Astro Empires (AE) is an Internet Browser game opened in May 2006. The game has attracted over 35,000 players since it first opened and has recently started play on its sixteenth server, known as Pegasus.
The game takes place in one universe spanning dozens of galaxies, thousands of systems and tens of thousands of worlds in which players can build up their own Astro Empire of the stars.
The game begins with a single base. From that planet the player uses ‘credits’, which are generated at an hourly rate, to build ships, structures or research new technologies. As the player researches new technologies, new units and structures become available to the player with greater power or greater economic value.
As the game moves on players enlarge their empires through colonizing new worlds, trading with other players or warring with other empires.
Also you can Join Guilds which are the Basic Element of the Game for Teamwork. Once you Join a Guild you work towards a Common Goal with that guild. It is wise To Join a Guild once you begin Playing due to the Fact that if you Don't People will Farm (attack and steal economy from your bases) you.
AE works in Real-time; this means that the game keeps going on after the player has gone offline. Thus, if a player is offline attacks may still be launched against him. For this reason the game requires a lot of attention if one's guild gets involved in a war with another guild. Scanners allow players to see incoming ships; however, the amount of warning may vary depending on the size of the fleet (hours or even minutes).
Construction times also increase as players improve upon their buildings. For example the ‘Metal Refinery’ which is a staple building at first level takes 10 minutes to build while later on in the game in can take hundreds of hours to complete a new level.
The Real-time aspect and longer player bias has been cited as the reason for many players leaving the game. Players often will have recently left the player protection, and return to the game, only to find their fleet in ruins and their planets occupied. This causes many to leave the game, or in extreme cases, makes them retaliate against their occupier's guild with whatever fleet they have left. This can put them in a yet worse situation.
Astro Empires is a war game and so much of the efforts of the creators have been in the war elements of the game. Conquering another player's ‘base’ or ‘planet’ allows the occupier to gain a reward of 30% of the bases income each hour and the ability to pillage a percentage of the players savings once a day.
There are multiple ship types in the game of varying costs and sizes which each have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example the ‘Dreadnought’ is good in capital ship combat however it can be taken down with much less than its credit value of ‘Ion Bombers’.
In addition to Player versus Player combat there are two NPC empires in the game. The United Colonies, made of players who go inactive, and the Drekons, a dreaded race of highly advanced aliens who have come to the universe to wreak havoc..
Although not being an original part of the game Politics have grown out of the forums as different guilds (Large in-game alliances made of players) form Non-Aggression Pacts (NAPs), Mutual Defense Pacts (MDPs) and Alliances with each other.
Currently, there are two types of accounts: Upgraded and Free. Players begin their first week of play with an ugraded account and are downgraded to a lower account after this week. These additional features are offered to encourage users to help the game develop and fund its operation. Upgraded accounts get the following advantages.
- No limit of maximum assest
- No limit of total bases allowed, (max limit of 9 on a free account)
- No limit of advanced structures, (max limit of 5 on a free account)
- Construction Queue increased from 2 to 5
- Research Queue increased from 2 to 5
- Inbox/Board message view increased from 10 to 20
- Location Bookmarks increased from 15 to 30
- Empire Scanner, Fleet Overview, Bases Overview and Capacities.
- Personal Avatar Uploadable
- Account not deleted after 14 day inactivity
As with all games, especially MMO games in Beta testing, there are many criticisms that are a natural part of play in a developing game.
A Pirates gameEdit
Many users of Astro Empires have offered criticism about the advantages the game's design offers to more experienced players. Due to the real-time element of the game, those who joined later will always be at a disadvantage to those who joined early in the game's development. The unfortunate side effect has been that large numbers of experienced players and guilds will farm new players for additional credits by occupying their bases before they can defend themselves. Many players have quit the game due to these occurances.
The game's admins have implemented level attack prevention to try and reduce piracy, with limited effect. This ineffectiveness is partially due to the fact that both the admins and mods consider constant farming to be "part of the game," and have not developed a policy for dealing with abusive players. It is hoped that the opening of new servers will allow all players a chance to start on the same level. The reality, however, is that players who quickly establish themselves often farm new players out of the game.
Although upgraded accounts help to fund the game, there have been many complaints from 'free' users who see them as stifling to their growth in the game. Many of the features that are only offered to 'paid' users are common for free users of other games such as 'advanced structure levels'.
Since the game first opened, the admins have been adding new features for paid users and improving the features available for free accounts; however, the controversy continues. Some of these features that are in upgrades is no adds and you can have more then 5 of the following: Econ centers, Multi level platforms, Terraforms, Nanite factories, and android factories
Heavy-Handed Anti cheating methodsEdit
As with all games, the Admins at Astro Empires try to protect users from cheating. Their main weapon in this effort is the IP check. These checks are conducted to identify two accounts connecting from the same IP, and to message those players in-game, informing them that their IP is being shared with another player. This is in violation of the game's policies and is a bannable offense.
Still, there are many players -- such as famility members or office colleagues -- who use the same IP to play the game. Once two accounts have been accessed from the same IP, even in a singular instance, the players are contacted. If they wish to continue the game, players must ask for special permission from the admin and upgrade all accounts on the IP. The alternative is to have their account banned. This is probably the single most-criticised part of the administration and game. But upgrading your account is not always considered enough, and admins can and will still ban and delete accounts that have been violating the rules. If you happen to be the lucky one whose account has been hijacked (which happens from time to time), and the hijacker has violated rules, the admins may still ban and delete the account, leaving you with nothing.
- ↑ , Game Intro
- ↑ , Concerns for the long-term viability of AE
- ↑ , Fleets
- ↑ , An Alien presence is detected coming from outer space
- ↑ , Upgraded Accounts Features
- ↑ , Building limitations in free accounts
- ↑ , Game's Policy