Battlestar Galactica Open Beta On Feb 8th

By Quintin Smith on January 31st, 2011 at 10:00 am.

I am definitely calling my character Ordinary Lee Adama and then making an alt called Fat Lee Adama

Massively informs us that free-to-play browser MMOG Battlestar Galactica Online will be throwing open its (hangar bay) doors and entering open beta on February 8th, which is actually the day I was planning to water my spider plant collection but NEVERMIND. Browsing Massively’s own first impressions of BGO is enlightening. In short, I was worried that the game might be lightweight and uninteresting, but on closer inspection it might not be totally uninteresting at all. I’ve posted a few choice quotes (plus the latest trailer, again) after the (FTL) jump.

Here’s Massively’s Beau Hindman on how combat works…

Combat seemed simple and a little clunky at first. Remember that the game is running in your browser using the Unity engine, so take time to forgive it a bit. As I leveled up, learned new skills, and bought new ships, combat became not only much more smooth and dynamic but more strategic. Instead of needing to press a mouse-button every time I wanted to shoot my main guns, I found that they fired automatically. You lock onto a target and fly at it (or around it) while your auto guns send tracers across the dark sky. Items like missiles need to be fired individually, though, and abilities or triggered items like missile decoys are fired with a shortcut.

…and on the scale of the battles….

The variety of ships is nice, allowing players to pilot anything from a basic craft to a massive CM monster. Battles felt very balanced despite the fact that some players were in larger craft. Bigpoint seems to have taken a page from EVE Online’s book by making larger craft slower and easier to hit but chock-full of deadly weapons and other electronic goodies. Missiles can literally be shot out of the sky, so even their existence added some element to gameplay. One particularly large battle I was in was filled with talk of “little guys, get the missiles!” That gritty stuff really gave the game some depth.

…and on what’s actually happening out there in space.

After my short time in Battlestar Galactica Online, I can say that the game is almost a board game. Some NPCs might spawn here and there, establish bases, and attempt to establish a foothold. Players come to their aid, while other players jump to kill them. I’m not sure what the goal is, but I think it has something to do with resources and mining. I can stick near safer space and mine asteroids, do some basic missions, or level my character. Or, of course, I can jump my way into battle, hoping to die with honor. I loved the fact that fighting was not an instant-death sort of scenario. Even when I was outnumbered, I was able to last long enough to do some damage. The play areas, similar to EVE Online’s systems, are large enough that I was even able to escape from my enemies, repair, and come back to shoot them down.

Worth noting that it looks like it’s just a game of space combat- any talk of boarding actions or on-world combat is conspicious by its absence, which is a shame. I do love the pinging noise of flimsy human bullets bouncing off Cylon armour. Why don’t they make the bullets out of whatever they make the Cylons from? That’s what I’d like to know.

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21 Comments »

  1. talon03 says:

    All I want to know is are you actually shot out of a launch tube or do you just get into a viper and randomly spawn in space, and do you put the bird on the deck at the end of a fight or is it just a “Battle completed” message followed by a sudden shift to you standing on a hangar deck.

    • frenz0rz says:

      Currently the latter, unfortunately. The hanger deck is modelled on the outside of the Galactica and the devs have stated their eventual intention to include takeoff/landing, but it is currently not a priority.

  2. adonf says:

    My spider plant died because I left it out in the cold for about two months, after not giving it any water for maybe a year (Actually I thought that the rain would take care of watering it but it didn’t go as planned)

  3. groovychainsaw says:

    I’m so disappointed this is a shooter. Did they not watch the series? Surely an infiltration/trust no-one type affair, with fleet maintenance for humans vs sabotage for the cylons would have been the way to go. Add in a bit of politics and the odd ‘away’ mission and you’re there. With options to torture/execute/assassinate people you think are cylons (inevitably getting it wrong) and votes for fleet commander/president. Battles should have been an afterthought, not the core gameplay.

  4. Henk says:

    Anyone else noticing that the ads are going weird? I’m getting random combinations of Alienware/Intel ads, it looks like each ad “space” (background, side banner, top banner) is randomly either one.

    The game looks a lot like the HL2 mod “eternal silence”, which is free on steam, but suffers from eternally silent servers. At least eternal silence had boarding and such, but no persistent elements.

  5. Navagon says:

    You know, for space it’s not half looking… atmospheric. If you see what I’m saying.

  6. Greg Wild says:

    Are spider plants as involving as lemon grass plants to grow?

  7. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    “Why don’t they make the bullets out of whatever they make the Cylons from? That’s what I’d like to know.”

    Same reason they don’t make people-killing bullets out of meat?

    • Greg Wild says:

      Meat…bullets?

      Now there’s an idea…

    • GT3000 says:

      “Tonight at 5, a local man is brought into custody when it was discovered that he was reloading cartridges using human flesh. He was quoted as saying when being brought into custody “..That’s why I use the meat. Metal to kill metal and flesh to kill flesh, I reckon!” the local Sheriff’s office has declined to comment.”

    • Saiko Kila says:

      I believe that Cylons simply patented the formula for their armor alloy.

  8. Dominic White says:

    This looks a lot like a prettier, but less varied version of Air Rivals/Ace Online. (US/EU respectively)

    http://www.airrivals.net/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCpquY3XRKY

    Not entirely a bad thing, although it really doesn’t seem to suit Battlestar, which admittedly had rather monotone space combat. Beautiful to look at, but the real drama was happening INSIDE the ships.

  9. trooperdx3117 says:

    Huh I think i’d rather wait for that Freespace 2 BSG mod, Diaspora I think its called

    • H8Cr1me says:

      Man I have been sitting and waiting for EVER for Beyond the Red Line. After I played the demo (http://www.beyondtheredline.net/) I was floored. But now you mention this and this is looking better than BtRL. Especially the working DRADIS and full 3D cockpit with what looks like working TrackIR. That just stoked my game boner!

  10. BobsLawnService says:

    A skill based space shooter MMO? That is free? This could be fun. Any news on whether this would work with my X52 joystick?

    • CMaster says:

      You heard about Black Prophecy?
      F2P MMO X-wing inspired space shooter. Joystick support was poor at first, but by this point in the beta has presets for most popular joysticks.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      Thank you kind sir. I shall investigate this.

    • H8Cr1me says:

      I am in the beta and it’s pretty cool so far. The graphics are SICK! My only gripe with it so far is that you can’t look around in the cockpit and there is no TrackIR implemented. If I didn’t have it going across three screens with SoftTH I would say the cockpit view is way too cramped. Oh, and you better upgrade your graphics card for this one; it’s a beast.