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.