Black Prophecy Devs Address Community

By Jim Rossignol on April 15th, 2011 at 2:06 pm.


Free-to-play space MMO Black Prophecy is actually fairly interesting. I played through the prologue, but had to move on to other things before I really got stuck into the main world. It’s impressively pretty, and the mouse-keyboard space combat controls are surprisingly action-oriented. I did get splatted attempting to higher level missions with RPS chums, however, so I suspect that linear level ladder might be too much for me. Anyway! The devs have written a letter to the community, addressing concern over lag and bugs, as well as talking about features planned for the future of the game. You can read it in full here. (And my initial impressions of the game here.)

One of the features they propose for the future is “Station walking”. Sounds oddly familiar…

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21 Comments »

  1. Tyshalle says:

    Yeah, this one seems to be a fairly generic EVE clone, with maybe more of an action/twitch-based combat focus but without any soul. I’ll admit I was curious about this one because while I love EVE in concept, I find it fairly boring in execution, but meh. This one doesn’t seem to be its own game.

    • MiniMatt says:

      I really don’t get why this comparison keeps being raised. They’re both set in space. That’s about it. It’s like saying WOW is a Baldurs Gate clone because they both have quests and elves. Black Prophecy has far more in common with arcade flight simulators than it has with EVE. It’s basically an arcade flight sim with RPG elements – whether it’s a good one or not is another matter. Freelancer is probably a closer fit to compare.

      EVE is, well whatever it is, arcade flight sim it certainly isn’t – it’s an… erm…. social and economic simulator sandpit with extra spreadheety elements. Space flight in EVE is basically programming an auto pilot with two buttons (“fly to” and “orbit”) – that’s not to say there aren’t tactics involved in that, by god there are. But the game is those tactics, and the afore mentioned social/economic shennanigans.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Actually, with this being Reakktor, it couldn’t be further from EvE. Try the now freely playable (but pretty empty) Neocron for some impressions on how fighting and resource managing is handled. As from what I’ve read, I’m very sure, Black Prophecy mainly builds up on that. It’s in the same spirit: More of a System Shock 1 style shooter, with a MMO surrounding it. Meaning your actual action will in this case be space battles, and the MMO is the frame and the big picture. Then Neocron had a pretty nice overall story, that I could get behind. I think they will want to repeat that aspect too.

  2. pakoito says:

    Gamigo, yeah no.

  3. Stick says:

    What kind of bugged me was, there’s no sense of “place”. Everywhere is accessible from everywhere, with just one loading screen of “travel”.

    And, yes, levels are confusing. Being one-hitted by a guy who’s one level above you just seems wrong. Which does happen.

    Also, forced 20 min afk – unless you spend RealBucks – while “crafting”? Severely uncool. … mind you, maybe I should actually go read what the devs said.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Wait, really? In Neocron this was also true, but only in theory. As in practice, it did cost you money to transport, and you first had to walk there by foot, and put a marker there, before being able to transport there from other locations.

      Maybe in the unfinished versions they left that limitation disabled?

  4. fenriz says:

    Simple question: when you beat the prologue, and you’re in the “open” world, are there still quests telling you what to do, or is it truly “open”?

    • AlexV says:

      I really enjoyed the Prologue, but after completing that and being dropped in the open world, the quests telling you what to do completely dropped off.

      I believe the idea is you must level yourself up by completing ‘jobs’ or PVP until you reach a high enough level to get further story quests.

      Jobs are listed in the station, and are available either as solo or team, at a variety of levels. They are all instanced, and you can pick any of them in any order, and repeat them any number of times. There are about 4 job archetypes – other variations are only in difficulty (level of the enemies) or name of the location or ships involved.

      So, once you’ve completed the prologue, done one of each job type at whatever difficulty level you prefer, you’re pretty much done. At that point it’s PVP or repetitive grinding until you get enough XP to reach the next story mission. Or so I’m told. At that point, I left.

    • Stick says:

      Right. There are zones – and thus quests – that do not become available until you’ve reached a certain level. So, no open world, just a bunch of rooms you unlock one after the other.

      The open PvP-zone, I enjoyed for a bit. Both factions have quests there – kill X, loot wreck of Y – and that whole “some go about their business, some try to kill them, then get really murderized by twelve other guys” felt pleasantly familiar. But in the end, it’s space. An open 3D room with – almost – no terrain features. A cover-less team deathmatch with no team number balancing.

      It got dull, and I, too, took my leave.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @AlexV: If it’s like Neocron, there won’t be any story quests per se. As the whole world will change because of the story. So the game itself will be the story. Like the guards at the entrance to some central point suddenly being different, stuff being destroyed or forbidden or deadly to enter, previously friendly factions suddenly attacking you, and general news telling you the story.

      This means that everyone in the game experiences the same point in the story together, doing his part by following his interests in the conflict.
      E.g. by taking over a base, or even trying to start a revolution of the government. (In Neocron, we started war in the core of the city, destroying so many cop bots, that they had to replace them by stronger ones, to keep the city intact and playable for beginners. The red light district became a death trap though. ;)

  5. cliffski says:

    apparently I already have an account, but I cant work out how to actually play it.
    There is only one button, to sign up for a new account.

    WEB DESIGN FAIL.

    • Springy says:

      I’m finding myself similarly mystified. How exactly do I play this game?

    • cliffski says:

      I found it by going to the companies homepage, but when I realised it was a 5 gig download, I gave up. Plus when a company has about 20 games on a drop-down list, i doubt any of them have really had someones heart and soul poured into them. It reminded me of zynga, and that’s not good…

    • CMaster says:

      @Cliffski
      You’re correct, most of Gamigo’s games are crap, and their web design is terrible. However Black Prophecy is not half-arsed shovelware. It’s made by a developer known as Reakktor, who put a lot of passion into their games, even if their communication skills and erm, technical aptiude are somewhat lacking. Black Prophecy is only on gamigo because the original company funding it, 10Tacle Studios went bust and Gamigo bought it up on the cheap.

      I obviously can’t promise you’ll like it – there’s plenty wrong with the game as well as what it gets right. But it is very high production values, very good looking game. The 5gb is justfied.

    • trindermon says:

      Its a weird game, cant decide if i love it or hate it. its certainly worth a look – the tutorial sectors are seriously laggy though – its ok once you get out in the wider world. REALLY bad cut sceanes however – gotta love the over the top bad sci-fi.

      @Cliffski, i still live in hope a bigger version of GSB with real multiplayer and a massive deeper campaign. campiagn mode made that game my faviourate game of the last few years :P

  6. Kdansky says:

    It’s the physics that made me hate it. The ships feel like bicycles. They turn way faster than I would expect from a starship, but on the other hand, they travel at 100 km/h tops. You can easily measure it by comparing cockpit size to station size to travel speed. And I hated the controls.

    Fantasy MMOs have “target enemy, auto attack”, while sophisticated targeting computers don’t exist in a sci-fi game and you have to chase the reticule with your mouse. That’s just idiotic. There is only so much suspension of disbelief I can offer.

  7. Wulf says:

    I don’t know why station walking is a great feature, it always takes away from Science Fiction settings for me, but this is just personal preference/opinion, I suppose. It’s just that what occurs in one’s imagination is oft superior to what may be developed. I like StarGate Universe because it works based on modern day people, but if you’re heading into future scenarios, then… Dejobaan has this right. (Read their blog!)

    I’ll just take a moment to say that I love Dejobaan before I continue. I know I’ve said this about a thousand times before in the past, but I just want to say it again. Maybe it’s more that I love Ichiro, I don’t know. Anyway! The thing is is that in a future scenario you’d have people who look really quite alien, with body modifications both organic and technological adorning them, perhaps even having regrown their body and having kept their brain alone. Even Deus Ex got this right.

    But many Sci-Fi settings don’t, they’re either lazy and they make up some nonsense about such being prohibited (like that would stop rebellious fashion nuts, whom would push for such until it became legal), or they just ignore the issue altogether. So what happens is that everything looks really anachronistic. You have people that look like 21st century humans, with hair styles, clothing, attitudes, and vocal chords even that would suggest that they’d just been plucked from the 21st century and dumped into this setting.

    One of my favourite books is Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, and there you see the beginnings of this, there are people living on the moon who’re very into extensive body modification. One of the characters had reflective eyes, six arms, and a really spindly, spider-like figure. She fell in love with a normal, and she adopted a normal human body for him, but… she couldn’t take it. She was so used to the novelty of having that option open to her that she slowly went batshit insane. Eating the furniture insane. She had to have a memory wipe, and then she returned to the moon and took upon her old form again.

    It was a particularly interesting issue to deal with – that once morphological freedom has been opened up to a person, it’s very doubtful that they’d ever want to go back to being a base human, and having it forced upon them even by the chains of love might just make them lose their grip. This is why I’d find a Sci-Fi setting where this is possible to be impossible or at least unbelievable on a personal level if everyone looks like 21st century humans. I realise though that most people don’t put the same amount of thought into this that I do, or any at all, and that to most my passions must look pedantic.

    For this reason though I’m always kind of glad to see a lack of people. I mean, without the ability to walk around as a ‘meatsack’ in space games, I could simply claim that my ship is entirely based on AI and has no organic components present. This would be my claim to make and one that can’t be contested or disputed, since there’s no way to verify the truth of it. If I wanted to claim that my ship was piloted by a techno-organic spider, a gelatinous cube, or an elf-like hypermodified super human, then, again, there’s just no way to say otherwise.

    But when station walking is implemented, all of these options are removed, all of the imagination is drained away, and yes, only 21st century humans can pilot those ships. No AIs, no techno-organic spider beings, no spindly elf-like superhumans, no gelatinous cubes, and not even a cyborg with weird hair could be found on any of those ships. And that’s a drag. Again, just my opinion, but I always think it’s a shame. And I suppose that I don’t expect the majority to be able to click with or understand this opinion, it is a strange one to say the least, I get that, but I just wanted to air my thoughts on this. Expunge it from my brain. I think I’d go crazy if I never did that.

    • Kdansky says:

      You should read some Hamilton. Commonwealth & Void series are both great, and “what exactly happens when you can modify everything about your body” is one of the major themes in both.

  8. Redford says:

    Reakktor still haven’t bothered to fix the technical issues involved with their engine since the start of closed beta. This includes all the bugs which existed (and prevented people from playing their game) in the European release. I am still totally incapable of playing their game due to my video drivers refusing to run it properly.

    Black Prophecy is very impressive for a FTP game, but until they actually fix the issues with netcode and engine, it will be difficult for people to enjoy it. You might be better off just playing Spiral Knight or something.

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