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Robota: Our Fifth Month In Perpetuum

Where lasers roam free

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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