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Distant Worlds: Shadows is Out Now

By on May 23rd, 2013 10:17 am

Distant Worlds: Shadows | Matrix Games - Slitherine - CodeForce

CodeForce, Matrix Games and Slitherine have just released Distant Worlds: Shadows, the third expansion pack to their real-time space 4X strategy game, Distant Worlds.

The Distant Worlds series has come a long way since its debut on March, 2010. Starting out as a mediocre experience, it was later enhanced with Return of the Shakturi (the first expansion pack), and, finally, CodeForce’s work and willingness to listen to the community, culminated in an excellent experience with Legends, the second expansion.

Distant Worlds: Legends is the best space 4X gaming experience currently available. If not, the best of all time. So, I was pretty curious to find out what CodeForce and Matrix Games have been doing for the past 18 months or so, the time since Legends was released.

Distant Worlds: Shadows - Pirate raiders

Well, now is the time for the Age of Shadows, an era way before the events of the previous Distant Worlds’ installments. Shadows includes the following new features over Legends:

  • Pre-hyperspace gameplay: Option to play before the discovery of hyperspace travel;
  • Play as a pirate faction: Choose between 4 different pirate playstyles available, each with their specific victory conditions;
  • Boarding and raids: Capture ships and bases with the new boarding mechanic and raid ships/bases/planets for loot;
  • Expanded ground combat: New ground combat tech tree; new ground combat resolution screen; different troop types (infantry, armored units, planetary defenses, special forces); new ship captains;
  • New techs and facilities: gravitic weapons, tractor beams and additional planetary facilities;
  • Better performance: Updated and improved graphical engine;
  • Promised improved AI and new difficulty settings;
  • Modding support kept.

More details on our preview here.

Distant Worlds: Shadows - Expanded ground combat

Concerning DRM issues, Distant Worlds: Shadows’ comes with a key code as only form of DRM as I can see. You use at install time and then re-download the game as many times as you like and need.

Now, will Shadows significantly improve an already deep and exquisite gaming experience? Will it live up to the extremely high expectations of Distant Worlds’ hardcore fans? Will it manage to seduce and bring new people to the 4X genre? Is this third expansion really worth it? Find out in a few days when we publish our review ;)

So, our review isn’t ready yet, I need a few more days with the release version, but if you decide to go right away and buy this expansion, Distant Worlds: Shadows is available for purchase exclusively at the Matrix Games website. The Shadows expansion costs you around $19.99/€16.99/£14.99 ($5 off regular price says Matrix). The full bundle, currently with a 40% discount, costs you around $70/€60/£50 by my math (plus VAT depending on where you’re from). Note that you need all previous installments (base game and the first two expansions) to play Shadows.

Find the launch video preview by Matrix Games below.

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  1. hakkarin says:

    Did not like the original game even with the first expansion. But now I am going to try it out again with both the legends and the Shadows expansion.

    • Joe Kundlak says:

      Legends was the thing to go with for DW.

      And Shadows seems like a blast (so far from the Lets play videos from the preview versions of the expansions).

      Definitely go for it!

  2. hakkarin says:

    Great. The game doesn’t even work.

    After I click “play” from the launch menu the game title sreen appears as if the game is about to launch and then it just closes and nothing happens. The game doesn’t even start.

    • Joe Kundlak says:

      Just to be sure – you have all three previous instances installed (DW + Shakturi + Legends)?

      Otherwise it would nor work…

  3. hakkarin says:

    It appears that the Legends install was some kind of beta and not the default install. I am re-installing with the normal verison now. I will come back and tell you if it works.

    • Xerberus6 says:

      don’t get confused between updates and actual game installer! the dl-link for the game setups you got with your e-mail and if needed you can also request the links again. the updates you can download directly from the members-page at matrixgames.

  4. Adam F5ing says:

    playing the game fine right now, though only around 2-3hours. performance is phenomenal improvement, not to mention the revamps (not looking forward to the gravity bombs brutal)

  5. Benji says:

    Awesome! Downloading right now. So psyched for this release. I was kind of bored with the Legends because I always had insane amounts of money after a while. In this version they promised to fix it so… lets hope they did :D

  6. Smight says:

    80$ the price is insane even with discount.

    • jackswift says:

      Yeah, I’d like to give this game a try, but the entry price is way too steep, even with discounts. The last game I purchased for over $40 was Dominions 3. That game was totally worth the $55 price I paid (though it’s now on sale online for $20-$30, GamersGate even had it on sale for $7 the other day). I feel like this game would be an excellent purchase for $40 to $50, but that extra 30 is putting me off.

  7. hakkarin says:

    k, game works now.

  8. Serge says:

    Is graphics considerably faster now? UI is always responsive?

  9. Mark says:

    A very interesting addition to an already great game with a whole bunch of features I’m just dying to try out.

    I’m going to wait for Adam’s review before purchasing, but unless the review is horrible, I’m probably going to be getting it.

  10. Adam F5ing says:

    watch some recent lets plays the physics and performance in shadows, much much improved, cant wait for end game stuff

  11. DevildogFF says:

    Meh. I would LIKE to play it, but until I can download the game and all of its predecessors, instead of pulling out all of my CDs and installing them one by one, I’d rather not.

    This needs to be on Steam. Plain and simple.

    • Eno says:

      CDs? Fall into the wayback machine? My version is digital download from matrix. No need for steam.

    • Adam Solo says:

      You can download the game and the expansions. Matrix offers both a digital download and a box product. I have the games in a folder. They’re right there if I need them (install on another machine, etc) :)

      If you lose the files you can re-download them again from Matrix Games. It’s a pretty simple and hassle free process by the way. No complaints so far (*).

      (*) \Edit1: Please check Erik Rutins/Matrix Game’s comment, 3 comments below this one regarding download and re-download availability. My downloads are/were always available, but now I see they are press builds, so, it may different in the general case.

      \Edit2: Oh, and Matrix’s update/patching process is also very straightforward. No problems there either. The order on how to install the bundle can be confusing at first though (install and patch? just install?). But, other than that, I don’t see any issue. And, you know your game version, and patches are well documented ;) Call me an old timer, but I really like this kind of stuff. I’m really not trying (or aiming) on picking a “Steam vs the World” fight with this. I’m just saying that I appreciate having this kind of control and support. I also have a lot of games on Steam. And, actually, Steam does seem to offer a way for companies to release patch notes, however some seem to “forget” that that feature exists.

      • Jeff P says:

        Adam, you mention that “If you lose the files you can re-download them again from Matrix Games.” I don’t know if that is accurate.

        According to the Matrix store website, “The download is available to you for thirty days after your order. No shipping is involved and the game is immediately available for you once the order is complete.” Kinda sounds like if you need a re-download on the 31st day you are out of luck. This is one of the reasons I stick with Steam (and Stardock, Impulse, GamersGate, etc.): the games are always available whenever I need them without having to repurchase the game or handle physical disks.

        The $70 price quoted is for the download-only version. Getting the disks for backup costs a whopping $110.

        I’ve flirted with DW before only to put the credit card away because of Matrix’s high prices and distribution policies. Looks like I’ll pass again.

        • Leelu says:

          Hi Guys,

          I went to install Shadows this morning and had some issues so I needed to reinstall. 5 minutes after sending a support ticket to Matrix I had an email with the direct download links for the original and all expansions. Super easy and fast. Can’t wait to start playing.

        • Erik Rutins says:

          Downloads are unlimited actually, it’s just that each link last 30 days. If you login to our site before you purchase, your game is automatically registered and requesting a re-download is an automatic and immediate process at any time through our Members Club.

          In the worst case, you can ask our Help Desk and they’ll get you a re-download link.

          There, now that excuse is gone. ;-)

          P.S. As far as backup, our games also come with no DRM. Just an installer and a serial number. You can back those up yourself whereever you want or burn them to a backup CD or DVD. No online activation, no hardware fingerprint, etc.

        • Adam Solo says:

          @Jeff P
          “Adam, you mention that “If you lose the files you can re-download them again from Matrix Games.” I don’t know if that is accurate.”

          Yes Jeff P, you can. I have all the Distant Worlds installments on my “members” area under the “registered games” section on the Matrix Games website, always available for download (I’ve tested download the DW base game just now by the way). I guess files are always available for everyone, irrespective of what type of product you buy (download or physical) and Erik/Matrix already confirmed that above in any case. I don’t have the physical product by the way but the download one.

        • Jeff P says:

          Erik: thank you for correcting this. I’ve purchased games from other companies that used a distribution service that was time-limited and wouldn’t allow more than one download. From the description on the website, I thought Matrix was the same. My error. Now, only if there were a demo or the price was more reasonable…

        • DevildogFF says:

          So I registered my Distant Worlds + 2 expansions with the Member’s Account with Matrix, but I cannot get a download link for the original DW (they’re there for the two expansions, however).

          This is annoying. I’ve emailed Matrix, but I shouldn’t have to do that.

          Again, these games need to be on Steam.

      • csebal says:

        edit: (previously a question about how its seemingly impossible to redownload stuff from the matrix website despite certain sources stating it to be possible)

        nevermind, the matrix site designers should be fired.

        I have not seen such a poorly designed site layout in the past.

        I did find the place to redownload past orders.. due to .. well, sheer luck, clicking around the various seemingly unrelated options.

        • Adam Solo says:

          The downloads should be inside “Downloads for Registered Games” on the Members Club, no?

          Erik explained the process a few comments above. He says: “Downloads are unlimited actually, it’s just that each link last 30 days.” So, I see that there’s some 30 days link availability period?

          What happens then? You need to email helpdesk for another link after the 30 days? And again after another 30 days have passed?

          Sorry about this guys. I have my downloads available all the time (I think). They’re there now, base game and expansions all available for download. I never contacted helpdesk. But, I do have press builds, so, maybe that’s different in that case.

          Sorry about the confusion about the download availability. I see that I don’t have all the information. If you have any doubt regarding download availability the best is to ask Erik or contact Matrix Games.

        • csebal says:

          theres a link called “your orders” and you can redownload previously bought games from there, but frankly, I only clicked that to see if they even registered my original DW purchase.. suffice to say i was surprised to find download links there, when there were none under the “downloads for registered games” section.

          The “your orders” part has regular download links though, so i guess you could download from there at any time, indefinitely.

          I will still have to sort out the digital river issue with them, as in the fact that the original game was bought through DR and as such its not accessible through the current system. (not sure why this was not done automatically when they made the change though)

          Still stand by my original outburst.. the website is very hard to navigate and the FAQ (at least this part of it) is useless (all it does is tell you to contact support if you need to redownload something, which you obviously do not need to do) .

          Luckily enough, i found my archived DW installer on the third external backup HDD I checked, so I was able to install the expansion eventually, though by that time I wasnt quite in the mood to play it. Maybe I will give it another go in the coming days.

  12. Spookyy says:

    90$ for the pack including the sale + my local tax = NO Thanks.

  13. Drillerman says:

    While I agree, the price is high for all four games DW-ROTS-Legends-Shadows; I can honestly say that since 2010, March I think, this game has never been off my hard drive and it is a game I always keep coming back to. For me, no other 4X space game has ever done that. Even now this game throws up suprises with colonies starting, warring, dying. There is just so much going on all the time. I still, even now feel i have only just scratched the surface of this game…..but yes, to justify spending that much money on a computer game is a hard sell!
    If you like 4x space games you will, however, get your monies worth!

  14. JR45 says:

    I agree with the other posts. €60 is far too steep for a title that was developed on a much lower budget than most modern games.

    Was Distant Worlds developed by a team of dozens of experienced programmers and designers? No.

    Has hundreds of thousands of dollars been poured into marketing the game? No – I only just found out about the new expansion a matter of days ago.

    As such, there is no reason to justify such a massive price for a bundle of low-budget games. Distant Worlds is fantastic and I do intend on buying Shadows, but the bundle should rightfully be around the €40-€50 range, considering that the other expansions are considerably older than Shadows. €60 won’t bring in new fans and will merely encourage piracy of the game.

    Please, Matrix, reduce the price. You aren’t a AAA developer or publisher; this bundle should be a bit cheaper.

  15. Towerbooks3192 says:

    To anyone on the fence about this game. Ever wondered why you don’t see a single post on their forums or anywhere demanding a refund for something that is sold at a high price? Its because its worth it!!

    The game is worth it full price and even on discounted price and even getting at least up to legends now is really really worth it. There is no other game like this game and the only reason a person would not like or love this game is if they don’t love Space 4x.

    • Smight says:

      or because not a lot of people buy the game, and those who do did a lot of research beforehand because of ridiculus price, if the game was around 50$ I would definetly buy it, but this is too much for my budget

    • jackswift says:

      It’s an interesting quandary, to be sure. I went to the Matrix games forums and it seems that there’s a large contingent of fans who want the price to be lowered so that more people can get in to and experience the game.

      I haven’t combed through all the forums topics, but there was one rather large and explanatory post by one of the Slitherine developers (and yes, I know that Slitherine did not develop Distant Worlds) explaining their pricing policy. He basically said that they’re doing just fine on sales with high prices and that they have a niche audience that appreciates their games, and have no use for more casual gamers that would not appreciate the complexity and depth and then badmouth the game because it was not right for them. Plus he did not want to alienate their core audience with massive sales when their loyal fans already purchased their games for much higher prices.

      That’s all well and good, and I can understand why their prices remain as high as they are. I imagine that this game would be a very excellent purchase, even for $90 (like my previous post where I paid $55 for Dominions 3 and have no regrets). However, my time is also on a budget. I already have tons of fun playing Endless Space, the occasional MoO2 game, Sword of the Stars (still some excellent mods for that game) and Space Empires IV. I have a backlog of Steam, GOG and GamersGate purchases that could probably last me for 10 years to play all the way through. Why should I pay $90 for a single game, however awesome that game may be, when I can purchase 5 awesome Star Wars games on Steam for $20 and have 300+ hours of enjoyment ahead of me?

      And therein lies the second rub I have with Distant Worlds. I might be able to justify a purchase of a $90 game if its the best game ever that will remain on my HDD for years and years and I’ll play all the time. But I can’t know if it’ll be that game until AFTER I purchase it. There’s no demo available and ‘Let’s play’ youtube videos do not do it for me. I need to actually sit down and play with it for a while to know if I’m going to love it. The only current mechanism in place to do that is to either pay the $90 and risk buyer’s remorse or pirate it. I don’t want to spend the money for something I potentially won’t like (or won’t like enough to warrant a $90 expense) and I’m not going to pirate it, as that makes developers and kittens cry.

      I should mention that I bought Dominions 3 because they had a demo available that I enjoyed very much. I heard about the game through word of mouth and although everyone I talked with that played the game had nothing but praise, I only purchased it until after I played the demo.

      Until Matrix lowers the price or comes out with a demo (or I win the lottery or something), I will continue to pass on DW.

      • Towerbooks3192 says:

        Interesting indeed and ifnI recall correctly, they had a demo but its not the quality of legends since I think its only the base game. I could say that its something like dominions that is pretty expensive but well worth the price. I know people want its price lowered and would want it for free if they could get it but I guess for $69 for the whole lot including shadows(?) (I read from their post somewhere with their bundles but I heard people saying you could buy the game for around that price on matrix store. I guess the price is reasonable since its a quality game

        • Smight says:

          Those who want it for free, already got it for free, I just wonder how many people chose this option because of price alone and would otherwise bought the game

        • Mark says:

          @ Smight

          Hard to estimate, but I bet it would be very large proportion of potential customers. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, business people can be so dumb.

      • Paul Fowler says:

        A major flaw in their argument for the pricing is that keeping the price high doesn’t just keep out casual gamers. It keeps out hardcore gamers who don’t have the luxury of much disposable income. It also makes it far less likely that people who have never tried a game of this genre and don’t yet know if they would be a fan or not would try the game when the price is so high. I’m currently in the former category and was in the latter when I was young. Had Civilizations 2 been priced at $60 on sale at Costco I probably would’ve simply passed it over for a genre of game that I knew I would enjoy with less monetary risk. Fortunately that wasn’t the case and because it was affordable I decided to give it a try and because of that it ignited a great love of 4X games in me. And limiting the amount of people who might very well fall in love with this genre and game because of the price is pretty tragic. Sometimes what it takes to pull a genre out of the niche category is one excellent game that is accessible to enough people. And if keeping a genre in the niche category is what they’re trying to do, for whatever reason, that seems extremely tragic to me.

        Also arguing that you don’t need to buy all the expansions at once isn’t necessarily a good one either. There have been several games I’ve played that haven’t been nearly as enjoyable, or even worth playing, without all the expansions (Civ IV, Civ V, and from what I’ve read of many peoples opinions DW really needed at least the first expansion but having Legends was a huge improvement). In a case like that you certainly wouldn’t want new players to get a poor impression of the game simply because they didn’t have the money for the whole lot.

        If there was a demo available that let players get a taste of the current full package this might not be as large an issue. Unfortunately, all these circumstances together are pretty limiting for more than a few people I’ve noticed since researching this game.

    • Serge says:

      I was one of those who was not impressed with game (Shakti expansion) However I din’t voiced my impression much, didn’t see the point – this is a niche game anyway, and people who bought it may as well like it. No point to warn anyone off. I also may take it for second ride if I’ll have enough time for it in some future – my time budget for games is already allocated for Van Helsing and after that or Eador or FE:LH and Conquistador after that.

  16. Alien JD says:

    Okay, I finally bit the space bullet and got it. I only had time to install it and go through a bit of the tutorial and won’t have time to play until tomorrow night. Being able to start with a pre-warp civilization and the no DRM download (other than a key) were the things that made me finally give in to the ridiculous price. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a game.

    The first thing I noticed is the fonts are really small and blurry. Often white text is overlaying a white-dotted star field. It’s a bit hard to read. Changing my resolution before launching the game helped a lot with this. But I’ll say if you have poor eyesight (as I do) this game is presented in DX9 XNA Eye-Strain-o-Vision.NET.

    Other than that the game seems like it’s going to be great. I loved Star Ruler but had a lot of trouble managing my empire as it grew. Distant Worlds seems like Star Ruler with a much better user interface and management tools.

    For fans of the game what makes this the best current gen 4x game in your opinion?

    Alien JD

    • Seraph says:

      in my opinion it’s the best current 4x space (!) game mainly because of the great explore & expand factors the game has.

      my selling features:

      – HUGE galaxy (up to 14.000 star systems) <– a great explore-factor
      – tons of different races
      – pirates (not just some single groups of ships but now also pirate factions with their own playstyles like raiders and smugglers for example)
      – a big tech tree (with meaningful decisions to make)
      – space monsters (add also add much to the liveliness of the galaxy)
      – ancient ruins and in this case also some REAL discoveries (looking at you ancients or shakturi :D).
      – ship graveyards (sounds not as much but the game overall has a very much alive galaxy and that is just icing)
      – you can design every ships and base manually if you want (even the ones from the private sector)
      – economy / building of components for ships and bases is actually based on resources of which you need a supply, which leads to mining bases (also a factor to liveliness of the universe.

      overall the galaxy of distant worlds and managing my empire feels ALIVE, it doesn't feel like a dressed chess game but more as an space empire simulation game. i can't give you any other example of a strategy game which feels so alive and actually interesting to explore. the scope of the galaxy also has a great impact on this! it's actually a GALAXY, not just a dozen of star systems, where you reach fairly quickly the "borders" of this universe….in distant worlds it has a great scope and can in times really feel endless.

      just my 2 cents :)

      PS: if this reads as too much overpraising, hey you asked for a fan and i tried to answer after the best of my will :).

      wish you a sunny sunday ;).

  17. killias2 says:

    Every time I see these games on sale, I strongly consider it. Sometimes, I even get to the point where I add the games to the shopping cart. Then I sit there and look at the final price… and I realize that it’s simply not worth it. I can buy lots of great games for -much- lower prices. It’s just not remotely competitive.

  18. Spookyy says:

    So the game is still hard to read on 1080p+ screens? another nail in the coffin as to thinking about buying for 90$, geez.

  19. t1it says:

    They seem to have fixed the most grueling AI problems! And the game is actually challenging now. Finally long due. Now, yeah it’s safe to say it’s perhaps the greatest space 4x of all time (for me that is).

  20. Erik Rutins says:

    Regarding the entry price – I’d like to emphasize that you do not _need_ the entire series to get started. Right now with the release promotion, you can get Distant Worlds + Return of the Shakturi for $34.98 and that’s a great place to start. If enjoy those, you will love the other expansion. If you don’t, you haven’t made a huge commitment.

    • Smight says:

      34,98 is still high price just to see if you like the game, I do not know where are you from but you really do have some bizarre notions what constitutes cheap.

  21. KyleM says:

    I bought DW + Shakturi + Legends in December 2011 for $72 (incl taxes) during the Christmas sale after seeing a bunch of videos, and have not regretted it… the price definitely made me pause for a few weeks before i bought it.check out the many youtube videos showing what this series is about if your on the fence.

    But as someone who has been playing the Europa universalis series since 2001, I really don’t mind paying $20 for each expansion to a developer who’s making a quality game I enjoy…but that’s me.

  22. DennisP says:

    I bit the bullet back in October last year and brought the game. I really struggled with it at first and was starting to really regret my decision. But I kept looking at the Let’s Plays and going through the manual over and over again. Then the more I played, something clicked and I really started to understand what I was doing and the more I understood, the more I enjoyed the game. I’ve been playing constantly since then and I figure the finances have all evened out because I haven’t brought a lot of game since then.

  23. ray says:

    Adam, keenly waiting for your review Matey !!
    Although I will probably end up purchasing this – I is always good to get others perspective and it seems to me you have a good sensible handle on things..(don’t blush please).

  24. DevildogFF says:

    Agreed, Adam. I’m waiting for your word. You haven’t steered me wrong yet. Eagerly awaiting your final say..

  25. Indicible says:

    I have tried the Legends and liked it. Mostly. My one gripe is that some aspects of the interface remain horrendous.
    That ship designer? Even worse than Eve Online fitting tool. Now, that’s saying something. A simple interface, like the one in GalCiv2 would be awesome… Now, I know simple is not DW’s motto, but the emotional investment in a spreadsheet is absolutely null.
    Same with all the unnecessary clicks. I haven’t played for a while, but I seem to remember dozens of clicks and page changes, because related info on a particular subject had to be queried pages away from the location where I needed it.

    Have those problems been solved?

    • Adam Solo says:

      The ship design retains the same look & feel. One thing they did at some point was to add an option to add and remove units by packs of 5 units instead of adding and removing one design unit at a time. That could be tedious. But, frankly I’m not sure if that was brought with Shadows or with some late Legends’ patch.

      The design screen is not pretty, definitely no eye candy there, but it’s one of those things that you tend to accept after using it for a while, because it really works quite well. I personally don’t have any issue with it now, although I may have find it ugly and not very intuitive at first. I manually design everything by the way. I like to know what I have and to design everything according to my needs.

      As for the amount of clicks, being too much and unnecessary, they have been substantially reduced with Legends. Before, you had to go to sub-menus to give most of the orders, but with Legends there are quick-action buttons spread all over the place (queue constructor to build something, retrofit order, build mining station, join fleet, and many others). The overlays (highlight colonies, special locations) and the quick access lists (ships, fleets, mines, space ports, colonies, etc), were also a great plus with Return of the Shakturi (1st expansion), later improved with Legends.

      There were no major changes to the UI with Shadows. Apart from the new features’ impact, you have now some new messages about resource shortages and new ‘red’ arrows that signal incoming or outgoing ships from to/the specific place you have selected. There may have been a few others, but I’ll take note of them (if any) on my review.

      I think that the UI was already quite appropriate with Legends (the 2nd expansion). It already allows you to have full control of things. It could always be better though. More responsive, quick. But, taking into account this game’s enormous depth and complexity, I think the UI is already quite good actually.

      • necaradan666 says:

        There’s definitely a learning curve, but once you get it, it’s pretty damn awesome, it’s fast and clean, and all your info is easy to find.

        I recommend playing with zero automation, contending with the AI changing everything under your feet while you’re trying to figure the system out is a terrible experience.

        It absolutely beats the socks off the clunky and primitive gui in GalCiv2. After having played Distant Worlds Stardock are going to have to do incredibly well with GalCiv3 to even get a sell.

        • Mark says:

          Fast? yes, Info easy to find? certainly. clean? What game were you playing again?

          I find that games in a medium to large galaxy quickly turn into a frantic, chaotic mess where you are constantly bombarded several times per second with attack messages and other stuff too numerous to mention. So the word “clean” doesn’t come easily to mind, more like total bedlam.

          And that’s with most of the automation on! I think that playing with everything on manual would quickly result in total meltdown unless you paused the game every couple of seconds to take care of the million or so problems that constantly crop up.

          That said, I’m actually enjoying it quite a lot, probably more than any other 4x in recent memory including SOTS II and SOASA. I just wish it were possible to play the game at a bit more of a relaxed pace.

        • Adam Solo says:

          When you control everything you can indeed start to get the feeling of being overwhelmed quickly with all the messages that require your attention. The game allows you to filter the kind of messages you want to be bothered with though, but you’ll still need to pause often to assess the situation.

          You can decide to play in a more relaxed pace, but for that you will need to decide to automate some aspects of gameplay and filter messages and popups accordingly, especially in larger games. Good candidates for late-game automation could be: research, ship design, intelligence actions, some diplomacy aspects like gifts, colonization, troop recruitment or taxes, etc.

          It’s not like it can’t be done, to play fully manual till the end of very large games, but indeed you’ll be bombarded with a lot of stuff, and you probably need to automate some things, especially in times of war.

        • Mark says:

          @ Adam

          Yes, I’m just starting to get the hang of message filtering and getting my auto settings right. It does make things less frantic, but the trade off is that you lose control.

          Thats a worry for me, because I’m a bit of a control freak and like to have total control over everything. So I should probably rephrase my earlier statement. I wish it were possible to play the game at a more relaxed pace *without* progressively handing control of my empire over to the AI.

          I think I’ll just keep the automatics at minimal level and live with the bedlam. After all, I’m still enjoying the game.

        • Adam Solo says:


          Yes, in a game of this magnitude, especially in larger games and in times of war, I think that’s the only way to go to don’t feel overwhelmed.

          In fact, that’s almost unavoidable, to lose a portion of control on a 4X game in late game I mean. Think of Civ5. At some point in time you have a considerable amount of cities in puppet state, which is no less than a city 100% under AI control. And, in the games that don’t offer you a way to automate any aspects of your empire in late-game you normally wish there would be some. And, DW does a very good job offering lots of options and competent ones also.

          But, that said, I keep automation to the minimum and I can live with it easily. Each will have a preferred level of automation though. But, full control in late-game on larger games, and in times of war, that can be chaos yes.

  26. Ermdog says:

    Totally digging playing a pirate faction. Wasn’t sure if I would like it, but they made it fun with how they went about doing it.

  27. cem şancı says:

    The only way to keep the developer independent ise $80 price for new players.

    Fair enough.

    EA or other big distrubutors never publish this game, unles Distant Worlds ports to the consoles and put nice game elements for 6 years old gamers in it.

  28. moontanned says:

    Would love to play this game, but I cannot. even though I bought it at release (the original vanilla DW)
    You see, when I bought it Matrix used a different distribution co, and refuse to honour my original purchase (yes I have receipt of purchase, code, everything). Well sc*** them then, plenty of other 4x games out there. They certainly wont be seeing any more of my money for expansions. My advise to others; stay well clear of Matrix Games, you will not be able to download your games in the future despite what their web site promises.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Erik Rutins (a Matrix Games representative) said above that you can ask for a re-download link by contacting helpdesk. Check here. Maybe there was some misunderstanding. Good luck.

      • moontanned says:

        Nope. Web site states ‘You will no longer be able to download your purchase from Digital River as the maximum extended download warranty they offer is 2 years.Instead of contacting Digital River you should now contact our Help Desk … ‘
        But Help Desk reply was. ‘ Per your email forward, it appears that the payment was processed by Digital River and not Plimus. You would need to contact them directly.’ Digital River do not even reply. Thanks for trying to help but my advice Make your own backups because Matrix offer zero after sales service. Based on this experience I only buy from reputable companies such as Steam.

        • Edward Ryan says:

          Hi I had the same problems as you mentioned but i kept my emails with serial and order numbers and they made a download link available for me to redownload the game no problem, if you havent kept those emails when you bought the game that’s were you might be having the trouble!!!.

          Send Email to Matrix Games direct site with your email’s that you got with the game and they will make it available to you.

        • moontanned says:

          No, I do not have the original email. I do have the serial, order number, purchase date, email address, amount (£31.04 back then – ouch)and record on Paypal.
          A hard drive failure destroyed my zip backup, and when I moved the game directory to a new PC it did not work.
          Matrix Games could not give a toss from the emails they sent me as my order is more than 2 years old, so they keep no record.
          Yes I feel bad about how I have been treated by this company because I have been cheated out of my money.
          I am just putting it out they so that potential purchasers have all information to hand before they purchase. Matrix games have in my experience not honoured what they say on their web site. You can not have the game you purchased after two years.
          You can defend these people all you like, but three emails later, that has been my experience of them.

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