Robota: Our Fifth Month In Perpetuum

By Jim Rossignol on May 3rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm.


Which is an ongoing diary of the RPS robo-corporation’s exploits in sandbox robot-war MMO, Perpetuum.

Last month we captured an island. And this month we lost it again.

Here’s what that island looked like last month. Lots of lovely Orange squares.


And here’s what it looks like now.


Oh dear. So what happened? Well, a lot of fighting happened. During the period of our expansion we allied with another corporation. Generally I am against alliances in such games, because I believe the guild/corp/clan should stand on its own merit, but here it seemed inevitable. Roving Guns The Guns’ ranks contained some quite experienced pilots – both in terms of in-game experience points, and in terms of knowing how to fight – which meant they were useful allies for relative newbies like us. We are still being beaten by veteran gangs with heavy mechs, so it was fun to be able to try and counter that. This alliance, however, seemed to cause consternation among Perpetuum’s other corporations, because within a couple of weeks of my last post, a coalition of six or more corporations was arrayed against us. While general skirmishing continued unabated, the vital “SAP” capture times on our stations saw enemy gangs with multiple heavy mechs and the necessary support, making resistance very difficult for our outnumbered pilots. We won a few significant battles, but began to lose more.

Not that they didn’t fight back, of course, and our allies were extremely useful in scoring some big wins. Eventually, however, their deployment was to attract the attention of yet another hostile coalition – and to spell a disastrous downturn in our attempted defence of the island we had captured. A huge rolling battle around one of our outposts saw us obliterated, and despite the allied heavy mechs being able to take down a few enemies as they died, our island-owning cause was lost.


That’s not to say we’ve not been enjoying the process enormously. Being able to fight battles on our own turf, rather than randomly attacking by roaming about, is always satisfying. Something is at stake, which means the battles mean something. Combat in Perpetuum is a steep challenge, too, with multiple things to consider at any moment, particularly if – as a number of players across the game are – you are running more than one account. Some players might be scouting with one robot on one screen, while fighting on another. It gets hectic. A popular tactic is to set a logistics robot following another robot, such as a heavy mechs, so that the logistics robot can boost and repair the main bot in combat. Counter-tactics to that include energy-neutralisers, to drain the energy of robots and leave them unable to activate their modules, or electronic-countermeasures to break the lock on the primary robot. We also favour just doing some much damage that the robot explodes. That works too. Variety of tactics is what makes this – like Eve – a challenging and rewarding PvP MMO.

The lessons learned about Perpetuum during our recent wars have been significant, of course. Particularly in the effectiveness of its various specialised mechs and other bots. While many people favour the purity of damage and tank, there are some other possibilities: mechs which slow enemies from a great range, mechs which dampen or jam enemy targeting systems, and – most intriguingly – robots which “signal mask”, allowing them to move within just a few hundred metres of enemy robots before being spotted. For guerilla warfare these have proven formidable – working out how to fight them off has been one of the trickiest challenges facing our PvP players.

We do, of course, have the player-built base structures at our disposal. Having been moderated a little from their initial untested deployment, walls can now only be built within a few kilometres of a base, but they allow us to deploy probes – to remote detect approaching robots – and to slow those robots by forcing them to either breach the walls, or wander through a specially erected “maze”. These have allowed our miners and industrialists to escape destruction countless times, and are used with even greater effectiveness by some of the other corporations. Or at least until the bases they surrounded were lost.

Fortunately, during our period of expansion we actually managed to capture a fourth outpost on another island.


This was the outpost which we’d original captured and then lost several months ago. Taking it back was a significant victory for our beleaguered operation, and it means we can still exploit the important resources of the beta island to keep our vital industry working, and supplying the combat pilots with the robots they need to keep fighting. It remains our one foothold on the open PvP “beta” islands. Can we hold on to it? Only time will tell…

There’s a free trial for Perpetuum. You can find us in the RPS chat channel in-game.

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25 Comments »

  1. mentor07825 says:

    Tried out the trial and joined the RPS corp. I got kicked in ten minutes without explanation. Not interested in going back. I like how the game handles things but the UI hurt my eyes a bit so I think I’d stick to Eve.

  2. Xune says:

    “A popular tactic is to set a logistics robot following another robot, such as a heavy mechs, so that the logistics robot can boost and repair the main bot in combat.”

    Ah, the joys of Massively Multiplayer games.

    • methodology says:

      now just need a procurement robot that deals a lot of damage from behind and it’ll be just perfect.

    • MondSemmel says:

      Everybody complains about free to play games often being “pay to win”. So tell me: How is this any different? The players with two (or three, or however many they can handle) accounts presumably enjoy a major advantage. The problem being, of course, that they didn’t earn this advantage in-game.

      • Nevard says:

        Unless you have four hands it’s not much of a major advantage, as the other robot has to remain on autopilot and would be pretty easily killed

      • methodology says:

        if multiboxing is sanctioned by the dev’s then there is no difference that’s for sure. As for needing 4 hands , im pretty sure modern day multiboxers are running scripts and macros and bots.

        • Shaedys says:

          To the multiboxing, yes a support bot behind your main character is helpfull, but if they target that support bot and it doesn’t have your fullest attention its going to explode and deal a lot of damage to your main character.
          This problem is escalated when having two support bots, you cannot divide your attention properly enough to not also make it have weaknesses. These can be seized on and it can be countered.

        • HothMonster says:

          The game is actually pretty script/macro resilient. From my understanding no one has been able to get either to perform.

          • jrod says:

            I would love to play a game where scripting support characters is a condoned feature… im hoping notch’s new one will scratch this itch.

      • Zaul says:

        Most people only run 1 or 2 accounts for actual combat, more than 2 accounts and it becomes more of a hindrance than a bonus. The main reason people have 2 accounts is that one will have industry skills and the other will have combat skills.

      • Billzor says:

        I refuse to run two accounts on principle and I’ve been doing just fine in Perpetuum.

      • Kelron says:

        The difference is in the style of game. Most multiplayer competition involves even teams pitted against each other in an arena. Letting a player buy a more powerful gun in a situation like that is upsetting what should be a finely balanced system.

        Perpetuum and Eve (and the few other similar games) are inherently asymmetrical. Balance is still present (though rather more complex) on the scale of individual robots and pieces of equipment, but doesn’t have any relevance in terms of sides in a battle. If one side can bring 40 people while the other can only bring 20, they’re perfectly entitled to do so. It’s up to the players to decide their tactics, or whether to engage at all. An actual fight may be the 10 minute culmination of an hour of maneuvering and watching each other.

        So paying for a second account gives you an advantage, but not one that upsets the balance of the game. Having another human on your team would be a bigger advantage.

    • johnnyseattle says:

      Ahh, such fond memories of DAoC buffbots. Sounds like I’ll be avoiding this.

      • Berzee says:

        Same! That was, I think, a major reason why I stopped playing DAoC (the other being, y’know, life). Same with Asheron’s Call, to a lesser extent. People figuring out how to get support bots working isn’t enough, on its own, to make me abandon a game; but I think it does increase the speed at which I get tired of it, because I feel like I am doomed to go slowly by comparison.

        On the other hand, there are lots of people who never used multiple accounts I’m sure. I think the problem looms larger in my mind than in reality, maybe.

        Edit: That being said, in a game like this where it’s expected that people will travel in Big Gangs, I doubt it would bother me so much. This game looks rather fine, but I don’t like games where I have to belong to a guild to accomplish things because guilds inevitably turn ridiculous and kind of psychotic. =P It’s the games that make it seem like solo PvP roaming is viable, where bots make me all =

  3. jellydonut says:

    Logistics bots that repair, energy neutralizers, dampeners, jammers..

    I mean, I know it’s supposed to be ‘inspired by’ EVE, but it sounds like it’s just EVE in robots instead of spaceships. Same mechanics all around. :|

    • mpk says:

      There are familiar mechanics, but PvP requires a completely different philosophy. EVE’s mega battles would have been much shorter had exploding ships caused AoE damage., for instance.

    • Nefaroth says:

      Not to mention the direct avatar control rather than the fiddly and detached ‘orbit/move to’ system in eve

  4. Khader says:

    http://www.perp-kill.net/?m=view&id=239682

    It would appear as tho some Mercs were even hired to come after you! I happen to know those Mercs love to use this signal masking.

  5. mbp says:

    This game sounds like it has a tonne of potential. Do you think it it can emulate EVE’s slow but steady growth?

    • mpk says:

      It needs a steady influx of new players for that to happen. The biggest criticism I have of the game right now is that I don’t see any advertisements, or play diaries or any form of coverage outwith RPS. Google Perpetuum Online, and one of the top results is a two-year-old Eurogamer article. It needs a lot more exposure.

  6. Yazid says:

    Im willing to try this… But i have a small question.

    Is this game as time consuming as eve?

  7. Stinkfinger75 says:

    So are the robots supposed to be gigantic? The screenshots seem otherwise. Seems like this game has a problem with scale.

  8. Khader says:

    Gigantic as in 5 storys tall? Yes the bigger ones are. However every thing on the planet Nia is huge. Plus all the screenys are zoomed in to show detail of robot.
    @yazid yes and no its not as consuming as eve in the fact that you don’t have to plug in the skill you want to learn. You gain EP while not logged in even then you allocate it where you want to use it. So if for a cheap 10$ a month you sub and only play 2 weekends your still going to have a good ep gain and be able to keep up with friends and enemys that play 24-7.

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