Dark Sky Entertainment, the company behind the new MMORTS named Beyond Protocol, has just unleashed yet another revolutionary experience to the masses. Its name is Star Alliances.
Star Alliances gives the player massive amounts of customization with the ability to jump into the midst of interstellar war instantly, for FREE (more on the FREE part later). There are similarities between Star Alliances (SA) and Beyond Protocol (BP), but they are very different games. Unlike BP, SA focuses more on the intensity of fighting for supremacy, and less on the complex strategy of building an empire. However, much like BP, SA takes place in a galaxy with hundreds of environments in which war can rage simultaneously. Environments range from any of the 8 planet types and 5 planet sizes, to the orbit above those planets, to the very center of any of the 100+ star systems, to the cold outer reaches of space.
Allow me, DSE’s Diplomat, to walk you through the basic actions that compose SA, a game that can most accurately be described as a Massive Multiplayer Online Real Time Tactical (MMORTT).
The game begins by choosing one of three factions, the Legion of Systems, the Unification Alliance, or the Galactic Confederacy. Each faction comes with its own premise of governance, basic hull designs, and region of space inside the SA galaxy.
After choosing a side, the player is taken to the home system for the chosen faction, and presented with a window summarizing research, production, and deployment options for their units.
Research in SA is based heavily on combat, mainly because research costs influence and influence is gained only by destroying enemy ships. The more and bigger the ships destroyed by the player, the easier it is for them to design a behemoth or sleek set of corvettes of their own.
The 10 different resources in the game are collected automatically, and directly relate to the different components in the game (engine, radar, weapons, etc.). The faction’s home system provides a steady and secure flow of resources, but by branching out into contestable systems, higher accumulation rates can be achieved. From these minerals, custom buildings, ships, and tanks can be made.
Deploying units to the action is made easy, by allowing the player to place them in any system linked to the faction’s main system. Wormholes are the main method of transit in SA. So long as the player’s faction (one of three in the game) controls the wormholes which connect, units can be placed in that system instantly. Intense battles can form very quickly where these control points intersect.
The number of ships a player can control at one time is determined both by technology level and prowess in battle. As technology level increases, so does the basic number of units and buildings that player can create, represented by Command Points (CP). Prowess is rewarded by experience points gained in battle on a per unit basis. With as much as a 10:1 reduction in CP requirements per unit, superior tactics are very much a necessity in domination.
Community is also a cornerstone of any MMO, and SA does not disappoint. A friend list keeps track of who is online and how high they rank. An alert system allows players to place markers with text, arrows, and other symbols in various colors to better communicate a winning strategy. Of course a full chat and mailing system are included as well. The mail can even be sent out of game to an email address or SMS capable mobile device.
Well this all might sound incredible, but I know that somewhere in your mind you are thinking, “He said I can play for FREE?” I certainly did, and here’s how. Trial accounts in SA never expire. They can be played 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year just like a paid account. However, of course there is a catch or two. The first day a trial account is registered, that account is given 2 hours of play time. After that first day, each subsequent day the account is given 1 hour to play. Additionally, access to higher technology, like corvettes, destroyers, and battleships, is restricted making fighters and escorts the mainstay for trial accounts. However, trial accounts have the same front row seat to the carnage that paid accounts do, perhaps only with smaller guns. The time limit should fit most any casual gamer’s daily allotment, but should you need more, a one time subscription can be bought at any time.
Well? What are you waiting for? Go to www.Star-Alliances.com and start downloading WHILE you register! Tell ‘em that Diplomat sent you, and they’ll treat you right!