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Endless Space: The Search for Auriga Free Add-on

By on November 14th, 2013 9:37 am

Endless Space: The Search for Auriga (free add-on)

Developer Amplitude Studios has announced the release of “The Search for Auriga”, the 5th free add-on for their 4X space game, Endless Space. So with 4 free add-ons and an expansion DLC already released, what is Amplitude bringing to the table with this update? Well, quite a few things it seems.

They are bringing in some new features, like the ability to repair ships using dust, and the ability to scrap ships to regain some dust when you no longer need them. They’ve also added rally points, which once set, allow your newly minted ships to automatically fly to the designated system without your intervention.

There are also several new heroes, a new wonder, and a unique planet named Auriga that you’ll want to hunt for. Auriga seems to have a very Orion-esque vibe about it. As a unique planet, it will also come equipped with its own unique wonder, complete with a rather massive bonus. Auriga will also come with special narrative events portraying not only its colonization, but also it’s progress as it becomes purified, depleted, terraformed, and so on. All in all, it is set to become a very desirable planet.

For owners of Disharmony who found the Harmony woefully underpowered, as I did when I re-reviewed Endless Space as well as its DLC back in July, there are also balance changes being made to help make them more competitive. The add-on will automatically install via Steam update later today.

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  1. DevildogFF says:

    Just fix diplomacy and add some immersion to it, please. Then I’ll be interested.

  2. Mark says:

    This is the one that uses starlanes and cinematic space combat with cards isn’t it? Nothing to see here.

  3. Adam C says:

    these nonsense dlc’s are really starting to annoy me, they wont fix the immersion and gameplay issues…. i just dont get it.

    • BTJ says:

      We strategy gamers are a tough crowd, aren’t we? More than one year after release the devs put out free content and still we are unhappy and annoyed… ;-)

  4. stilz says:

    Maybe not everyone shares your complaints? I have major complaints about the game’s UI (no hot keys, rally point just now added, etc.), but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the game. At the very least, Amplitude has been continuously updating the game since its introduction over a year ago.

  5. DevildogFF says:

    Immersion is a REAL issue. This looks to make it a teensy bit better, but there is no immersion in some of the few major aspects of a game like this, namely diplomacy.

  6. Expanding Man says:

    I first played ES when it was first released and at the time was not at all impressed. However, after the expansion came out I gave it another try and was hooked. I’m not sure exactly why it took me so long, but I think it was mostly about balance improvements. ES has its flaws for sure, why the devs think it is a good idea to have the AI moving in the middle of your turn is totally beyond me, but sometimes I think it gets some rather unfair criticism. For instance, in GalCiv II (probably the most universally acclaimed 4X) there was NO combat mechanic whatsoever, not even silly tactics cards.

    For me, the best thing that this game has going for it is that I can actually use all of its basic features in a way which is manageable. I can actually decide what to build and what not to build on planets individually in a reasonable amount of time, and I can customize my ships without spending 20 minutes deciding where to put a warp nacelle.

    The biggest fundamental flaw here, in my opinion, is the space lanes. I hate them. There are ways to bypass them in late game, but there is something to be said for letting your ships float in deep space. As for “immersion”, I really don’t know how you can have immersion in a strategy game of this type anyway. Immersion is a word I associate with games like EVE, X or Fallout, I’m not sure what people mean in the strategy context.

    Having said all that, I am indeed eagerly awaiting GalCiv III. If they add a good combat mechanic some ways of improving manageability, it’ll blow this out of the sky.

    • Happy Corner says:

      Good post.

      I always thought Endless Space (at least nowadays) actually did have some amount of immersion. For its flaws, it has some of the nicest graphics and music of a space 4X game, I liked all the different planet types and specials, and it borrowed just enough from MOO2 (heroes, custom race creation, etc) to be comforting. It does have its own style that you could get absorbed in, if you dug the game enough to care in the first place.

    • Mark says:

      “For instance, in GalCiv II (probably the most universally acclaimed 4X) there was NO combat mechanic whatsoever, not even silly tactics cards.”

      And consequently it sucked big time as a result – for me at least – but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had the game spoiled by the pathetic tactical combat.

      “The biggest fundamental flaw here, in my opinion, is the space lanes. I hate them.”

      Totally with you on this one. Nothing annoys me in a space game more than bloody roads in space. It’s SPACE dev’s! I don’t care if it makes it easier to program the AI, treat it like space! If I want roads I’ll play Civ.

      And yeah if GalCiv III has decent combat and no fricking space lanes, it will likely be pretty awesome.

  7. catwhowalksbyhimself says:

    Yeah, I loved it myself, at least until the expansion came out, which I felt actually made the game worse. I thought it was abandoned due to their two other game projects and no official word on anything ES related on their websites. I’m glad that I was wrong and will have to install this and check it out.

  8. Ermdog says:

    Doesn’t sound like anything interesting is being added or to fix the current issues. I’ll give them this, they have one of the best colony managements out there. They make it easy with a great interface and good planetary graphics. The bad still remain bad, as in diplomacy and combat.

    I’ve never used the diplomatic screen so little in any 4x game, except this one. It is not very inviting, as the AI hardly propose treaties or ask for trade. I do get the occasional trade offer for materials but most of the trades don’t make sense. The diplomacy screen is very lackluster and I always find myself not being able to do much. Examples of good diplomacy are found on games like Civ5(with expansions), Alpha Centari, and Distant Worlds w/expansions

    As for the combat, this is something I don’t think they will ever fully change, but instead add things to it to try and make it more interesting. I do applaud them for originality in trying to do something different with the combat. Before this game there were pretty much only 2 types of combat that turned based 4x games had, turned based/real time tactical combat, and automated. I would feel safe in saying the majority of players prefer turned based tactical, as it gives the player more of a “say” in combat, as well as the strategic aspect of it. Being a long time MoO2 player, I did enjoy tactical battles, but usually set it to automate when I had a lot of ships to save time. I found out that there wasn’t much the AI was doing different that I would of, so I keep it on Automate from now on.

    Automated battles have no user interaction and rely solo on factors your ship/faction have vs the opponents. There are different types of automated battles, such as cinematic automated (gal civ 2), and quick combat animations (civ 5). If you don’t fancy tactical combat, automated can be just as satisfying. I found myself using automated in MoO2, but I still liked watching the battles for the visuals.

    Endless space combat tries to involve the player in combat without really involving them, if that makes sense. They give you the option to pick cards and strategize, to a point, and then let you watch the action. Gal Civ 2 was very similar, as it had cinematic combat but nothing else to involve the player. ES at least gives you cards to choose from even though it is still lackluster. It’s no secret that players don’t want to watch cinematic combat that they have little control over. I believe if they went the Civ 4 route (stacked quick animation combat) there would be lesser distaste than the current combat system. I think you either fully involve the player in tactical combat or you make it where automated is enjoyable.

    I personally play all these games now with automated combat without visuals. I play ES automated now since I’d rather not waste my time with the battle scenes. ES does give you the option to pick cards even if you automate it, which is better than nothing at all. Personally I would like to see turned based tactical combat similar to Heros VI, or Fallen Enchantress. I enjoy the tactical battles in those games, and if they were to make the transformation to a space 4x game, I think it would do wonders. Would be nice to have a capital or leader ship with special abilities to make combat more interesting. MoO2 was on the right track with having unique weapons, instead of the same ones you had to keep upgrading (distant worlds, gal civ 2 for example).

    Unfortunately, from what it sounds, ES won’t change how combat is fought, but only add other elements to it. Therefore I would still imagine there being animated battles with the choosing of cards. I don’t think the opinions of many will change for the better if they keep the combat system the same. Card choosing just isn’t enough to fully immerse the player in combat, and that is the key to its failure. I think players either want to be fully involved in combat (tactical), or have a system where automated combat is enjoyable.

  9. Gunlord says:

    Everyone seems to loath the card-based system, and I do too, honestly. The whole “rock-paper-scissors” method of combat never much appealed to me at all.

  10. Jarkorsis says:

    Well in the last expansion you can make combat changes in the middle of combat. If you want to focus fire after watching the first round or start of first round you can change those kinds of tactical options. It isn’t a lot, but it allows more input. I do like the card system. If I have 15 battles, I want to have some say in them, but not play them all out for an hour at a time.

    Just about all 4x games I have played, need work on diplomacy. I started playing 4x’s with CIV 1, reach for the stars, and a game called stars. I find this game imersive. So I disagree with most of you.

    A lot of the odd things that happen, like movement is due to them trying to make the game work in multi player in a reasonable amount of time.

    • Mark says:

      Stars! was an awesome game for its time. Close to the best UI and automation I have ever seen in a 4x. Leaves Endless space with its ridiculous “space roads” for dead.

      About the only thing they had in common was the horrible tactical space combat but IMO Stars was better, at least you didn’t have to strain your immersion by wondering what “cards” you would play.

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