Starborne, the fledgling grand strategy MMO by Reykjavik-based Solid Clouds, has just opened its fourth server to new players. The last one filled up within a few days so now is the time to dive in if you’re curious.
I compared it to Neptune’s Pride crossed with EVE Online a few weeks back, and that’s both accurate and misleading. It’s vastly less stressful and treacherous than both, despite an influx of EVE players. I’ve been playing it for a few weeks and have mixed feelings, but I’m enjoying myself so far.
It’s basically an online 4X – a few thousand players hold a space station each in a massive hex-based galaxy. They build and mine and expand and forge alliances that will eventually form massive empires. Games last for a couple of months and then everything is reset, and with the developers launching more servers, getting knocked out early should be less disgruntling. Nobody can attack you for your first ten days, and the community’s very welcoming to new players. I’m one of the weakest members of my alliance, and a lot is still going way over my head, but nobody’s given me any grief, and the fights I’ve seen have been good natured and sporting.
I’m enjoying it, even if it’s absurdly opaque and the “guides” are 25-minute long video tutorials instead of the handful of simple paragraphs they could be. It’s still in alpha, so some niggles can be forgiven, and “4X MMO” is one of those chimera designs that I applaud anyone for attempting. I recommend diving in and figuring it out as you go – you won’t excel, but much like my time in EVE, a positive and friendly attitude can carry you over a lot of trouble.
You can join the upcoming game on the Starborne site for free. There are things in-game on sale for real money but I don’t even understand what some of them are, so it seems unlikely they’re necessary.