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Robota: Pistols At Dawn In Perpetuum

Robots On The Horizon

A record of RPS' ongoing adventures in robot-MMO, Perpetuum. To find us in-game grab the trial, and then find chat channel RPS.

So, we captured an outpost.

It was a fine moment - to be able to put our flag on the map of conquerable territories - and we felt pretty pleased with our progress. But we shouldn't have felt too pleased: there was an element of luck involved. Danarchov, where our flag was planted, was the one outpost on the map which didn't really have any major faction laying claim to it, so we didn't face any kind of resistance. Since the exit of a large Russian corporation from the game, Danarchov had laid basically abandoned, held by a placeholder corporation with just a couple of members. Another corporation moved in just before we made out move, but they – and their allies – backed off and allowed us to set up shop in the game's open-PvP islands.

You can see why they'd do that: we are a now large solo corporation and (almost) add a fifth player faction to the game. We're aiming to remain independent, too. The existing factions want to encourage new player groups to be active, whether that be joining them or going it alone. Despite overtures from most of the major groups, our feeling is that going it alone is the best option, perhaps with just the occasional alliance of convenience made with some of the locals. We therefore represent a fresh batch of targets for the more experienced players in the game. Our miners and production teams have felt the brunt of that, with their industrial robots blasted to scrap on several occasions as they tried to exploit the valuable resources that lie hidden in the landscape around our new base.

The past couple of weeks also saw us run up against a new challenge: walls. The first of the game's player-built structures, they were recently patched in and are... interestingly designed. With few limits on how they could be built (initially not even decaying over time) the rapid deployment of the walls, by players, was incredible. Surprisingly, the walls were designed so that it was even possible to log off, get walled up, log back on, and find yourself trapped. A pretty astonishing position to be in, and an issue that I am amazed the devs are happy with. Worse, perhaps, within a couple of nights entire islands were walled off, leaving our little newbie-gang PvP roams trundling along the base of them, wondering how we would ever manage to kill anything again. We could blow them up with bombs, or use some exploit where you can shoot stuff on the other side, but it all felt very slow and constricted. We began to worry that we'd arrived in the game just when the devs broke it.

We shouldn't have worried, though, because the battles would come to us now that we were territory owners. Last week saw two major skirmishes and a batch of smaller shoot outs. The first of the larger battles was perhaps a little unfair on our opponents – it was a bait trap that I spent almost an hour setting up. We allowed our enemies to see a single mech with a couple of light bot scouts, and they were soon tempted to come after it. They weren't beginners, so they checked we weren't waiting on the other side of the teleport. Unfortunately for them we were waiting on the other other side of the teleport, and when their mechs engaged less than a kilometre from the teleporter site, in we jumped. Robots of all kinds surged around them as lasers filled the air. They didn't last long.

The second major battle was the first time we've engaged a large number of mechs and won. Normally we'd died en masse, such as the time when twenty of us were killed by a single heavy mech. This time, however, things were different. A contingent of HUN found their way onto the island, blasted through the walls that we'd built, and headed into the interior. Fortunately for us some of the locals (folks who own the other outpost on the island) threw themselves at the invading force, despite being totally outnumbered. Setting up a hasty temporary agreement not to shoot them, we charged in too. The HUN gang retreated north, but soon realised they were running out of space. Backed onto a beach they turned round to engage, killing our vanguard of light, fast robots. Soon, though, our mechs were in range: lasers, railguns, and missile launchers flared into life. A single light bot escaped, to seven mechs down.

Fun times, but the real test is still to come. Now that we're settled in, other factions are beginning to become interested in Danarchov. We're beginning to feel the effect of more determined hostility from veterans who've been annoyed by our activity, and, for the most part, we don't have the skill points or the resources to take them on. Can our band of newbies cling on to their new home? Will our robots burn on the field of battle? Will the hammer of skilled and resourced PvP players now come down on us? Exciting unknowns, all. I'll let you know what happens.

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