Out Of The Beta Quadrant: Stellar Impact

By John Walker on April 12th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

Background: REAL! (except for the colours)

The best thing about space is that it’s real. It may or may not be filled with aliens and warring spaceships, but the setting, the background, is actually there! All those galaxies – that’s not pretend from out of a book. As much as you may doubt me, they’re really all up there (and down, and some on the left too. We are of course on the far right of space). Space is the setting chosen for Stellar Impact, the intergalactic strategalatic DOTA-ish multiplayer, and despite our reviewing it in January, it’s out today.

Brendan, wot played it when it was in its open beta, said this:

“But if ever there was a game that I knew RPS readers will like, this is it. If ever there was a game that was in more need of a strong, communicative playerbase (is that a word?) to fully realise the vision of the developers, this is it. Stellar Impact has its issues but it still deserves a little more love and attention than it currently has. Similarities to Defense of the Anglicans be damned.”

And now it’s all finished, and yours for £15. The game’s press release explains it’s on Steam and “other top distribution channels”. They may have wanted to be a little bit more personable about those channels, since there’s not a sign of it on Steam, but it’s up on GamersGate and Desura right now.

OR, I just noticed, get it directly from publishers Meridian4 and it purports to be only $10. Which is almost half the price. With a bit of a catch – Meridian are still selling those foul “extended download” things, meaning you have to pay almost as much again for the right to download the game in the future. Idiotic, and they need to stop it. Remove that bit, add on UK VAT, and it ends up coming to £8.22, which is still a big chunk off the other sites’ price, but with the stupid caveat that you’ll eventually lose your right to download it.

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33 Comments »

  1. Mordsung says:

    How are the space physics? If I cut engines on a ship, does it keep drifting or just decelerate like space is full of sand?

    • Rhin says:

      Not sand — it’s because your quantum jump drives experience resistance from vacuum fluctuations. Obviously.

      • Mordsung says:

        Actually, if they were using quantum jump technology, they wouldn’t have any momentum and would simply stop on a dime.

        In Sword of the Stars, the intelligent whale species used quantum jump drives (though they called it a stutter drive, same idea, moving through a series of rapid teleportations) and, therefore, have no momentum. A massive advantage in combat when not in a gravity well.

  2. wccrawford says:

    How dare they offer people a choice! Burn the witches at the stake!

    You can choose to pay for your bandwidth now, or later. Buy it from GG or Desura and the future cost is built-in. Buy it from Meridian4 and you have to actually be responsible and backup the installer in case you need it again later.

    I really don’t see the problem here.

    • Fiwer says:

      It’s amazing that no matter how badly a company tries to gouge consumers, there will always be some guy who defends them for it.

      • pupsikaso says:

        Before there was digital download, you’d buy your games on CDs. And if you lost your CD, was the company responsible for it? Did they have to ship you a new copy because you lost your game?

        Then came digital download, and it was a feature that the first digital distributors were offering – download your game any time you want, for as long as they are able to keep their servers up. It was never a given, it was a bonus. Don’t expect this to be a standard for digital downloads. The only time this is a “standard” is if you’re using some kind of client, like Steam, that doesn’t actually give you an installer or package that you can use independently.

        If you download a game, who says it’s your right to keep downloading it again and again over and over? Burn it to CD or keep it on your hard drive for safe keeping. You lose it, you have to pay for it again.

        • Simes says:

          Hey, if they’re going to insist I bought a licence to run their product rather than a product itself, they’d better not charge me again for re-downloading it.

        • sneetch says:

          It was never a given, it was a bonus. Don’t expect this to be a standard for digital downloads.

          Too late, I already do. I suspect I’m not the only one. I think it was a given from the very start because the first services provided it, so it has become a standard feature.

          The only time this is a “standard” is if you’re using some kind of client, like Steam, that doesn’t actually give you an installer or package that you can use independently.

          Who decided that? If you’re using GOG or D2D or any other clientless digital service I’ve used (the humble bundle, for example) then you can re-download the games you’ve bought. It’s a far more standard feature than you think.

          Now if they don’t want to allow us to redownload from their service without paying for it again then that’s their decision but don’t act like expecting to be able to download it again is an outrageous demand.

        • Fiwer says:

          It’s absolutely the industry standard that if you buy a downloadable version of something you’ll have the right to download it again in the future. Yet here we have a company attempting to charge almost double the price of the game to pay for that ability for only 24 months. It’s people with your attitude that allow companies to get away with treating their customers worse every single year. I’m going to just vote with my wallet and not buy this game.

          • 0positivo says:

            I completely agree with you, but then why are you “voting with your wallet” on this game? It’s not like it’s the only way you can get it, as the game is avaliable on gamersgate and desura and soon on steam…

  3. CKScientist says:

    > We are of course on the far right of space

    As a species, you may be correct. :(

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Those extended download things is a marketing disaster, the only thing they need to do to make it seem like a good deal is to call it a rental you can keep for ever as opposed to a purchase you lose access to, the main reason I don’t use origin is cause EA’s T’s & C’s still include this as a clause & I don’t trust them to actually not enact it.

  5. mR.Waffles says:

    This game is awesome, but it’s so hard to play. The community wasn’t very helpful, as at the time I tried to get into it there were only 5 other players on, and all five of them were amazing. They proceeded to ally against the newbies and completely wreck everyone. I mean come on people. If there’s only five of you out there, you might not want to stack the teams.

    • DarkFenix says:

      This was basically my experience. The core game is very good, but the community is tiny and hardcore; you’ll wait ages to get a game going then you’ll find yourself being stomped by players of far greater experience.

    • Ganjatron says:

      This was my experience too, and it’s why sadly I won’t buy this game. It was really fun, but the community just destroyed it for me. I was hoping since it wasn’t DOTA that it wouldn’t have that taint to it, but I guess being so close to a DOTA-style team setup it was bound become that. Hopefully the devs notice this, or they will have one short lived game.

    • 0positivo says:

      you might want to try again (and be sure to get on TS, even if you don’t have a microphone). The community has matured over time, and with the fact that we can now do matches that will not harm the rating, most people have become quite more open than before

  6. Tsankur says:

    I guys I’m one of the Stellar impact Dev
    First of all a big thanks for the news.
    I have to say that the Game Client will be always donwloadable on our website.
    The steam release will come very soon.

    For new players there is a new ingame step by step tutorial and a good fan-made wiki here : http://stellarimpact.wikia.com/wiki/Stellar_Impact_Wiki

    And now there is a matchmaking ^^.

    Thank to RPS to follow us.

    • Ganjatron says:

      I absolutely love the game, but I hate to say it but the community for it really is making me not want to purchase it. Hopefully this match making sytem works out better and can address these issues, because waiting forever for a game to start only to be curb stomped while laughed at isn’t exactly fun.

      • Tsankur says:

        The problem is that there is no communication before today.

      • 0positivo says:

        the community was previously almost non-existant. I have to admit that myself had lost all hope in the game for a little. But then, slowly, the community grew back a little. It’s still small, but now there’s the benefit of being extremely open. With the fact that we can now switch players around in the lobby, we always make sure that new players get a fair fight.
        Ask around among those that joined in the last month or so. Those that got on TS (pretty necessary given the highly team based nature of the game) have all been pretty satisfied are are now integral part of the “pro” community

        Plus, there’s this awesome guy that has been doing some very well done tutorials of the game (http://www.youtube.com/user/madplaysHD)

    • Anvilfolk says:

      You are saying then that we can buy from Meridian and just download from your website? All we need to do is keep the code we get!

      So, which is better for the devs? That we buy direct from Meridian and then download from your website, or that we buy from one of these distributors for $20 instead of $10?

      • Tsankur says:

        You can buy it on our website (it’s better for us) it’s a direct activation and there is no serial key.
        And you can download it from the website too.
        It’s already 15€ on our website but i think it will change in a short time.

  7. Sardonic says:

    Very cool, I wonder how it stacks up against Sins, though the only DoTA like part of sins admittedly is the capships.

  8. BLaNKMiND says:

    If you like Sins and you like MOBAS you will love this =]

    I have played all the MOBA’s and all have had one thing missing… AWESOME SCI FI SPACE SHIPS LASER PEW PEW !. this game delivers. It feels like it has more stratergy and synergy than any other MOBA.

    I have Beta tested this for nearly a year now, and can say that the developers know what they are doing. and the balancing process is going great. with constant updates and new features planned.

    The comunity is awesome (especially coming from a LOL/DOTA background) and all the top players are willing to help new guys if you join on the TS server or are vocal in the ingame chat) I have never had major problems getting games in the last 2 months as the community has been growing and with the Steam release imminent the game will be flooded, so join us for more space mayhem and extreme tactical battles with lots of new concepts no MOBA’s have done before.

    If you see me ingame i will gladly train up you space cadets to turn you into carrying space commanders.

  9. Alkaine says:

    Wait a second- does it have premium classes?

  10. Hurion says:

    I tried this a few months ago, and couldn’t get it to work. Tried to find a bug report form (there wasn’t one) posting in the bug forum (the largest section of the forum and it had 0 dev replies) and emailing them (never got a response). I was never able to play.

    • Tsankur says:

      I Hurion.
      You tried the game during the TotalBiscuit event. At this moment we spend all our time on solving those problems.
      We are a very little team (around 5) so we can’t answer to all forum post during those days.

  11. abuchris says:

    I’ll probably be called a cheapskate, but I won’t be playing this for $15.

    I’m spoiled rotten by the brilliant and functional business model of “free” that LoL employs.. I keeep giving these guys money hand over foot, but I do so, knowing that I like the game and continue to play it.
    So I won’t be chancing another random MOBA… unless you let me in for free, and charge me later :)

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