Archive for the Not Really EVE Category

Black Prophecy Tears: Ironfrost and his E-Honor

Posted in Delicious Tears, Not Really EVE on January 8, 2012 by khalia

Black Prophecy continues to give me lots of enjoyment. I’d discovered that the character search would not only tell you who was online – on the opposing team – but where they happened to be at that very moment. This made it easy to follow the same player all over the game and shoot him over and over.

Then he brought his slightly higher level friend, and I shot that guy over and over. Since he couldn’t kill me before I killed him, I let him get in a few shots. When he eventually left the sector, I opened a conversation with him. What resulted was classic “games are like real life!” e-honor hilarity.

Black Prophecy lacks any ability to save chats, which is extremely annoying, so I had to screen shot everything.

More On Black Prophecy

Posted in Not Really EVE on December 23, 2011 by khalia

I’ve been devoting a good deal of my free time to Black Prophecy. It has replaced EVE as my go-to for online fun – at least for the moment.

Several aspects of the game continue to strike me as brilliant and enjoyable. Black Prophecy places players into one of two game factions – the cybernetic Tyi or the bioenginered Genide. This occurs once you’ve played through the prologue missions; after this, you can create characters without having to go through the prologue, and start directly into one of the two factions. These factions are at war with each other and the game NPCs are also Tyi or Genide with some exceptions.

Not really a big deal? To start with, you can only communicate with your own faction. You *can not* talk to the other faction in chat circles or other methods. This would be like if Amarrian players could not talk with Minmatar players. The impact of this is profound – everyone you talk with is your implicit ally. Trading and giving away items is done freely, because the stuff you’re giving to someone else will help them against your common foes. Players form up for co-op missions and for group PvP quickly.

The game ‘Warzones’ are faction-controlled areas captured by holding territory areas (being inside a certain zone) for long enough to ‘capture’ the zone. Instead of being purely symbolic like EVE’s factional warfare, controlling a zone provides significant bonuses to your entire faction – increased XP from kills, reduced vendor costs, improved ship effects, and so on. This makes for a constantly active PvP area with real results for the victors. Warzones are restricted by player levels – both upper and lower – meaning that you will fight against players of your own skills and not have the areas camped by high level players. It also encourages lower level players to participate in the warzones for their levels, because those bonuses are valuable!

Having PvE content areas open to all players and providing PvP remains a great idea – players can not avoid PvP, except for running away, and it’s quite possible that you will be followed. This encourages players to do missions in groups, furthering the enjoyment of the game experience. Unlike EVE missions, which you learn how to do one and then you can do it over and over without thinking about it, Black Prophecy provides an ongoing storyline around which missions are based. There are non-storyline missions as tangents, and there are also repeatable missions available, but they aren’t as well rewarded and are usually more tedious.

Black Prophecy’s rough edges are apparent in some things we EVE players might take for granted: There is no player market or contracts system. All exchanges either have to be direct person to person, or via mail (for which a ‘handling charge’ is added). Item ownership is restricted to 60 ‘units’ of space, with a typical ship item taking one to two units of space. You can buy more space for a price, of course. Thankfully a lot of stuff you want to keep – blueprints, building materials, rigs – don’t take any space at all. Your ship also has a variable amount of space, around 25-30 units.

Player communication is rather awkward with three generic tabbed windows (#0 – #2) being available; you can define what messages (global, sector, team, etc.) go in which window. That’s like EVE, but unlike EVE, you will have to use a /team or /sector prefix in whatever window you use. If you forget /team while typing into your team window, your message will go out on the global broadcast. BP guys, it is really that hard to implement windows that ‘remember’ what channel you’re broadcasting?

These quirks aside, the game remains exceptionally fun to play. Still recommended.

Black Prophecy

Posted in Not Really EVE on December 19, 2011 by khalia

Back during the “CCP versus Players” era of a few months ago, I went looking for possible alternatives to EVE. One of them was Black Prophecy. I never got around to trying it, and the icon has sat on my desktop mocking me. This past weekend I fired it up and have now put in a sold 12+ hours.

I’ll do a comparison with EVE later on in this post. What is Black Prophecy? At it’s core, Black Prophecy is a real-time space combat simulator with overlapping PvE and PvP content. Expect to run missions for one of the two universe factions in the same area that people will also be running their missions – or trying to shoot you – or you shooting them. One of the missions actually requires you to go and shoot down a number of other players. Outside of combat you can expect to outfit your ship with various parts, build new parts, and socialize with other players. Black Prophecy’s model is a free-to-play with premium content for purchase; fairly common these days.

The graphic content is excellent, the music is fantastic, and combat is riveting enough to get me yelling at my screen. Adding to this is the really well done introduction story line, which will take you anywhere from hours to days(!) to finish. I was swept up in the story and enjoyed every moment of it from manning the guns on the colony ship to the massive space battle versus an unknown alien intruder. The storyline missions are interwoven with well done cut sequences.

Black Prophecy has some rough edges: While live in Europe it is still in open beta process for US players. The loading times between sectors is noticeable, as is the initial game loading time. The in-game help files are largely absent; you’ll get “database not found” for most of them. Thankfully the in-game encyclopedia and tutorial system are working and reasonably well done. The game consumes a very large amount of memory; at 1680×1050 with high quality settings I top out at over 1.2 GB – make sure you’ve got a solid system.

Now with the inevitable EVE comparisons. BP combat is full 3D control in real time, dog-fighting style. If you played X-Wing games you’ll be at home here. Shooting is entirely manual targeting (some guided missiles are a rare exception). You have one ship and one ship only, and you can change various parts: cockpit, wings, guns, shields, missiles. Everything has mass, and more mass means a slower and less agile ship. You can go for a heavy ship with lots of armor, shields and firepower; or an agile dogfighter without shields; or something in between. Similar to EVE, gun types offer you energy weapons, projectile weapons, and explosives. There is no ship perma-death; if you blow up the condition of your items will decrease, and you’ll get a debuff to your combat skills for a few minutes. You do create a real person character, very similar to EVE’s new character creator. This is purely for player uniqueness. There is docking, but no walking-in-stations as of yet.

Character advancement is done with XP for missions/combat with a leveling system. Each level provides points to spend on skills, which allow you to use higher-quality ship modules, or for tactics, which allow special ship maneuvers such as snap-roll, split-S and emergency speed boost. Wrecks from missions can be looted to provide new items, which can be sold off or used; and also provide materials used to build new items – or mods to items – via blueprints. Travel in the BP universe is done by jumping between sectors; unlike EVE all sectors are equidistant from each other in terms of time taken to travel. Each sector is like a very large EVE grid – open over long distances and filled with everything PvE and PvP going on there. Player organization is via a clan system, and clans can compete for control over sectors. Gaining control is similar to factional warfare in EVE – hold a sector for long enough and you ‘own’ it.

I recommend Black Prophecy. Play it for the excellent graphics, exciting combat, engaging story line and epic feel. I’m unsure of how it plays at the end-game, but as long as it is free I’ll see what it’s like when I get there.