(This is part of my journey playing through Master of Orion. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)
It’s fun watching this particular series resonate with players; Master of Orion and many of the 4X games have special places in gamers’ hearts, and Ocho has a great explanation why: We create our own stories. I agree. I love being told stories and experiencing them in MMOs, but I also love making them. It doesn’t have to be a one-or-the-other proposition.
Back to the game… I’m marshaling my forces for a strike on the nearby Alkari planet of Spica, but even so I’m keeping close tabs on the map in case I see the enemy trying to strike out first. Nine of my Teppo-class bombers are ready and I send them to the front line. I’m also starting to think that it’s about time to spin down the KTR production and switch everyone over to a new ship with a more modern arsenal. My research monkeys (silicon monkeys, rimshot) keep coming up with new tech quite fast, and I hope I’m pulling ahead in the research race at this point.
The new Hoppy-class battleships are filled to the brim with the latest and greatest: top-notch shielding, armor, countermeasures, and engines. Defensively they’re great, but offensively they’re a little lacking. I do have some of the new missiles in them and a few other weapons, but they’re more made for slugging than fast strikes. I convert all my production over to making them.
The Alkari seem to be doing the opposite, favoring mass production of fighters — 1600 of them, plus assorted other ships, are heading back toward Ysharros. Well, this will be interesting. It almost doesn’t matter how advanced my ships are; 1600 of anything is going to steamroll them. And I am NOT prepared to lose my fleet.
So I decide to stop trying to defend Ysharros and juke right around the enemy forces to send my own fleet to Spica:
In the end, we both obliterate each other’s colonies, although I lose a heck of a lot of KTRs in the process and the enemy doesn’t lose a single ship. Mutual assured destruction, my friends. The Darlocks freak and say that I don’t have honor because I’m using biological weapons. So… using nukes was fine? And it was hunky dory when the Alkari were raining death spores down on Werit and Ocho? But this crosses the line?
I console myself with the fact that I have planets I can afford to lose while the Alkari do not. Plus, I start production on small agile Battlechick fighters and crank out a few hundred of them on the first turn.
I feel like everything is spinning out of my control. I know it’s boring to say this, but the most fun I have with 4X games is when I’m roflstomping over the enemy with ease, not when I’m scrabbling just to stay afloat against an enemy that I have a 2-1 planetary advantage over. It’s taking a lot of my will to play through this game and not start over.
To make matters worse, a GNN report tells me that I’m #3 in fleet strength — the Alkari are #1 and the Sakkra (!) are #2. I think the Sakkra are there because they haven’t fought at all and the computer just keeps cranking out new ships.
Hey, what about pouring some lemon juice in that wound? Here ya go!
Fine. Forget getting a technological edge. I go around to all of my planets and tell them to start making ships full-on, non-stop. It’s a last-ditch effort to win; if I can’t gain a production advantage, I’m going to be sunk soon.
Meet the Snafzg, the ship my hopes and dreams rest upon now:
It looks as though Psychochild is destined to be, once again, the site of a major battleground. My fleet forms while the massive enemy fleet that destroyed Ysharros swoops in. My fleet is too small. There’s no way I can…
Well, I’m not going to look a space-gift horse in the mouth. I will take a stay of execution.
To be honest, I’m starting to feel frustrated with this particular game (not MOO specifically, just this game of it). I shouldn’t have been so hasty to get into war in the first place, and now that I have, I’m in some sort of weird Vietnam where I can’t figure out the right way to proceed. Losing two planets in the past couple of sessions didn’t help, and knowing that two of the enemy forces can overpower me easily is aggravating. Really, if it wasn’t for this series, I would quit and restart.
But I’ll see it through. At least a couple more sessions.