4, Laser5 :)

        So is definitely not a detailed combat with empire management… yet.

        • Alien JD says:

          Ah thanks for this. I misunderstood. Too bad. I really want a GSB ship design and options with tactical combat and 4x strategy game.

  7. lammaer says:

    “Battles seem to be the expansions’ big focus”

    This was the main message in their original announcement regarding the DLCs….

    “We want to add more strategic choices, more feedback, fighters / Bombers / interceptors, more weapons, defenses, modules, formations, aiming strategies, boarding parties etc…”

    My question: which DLCs were about this? :)

  8. Menelon says:

    Because the mentioned DLC in the original announcement concerns the expansion pack, not the free add ons.

    http://forums.amplitude-studios.com/content.php?165-Endless-Space-update-plan

    “Following these 3 free add-ons, we will start working on an Expansion Pack, which will focus on bringing a new dimension to battles.” 09/06/12

    • lammaer says:

      Ah I see, so this was just a misleading cross reference then… the combat needs to be overhauled, than this game will be a shiny gem.

  9. Mezmorki says:

    My main complaint with the game “isn’t” the card-based combat approach (I tend to use autoresolve anyway), but rather with how fleets are handled. I can’t stand it that battles with dozens and dozens of ships on a side are separated into these arbitrary groupings of 8-10 ships that fight one group at a time. If that wasn’t enough, there is no way control what groups are doing the fighting in what order from what I can tell.

    I like many aspects of the design, interface, etc., but fleet management just rubs me the wrong way.

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