Archive for the ‘Observations’ Category

Ok then so it’s early in the morning and as usual there are some thoughts whirling around the old grey matter. This particular train of thought runs along the lines of this: In a space based browser game, where resources can be acquired through mining and trading, do people still resort to destructive means to gain what they need?

I want to talk about why people in the game of Ogame, decide that they need to be a ‘Fleeter’ a player style that means they use fleets to steal resources from other players in order to further their own cause and expansion.

Above is a screen shot taken of the shipyard screen within the game. Here the player can spend their resources to build fleets of ships of varying strengths and sizes to round out their fleet for all manner of destructive purposes. They have everything from the lowly Light Fighter, which is your basic fighter style ship with a single pilot, all the way up to the moon sized Deathstar, which players can use to just brutalize the systems around them (And that is putting it mildly).

Now it is understandable that players need to have the shipyard so that they can move their resources from one of their planets to another and yes it is fun to attack other players and set them back by stealing their resources and keeping everything for yourself, but is it really necessary? Why bother spending all of your resources on ships, which you then have to keep alive by spending more resources moving them, when you can build a load of cargo ships cheaply and quickly, and just get the help you need from other players that may be looking to go through trade routes instead of attacking like a blood thirsty, treasure hoarding, space pirate.

There are several reasons for this.

1) It makes the game more interesting.

If the player wants to be aggressive and just run with a fleet because it takes their fancy, then sure there is that. It’s also rather strategic really because in the short term they will be leaving themselves short on resources because they have pumped them all into these massive fleets that guzzle fuel like there is no tomorrow, but in the long run then the resources can soon be gained back and with interest when the player takes to the stars and starts taking the resources on other peoples planets, provided they can break through the planetary defenses of course.

2) It’s a competitive game.

Yes, unfortunately there is also a ranking system within the game, with players gaining points through their building levels, the number of planets they have, the defenses built on each planet and even for the number of ships they have, with the more expensive ships worth more points. The aim is to become the number one player within the universe, with your enemies lying battered and fleetless at your feet while you rule with an iron fist if you so choose. While the game is free to play, players tend to spend real money on ‘Commanders’ which give them an edge and pushes them that little bit quicker. Of course it is possible for your fleet to be destroyed if you leave it lying around on your planet because people with bigger fleets can come along and engage and destroy them. But this is all part of the “fun” apparently.

3) Space just wouldn’t be space without ships.

Of course it makes sense to have ships in a space based game, it makes sense to send them forth and explore the universe around you and of course it makes sense to have ships that can blow up anything and everything they encounter. The game even brings along the Bomber Class ship, designed specifically to shred the defenses of even the most fortress like planet within minutes. In the vastness of space it just wouldn’t be right if we had to stick with one planet while there was plenty of space out there to build your own galactic empire, so sending forth colony ships, the player can expand their domain across the stars by colonizing new planets in different star systems.

The Negative Side of Fleeting

There however downsides to choosing the way of the ‘Fleeter’.

1) You may be a small fish in a big pond

Not even joking, if you think you have a big fleet but you leave it sitting there for even the smallest amount of time, you may log on one day to find that it’s all been destroyed by a bigger fish while your back was turned and you’ll have to start all over again. Which leads me to my next point

2) Fleet Saving

Eurgh. Just the thought of it makes me shudder with frustration. If you want your fleet to live, you have to keep it on the move, sending it from planet to planet while you aren’t logged on to make sure it cannot be destroyed, for when the fleet is in motion, it cannot be attacked, therefore it is safe. If the fleet is small, then the amount of fuel consumed is manageable and doesn’t cause any problems, giving the player the chance to move their fleet for as long as they need too. Adjusting the flight speed can also reduce the fuel consumption, but this will only get a player so far. As the fleet grows in size, so does the demand for fuel, and if you don’t have the fuel, you can’t move the fleet, so it is down to the player to make sure they have a ready supply on hand on each of their planets to make sure their fleets are safe at all times and can be moved at the slightest moments notice.

3) Fleet Crashing

There are two ways this can happen. The first way is that you’re a bit of a doughnut and misjudge the firepower of your fleet and send it crashing into a planets defenses without realizing just how screwed your ships are, watching them all disappear in the blink of an eye because the defenses have ripped them apart in seconds, not only setting you back possibly millions of resources and days of time, but of course there is also the debris field the fleet left behind, either giving the enemy player a moon, from which they can build a base for spying fleets, or they can harvest the field, thereby you have given them even more resources, resources that you couldn’t afford to give them.

The second way this can happen is if your fleet is crashed while it is sitting on your planet, as is mentioned above. The enemy can spy a planet with a probe, then if there is a fleet that they know they can crash because they have the firepower to do so, then that fleet is history while you are offline. Even if your fleet is in motion, it is possible for players to spy a fleets flight plan through the power of the buildings on their Moon, so they can organize a fleet to hit the planet at the exact same moment your fleet touches down and docks on the planet. This move is called “Ninja Hitting” because it comes from nowhere and takes out all the ships involved on the planet.

Do the Benefits outweigh the Cons?

In my mind the cons are more costly than the benefits cross out. I myself play a ‘Miner’ play style, where I build up planets and their defenses to the point where it takes a large amount of effort to steal from me. But a Fleeter has to be extra careful and plan out their account build and play style a lot more carefully due to the nature and fickleness of ships and how easily they can be dispatched by other players. In the end if the player is smart and can stay several moves ahead of their opponents, then they could end up with a fleet that benefits them more than it costs them. But there will always come a time when a player or a group of player catch you out and all of the effort and time is worth nothing because you have nothing but debris to show for your time and effort.

This is why I wonder whether it is worth the Fleeter even being a play style, because trading is much more beneficial and a way safer way to gain resources from other players and it removes the risk of them attacking you at a later date as you tend to build up a rapport with them and they are then more inclined to work with you and trade with you in the future. But then I guess there will always be that destructive and violent streak in us that sometimes proves to be too much of a pull and so we have Fleeter type players present within the game to not only make it more interesting, but also because they just enjoy causing chaos within a game where stability could quite easily rule. But then of course alliance wars wouldn’t happen if everyone just traded and raced to have the highest level buildings, instead of spending a lot of resources and having most of their rank points tied up in their ships.