Battlestar Galactica Online
Called BSGO for short is a browser based MMO based upon the hugely popular re-imagined TV series. With many large star systems to fly through you’ll be gazing in amazement at the planets and asteroid belts as you hunt your prey. And when you find them the battles can be fast and furious dogfights between 2 players in strike craft, or long range missile barrages between gigantic battle ships supported by strike craft that can last for over an hour. You don’t need a high powered gaming PC to play Battlestar Galactica Online either, I started playing a few years ago with a low end laptop. For a browser game the graphics are great, the lighting effects too will have you wondering how they can make such a good looking game in just your browser window. Also the game uses the same sound effects as the series, helping to immerse you even more into the Battlestar Galactica world.
Upon starting, you will need to choose a server. This will initially be chosen for you based upon your location, but you can also manually choose the server yourself. Next you will then need to choose from one of two factions Humans or Cylons.
You may have guessed that the good guys in this game the Human faction is going to be overpopulated on most servers. To compensate for this, Cylons are granted bonus experience for a short period of time after creating their character. Common sense also dictates that the ships of both sides are equal but trust me Cylons have an advantage in their ships from the beginning, probably to make up for the sometimes overwhelming numbers of Colonials bearing down on them.
Over recent months BSGO has had a major shift in game play. It used to be that you would spend hour upon hour doing daily missions that involved mindlessly scanning asteroids and shooting them to receive some small amount of the 3 in game resources. Things became so bad that many began to call the game “farmagalactica”. Now though the game has shifted to more combat oriented daily missions involving PVE and PVP. One daily mission involves you defending or attacking a stricken freighter, at first non playable characters will turn up however, it usually isn’t long before enemy players turn up to try and take you down.
Update 30 on the 15th of January 2014 added much needed support for Joysticks or game controllers. I found it simple to add my PS3 controller and was soon testing out this new control system. After years of using a keyboard and track pad, it took me about a half hour to get used to playing BSGO again. I also had to change my strikes avionics to the newer CAMS to get the best out of things but with a small bit of tweaking to the preset controls I was soon happily flying my MK VII viper. Indeed using a controller felt much more intuitive to me than the keyboard although, I still use it for things like bringing up the map or selecting a system to jump to.
The main in game currency is Cubits these can be earned by exchanging water or completing daily missions. You can also pull out your wallet and pay for them with real world cash, which can help you upgrade your ship and skills faster. I’ve done this a couple of times myself but actually prefer the sense of achievement I get when I finally earn an upgrade in game.
As I mentioned before there are 3 resources you will find in the game, these are:
· Tylium – Is used as fuel and is in high demand on both sides. It’s also considered a currency of sorts as you can stock pile it to buy some of the less powerful ships, or to buy ammunition and ship upgrades. Recently it has become scarcer to find making it more important to stockpile. As well as mining you can earn Tylium from salvage left behind either in a debris field or from a defeated enemy.
· Titanium – Currently it’s the most common of the 3 resources. It’s a good idea to stockpile this as if you run low on Tylium you can exchange it, also you need it to repair your ships and trust me you always want to have your ship at 100%.
· Water – Obviously Humans need water but did you know so do the Cylons? Only obtainable through scanning this resources is of very high value to both sides and is the only thing you can trade in for Cubits so when scanning asteroids or planetoids you should never fly away from a blue one. Mining planetoids cost 100 Cubits to call in a mining ship but the asteroids cost nothing if you use mining guns.
Very quickly while flying around outside of the protected systems (these are areas where only your faction can go to protect low level players) you will find that people on the opposing faction will appear, many will head straight for you as soon as you become a blip on their Dradis (radar). Just like in the TV series PVP in BSGO can be exciting fast-paced and very brutal. You’re likely to get killed a lot and if your opponent is a much higher level than you are then you stand no chance so my advice is to either jump out of the system or head to a friendly outpost where you will be safe.
Ships in game are upgradeable. Everyone starts with a strike ship, Viper MKII or Raider depending upon your faction These first “free” ships will have you picking your jaw up off the floor as you whizz about scanning for resources and dodging through asteroid belts but chances are you may want to get something bigger and the good news is you can purchase every single ship your side has to offer however you can only pilot one at a time. So my advice is to think about your ship selection if you choose to buy something else you will need to work hard to grind the resources you need to purchase it and then you’ll need to grind a whole lot more to start upgrading it. But as other ships only become unlocked as your rank increases, you will have a lot of time to think your choices over and to watch other players use the one you are after to see if it would truly suit your style of play.
To Sum up BattleStar Galactica Online is a good looking and sounding free browser game that will surprise you as to how much fun it can be. However, after a short while you can’t really play it every day without a feeling of repetitiveness. It’s not like games such as Star Trek Online where there is a massive amount of content and regular updates. There are very few missions to play and once done you can’t replay them even if you wanted to. It strikes me that the developers (BigPoint) never wanted to develop the storyline past what little there is. Basically The Galactica tried to jump away from a fight and some kind of energy burst meant both the Colonial Fleet and the Cylons were pushed into an unknown region of space where eternal farming and shooting must commence henceforth.
However, in closing I have to say despite the lack of content and very little conversation from the current development team (yes there were a few previous teams) I find myself going back to it over the past couple of years. Don’t ask me why but there’s something addictive about BSGO that I like.
Your species needs you the only question is are you Colonial or are you Cylon?
Updated 23/01/2014 to reflect updates in the game controls